What do you know about crossover vehicles?

By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The first minivans, the Dodge Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager, introduced to the U.S. market were for the 1984 model year -- and they were a huge hit. Today, Americans buy three times as many crossover vehicles as minivans and SUVs combined. See how much you know about the pros and cons of crossovers, and what makes them so popular.

What does "CUV" stand for?

Just as an SUV is a "sport" utility vehicle, CUV is the acronym for a "crossover" utility vehicle.

If you absolutely, positively need to drive during a "snowpocalypse," which type of car is better in the deep snow?

SUVs are typically higher off the ground than CUVs, although there are exceptions -- and modifications that can be made. But crossovers typically have better ground (or snow) clearance than sedans, wagons and hatchbacks.

The Honda CR-V crossover is one of the popular-selling CUVs in the United States. What does "CR-V" stand for?

Built on the same frame as the Honda Civic, Honda called its first crossover a "Compact Recreational Vehicle," or CR-V.

One big difference between an SUV and a CUV is the vehicle's frame. SUVs are built on the chassis of a truck, while it's what kind of frame for CUVs?

The basic difference between a sports utility vehicle and a crossover is the platform they're built on. Traditionally, an SUV is going to be based on the chassis (frame) of a truck, while it's a chassis of a car for a CUV -- so while it looks like an SUV, it handles like a car.

Crossovers are available with which type of traction system?

While crossover vehicles all offer standard or optional all-wheel drive, front-wheel and rear-wheel drive systems are also available.

In which of these vehicles do you sit the highest?

Crossovers (and SUVs) typically have the highest seating position, giving you the best view. (And remember, if you're tall, this will impact your headroom.)

Which is considered, by definition, the first crossover vehicle introduced in the U.S.?

Although some argue the 1979 AMC Eagle, with its four-wheel-drive capability and good ground clearance, was the first (or at least the precursor) crossover, the Toyota Rav4, which was introduced in North America in 1996, is typically considered the first modern CUV. "RAV4," if you didn't know, is an acronym that stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-Wheel Drive.

What big change was made to the Ford Explorer in 2011, reclassifying it as a crossover rather than an SUV as it had been?

When the 2011 model year Ford Explorer came out, it was built with unibody construction. Instead of its previous body-on-frame chassis, the Explorer was now built on Ford's D4 unibody platform (the same chassis as the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT are built on).

What size do crossovers come in?

Depending on the make and model, crossover utility vehicles are made in pretty much any size you want: compact, mid-sized, etc.

What area are automakers expected to focus on for improvement in crossover vehicles?

According to Market Research company IBISWorld, the next focus for automakers will be improving fuel effiency in CUVs, to meet regulatory mandates.

Which activity is probably going to be beyond the capabilty of a crossover vehicle?

While a crossover has some light off-road abilities, it can't compare to true off-road vehicles with high ground clearance and a limited or locking slip differential. Without that, it's going to be tough to traverse the obstacles of the Moab Rim Trail in Utah, one of the most challenging trails in the U.S.

A crossover vehicle looks like an SUV but drives like a ____.

You can't always tell by looking. A crossover vehicle looks like an SUV, sometimes a small SUV, but because it's built on a car frame, it drives like a car rather than a light truck.

Which has more room to carry things, a crossover or a sedan?

One top-selling sedan's trunk has 15.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity, less than half that of a similarly-priced CUV -- with the seats up (and with the seats down, the CUV has more than four times the space).

How much weight can a typical crossover tow?

Because they're built on the platform of a passenger car, crossovers don't tend to have the same towing capacity as an SUV (which typically can tow 5,000 pounds or more). Expect to be able to handle light to medium towing, about 5,000 pounds or less.

Which term is "crossover" often used interchangeably with?

Crossovers look like SUVs, just smaller, and you may hear them called "compact SUVs" (and sometimes, even, SUVs).

Since the 2013 models came off the assembly line, the Jeep Cherokee shares the same platform as what kind of car?

Beginning with the model year 2013, Jeep Cherokees have been built on what's called the Fiat Compact platform, which is the same one used in the construction of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart.

What kind of body do crossovers have?

Most modern vehicles including crossovers are built with a unibody, which means the body and frame are all one piece. Trucks and some large sport-utility vehicles continue to be made with body-on-frame, which means the body is placed around the vehicle frame.

The Jeep Patriot, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Dodge Journey all share the same kind of chassis. Which car also is on this platform?

