The world of SUVs and crossovers has become a murky one, especially in recent years as the demand and production of both has increased. You may have found yourself wondering what the difference is between an SUV and a crossover – we don't blame you. Here are some key differences between the two:


Traditionally, SUVs were built on rugged 4X4/bakkie platforms with a body-on-frame setup, also known as the ladder frame. This means the body and frame of the vehicle are separate entities. Since SUVs were traditionally built to take on rough and challenging terrain, this setup was more suitable for the application. Crossovers, on the other hand, use what is referred to as a unibody or a monocoque configuration, which integrates the body and chassis of the vehicle, making it one unit. The benefits of this are better ride quality and handling. You may also notice improved fuel economy because a unibody vehicle is lighter.


Off-Road Capable

SUVs are generally designed and built with off-road capabilities and features. You'll notice a higher ground clearance in SUVs, and many have an all-wheel-drive system for venturing off the well-trodden path. Some SUVs even have a low-range setting, for those who like to push the envelope off-road. Crossovers, on the other hand, aren't typically designed for bundu-bashing and may not have some of these features and characteristics of SUVs.


Size & Space

SUVs in their truest form are generally larger than crossovers, which often translates to more interior space compared to a crossover. Although the lines are becoming blurred and larger, more spacious crossovers are being produced, another way to tell the two apart is seating. Crossovers only offer two rows of seats, no matter how large the vehicle is. SUVs will sometimes have an additional third seating row and can accommodate up to seven individuals including the driver.

Road manners

With their different construction, SUVs can sometimes drive like a bakkie. They have a firmer, nearly unyielding suspension compared to their crossover counterparts. Having a higher centre of gravity sometimes means they have reduced stability, however, this isn't the case with all SUVs. Nowadays, some SUVs are equipped with air suspension and have handling capabilities comparable to smaller vehicles. 

Crossovers are more consistent with offering a comfortable ride because of their car-like underpinnings.


Fuel Efficiency

One can argue that you’ll get better fuel economy from a crossover than you will an SUV, because of the difference in size and weight. SUVs are typically larger and heavier, which will result in higher fuel consumption. Not only are crossovers smaller and more aerodynamic, but they tend to have smaller engines too, which contributes to the vehicle being more economical.

As you can see, there are benefits to both styles of vehicles and sometimes there are overlaps, especially in today's world. There is no wrong or right answer if you're deciding between an SUV and a crossover. As mentioned, many modern SUVs now ride on air suspension or have very good dampening so you may not encounter some of the not-so-desirable traits associated with them. On the flipside, crossovers are becoming larger and some can even go toe-to-toe with SUVs from a size perspective. Now that you have a clearer picture of the two body types, visit and start comparing to find your next vehicle.



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