The Crossover Craze
Look back ten years ago and the only reason the word crossover was part of the vernacular is that it was the signature move of the basketball player, Allen Iverson. In recent years, though, the word has taken on a whole new meaning and become the monster of the automotive world. Once upon a time, there were cars, there were SUVs, and there were trucks. Occasionally a brand would throw in a minivan or a full-size van to keep people on their toes, but these were the types of cars available to the public. We thought we were satisfied with these simple choices, but alas, we were not and thus the crossover craze was born.
Fast forward to the late nineties when some of the more popular brands starting pumping out small SUVs like M&M’s from a candy dispenser. It wasn’t until later into the new millennium that we learned what these small SUVs were actually called; the crossover. Many people didn’t really know the difference between and SUV and crossover, or CUV, and many still don’t. A CUV is a vehicle that is built on a car platform rather than a truck platform, like an SUV. It typically makes their stance a little lower, the vehicle closely resembles a station wagon in shape or size but has the capabilities of an SUV.
While some, not all, crossovers are available in four-wheel drive, the extra weight on the car frame provides better traction and makes these vehicles a top performer in inclement weather. Couple that with the fact that many of them get similar gas mileage to that of a full-sized sedan, and crossovers and the American family began their love affair. While some people may not know that their vehicle is actually a crossover, it doesn’t matter. These wagon/sports utility combos have driven their way into the hearts of many American drivers.
They’re a popular choice for families that haven’t yet reached the point of minivan necessity, but they’ve exceeded the maximum capacity of a traditional car. Crossovers make the perfect go-between, as they still feel as though you’re driving a car instead of a cumbersome and imposing SUV, but they’ve got the added cargo space and leg room people are looking for in a new vehicle. Since most of them provide seating for at least five people, they’re also the perfect car for the family that is hauling around a car seat or two.
They’re also a great vehicle for people who don’t want to have to try and park a gigantic SUV or truck. Let’s face it, parking spaces aren’t getting any bigger, even though American’s have begun to favor a bigger vehicle. Driving a CUV makes parking quite a bit more convenient than it would be for the driver of a full-sized SUV. The ground clearance is lower, but the vantage point is still high enough that drivers can see other cars around them and safely and quickly maneuver into a spot.
Offered at similar prices to full-sized sedans, the crossover gives the convenience of a larger vehicle at the smaller vehicle’s price point. Even though the recession belt-tightening seems to be waning, many people are still pretty budget conscious, especially new families. When you’ve got student loans and a house payment, your car payment is the last thing you need to be an astronomical expense, which is why many of the crossovers on the market offer a helpful alternative to the sedan. Easy to get into and out of, efficient, and fairly priced are just three of the advantages that have people choosing to get behind the wheel of a crossover vehicle.
Gas prices have started to drop, jobs are being plentiful again, and the economy seems to be righting itself. People are less terrified to spend money than they were earlier in the new millennium, and many of the world’s cars from college are winding down. As a post-college new parent, or simply someone who lives in an area with excessive traffic or inclement weather, the crossover is a fantastic option for people that didn’t formerly have a plethora of vehicles to choose from. Now, almost every automaker offers at least two crossover vehicles in their lineup, as they respond to demand. Crossover into the new craze this year, you won’t be sorry, and you certainly won’t be alone.