Crossover wall sign

Crossover - the best of everything

Everyone has heard of SUVs. But a crossover? We reveal what the name means and why these models are currently so popular as electric cars. (Image: Adobe Stock)

Everyone has heard of SUVs. But a crossover? We reveal what the name means and why these models are currently so popular as electric cars. (Image: Adobe Stock)

This article on electric crossovers explains that ...

  • … the designations SUV and CUV are defined very differently in the USA and Europe.
  • … as electric cars, these vehicles come into their own.
  • Volkswagen, with its ID.4 and the ID.5 coupé-SUV launched in November 2021 has increased its credentials in the electric car market.

Off-road vehicle or saloon car? Sports car or van? Coupé or estate? The boundaries between the different categories of vehicle are becoming blurred. This development started in the USA. There, the attractive design features and comfort equipment of normal cars has enhanced the off-road vehicle's rather archaic appearance. The result was the sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Crossing of good genes

SUVs embody the 'American way of life' in steel. Strong and solid, they provide mobility and benefits in the wilderness, while also being versatile and looking good around town. But at some point, it became clear that these vehicles, with their solid technology, robust chassis, leaf-spring suspension, and indestructible all-wheel drive, weren’t necessarily appropriate for urban life on city streets. The next evolutionary stage came in the 1990s when the developers crossed the really practical high body shape with the technical platform of mass-produced saloon cars. The result was the perfect urban off-road vehicle. This new combination from the good genes of both vehicle segments was christened the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) – or simply the 'crossover', which is obvious as it is the crossing of two categories.

The American separation of vehicle categories into off-road vs. urban vehicles did not end up being quite as razor-sharp in Europe. The CUV class never really took off here. Everything that features big wheels, good ground clearance and a smart off-road design is simply known as an SUV. The now very wide range of both new and used models has evolved into clear winners on the market. This trend has been accelerated once again with electric cars.

Electric (re-)discovery of the crossover

No wonder electric SUVs are booming. And the term crossover is becoming more and more common over here. After all, it accurately describes the future-centric crossing of traditional SUV strengths with the revitalising lifestyle of the new electric era: futuristic design meets a sustainable drive concept and integrated digital connectivity. This fits perfectly with the generous space under the high roof, a good driver's view, comfortable entry into the vehicle, an improved feeling of safety, and the vehicle's unbeatable versatility. The compact electric drive technology ensures that these vehicles have a spacious interior design: plenty of space for large batteries and therefore also a good range. As the battery is accommodated in the underbody of the vehicle, the vehicle has a low centre of gravity and therefore safe and well-balanced driving dynamics.

Lady coming down from a car
ID.4 GTX: power consumption (combined) 17.4 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+++
Electric crossover: The ID.4 GTX feels at home in town and on the motorway.

World Car of the Year 2021

The Volkswagen ID.4, awarded the title World Car of the Year 2021Opens an external link, is truly an electric crossover par excellence. It is the first model of the ID. family for the key markets of Europe, China, and the USA. The electric car is available with two battery sizes and three power levels.

Leaving car to charge
The following vehicle illustrations include non-standard equipment. ID.4 GTX: power consumption (combined) 17.4 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+++ 
The following vehicle illustrations include non-standard equipment.

Sporting electric flagship vehicles

The elite vehicles of the all-electric ID.models are the ID.4 GTX (combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 17.4; combined CO2 emissions in g/km:  0; efficiency class: A­+) and the ID.5 GTX launched in November 2021 (combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 17.1; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A­+). In most driving situations, the motor is used on the rear axle. If the car wants to drive in a sportier manner or requires more grip, the electric motor switches in a fraction of a second to the front axle.

Elegant and efficient: the ID.5 SUV Coupé

The new ID.5, which Volkswagen launched in November 2021, is also based on the Volkswagen modular electric drive matrix (MEB). The launch of the vehicle was an exciting look towards a new era of electric mobility with Over-the-Air updates and bidirectional charging. The ID.5 combines a sporty and elegant coupé design as a contemporary symbiosis of the outstanding everyday benefits of an SUV with the sustainable performance of an electric car. It also offers intuitive operation within a fully connected digital vehicle cosmos – a modern CUV created from the manual for electric crossovers.

Next steps

Stay informed about Volkswagen Electric Vehicles 

View our Pure Electric models 

Build your own VW Electric model in our configurator 

Next steps