A crossover SUV is a vehicle that was built on a car platform but with a
sport utility vehicle design and dimensions. The term car platform is used to
describe the design of chassis, suspension, axles, driveline and other similar
attributes of the car. The platforms are usually borrowed from a small or mid sized sedan,
station wagon or a company platform that is used for several cars.
The crossover SUV combines features such as all wheel drive and the higher
ground clearance of a sport utility vehicle with the comfort, car like ride handling and
fuel economy of a sedan or station wagon. Traditional SUVs were built on a light truck chassis or what is referred to as body
on frame. This design allows the vehicle to be more rugged and easily accommodate off road features but the vehicle would be
heavy and on road performance would not be to the best.
The Infiniti FX, a midsize crossover SUV
The car platforms will be altered to cater for a heavier and in some cases larger vehicle so although two vehicles are
sharing a platform that doesn't mean that a shock or axle from one can be used on the other. Some crossovers used platforms from
front wheel drive vehicle so they are now front wheel drive.
Although very luxurious SUVs have been built such as the Lexus LX the extra weight and cut in on road handling is a
considerable price to pay if you're not going to use the vehicle in much off road driving. Lexus/Toyota was also the first
marque to introduce a crossover SUV to the luxury vehicle market when they introduced the Lexus RX/Toyota Harrier in
1997 which was based on the Lexus ES/Toyota Camry platform.
Most of the sport utility vehicles manufactured in the 21st century are crossover SUVs. In fact most of the full size SUVs
have maintained the body on frame configuration and most small and mid sized SUVs being crossovers.
Many of the Crossovers have limited off road ability, some have no off road features and others such as the Porsche Cayenne
while still far from being the best off road vehicle is an exceptional off roader. BMW refers to their X5 as a Sports Activity Vehicle
(SAV) although the X5 is equipped with their X-Drive all wheel drive system it does not boast of any great off road ability but of
increased traction and on road handling for persons who prefer SUV functionality with car like driving
The crossover SUV as made its mark in the luxury and other car markets and has taken over the presence of traditional SUVs.
Many persons who are interested in sports utility vehicle are really interested in a crossover. A few examples of crossovers are the
Mazda CX7 using the Mazda 6 platform, the Toyota Rav4 using the Corolla platform, the BMW X5 using the 5 Series platform and the
Subaru Forrester using the Impreza platform.