The crossover is a dominant sector of the UK new car market nowadays. They are so popular now in days in fact, it's likely that you or at least someone you know owns or is looking to buy a crossover car.
But what actually is a crossover? What is it about them that separates a crossover from, say, just a regular SUV or estate?
To be honest, there is no strict definition for the term ‘crossover’ in the motoring industry. However, each car that has been classed by their maker as a crossover do share common traits.
Crossovers are usually based on an existing car's platform (likely that of a supermini or hatchback). The styling will share many quirks to those found on an SUV, estate or even both. The former is particularly popular and some manufacturers and publications may even refer to some cars as a 'crossover SUV'. Crossovers can come with either front-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, but even if they have the latter, they are engineered mostly for on the road use. Even crossovers with a lot of SUV styling and four-wheel drive will probably only handle light off-road driving at the most.
If you want to do a lot of off-road driving then, a traditional SUV is a more desirable choice. But if you want a car that's suitable for road driving but has the styling and presence of an SUV, then crossovers fit these particular desires very well. Nowadays, crossover cars can come in very distinct size categories, as we'll now list down below.
Many of the smallest crossovers are based on supermini platforms. Some of the most popular examples nowadays include the Renault Captur, which shares the same platform as the Clio, and the Vauxhall Mokka, which uses the same platform as the Vauxhall Corsa.
Other popular examples of small crossovers include the Nissan Juke, Ford Ecosport and Peugeot 2008. Compared to superminis, small crossovers have a significantly taller ride height and chunkier body panels which give them a lot more road presence but in terms of actual size and length, there’s hardly any difference.
Medium-sized (or mid-sized) crossovers have been around longer than smaller crossovers and there are some very popular names in this specific category. Mid-sized crossovers are a little larger than family hatchbacks but are not quite as long as most estate cars. Their chunk bodywork means though they can look tougher and have far more road presence than either hatchbacks or estates.
Current examples in the mid-crossover segment include the in-demand Nissan Qashqai, as well as the Ford Kuga, Skoda Yeti, Honda CR-V, Renault Kadjar and Toyota RAV4.
The term crossover is less commonly used for cars that are significantly larger than the likes of the Qashqai and Kuga. Large crossovers have far less presence than the lucrative medium and small crossovers, but current examples of the larger options include the likes of the BMW X6.