SUV and crossover vehicle sales are soaring in Canada. In the first half of 2016, these vehicles made up nearly 40% of the total auto sales volume for the country. The June 2016 SUV and crossover volume spiked over 10,000 units.

By January of 2017, 43% of all Canadian new car sales were in the SUV/crossover category, with the Canadian-made Lexus RX holding the prize for the top-selling premium utility vehicle.

More than just an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) marketed to the public using the new word, “crossover”, this type of vehicle brings with it some important differences and distinctions. Understanding them will help you decide which vehicle will best meet your needs, budget, and personal tastes.

Both offer greater visibility on the road than a typical car, a great deal of cargo room, and space for multiple passengers. The terms crossover and SUV are often used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences.

Crossover vehicles include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander. Examples of SUVs include the Ford Expedition, Mercedes G-Class, and Chevrolet Tahoe.

Here are the questions to ask when trying to decide between test-driving an SUV or a Crossover:

How’s the terrain?

A Crossover handles like a car. It offers a smooth ride, conveniently placed controls, and easy handling. Best on smooth roads and great for hauling a carload full of people, the Crossover is built on a car chassis.

An SUV offers more “utility” as the name suggests. Rough roads and tough terrain are easy for most SUV’s to handle. The “body on frame” truck chassis offers all the advantages of a truck with extra interior room. Their extra weight is well-suited to hauling heavy loads with ease. That extra power comes at a price, though. SUV fuel mileage is typically not as good as crossover fuel mileage.

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