Crossover cars seem like a really good idea; sensibly sized with all the benefits of an SUV and all the comfort of a car. Most manufacturers have produced at least one model targeted at this sector. Nissan, Audi, BMW, Jeep, Hyundai, Mazda, Kia, Porsche, Land Rover and Mini all have crossover models.
- CUV (crossover utility vehicle) or crossover it combines elements of a car with those of an SUV (see below). So they should be car sized with a bit more ground clearance, large interiors and a high driving position.
- SUV or sports utility vehicle is basically a four wheel drive. This could be a properly rustic Jeep or Land Rover suited to off-roading or a suburban version like the Porsche Macan or Audi Q5.
A notable name missing from this list is SEAT. The Leon (2014 WHATCAR car of the year), Toledo and Ibiza models are all very well known and extremely successful. SEAT combines the engineering pedigree of their parent (VW) with exciting design provided by their Barcelona HQ. In the past SEAT have focused on small and medium sized cars however their recently released Leon estate is very popular and the company are giving warning that they are about to enter the Crossover market.
At this month’s Geneva motor show they are exhibiting their concept crossover; the 20V20 to prepare the public to accept a larger vehicle from SEAT – when they decide to build one. In terms of size, interior space and cabin quality it ticks all the right boxes. What is really exciting though is the styling.
The crossover market does not have very many good looking cars in it. There seem to be three classes of car; ‘unusual’, boring and drug dealer. Members of the ‘unusual’ group are the Nissan Juke, Jeep Cherokee & Renegade and Ford Edge. The boring group is large; the worst offenders being Mitsubishi with their Outlander, the Suzuki Grand and everything made by Hyundai and Kia. The models most worthy of the drug dealer label with their ridiculously thuggish looks are the GM Terrain, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Audi Q8, Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL. What on earth happens to designers the second a piece of paper with the word crossover on it is put in front of them!
To date the only really good looking crossovers have been the BMW X5, Porsche Macan and the Audi Q7 & Q5. All of these are at the expensive end of the price range. SEAT’s 20V20 concept is a seriously good looking car. It manages to be interesting and modern without even a hint of the ridiculous. It is masculine enough without being too over the top for the ladies. The clever body shape really does give the impression that the car is moving forward at speed even when stationery.
Hopefully SEAT will start producing these beauties soon. Even if they don’t this concept car will warn some of the other manufactures in this market that they need to improve their styling.