What is a crossover car?

In the market for a new runabout? Crossover cars give you the wow factor of an SUV for the price of a hatchback. Here’s what to look out for.

In the market for a new runabout? Crossover cars give you the wow factor of an SUV for the price of a hatchback. Here’s what to look out for.

Julie Daniels
Insurance expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 22 AUGUST 2022

What is a crossover car? 

Crossover cars are a lot like sport utility vehicles (SUVs) but tend to be smaller and lighter. They’re so alike that some people actually call them SUVs. Crossover cars are similar to hatchbacks in that they’re practical, reliable and relatively cheap to run. But they also give you all the show-off appeal of an SUV, together with plenty of space and a higher driving position.

What’s the difference between a crossover car and an SUV?

The most noticeable difference between a crossover vehicle and an SUV is the price tag. Crossover cars are smaller and tend to be more affordable. Manufacturers keep the costs down by using smaller, more economical engines. Underneath that stylish SUV design, many crossovers have the same basic framework as a supermini.

When SUVs started getting flak for being gas guzzlers and road-hoggers, manufacturers started bringing in crossovers. These look very similar to traditional SUVs but have more economical engines and take up less space on the street.

What are examples of crossover cars?

Most car manufacturers now offer a small SUV – or crossover car – in their range. The first to really kick off the trend was the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai, now starting from £26,045. More than 3.5 million have rolled off the production line at the Japanese firm’s Sunderland plant.

But the Qashqai certainly isn’t the only player in the game. You may also want to check out these models:

Renault Captur

Offering rugged design and plenty of space, the Renault Captur has been a huge hit since its launch in 2013. The Evolution model starts at £22,195 or £239 a month.

Vauxhall Mokka

Stay tuned for the Mokka’s brand-new 2021 redesign, which offers touchscreen TVs and sleek yet comfy interiors, from £22,265.

Audi A3

The A3 Technik gives you Audi technology and sophistication from £26,070.

Skoda Kamiq

This award-winning compact SUV is well-designed and practical, with prices starting at £22,580.

What are the benefits of crossover cars?

Crossover cars have all sorts of advantages. These include:

Cheaper running costs
Crossover cars aren’t as heavy as SUVs and typically have smaller engines, making them cheaper to run. This could mean that they’re a more environmentally friendly option too.

Crossover cars don’t have the gas-guzzler reputation that makes some people steer clear of SUVs. You should find that you pay less for car insurance too.

Smart SUV styling
SUVs have soared in popularity in recent years, which is in part thanks to their rugged, outdoorsy looks. Crossover cars can look equally eye-catching but at a more accessible price point.

Lots of space
Another reason SUVs are so popular is that you can fit a lot inside them. This makes them great for camping trips, and even better if you’re travelling with luggage, surfboards or other gear.

Great family cars
Crossover vehicles make great family cars as they’re so roomy. They should give you space for everything from schoolbags and suitcases to buggies and bikes.

Easy to drive and manoeuvre
Crossover cars are smaller than SUVs, making them easier to manoeuvre and park. But their comfy and spacious interiors make them ideal for long drives across the country.

Higher driving position
Many people enjoy the feeling of security they get from driving SUVs and crossover cars. Being higher up gives you a better view of the road.

What are the downsides of crossover cars?

Crossover cars – like any other vehicles – come with downsides too. Here are some to look out for:

Crossover cars aren’t as strong as SUVs
Crossover cars may look like SUVs, but they don’t have the same pulling power. If you’re looking to lug a trailer, it might not be the car for you.

Crossover cars can be too big
SUVs and crossover cars might not be the best for navigating narrow city streets.

Some people don’t like SUVs
SUVs are sometimes seen as fuel guzzling and polluting – but not by everyone. If you want a practical, spacious car that doesn’t divide opinion, you may prefer to look at an estate car.

How much do crossover cars cost?

The big attraction of crossover cars is that, compared to SUVs, they’re very competitively priced. Most tend to come in around the £22,000-£26,000 mark.

Which is the most economical crossover car? 

Many experts rate the Citroen C3 Aircross, which gives you SUV comfort and styling from just £17,845. You might also want to take a look at the Seat Arona, which is slightly more expensive at £20,730.

Which is better, a crossover or an SUV? 

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re after a vehicle that’s easy to park and manoeuvre, a crossover car will win every time. But if you need to tow a caravan, you’re better off with an SUV.

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