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Ford reinvents its once-popular SUV, hoping to cross over into renewed success

Do you know what the difference between a crossover and an SUV is? Maybe not, but chances are that if you described what you're looking for in an every day utility vehicle, you'd actually be talking about a crossover.

The distinction between the two is actually quite simple, with an SUV using a truck chassis and a crossover underpinned by a car chassis. More importantly, however, is what this means to how a vehicle handles, drives, what kind of fuel economy it gets and its overall functionality.

The original Explorer was a tremendous success for Ford, delivering what the automaker perceived consumers wanted. But over time car shoppers either changed what they wanted or, more likely, realized what they really were looking for. And despite their love for the Ford SUV (buying 6 million of them), there were a few things they'd change if they could.

While off-road capability and towing are important, Ford canvassed Explorer owners and other new car shoppers to discover that top among the list of demands are things like ride quality, handling and fuel economy.

In the past, meshing these two conflicting lists has brought about 'soft-roaders,' first in the compact class and then in the mid-size segment, with a significant bias towards on-road use. The large vehicle segment, where the Explorer competes, is different and true utility is valued much higher. That being said, Ford did its research in transforming the Explorer from SUV to crossover, attempting to limit the compromises inherent in this change.

To find out just what kind of a job they did, we were invited to the launch of the all-new Explorer in San Diego to test the vehicle's varied capabilities.
Get more 2011 Ford Explorer Review - First Drive at AutoGuide.com
 

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this is basically an edge then?
hate the new looks of cars. trying to make them so futuristic that they are forgetting, no one likes them.
 

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this is basically an edge then?
hate the new looks of cars. trying to make them so futuristic that they are forgetting, no one likes them.
No, the Edge is based on the Mazda 6. The new Explorer is based on the Taurus, which is based on the Volvo S80. So, the new Explorer is, in reality, the Freestyle, AKA Taurus X. Take it for what its worth, the new Explorer is based on a car, and doesn't compete with Jeep anymore. My 2c. :eek:rangehat:
 

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No, the Edge is based on the Mazda 6. The new Explorer is based on the Taurus, which is based on the Volvo S80. So, the new Explorer is, in reality, the Freestyle, AKA Taurus X. Take it for what its worth, the new Explorer is based on a car, and doesn't compete with Jeep anymore. My 2c. :eek:rangehat:
Grand Cherokee its based on the rear-wheel drive architecture of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. And it matters how????
 

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Grand Cherokee its based on the rear-wheel drive architecture of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. And it matters how????
It doesn't; I just answered his question. I just amazes me that people do not know what they are buying. The writer of the article doesn't even know what he is talking about. He starts out by defining an SUV (truck based architecture) and crossover (car based architecture) and goes on throughout the whole article referring to the Explorer as a "truck". WTF? :eek:rangehat:
 

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Grand Cherokee its based on the rear-wheel drive architecture of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. And it matters how????
Well...if this is true, then by definition, the Grand Cherokee is a "crossover". So, the new Explorer "crossover" would be direct competition.
 

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Well...if this is true, then by definition, the Grand Cherokee is a "crossover". So, the new Explorer "crossover" would be direct competition.
No. The first generation ML was a body on frame truck, not based on any MB car. The second generation ML is a unibody truck, again not based on any MB car. So, the ML is not, and has never been a crossover. Jeep GC has always been a unibody truck - now GC and ML share the chassis. Jeep developed it, but MB will never admit to this. :eek:rangehat:
 

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Well, doesn't unibody and pretty much equal "car chassis"? And if the 2011 GC is unibody, as far as I'm concerned it's a crossover. And I've said from the first photo release that it looks like a crossover. My 2 pennies.
The Jeep unibodies are every bit as strong, if not stronger, than a body-on-frame.
 

