Overview of Mitsubishi's Crossover and SUV line up differences


Here are the key differences

What Is the Difference Between Crossovers and SUVs?

While consumers and automakers alike use the terms interchangeably - which is unsurprising given the many styling similarities they share - key differences do exist. Put simply, a crossover is lighter and built on a car platform, while a traditional SUV is heavier and uses a truck chassis. There are, however, a few additional things to help you differentiate between these two unique vehicle types.

What Does SUV Stand For?

SUV stands for sport utility vehicle, a term generally applied to automobiles that combine the features of a passenger car, like plenty of passenger and cargo space, with aspects of an off-road vehicle. A sport utility vehicle uses a body-on-frame design, meaning the frame and body are built separately and joined together during manufacturing. Generally equipped with four-wheel drive and a raised ground clearance, a sport utility vehicle can navigate challenging terrain, making it a favorite with adventure-seekers.

What Is a Crossover Car?

A crossover car commonly refers to a vehicle that blends the qualities of a traditional car with those of an SUV. The unibody design consists of one chassis, meaning the body and the frame are a single structure, which allows for easier maneuvering in challenging road conditions. The lighter construction also means crossover cars typically achieve better fuel efficiency than SUVs. Driving and performance are comparable to a passenger car, and with more space for passengers and cargo, crossover cars are a popular choice among buyers.

Unique Platforms

A crossover's body and frame are built in a single piece. This is called unibody construction. This design provides a better ride quality and, because it's lighter, generally achieves better fuel efficiency. Sport-Utility Vehicles, better known as SUVs, use a body-on-frame design. That means the frame and body are built separately and joined together during the manufacturing process. These truck-based vehicles are generally more rugged and can be used to haul larger payloads. That's not to say, however, that you can't tow with a crossover. In fact, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Outlander and Outlander PHEV are all built on unibody platforms and have towing capacities ranging from 1,500 lbs to 2,000 lbs.

They Come in All Sizes

Typically, SUVs - built for rougher terrain - tend to be larger in size, with most models being categorized as either mid-sized or full-sized. Crossovers can be anywhere from subcompact to full-sized. But despite this, manufacturers will often refer to a crossover as a "small-sized SUV" or "compact SUV."

Find Your Perfect Fit

See how the Outlander PHEV dimensions stack up against our other crossovers.

...and Many Different Names

To add to the confusion other terms are also often used to describe crossovers, such as CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle), SAV (Sport Activity Vehicle) and even the combination "crossover SUV." The important thing to remember is that, here, the difference is strictly in the naming.

AWD or 4WD Versatility

Similar to cars, crossovers generally have front-wheel drive systems, although many also offer an all-wheel drive option such as Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC). As one of the world's most advanced all-wheel control systems, S-AWC helps give Mitsubishi drivers maximum traction and control in all types of driving conditions. SUVs, in contrast, are rear-wheel drive vehicles with 4WD systems capable of handling most off-road adventures.

The Similarities

Despite their differences, SUVs and crossovers have much in common. Both have a raised ground clearance, giving drivers a higher vantage point over other cars; both provide ample interior space, which makes them a popular choice with families looking to avoid the minivan option; and both bring the cargo area into the cabin itself, doing away with a separated trunk.

Safety Is Top of Mind

Crossovers and SUVs are known to provide exceptional safety, both on- and off-road. In addition to a host of standard safety features, all Mitsubishi crossovers have built-in crumple zones that help route and absorb energy in the event of a high-impact collision. This RISE body construction (Mitsubishi's advanced Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) helps give each Mitsubishi crossover a stable, secure base that's worth its weight in safety.

Making the Right Decision

Crossovers get their name for crossing the best traits of a car (convenience and efficiency) with the best traits of an SUV (versatility and practicality). But in essence, whether you call them crossovers or SUVs, what matters is that the vehicle you choose both meets your needs and fits your budget.

Check out Mitsubishi's current lineup of crossover vehicles to find your perfect fit.