SUV vs. Crossover: Which Is Right for You?

September 14th, 2017 by

SUV vs Crossover | Used Cars in Phoenix, AZ | Rocky's Auto CreditThe popularity of crossover vehicles continues to grow, and with more options becoming available from all manufacturers, it is important to know what you are getting. Many people refer to a crossover as an SUV, but there are actually some significant differences between the two. Here is some useful information about both types of vehicles to help you decide which one is right for you.

The Platform

The biggest difference between a crossover and an SUV is their chassis. A crossover has a unibody design, which means that the frame is all one piece. SUVs, on the other hand, use a body-on-frame design, which is assembled in two different pieces. This platform is heavier and more durable so it can handle rougher terrain. Conversely, the unibody design of the crossover is lighter than an SUVs two-part chassis, creating a smoother, quieter ride and causing crossovers to get better gas mileage.

The Crossover

If you need a larger vehicle with room for extra passengers and their gear but still want a compact or sedan’s responsive handling, then the crossover is for you. Crossovers usually offer a more dynamic driving experience. The only drawback compared to a full-size SUV is that the crossover has reduced towing power. These vehicles can still tow, just not the weight that a true SUV can handle. However, if you spend the majority of your time on paved roads, a crossover offers a more comfortable ride and is probably the better choice.


If you need a truck with heavy towing power, you should consider buying an SUV. An SUV will also handle rough terrain much better than a crossover. If you spend your weekends off-roading or mudding, then you need the extra horsepower and ground clearance of an SUV. Since manufacturers design SUV’s for rough riding, they tend to resist rust and wear and tear more easily than a crossover and are often easier to fix after an accident.


Both SUVs and crossovers have crash protection, and depending on the model and year, they both have advanced safety features. It is a common misconception that the weight and rugged design of an SUV will help protect you in the event of an accident, but some SUVs do not have a crumple zone so passengers don’t have that extra protection. Crossovers, however, are more similar to cars and most models have a crumple zone to absorb the energy in the event of a head-on collision.

Luxury and Features

Drivers who are looking for the extra space of a large SUV but still want the luxury features of a high-end car might benefit from a crossover. Most manufacturers, including luxury brands, have one or more in their lineup, and with so many options available, it’s easy to find a crossover that fits your needs. If you enjoy the feel of a truck, then stick with an SUV.

Both the crossover and the SUV have their benefits, but it all comes down to the driver’s preferences and needs.

Image via Flickr by RL GNZLZ