JOE: “Hey, I just got one of those new crossover vehicles, it rocks!”

JACK: “Cool, and you’re saving the environment… you’re my hero.”

JOE: “Huh, yeah… I guess.”

What is a crossover and why is it the new automotive buzzword? Officially, a crossover is a vehicle with the styling of an SUV, and handling of a sedan… uh, okay. I think the real reason behind the new buzzword is a bit more about marketplace confusion than trying to say that all your SUVs handle poorly.

There has been no bigger buzzword in the auto scene than hybrid… you know the ones – eco-friendly, alternative fuel, gas/diesel/biodiesel/flex-fuel – the buzzwords go on and on. The problem for most of the industry is they don’t have any hybrid (or better yet – pure electric) vehicles to sell. What do you do when Toyota and Honda are beating the pants off you with hybrids? You start marketing a crossover. It sounds sorta hybridish… it could easily be confused in the market – the words both have similar meanings.

Sure, the class of vehicle has been around for quite some time, but until recently it was more commonly referred to as Compact SUV or Midsize SUV. The new nomenclature is pure marketing. Pay attention to who is marketing crossovers and don’t be confused, there is nothing eco-friendly about these vehicles.