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What’s a Crossover?

If you want something bigger than a car, but not quite as large as a full-size SUV, a crossover might do the trick. Crossovers range from small and sporty to spacious and functional, depending on your needs. They offer the utility of an SUV with higher ground clearance and a better view of the road but have a car-like ride and better fuel efficiency. Taking the place of the old minivan and the full-size SUV, the crossover is now the best selling type of car for American families.

In the late-90s, consumers began to purchase SUVs as mainstream family cars, but the rides were rugged. Automakers were prompted to build SUV traits into their station wagons for improved ride and handling. This set the template for the first few crossovers like the Subaru Outback, Toyota Rav4, and the Lexus RX350. Other models like the Honda CRV and the Toyota Highlander came along shortly after and are still very popular today.

To be categorized as a Crossover, a vehicle typically has full-time AWD, a unibody frame, no low-range gears, and an independent suspension. Comparatively, a traditional SUV is known for is low-range, off-road gearing, body-on-frame construction, part-time 4WD, and the ability to tow more than 5,000 pounds. Minivans, wagons, and hatchbacks are also different from Crossovers because they don't usually offer AWD or 4WD options, have any extra ground clearance, and can't haul as much.

In addition to better gas mileage and SUV functionality, Crossovers provide many of the perks of traditional SUVs, with fewer compromises. The unibody frame allows manufacturers to design cabins with more interior space, providing comfort for more passengers and cargo than truck-frame SUVs. Crossovers' manufacturing costs are lower than SUVs because unibody frames are less expensive than body-on-frame vehicles. Their drivetrains also usually come from a compact or mid-size car in the manufacturer's line-up, which helps to keep the prices low.

Crossovers have many family-friendly features such as fold-down seats, high-end electronics, and third-row seating. They are efficient and comfortable with enough space inside to accommodate groceries, sports equipment, and luggage, while still maintaining the rugged look that the minivan lacks. With a multitude of crossovers on the market, consumers have their pick of vehicles that will meet their needs.

According to Kelly Blue Book, some of the top consumer rated Crossovers for 2017 include the BMW X6, Audi Q7, Jaguar F-PACE, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-3, and the Hyundai Santa Fe, among others. If you're in the market for a new or previously owned Crossover, let AAA Auto Buying help find you the right vehicle at the right price. Our automotive experts offer a personalized experience from start to finish, without the hassles of a dealership. Call 1-866-710-6226 for more information and ask about competitive rates with AAA Insurance.