Definition of a Crossover Utility Vehicle

This Definition Should Help You Find a Used Crossover

The Nissan Murano is an example of a crossover. Photo (c) Nissan

In the last few years, say from 2011 to 2015, crossover utility vehicles have simply exploded in popularity. That means the supply of crossover utility vehicles has also increased significantly. But for many that poses the question, “What is a crossover utility vehicle?”

What is a Crossover Utility Vehicle

This used to be a tricky term to pinpoint because crossover utility vehicle, also known as CUV, has its origins in marketing.

Basically, it’s a sports utility vehicle that is built on a car frame with little if any off-road capability.

Crossover utility vehicles are largely driving the success of the new car industry in 2015. Without them, sales would not be on pace to a record 17 million vehicles. In 2014, they represented 27 percent of all new-car sales in the United States.

The marketing term was created because most manufacturers, though, to avoid calling their vehicles station wagons (like Subaru, which can be a difficult used car to find). Much like minivans, station wagons have fallen out of favor since the start of the 21st century. Subaru sells a vehicle called the Outback. It’s basically a Subaru Legacy station wagon but it is marketed as a crossover utility vehicle.

They call their vehicles crossovers and others, not wanting their vehicles to be called SUVs, like Honda with its four-wheel drive 8-passenger Pilot, will call their vehicles crossovers.

Crossovers are usually either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. BMW, until the introduction of the 2016 X1, only sold rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive crossovers. The 2016 BMW X1 is the first front-wheel drive crossover it is selling in the United States.

Currently, used crossovers are going to command higher prices on the used car market in 2015 because of the increased demand on the new side.

Just as new car buyers are interested, so are used car buyers.

The website says prices for crossovers, both compact and midsize, have held steady or increased ever so slightly at the beginning of September 2015. Full-size CUVs showed a slight decline in price at the beginning of September.

Interestingly, the drop in fuel prices from almost $3.50 a gallon down to $2.63 a gallon nationally has played a huge role in the increase in sales. People no longer feel a need to buy a fuel efficient vehicle. Experts predict fuel prices are bound to rise again, which is going to hurt crossover vehicle resales in the future. That doesn’t seem to be a concern of most buyers though who aren’t known for being particularly prescient.

Pros and Cons of Crossover Utility Vehicles

Pro – Very good use of space. They really do have a lot of utility. Most can comfortably sit five while some will squeeze in seven or even eight passengers. When not carrying a full passenger load, they can also be excellent cargo haulers.

Con – They are less fuel efficient than comparable sized based on the same platforms. Case in point would be the Mazda CX-3 that is based on the Mazda2 platform. The greater roominess of the CX-3 leads to a fuel efficiency penalty.

Pro – Crossovers give most drivers a greater sense of security because you ride higher and have more sheet metal protecting you.

Con – You’re not going to find good dealers on crossovers either used or new. They are simply too popular right now. Used car dealers have no reason to offer incentives or lower prices on them.

You might want to consider buying a certified pre-owned crossover. The extended warranty offered by the manufacture will give you some peace of mind for the extra expense.

Also Known As: CUV crossovers CUVs

Examples: Crossover utility vehicles are trucks built on car frames that usually have any off-road capability.