SUV vs crossover? Check out our article for all you need to know
SUV vs crossover? Check out our article for all you need to know

What’s the difference between an SUV and a crossover?

SUV vs crossover? Good question! The new car market is flooded with vehicles calling themselves SUVs, crossovers, SUV coupés, and now even CUVs. In this article we will attempt to understand what each model has to offer to help you make a decision on buying your new car in Ireland in 2022.

What is an SUV?

SUVs have been rising in popularity in recent years in Ireland, Europe and around the world. It’s a major growth segment for car brands, with the latest data showing SUVs accounting for 45% of global passenger car sales in 2020. In Europe, SUVs accounted for 45% of the total new car registrations up to the end of August 2021.

SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. Modern SUVs offer customers the high driving position and rugged design features typically associated with working off-road vehicles. Four wheel drive is available in some cases, but not all. That’s okay – most buyers are attracted to these vehicles for their elevated driving position and style; not their off-roading or towing capability. These days SUVs are generally seen by consumers as more desirable than traditional hatchbacks and saloons, with customers willing to pay more to own one too.

The Toyota RAV4 is a popular hybrid SUV
The Toyota RAV4 is a popular hybrid SUV

Manufacturers have been quick to respond to consumer trends for SUVs, bringing new models to market across segments from small SUVs to compact SUVs, large family SUVs, luxury SUVs, hybrid SUVs, and now even electric SUVs. Five and seven seat SUV models are available on the market today.

It’s a fine line between what is an SUV and what is a crossover, but the height and design of the vehicle is a clue.

Small, Midsize and Large SUVs

Small SUVs and compact SUVs include models like the Volkswagen T-Cross, Dacia Duster, Opel Mokka, Peugeot 2008, JEEP Renegade, and Renault Captur.

Family SUVS and mid-size SUVs include the Mazda CX-30/CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Qashqai, and Peugeot 3008.

Large SUVs include the Toyota Highlander, Kia Sorento, Nissan X-Trail, SEAT Tarraco and Skoda Kodiaq.

Premium SUVs include the BMW X3, BMW X5, Audi Q3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC40, Volvo XC90, Jaguar F-PACE, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE.

Hybrid SUVs are becoming more and more popular including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Santa Fe, DS 7 and many more!

Small SUVs like the Volkswagen T-Cross
Small SUVs like the Volkswagen T-Cross

There are many electric SUVs coming to market too such as the BMW iX3 and iX, Toyota bZ4X, Nissan Ariya, Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq, Tesla Model Y, Mercedes-Benz EQB and EQC, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Audi Q4 and Audi e-tron, Opel Mokka-e, Peugeot e-2008, and the MG ZS.

What is a Crossover?

The crossover is like a halfway house between a car and an SUV. They often feel like a more slightly elevated hatchback or estate car from behind the wheel. Crossovers are popular because they have a little more visual presence thanks to being a bit higher off the ground than a standard hatchback. They also have styling features typically associated with SUVs and 4×4 vehicles, for example, plastic cladding around the wheel arches and the lower extremities of the car, skid plates front/rear and roof rails.

Crossovers also feature in different segments of the new car market in Ireland, including compact crossovers, hybrid crossovers and electric crossovers like the new Ford Mustang Mach-e and the Jaguar I-PACE.

Manufacturers typically blur the lines between what is classed as an SUV and what is classed as a crossover. But cars like the Ford Puma, Hyundai Kona, Kia XCeed, Ford Focus Active, Citroen C5 X, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and CUPRA Formentor could definitely be considered crossovers!

The Ford Puma is a popular compact crossover
The Ford Puma is a popular compact crossover

What is an SUV Coupé?

SUV coupés have been popular among premium car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW for some years now.

But in 2021, many mainstream car manufacturers like Renault and Citroen began to bring more SUV coupés to the market. Expect to see even more hitting the showrooms in 2022.

The SUV coupé shares a lot with an SUV, for example, an elevated height and driving position. But they also feature a more stylish and exclusive design inspired by a sporty coupé. Often there is a small compromise to practicality, boot space and rear headroom because of the lower, sloping roofline towards the rear of the car. But for many buyers that is not an issue. SUV coupés have a unique style that is becoming more and more fashionable among SUV buyers.

Some of the best examples of premium SUV coupés include the BMW X4 and X6, the Audi Q3 Sportback and Audi Q8, the Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE Coupé. Many are available with petrol, diesel, and even plug-in hybrid powertrains. The Volvo C40 Recharge is a new all-electric SUV coupé from a premium car brand.

In 2021 the new Renault Arkana was launched, while the new Citroen C4 also has some SUV-coupé style.

The Renault Arkana is an SUV-coupé
The Renault Arkana is an SUV-coupé

What is a CUV?

CUVs are an emerging trend in the motor industry. CUV stands for Crossover Utility Vehicle. It’s fair to say we are just talking crossovers here. So they typically can be easily identified by their height and design cues. A CUV might not be as tall as an SUV for example. It resembles an elevated hatchback in its design. Styling of the CUV is often less rugged than an SUV, but features like extra cladding and roof rails are common.

Some new CUVs hitting the market this year include the Hyundai IONIQ5 and the Kia EV6, both electric.

SUV vs Crossover?

So what will it be? In this article we’ve detailed the differences between these popular models. This decision is mostly about personal preference and price. SUVs are highly desirable in the market for their chunky looks and presence on the road. Crossovers have emerged over the last few years as a softer approach to the SUV, but with more presence and character than say a traditional hatchback or estate car.

When trying to decide between an SUV or crossover consider everything from price, value for money, equipment, practicality and efficiency, as you would with any new car purchase.

Hyundai class their new IONIQ 5 as a CUV
Hyundai class their new IONIQ 5 as a CUV

There are many exciting new crossovers and SUVs hitting the market in 2022, along with a fine selection already in dealer showrooms. Read specific SUV/CROSSOVER REVIEWS on Changing Lanes for our definitive verdict on the latest models on sale in Ireland.

By Caroline Kidd