10 Reasons to Buy a Crossover Instead of a Sedan

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Crossovers have come to dominate the market. In a lot of ways they’re like an invasive, non-native species. Over the years they’ve silently displaced traditional cars, becoming the go-to vehicle for many families. But are they really tantamount to Asian carp, zebra mussels or nutria?

Some die-hard automotive enthusiasts may despise these elevated vehicles, but they’re actually not without their benefits. There are quite a few good reasons why you should consider a crossover instead of a sedan, at least 10 in fact. So limber up your clicking digits because we’re exploring this topic in the following pages.

Vanity befalls the best of us. Perhaps you just bought some yoga pants when really a pair of elastic-waist jeans would have been a more appropriate fit. In any event, crossovers have a certain visual appeal that mainstream sedans often lack. Typically they will have chiseled good looks and rugged features. These are hard to beat if you’re lusting after a stylish, high-riding vehicle.

SEE ALSO: What Will Cars Look Like in the Future?

Thanks to their elevated dimensions and resultant higher seating positions, crossovers can also provide better outward visibility. Fewer blind spots are not just a convenience, they’re a safety feature and one they don’t even charge extra for! Sitting upright also allows you to see over “lesser” traffic for a suitably commanding view of the road ahead. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but we’re going to ignore them for the sake of brevity and suggest you do the same.

As Isaac Newton said, Force = Mass x Acceleration, or something like that (admittedly we’re not what you’d call mathematically proficient). Still, in crashes bigger vehicles tend to be safer than smaller ones. The laws of physics don’t take time off, not even for Susan B. Anthony’s birthday. Underscoring this point, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just evaluated several small cars and the results were mixed at best. In comparison many crossovers have earned Top Safety Pick+ status from the IIHS, their highest accolade.

SEE ALSO: S mall Cars Struggle in Latest IIHS Crash Test

A lot of crossovers can be had with a third-row seat, meaning they can carry more people than comparable sedans. Some of those rear-most benches can even accommodate adults, though to be fair many of them are for kids only. If you haul a number of people around on a regular basis you’d be smart to at least consider a crossover vehicle, but perhaps a minivan would be an even better choice, but that’s a subject for another day.

Along with more places for people crossovers typically have more space for stuff. This is a major reason why drivers purchase these vehicles; they want abundant room in a reasonably efficient package. It’s pretty obvious, the “V” in crossover stands for “Versatility.”

When’s the last time you towed anything with a front-wheel-drive family car? If you’re like most sedan owners the answer is probably “never.” In fact, models like the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata are not even rated to drag anything by their manufacturers. If you’ve got a small boat, a lightweight camper or a snowmobile trailer that needs moving, a crossover will probably be able to handle it without breaking a sweat, just don’t try to pull a house off its foundation or a disabled class-eight truck.

Likewise crossovers often have better ground clearance than cars. This is another dividend paid by their elevated ride heights. The ability to handle light-duty off-roading is a major benefit, especially in unexpected situations. Of course if you want to really traverse difficult terrain might we suggest a Jeep Wrangler or a Range Rover? They’re both FAR more capable than car-based crossovers.

Not many mainstream sedans offer the traction-enhancing advantage of all-wheel drive. The Ford Fusion, Chrysler 200 and of course Subaru Legacy are three that come to mind. But if you cast a lust-filled gaze toward the crossover segment you’ll notice that practically all of them offer this feature. When you couple this with greater ground clearance these utility vehicles become quite useful in adverse conditions. Go ahead, laugh at that thunderstorm bucketing rain on you, scoff the washed-out dirt road your sibling lives down and flip Old Man Winter the bird, with all-wheel drive you’re ready for practically anything. Except black ice; it’s not going to help you there.

Believe it or not a lot of car-based crossovers are quite frugal, though perhaps not as thrifty as freegans that climb through dumpsters in search of discarded treasures. Still, the proliferation of things like downsized, turbocharged gasoline engines; high-gear-count transmissions; and better aerodynamics continue to improve the breed and slash your fuel bill. Increasing hybridization is another major way manufacturers are cutting crossover consumption.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Three-Row SUVs

Finally one of the most important reasons to get a crossover instead of a sedan is because you want one. In America we’re reasonably free (for how much longer is anyone’s guess) and by golly if you want to drive a bigger, roomier, more stylish vehicle you ought to be able to. If you feel like commuting to work 100 miles a day in a diesel-powered heavy-duty pickup truck you ought to have the right to do that as well, as long as the rest of us don’t have to pay your fuel bill.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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  • 8o88y 8o88y on Sep 18, 2015

    Crossovers are cars for people who want to take up more space than their fair share, but who don't want to do it too obviously. They're booster-seat cars that block the visibility of the cars behind them, which is why other drivers are less likely to be as courteous about letting them cut into their lanes. Rudemobiles, though not quite as blatant as full-bore SUVs. -- The light-truck class, which includes SUVs, pickups, and minivans, has a 47% higher fatality rate in single-vehicle crashes, due to their higher centers of gravity. Single-vehicle crashes account for 55% of highway fatalities, and in single-vehicle crashes, driving a bigger vehicle than the other guy is an irrelevant factor,since there is no other guy. Crossovers are not as high as SUVs, but they are higher than normal cars, and one would expect that they, too, will have a higher single-vehicle-crash fatality rate than normal cars, even if less dramatically than SUVs. -- Ths choice to drive a booster-seat car indicates a lack of consideration for other people, a character defect. It's not as compelling an indication as some others, since lots of people follow trends like lemmings, and higher cars are a trend, but people who have experienced the reduced visibility behind an SUV can respond either by resolving not to inflict the same discomfort on others or by entering into the booster-seat competition while ignoring the rudeness factor. Many people have noticed that SUV drivers tend to drive rudely, and there does seem to be an arrogance-inducing effect of driving booster-seat vehicles, but one also has to wonder if the people who choose them are inclined toward rudeness even before they start driving them.

    • See 3 previous
    • Tim Locke Tim Locke on Feb 12, 2018

      You're excused.

  • Brad Krane Brad Krane on Apr 12, 2016

    How about america stop being so lazy wanting big gas guzzling s.u. vehicles every time a person has a tiny baby they run out and buy a big box that will have virtually NO resale value before they EVEN get it paid off because every manufacturer is pushing these ugly tasteless boxes on everyone (and we wonder why gas keeps going up because we are consuming tones of it) setting idling in the drive thru. People have gotten so lazy that they NOW have in door booze stores where you can get your smokes,your booze and a loaf of bread.What next in-car catheters so you can piss without getting out of your box, disgusting vehicles!!

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