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Arjun Kulkarni
The emergence of the CUV has led to a raging debate on the benefits of both of these vehicles. Here's an story about it.
To a layman, both SUV and the CUV seem like cars large enough to lug a family of about six people anywhere and on any road without cramming in. But there are subtle differences between the SUV and the CUV.
Over the years large cars have been a big hit with Americans although the names and general specifications have changed in keeping with the times. So keeping in mind the needs of the people, there is a raging debate among the buyers in the large car market over the preferences between SUVs and CUVs.

The Comparison

To start with, let me trace a brief history of large cars. I guess it must have been after the oil crisis in the early 1970s, when people started realizing that a car for each family will really eat into their financial resources.
The gas prices went through the roof and with that, car-pooling came into existence. Now, would your normal sedan be able to carry five mid-sized adults around? Was it even enough for a mid-sized family? I guess, not!
So instead of having two cars, it was quite logical to have a slightly larger car which still consumes less gas than two mid-sized sedans. And along came the era of the station wagon.
The station wagon became the vehicle of choice for car-pooling and the ideal family car as well. Over the years, the station wagon started looking a bit boring and bulky and car-makers kept redesigning and making better looking cars like the minivan and finally the SUV.

Sports Utility Vehicle?

Till the 1970s and the early 80s, the minivan was the way to go, when it came to transporting a lot of people around. Not a car and certainly not a truck. A minivan was a kind of car that was just right for carrying around 6-8 people.
But slowly car-makers coined this cool new term known as 'Sports Utility Vehicle' and made it a much better looking and powerful alternative to take over the segment which belonged the minivans or station wagons.
The vehicle was truck-based and looked like a tough ride. And the people loved it. There was something about the power, the spaciousness, the look, the entire package that caught the imagination of the American people. People got used to the SUV and it was a roaring hit.
But, once the gas prices started soaring up again, people started seeing the down-side of their beloved SUV. The thing was, unfortunately few SUVs - if any, gave a double digit figure on the fuel economy criteria and the newly fuel price conscious Americans started wondering if their lovely new SUV is a bad idea after all.

Crossover Vehicle?

The car analysts say that CUV is not a new car but is merely a new name for a product line. How many years have you seen one of the Honda cars, the CR-V, tooling around on the streets? Well, CUVs have existed for a pretty long time, except that they were not known by that name.
They have been on the fringes of the large car market for a few years now, but after the spike in the oil prices, they are being seriously considered as the next big thing in the large car segment. Now the question, 'why there's an increase in the consumers choosing CUVs over SUVs', is bound to be asked.
In my opinion this is largely attributable to the way the CUV has been marketed. Car-based, green, lighter, overall more economical and without sacrificing much on the power, were some of the factors considered while choosing an SUV or CUV, and these factors were those which made the CUV a different car.
When asked what are some criticisms of SUVs, you are bound to come up with stuff like low fuel economy and on that point, the CUV is marketed as a greener alternative to the SUV with just enough power to move your family around.
Aside from their make, date of origin and specifications, here are a few more points that help differentiate between SUVs and CUVs:
  • CUVs are generally lesser powered than SUVs. They typically house 4 or 6-cylinder engines with a front-wheel drive. SUVs come with two-wheel or all-wheel drives and 6 or 8-cylinder engines.
  • The CUV has little or no off-road capability. The SUV has more ground clearance, which coupled with the four-wheel drive gives you a comfortable enough control to drive across rough terrains.
  • The CUV has floor-fitted chassis, making it lighter, more compact and more fuel-efficient than an SUV.
  • Perhaps the biggest reason CUVs are gaining popularity is because the makers are simply putting more efforts into CUVs than SUVs. The marketing, the technology and innovation, the upgrade models; they are more in CUVs.
This is because of more and more people becoming aware of the environmental friendly and because CUVs are cheaper with the same interior space as an SUV.
From this article we can see that at least according to this ongoing trend, CUV is to go a long way in the future. Almost every decade has had its favorite car and CUV is the one for the moment!