type of automobile

A crossover (CUV) is a marketing term for a vehicle that is built on a car platform. The term was first used in 1996 by Toyota for its new RAV4.[1] CUVs mix some of the features of SUVs and station wagons or hatchbacks. They frequently use unibody construction typical of many cars.[2] A crossover usually uses a light-duty all-wheel drive. Unlike SUVs (which are usually four-wheel drive), crossovers are generally capable of only light off-road use. Examples of crossovers include Ford Explorer and Hyundai Santa Fe. Crossovers have begun to replace minivans (a market that has been dwindling in the U.S. since 2005), as well as compact and mid-sized SUVs.

2007 Saturn Outlook crossover
the 2009 Dodge Journey crossover


CUVs have three advantages over SUVs:

  • CUVs are often lighter than SUVs and therefore offer better fuel efficiency.[2]
  • CUVs are lower to the ground than SUVs, are safer, and have better road handling.
  • CUVs are generally cheaper to produce.


  1. Encyclopedia of Transportation: Social Science and Policy, ed. Mark Garrett (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014), p. 1253
  2. 2.0 2.1 John Heitmann, The Automobile and American Life (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2009), p. 191

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