Crossover To An SUV
Do you see what I did there? Pretty snappy title even if I do say so myself: but enough about me. The new recently announced Audi Q3 seems to be a direct challenge to the likes of, say, the Range Rover Evoque. These vehicles, because they offer four wheel drive, are considered to be Sports Utility Vehicles – SUVs. This has become a bit of a generic term for 4x4s based on the reputation of the big off roaders of the 1990s but things have changed. I guess the idea of ‘sports utility’ comes from the fact that these small trucks, because that’s basically what they were, were and are used for off road activities; although, dare I suggest it, the U in SUV could now also be taken to mean Urban. Although much improved in many other ways, most of today’s SUVs do not make off road ability their first priority. All are capable to a certain degree of course, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to cross the Kalahari in one.
It’s a bit of a shame that the lines between different types of vehicle have become a bit blurred lately. There is now a new breed of car, for example, popularly known as the Crossover, that gives the impression of being an SUV, but isn’t. Arguably, the idea of a vehicle that was a cross between an SUV and a standard car began with the Nissan Qashqai (designed and developed in the UK and built in Sunderland! A British car!) and now most popular manufacturers make similar vehicles. Most are offered as two wheel drive but a 4×4 is often available as an option.
These vehicles, unlike their bigger brothers, are based on the platforms of other cars in the manufacturers’ ranges. They have hatchbacks, like the standard cars, and the interiors and carrying abilities are much the same – so why bother? Well, the Crossovers have that ‘off road’ look. They’re higher riding and give a more purposeful appearance. Their appeal seems to lie in the fact that they are a bit more individual and, in a world of motoring euro-boxes, unconventional; and there’s no harm in that. This explains the success of the funky Nissan Juke, the Qashqai’s little brother. It’s very well priced and comes with a decent specification.
It’s a case of personal preference. An SUV will have better off road manners but a Crossover has lifestyle allure. The choice is yours.
PS: It’s still just about ok to keep a 911 for special occasions. Don’t tell anyone I mentioned it!