Utility vehicles: What’s the difference?

The terms “sport utility vehicle (SUV)” and “crossover” (also dubbed a compact sport utility vehicle, or CUV) are heard quite frequently and sometimes used interchangeably. It can be easy to blur the terms because of the subtle differences between these types of vehicles.

But upon careful interpretation of these ultra-popular vehicles, the variations between them become more apparent.
The frames of these vehicles can help people distinguish between them.

Many car experts refer to SUVs as those vehicles that are equipped with the chassis of a truck, while crossovers are based on a car’s platform.

SUVs rely on a “body on frame,” which means the body is built separately from the frame of the vehicle and then assembled later on. Crossovers use “unibody” architecture, which means the body and frame are one piece.

SUVs are classified as a light truck and have the towing and performance capabilities of a pickup truck.

As a result, the wheelbase, floorplan, suspension, powertrain, and other SUV arrangements are similar to those of a pickup. Conversely, crossovers use the platform of a sedan and handle much more like traditional passenger cars, offering smooth rides and responsive handling.

Crossovers are often smaller than SUVs and may not have the off-roading or towing capacities of SUVs. Another difference is the driveline. Most SUVs employ four-wheel drive systems, while crossovers have two-wheel drive systems.

Author: Rachel Howell

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