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Preparing For The Tesla Model Y: Crossovers For Dummies

Crossovers are the term the auto industry uses for SUVs that are built with a unibody construction (like all cars these days) instead of a body-on-frame construction (like pickups and really large SUVs). How are they different than a sedan and why are they so popular?

What is a crossover and why are they so popular? I’ll have to admit, although I’ve never owned a crossover, I did help my mom select a Honda CR-V, so I do know something about them.

Photo from Tesla.com

Crossovers are the term the auto industry uses for SUVs that are built with a unibody construction (like all cars these days) instead of a body-on-frame construction (like pickups and really large SUVs). How are they different than a sedan and why are they so popular?

Crossovers have a much higher roof than a sedan (although the ground clearance is not much different in most). So the seating position is more upright or less reclined, which gives you several advantages. For older people and people with weak legs, they are just the right height, so you don’t have to climb up in them like in a big truck. They also aren’t low like a sports car, so you don’t have trouble getting out of the car. Many people also think the height lets them see over cars in front of them and see the traffic situation, but all it takes is one truck to ruin your view, so I think this is overrated.

Another reason people like them is they have a big door or hatch and you can haul big things like a bicycle or a dresser in the back. A hatchback or station wagon would also work, but almost none of those are produced, so if you want a big opening in the back of your car, a crossover will offer you the most car-like experience.

Some crossovers offer all-wheel drive for traction in poor weather, but they aren’t really intended for off-roading like a Jeep. They are considered a great family vehicle to take the kids and their friends to the soccer game. They don’t have the bad image of a minivan (I still loved my wife’s Honda Odyssey minivan — I don’t care).

Empty nesters can buy a large crossover to haul the grandkids or a small crossover for themselves. They handle and drive almost as well as a sedan. I can now see why they are so popular with young and old families.

I hope this crossover primer helped you get ready for the Tesla Model Y unveiling and helps you understand why they have become so popular over the last few years and are expected to continue to be popular. They really aren’t very different from regular cars, but those small differences mean consumers, which have so many choices in the vehicle market, have decided to spend a little more for a vehicle that better meets their needs.

Stay tuned to CleanTechnica — much more Model Y coverage is coming!


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Written By

I have been a software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237

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