The rise of the crossover vehicle has happened, and now the category is maturing and blossoming with new technologies. Crossovers always have had some advantages over traditional body-on-frame SUVs, including lighter weight and greater fuel economy. On the other side, cars still hold those same advantages over crossover vehicles, despite the crossover edges in utility and command seating position. Manufacturers and designers constantly carve away at the weight of their crossovers, and increasingly have turned to hybrid gasoline/electric propulsion to improve their fuel efficiency and close the gap.
Included in our roundup are hybrid gasoline-electric crossovers (HEV) and plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric crossovers (PHEV). The difference between the two is right in the name: PHEVs can be charged by plugging them into an external electric power source while at rest, which means that the gasoline engine doesn’t need to expend as much fuel to recharge the batteries during driving.