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No. The first generation ML was a body on frame truck, not based on any MB car. The second generation ML is a unibody truck, again not based on any MB car. So, the ML is not, and has never been a crossover. Jeep GC has always been a unibody truck - now GC and ML share the chassis. Jeep developed it, but MB will never admit to this. :eek:rangehat:
So the second generation ML is a crossover then, right. If it started as a frame on body then went to unibody that would classify it as a crossover.
 

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So the second generation ML is a crossover then, right. If it started as a frame on body then went to unibody that would classify it as a crossover.
NO - a crossover is defined as an SUV based on a car chassis. A stoopid term invented by some marketing wiz. In reality, a crossover is a jacked up, AWD station wagon! The new GC/ML is a truck based unibody - it is NOT based on any car nor is it shared with any car. The GC/Commander and Cherokee are all unibody trucks, never shared with any car, therefore by definition NOT a crossover. :eek:rangehat:
 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)

Crossover (automobile)


A crossover is a vehicle built on a car platform and combining, in highly variable degrees, features of a traditional sport utility vehicle (SUV) with features from a passenger vehicle, especially those of a station wagon or hatchback.

Using the unibody construction typical of passenger vehicles, the crossover combines SUV design features such as tall interior packaging, high H-point seating, high ground-clearance or all-wheel-drive capability — with design features from an automobile such as a passenger vehicle's platform, independent rear suspension, car-like handling and fuel economy.

A crossover may borrow features from a station wagon or hatchback such as the two-box design of a shared passenger/cargo volume with rear access via a third or fifth door, a liftgate — and flexibility to allow configurations that favor either passenger or cargo volume, e.g., fold-down rear seats. The crossover may include an A, B & C-pillar, as well as a D pillar.

Crossovers are typically designed for only light off-road capability, if any at all.[1]

Origin

The term crossover began as a marketing term,[2] and a 2008 CNNMoney article indicated that "many consumers can not tell the difference between an SUV and a crossover."[1] A January 2008 Wall Street Journal blog article called crossovers "wagons that look like sport utility vehicles but ride like cars."[3]

The market segment spans a wide range of vehicles. In some cases, manufacturers have marketed vehicles as crossovers simply to avoid calling them station wagons.[4] And while some crossover vehicles released in the early 2000s resembled traditional SUVs or wagons, others have prioritized sportiness over utility—such as the Infiniti FX and BMW X6.[5][6]

This segment has notable historical antecedents that include the AMC Eagle that "pioneered the crossover SUV"[7] and "predated a whole generation of crossover vehicles".[8] This segment came into strong visibility in the U.S. by 2006, when crossover sales "made up more than 50% of the overall SUV market."[9] Sales in the crossover market segment increased in 2007 by 16%.[3] In the U.S., the crossover segment is one of the passenger vehicle market segments where import brands lead domestic brands, as domestic manufacturers were slow to switch from their emphasis on light truck-based SUVs, and foreign automakers developed crossovers targeting the U.S. market, as an alternative to station wagons that are unpopular there.[1] The segment has strong appeal to aging baby boomers.[1]

Crossover examples

The broad spectrum of crossovers includes:

Compact Crossover SUVs: e.g., Audi Q5, BMW X3, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Fiat Idea Adventure Locker

Mid-sized Crossover SUVs: e.g., Ford Edge, Tata Aria, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chevy Equinox, Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX, BMW X5

Full-sized Crossover SUVs: e.g., Audi Q7, Buick Enclave, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Station wagon-derived Crossovers: e.g., Audi A6 allroad quattro, Subaru Outback, Toyota Venza, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Fiat Palio Weekend Adventure

Compact sedan-derived hatchback Crossovers: e.g. Chevrolet HHR, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe[10]

Semi-offroaders: e.g. VW Crosspolo, Fiat Palio Adventure, Ford Fiesta Trail, Nissan Livina X-Trail, Peugeot Escapade, etc


A short list of current crossovers with their platform genealogy (similar vehicles are grouped together): Go to website to see list---> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)

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