Crossover *what*? Crossing over from what to what?
Reminds me of R&T on the 1984 'Vette and its CrossFire fuel injection: "Look out, kid, that car's about to crossfire!"
Germans are white people. Look up #84 on the list of things white people like: Gear. Lots of Gear. We even have gear farkles over here. -Atomicalex
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I think back in the day, all of the crossover unibodies were Compacts, and the body on frame SUVs were bigger, so a CUV was a 1G CRV/Rav4/etc, hence the "C" for compact. Ignore that a Cherokee is a unibody and pretty SUVish.
Now, CUVs and SUVs are all sizes, and in my mind, the line between the two is pretty arbitrary (4Runner, Wrangler, Suburban/Tahoe are all SUVs, CUVs are Highlander/Pilot/Traverse and similar), and CUV just means crossover now.
Like most body styles, it evolved over time and doesn't necessarily have a single clear source or meaning. I believe that it's open to some degree of recollection and interpretation--here is mine:
While it was definitely not the first crossover, the first car I remember being called a crossover was the OG Chrysler Pacifica in 2003. It was novel because it "crossed over" the wagon and SUV body styles, and offered people that would've gotten Grand Cherokees or Blazers something slightly more manageable and people that would have gotten wagons or minivans something more image friendly. It never really sold that well, but did generate a lot of buzz with "maybe I should get one?" AFAIK the term CUV was still not used yet.
Meanwhile, SUVs like the X5 or QX4 were being "downsized" to get better fuel economy (X3 or FX35) and it popularized the category, but since they were based on car chassis, the term crossover became used to differentiate. Since the branding tied in with the larger family siblings, 'Crossover' was changed to 'CUV'. (yes, BMW marketing weirdly called them SAVs, but nobody else did). Ironically, even though the CR-V arguably started the category, the 'C' stood for Comfortable and not crossover, with the later being retroactively applied.
Circa 2010, these things became so astounding popular that the term branched out even further, and cars that were traditionally known as SUVs but had unibodies started to be called crossovers by some too. Think Touareg, Cherokee, etc.
Today, some say the differentiator is body on frame vs unibody. Others say it's vehicles with a chassis shared with a sedan vs a dedicated SUV chassis. I'm of the later. And to make it more confusing, I think ars like the A4 Allroad or Golf AllTrack are actually more true to the original crossover formula, but today aren't unilaterally considered crossovers.
Last edited by ghost03; 08-12-2019 at 10:27 PM.
SUV has always meant "Sports Utility Vehicle", so I interpret CUV mean "Compact Utility Vehicle". SUVs have mostly gone to car-based chassis, as have CUVs, but I wouldn't necessarily require it as there could theoretically be a compact BOF vehicle such as the new Jimny that could be marketed as a CUV.
The phrase "Crossover" is long gone, and seemed to be mostly used for the tall wagons of the early to mid 2000s.
In my mind, "CUV" is still short for "crossover SUV". The earliest SUVs were BOF and RWD, typically built on a light truck frame, with more ground clearance than a regular car, a taller greenhouse to offer better visibility, and either a hatch or swing-out gate in lieu of a trunk.
People liked some of these features more than others. People liked the SUV ride height and visibility, and like the idea of a vehicle that was capable on or off road, in any kind of weather. A lot of these people didn't like the truck-y ride quality, or the (typically less refined) truck or truck-derived drive trains, or the bad gas mileage. The OEMs' solution was to combine the things people liked about the BOF SUVs with the things they liked about a sedan, wagon or minivan. The result was a "cross" between the two vehicle types or a vehicle someone might buy to partially "cross over" from sedan/wagon/minivan life to the SUV experience.
But, the distinctions have been blurred over time. There's still traditional SUVs (Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition) but there's a whole mess of others that aren't as easy to define. Is a 2020 Explorer and SUV because the original Explorer was BOF and RWD? Is it a car because it's built on a unibody "car" chassis? Is it a crossover even though no one calls it that in practice? Some OEMs use the term "crossover" but then market vehicles as "small SUV", "medium SUV" and "large SUV".
I think all that can really be said is that all CUVs are SUVs (sort of), but not all SUVs are CUVs.
Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.
I think it's just a term that has evolved and has no real, set definition anymore.