What makes a crossover SUV great?
Midsize, full-size, compact… there are so many types of SUVs that it can be hard to keep them all straight. Many buyers enter the car buying process thinking, “I just want an SUV,” and are surprised when they arrive at the dealership and are asked what kind of SUV. A popular variety in recent years is the compact crossover. It’s an attractive option that has many of the features people love in full-size SUVs while offering a few differences that may just be perfect for the right driver. When it comes to the best compact crossovers, the 2022 Chevy Equinox vs. 2022 Ford Escape is a common topic of conversation. But there are plenty of options to choose from. It’s just important to know exactly what makes a compact SUV crossover great. Here we break it down.
One of the basic distinguishing factors of a crossover SUV is that it is built on a car platform. That means its body and frame are all one piece. Meanwhile, on a traditional SUV, the body rests on a truck bed. These two pieces are made separately and then fused together later. On the consumer side, what you’ll find in a crossover with its one-piece design is that it drives really smooth, handles really well with good response, and feels light. Plus, its lightweight build will generally make it more fuel efficient than a full-size SUV.
Meanwhile, an SUV, with its body-on-frame, will be more durable and have more towing power than a crossover. Neither the best nor the worst – it all depends on your needs. And for the record, none of that is to say a crossover can’t tow an impressive amount. The 2022 Ford Escape, for example, can tow up to 3,500 lbs depending on engine choice and towing package. Many drivers will find that’s a lot of towing capacity. Unless you’re living that rare VR life, you’ll need a lot more power than that. However, the 2022 Chevy Equinox is more mainstream for the segment, with a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.
A wider range of sizes
When you talk about traditional SUVs, you usually hear about midsize and full-size models. The main difference between the two is that while both typically offer third-row seating, in a full-size SUV the rear will often be roomier, offering almost the comfort of first-row seating. But the main point here is that midsize and full-size will be your standard options in a traditional SUV. Meanwhile, when shopping for a crossover, you may come across a wider range of sizes, including subcompact, compact, and midsize models. Many advancements have been made in crossovers, so buyers have many sizes to choose from.
Don’t let the labels confuse you
It should be clarified that there are many names for the crossover. You might hear it talk about crossover utility vehicle, sports activity vehicle or compact crossover SUV. All of these refer to the same thing: an SUV built on a compact car platform. If you’re ever confused about the options a dealership offers, just ask them: is it a unibody or body-on-frame design? (They will probably be impressed that you even know this difference).
Still plenty of storage
Don’t let the word “compact” mislead you into thinking you or your stuff will feel cramped in a crossover. Many compact crossovers have a good amount of storage for everyday items like all your groceries or your kids’ sports gear. The 2022 Chevy Equinox, for example, offers a generous 63.9 cu.ft. storage behind the rear seats. The 2022 Ford Escape has a convenient 60/40 split rear row to help make room for even more stuff. Crossovers usually give you a spacious trunk, as well as plenty of handy pockets and compartments around the car for miscellaneous items. It’s not a pickup truck, but compared to big SUVs, a crossover stands out in the storage department.
Two against three rows
Another main difference between crossovers and traditional SUVs is the number of rows of seats. Your compact crossover will usually only have two rows of seats, while a midsize or full-size SUV will usually have three rows. That’s part of what makes it closer to a sedan: the number of seats. Many would say that a crossover is essentially a sportier sedan with more storage space. Your larger SUVs have a reputation for being roomy and roomy because they can hold a lot of passengers. But that’s also what makes them feel like boats to maneuver.
Is a crossover for you?
There’s a lot to love about a crossover because it truly combines the best of both worlds of an SUV and a sedan. It is spacious, comfortable and rich in storage compartments like an SUV. However, a crossover is going to feel light and easy to handle, much like a sedan. If you’re driving in a busy metropolitan area where you have to make sharp turns and sudden movements, you might find a midsize or full-size SUV clumsy to drive, while a crossover will be fine for you. Its smaller size and easier handling also make the compact crossover much easier to get into tight parking spots than large SUVs. It’s no secret that finding a parking spot for a full-size SUV is quite a battle. If you live in a city where parking is hard to come by, a crossover could mean fewer parking headaches.
You’ll also want to think about how many passengers you need to get around. Obviously, if you’re responsible for carpooling or just have a large family, you might need the third row offered by a larger SUV. But, if you’re not carrying a lot of passengers, then that third row just means a heavier car to handle without too much benefit.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of fuel economy. The 2022 Ford Escape is a crossover that achieves up to 30 MPG combined, which is comparable to many sedans. Considering the seating and storage capacity of these vehicles, this is impressive fuel economy. For comparison, a full-size SUV like the 2021 Toyota Sequoia only gets 15 MPG combined, so you can really see the difference in fuel economy when switching from a crossover to a full-size SUV. If you’re trying to cut your budget, you can expect to save a lot more at the pump with a crossover compared to a large SUV. And if you’re trying to be environmentally friendly, you may also prefer a crossover.
Get the right SUV
In many cases, you’ll find that a crossover will also be more affordable than midsize and full-size SUVs. Full-size SUVs are made with heavy-duty materials, but that also means a higher price tag. So, although larger SUVs have certain advantages, you should make sure that you plan to use these advantages before paying the premium. If you don’t really need to tow an RV or boat, and you don’t need to take on a lot of passengers, you could be paying the higher price for nothing.
In the end, it’s easy to see that a crossover SUV was the answer to many driver problems. Sedan drivers who needed more room but didn’t want a massive SUV and SUV drivers who wanted to downsize but not down to a sedan are both satisfied. Whether you’re shopping for the 2022 Equinox, the 2022 Escape or another model, the compact crossover is a remarkably versatile vehicle.