Audi Q2

What is a crossover?

If you’re looking to buy a used car, you’ll often come across the word ‘crossover’. But what does it mean and why do you need to understand it? Here’s everything you need to know.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

You’ll find a lot of jargon when buying a car and one term you’re very likely to see is ‘crossover’. It refers to a type of car that’s become incredibly popular in recent years. But what, exactly, is a crossover? Read on to find out...

Audi Q2

What does ‘crossover’ mean?

‘Crossover’ is a word that’s only been around a few years and while there’s no hard and fast definition it’s generally used to describe a car that’s a bit higher than a conventional hatchback and looks a bit more like an SUV.

Some brands (Nissan, for example, with the Juke and Qashqai) call their cars crossovers while others don’t. In truth, the terms ‘crossover’ and ‘SUV’ are largely interchangeable but the consensus is that a crossover is a car that looks like an SUV thanks to its high ground clearance and rugged design but which has no more off-roading ability than your average hatchback due to the fact it has two-wheel drive rather than four-wheel drive.

At Cazoo, we don’t use the term as such. Any cars that you might call a crossover will be included if you look for all SUVs using our search tool.

Nissan Juke

Which cars are crossovers?

You can argue a case for labelling a huge variety of cars as crossovers. Compact examples include the Audi Q2, Citroen C3 Aircross, Nissan Juke, Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc.

Moving up slightly in size, there are cars such as the BMW X1, Kia Niro and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Mid-size crossovers are cars like the Peugeot 3008, Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq, while large crossovers include the Jaguar I-Pace and Lexus RX 450h.

Some cars that are called crossovers are versions of existing hatchbacks with higher suspension and additional SUV-styling features. Examples include Audi’s A4 Allroad and Audi A6 Allroad models, the Ford Fiesta Active and Ford Focus Active and Volvo’s V40, V60 and V90 Cross Country models.

Other crossovers are so low and sleek they’re not much taller than a hatchback, even though their suspension puts them slightly higher off the ground. Good examples are the BMW X2, Kia XCeed and Mercedes-Benz GLA. As you can see, there are so many variations on the crossover theme that you can find one to suit pretty much every need.

Volkswagen T-Roc

Isn’t a crossover an SUV then?

The line between crossover and SUV is blurred and the terms are interchangeable to an extent.

If anything sets crossovers apart it’s that they’re generally slightly smaller and lower than SUVs, and even less likely to have four-wheel drive. Many cars classed as crossovers aren’t available with four-wheel drive, whereas traditional SUVs are more likely to have it as standard or as an option, and are more likely to come with additional features that make them more capable off-road.

Skoda Karoq

Why are crossovers so popular?

Crossovers have become extremely popular in the past 10 years or so, largely because the best crossovers offer a combination of qualities that many people find very appealing.

Take the Seat Arona, for instance. It’s just 8cm longer than the Seat Ibiza, a conventional small hatchback, but the Arona has a tall, square body like an SUV that gives it much more passenger and boot space.
The Arona’s body sits higher off the ground than the Ibiza does, so you also sit higher and don’t have to lower yourself into the seat, as in the Ibiza. This can be very helpful for people with mobility problems. It’s easier to put children in child seats, too. Sitting higher also gives a driver a better view of the road. And a lot of people just like how that feels.

The Arona is as compact as the Ibiza and feels just as good to drive. It costs a bit more to buy and uses a bit more fuel, but a lot of people are willing to pay a premium for the extra practicality and the ‘feel good factor’ that comes from the higher seating position.

Seat Arona

Are there any drawbacks to a crossover?

Compare any crossover with a conventional hatchback of similar size and the crossover is likely to cost more to buy and run. Servicing can cost more, too. But these may be minor concerns considering the breadth of qualities crossovers offer.

There are lots of high-quality used cars to choose from at Cazoo. Simply use the search function to find one you love then buy or finance it online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door, or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

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