What are the SUV vs Crossover differences: which is better for you?


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SUVs and crossover vehicles look so much alike but there is a fundamental SUV vs Crossover difference you need to know. Read on to discover!

The automobile industry is one industry that has a very fast rate of development on a daily basis. Car manufacturers secretly develop new technologies to stay ahead in the very stiff competition in different aspects of the automobile market.

One of the major aspects of the automobile industry is the SUV and crossover market. However, you might still be confused about SUV vs Crossover differences because they look exactly the same way.

For example, the Lexus RX350 is a crossover while the Toyota Fortuner is a mid-size SUV but they have similar exterior and interior appearance but the difference lies in only one place. The difference between an SUV and a crossover lies in the chassis.

What is a car's chassis?

The chassis is the framework onto which the different components of a car are attached to.


The Chassis is like the skeleton of a car

The chassis is a very strong assembly that serves as the skeleton of every car. 

What is difference between SUV and Crossover's chassis?

The chassis of an SUV is called the ladder chassis. This type of chassis looks like a ladder framework onto which every part of a car is just attached to. The engine, transmission, suspension, steering assembly and the car body is just bolted onto this chassis.


A perfect example of the Ladder Chassis, you can see how the car just sits on it

This is the same type of chassis that a truck uses and it is why SUVs are referred to as enclosed trucks in some parts of the world.

The chassis of a crossover is called the Unibody chassis. In this type of chassis/framework, the strong material is constructed to take the actual shape of the car.


Here is a Unibody Chassis; see how it takes the shape of a car

This is the same way the chassis of normal cars are constructed. Basically, a crossover is an SUV that is built on the platform of a car.

What are the advantages of SUVs over crossovers? 

1. They can be of any size

SUVs can be built to be very spacious and large because of their chassis. All the automobile manufacturer has to do is construct a very big chassis and fit a very large body over it which is impossible for crossovers.


The difference just lies in the chassis

Crossovers have a limit to size to ensure that the unibody chassis doesn't fail at any point. This is why we have full-size SUVs like the Escalade ESV, GMC Yukon and the Toyota Sequoia which has a very spacious 3-row seating arrangement.


The Giant GMC Yukon

Any SUV can be as big as any truck you know of. This is how crazy big SUVs can be. 

2. They can handle all types of roads

SUVs have a stronger and independent framework, unlike crossovers which means they can handle any size of suspension systems and tyres. This makes them able to go on any type of road no matter how rough.

SUVs can easily be lifted at any height above the ground while crossover SUVs have a limit to its height adjustment.


Lifted SUV (UP) vs Lifted Crossover (DOWN); You can see the SUV is way higher

This is why we have Monster SUVs and full off-road setups for regular SUVs like the Toyota 4Runner and Nissan Pathfinder.

3. Better towing capability

These days, some Crossovers like the new Toyota Venza has no towing hook because Crossovers don't have as much strength as SUVs for towing other cars. The towing capability of an SUV is always better than that of a crossover. You are most likely going to easily tow any car with an SUV unlike any other type of car.


Towing is a thing for SUVs

This is still on the matter of SUVs having an independent chassis that supports its towing capability.

What are the advantages of Crossovers over SUVs?

1. Better fuel efficiency

Crossovers are lighter than SUVs and this is a major advantage for its economics. Crossovers are cars that have way better fuel efficiency in Nigeria than SUVs.


Crossovers are just lighter and easier to stop hence better fuel consumption

That extra weight of SUVs makes them very difficult to stop which in turn takes more fuel, unlike the light crossovers. You will hardly find any crossover that has the size of a full-size SUV because they are not going to be efficient at that size.

2. Better handling

Crossovers drive like popular cars and are rebuilt like popular cars (sedan), which makes them have better handling in corners and at top speeds. On the other hand, SUVs are very tippy and tough to drive because they get very unstable at high speeds.

Cars like the Landcruiser Prado in most Nigerian Government convoys are advised never to speed above 100km/hr because of the high roll-over risk involved.

If you drive a 2010 Toyota Sequoia into a corner at 120 mph, there is an 80 per cent chance that the car will somersault. Do the same with a 2010 Lexus RX350 and you will just experience a hard body roll that you can still control.

This is all because SUVs have a high ground clearance and high centre of gravity that actively makes any small force want to take the car off the ground.

3. Better ride comfort 

Ride comfort is that sweet feeling you get while you are riding in a car even when the road is bad. Cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-class with air suspension have a very impressive shock-absorbing system that makes you feel nothing.

Ride comfort is one thing that SUVs lack. It is always a bumpy ride except if it runs on a better shock-absorbing suspension like air suspension.


As beautiful as it looks, you would prefer a crossover when on long trips

Crossovers have the same ride comfort you get from a popular car. This is one of the biggest advantages you get from a crossover.

Typical examples of Crossovers in Nigeria

Here is a list of the most common crossovers you will find in Nigeria right now :


Crossovers are replacing all the SUVs

  • Lexus RX
  • Toyota Venza
  • Honda Crosstour
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Honda HR-V 
  • Ford Edge 
  • Nissan Murano 
  • Honda Element
  • Honda CR-V

Typical examples of SUVs in Nigeria '

Here is a list of the most common SUVs you will find in Nigeria right now :

  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Honda Pilot
  • Toyota Fortuner
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Ford Explorer
  • Range Rover
  • Mercedes-Benz ML
  • BMW X5


Now that you know about the SUV vs Crossover differences, you can weigh your options and then go for the one that suits your need the most.
On Naijauto.com, there are a lot of affordable listings for SUVs and crossovers that suit your budget.

Naijauto.com is always by your side when it comes to buying and selling cars online in Nigeria with thousands of cars for sale in Nigeria available on the platform.

>>> Stay tuned with us for more car tips and advice like this on Naijauto.com!




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Crank - the head of content for 234DRIVE is a mechanic/car enthusiast/car vlogger that writes and creates relatable motoring experiences. Whenever he lays his hands on any car, he reviews them in depth. He calls himself the 'Educative Car Guy'.

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