The Patriot, Outlander, Journey and other crossovers share this compact chassis, originally developed by Mitsubishi Motors and DaimlerChrysler, with many of those brands' sedans.

How big of an engine do most crossover vehicles have?

Smaller crossover vehicles often come with a 4-cylinder engine, but when you move into mid-size CUVs, you'll typically find a V6 under the hood. For the power of a V8, you'll want to look at full-size SUVs.

According to new-car registrations in the U.S., who is more likely to purchase a crossover vehicle?

Although it doesn't help us understand if more men or more women are driving them, according to recent gender demographics -- analyses from J.D. Power & Associates and customized data Experian Automotive -- it turns out women are more likely than men to buy a crossover vehicle.

Using unibody construction in car manufacturing began back in the 1960s. Today it's the preferred method. What's so good about it?

Unibody construction usually means a lighter-weight vehicle with not only more passenger room and cargo space, but better safety features, including built-in crumple zones.

Do crossover vehicles come with two or three rows of seats?

Most crossover vehicles are offered with two rows of seating. Some of the larger CUVs, though, do come with -- or offer -- third-row seating.

What is the difference between a crossover and a sports-activity vehicle (SAV)?

When you take away the descriptive marketing language around it, the term "sports-activity vehicle", or SAV, is one that's used by BMW to describe its BMW X line of, surprise, mid-size crossover vehicles.

Which type of vehicle typically gets better gas mileage?

While a crossover typically gets better gas mileage than an SUV and a truck, none beat the fuel economy of a sedan.

What's a "crossover SUV"?

You can have a crossover or an SUV, but a "crossover SUV" isn't really anything more than a marketing term for a CUV.

In 2014, sales of new SUVs and crossovers surpassed which kind of vehicle in the U.S. for the very first time?

During the first half of 2014, according to IHS Automotive, SUV and CUV sales accounted for 36 percent of the retail market, versus 35 percent of sedans. And that made the SUV/crossover market the No. 1 body style sold in the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests how easily vehicles tip over, a measurement called the Statistic Stability Factor (SSF). Is a CUV more or less tippy than an SUV?

Most SUVs, which tend to be high off the ground, have the worst SSF rating, at 3 out of 5 stars. And crossovers, built on car frames, tend to score a little better, with 4 out of 5 stars.

Which type of vehicle is typically the easiest to get in and out of?

While a crossover vehicle has a lower floor height than an SUV or a truck, it can't beat most cars and minivans. The floor height in a minivan -- plus its low seat heights and sliding doors -- make them the easiest to get in and out of.

Which is better if you need to move something long or something tall?

Sorry, crossovers, but most CUVs and SUVs can't haul long and/or tall items as well as a minivan. (And forget about putting anything that size or shape in the trunk of a sedan.)

The mid-size Acura MDX, a three-row luxury crossover vehicle, shares a platform with the Honda Pilot, and the Acura ZDX. What car shares that same platform?

These mid-size crossover vehicles share the same platform as the Honda Accord. Smaller CUVs, like the Honda CR-V, are built on the same platform as the compact Honda Civic.

More than 17 million Americans bought new cars in 2016. How many car sales were new crossover vehicles?

Of the vehicles Americans bought in 2016, 5.6 million were crossovers -- which is almost one-third of all new car sales in the U.S.

When crossover vehicles highlight their high H-point seating, what does the H-point stand for?

The "H-point" is an important number in seating and interior design, standardized by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It impacts everything from roof height to safety features like passenger restraints and airbag function (and more). Set by an H-Point Machine (HPM), the H-point -- or hip-point -- is the location of your hip joint when you're seated in your car.

The Honda CR-V was the best-selling crossover vehicle in 2016. How many CR-Vs did Honda sell to U.S. drivers?

As many as 357,335 Honda CR-Vs were sold in the U.S. in 2016, making the CR-V the No. 1 crossover among American drivers. In close competition was: the Toyota Rav4, which sold 352,154; the Jeep Cherokee, which sold 199,736; and, the Subaru Forester, which sold 178,593.

What was the first vehicle to offer both four-wheel drive with a unibody design, introduced in 1955?

We think of these features in our modern vehicles, but it was in 1955 when the Russian GAZ-M20 Pobeda was modified into a new model called the M-72, a light truck that was built with unibody construction and included four-wheel drive.

What about a crossover makes it better, potentially, in a crash than a small sedan?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the height of crossover vehicles and SUVs may be advantageous in a crash. A taller profile, the IIHS says, could protect better, among other examples, in side-impact crashes.

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