The crossover is one of the most popular types of vehicles on the roads today. Its features are perfect for both individuals and families alike. Many people find it difficult to tell the difference between a crossover and an SUV since a crossover has many features found in an SUV. These vehicles are inherently different though. You just have to dig a little deeper to see where and how they differ.
The First Crossover
It is believed that the very first crossover, which led to the development of the modern crossover, was the 1948 Willys-Overland Jeepster. This vehicle was able to combine the features of a traditional car with the off-road capabilities offered by Willys. Not long after, in 1955, the GAZ-M20 Pobeda was developed by Russia. This vehicle was modified to become the M-72, which was the world’s first unibody vehicle with all-wheel drive. The AMC Eagle, which debuted in 1979, is believed to be the direct antecedent of the modern crossover, even though it looks quite like a station wagon.
First Modern Crossover
This is still up for some debate but many believe that the 1996 Toyota RAV 4 was the first modern crossover vehicle to hit the market. The reason behind this thinking is that it was the first crossover built on an actual car body. The modern crossover took off in the early 2000s and by 2006, crossovers cornered more than 50 percent of the entire SUV market in the United States.
The crossover, when it first hit the market in the United States in 1996, had not been used as a term yet to describe such a vehicle. Prior to the use of crossover, vehicles that mixed features of cars and SUVs were known as car-based utility vehicles, or CUVs.
Why the Popularity?
Many people often wonder why the crossover became so popular so quickly. Either buy and drive a car or buy and drive an SUV. Why would drivers want a vehicle that is a mix of the two? For starters, many drivers wanted the ruggedness of an SUV without having to pay the high price tag. Original crossovers were designed with the comfort of the occupants in mind, being built on a unibody platform and with reduced engine noise for a better experience behind the wheel.
The Drive and Comfort of a Crossover
The way the crossover drives is one of the primary reasons for this type of vehicle becoming so popular in the United States. There are millions of drivers out there who want the room, features, and strength of the SUV combined with the feeling that you are driving a traditional sedan or coupe car.
Drivers continue to crave the big vehicle but crossovers aren’t nearly as large as SUVs. Drivers get the feeling they are driving a big vehicle when driving a crossover due to the height of the vehicle. A crossover is an easy vehicle to park, offers some of the most comfortable seating on the market, and provide drivers with a good eye impact on the road. The comfortable seating is due to the height of the vehicle. Legs are actually down instead of out to the side, which is common in an SUV.
As you can see, the crossover quickly became one of the most popular vehicle types in the United States and continues to corner the market to this day.