Rise of the Crossover
The 1984 Jeep Cherokee was arguably the first vehicle to be officially called a “sport utility vehicle,” but the reality is that there wasn’t a lot of sport in early, truck-based SUVs. In 1996, the Toyota RAV4 inaugurated the age of the crossover, or CUV (crossover utility vehicle). CUVs, designed more for on-road use, generally have a passenger-style unibody frame for a more spacious interior. Available in a multitude of sizes from compact Toyota RAV4 to full-size three-row vehicles like the BMW X7, the crossover is now the dominant body style in the U.S. – and now, there are a great number of electric crossover choices.
Improved Electric Choices
With electric vehicles (EVs) having been on sale on our shores for over a decade, there are also a great number of electric crossovers available on the used market. While the earliest electric cars were generally compact commuter vehicles, some of the most popular EVs from the last few years have been crossovers. Here are five of the best.
Audi e-tron Quattro and e-tron Sportback
Introduced in 2019, the first Audi e-tron was a capable crossover EV based on a stretched version of the popular Audi Q5. It was available in both versatile SUV and sleek Sportback versions. The most appealing thing about the e-tron models is that they drive like any other Audi, with silky-smooth controls, responsive steering, and a high level of technology. Motors at the front and rear provide standard all-wheel drive capability, and a maximum system output of 402 hp makes them great performers. Interestingly, the sleeker Sportback model had a slightly shorter EPA-estimated range when new, 218 miles compared to 222 for the SUV.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Hard to believe, but the popular Mustang Mach-E, which is perennially in the top-five of electric car sales in the U.S., has been on sale for a few years now, and there is a good selection of them on the used-car market. A number of different versions are available, with power ranging from 266 hp to 459 hp, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. EPA estimated range for the various models ranged from 210 to 300 miles when new. We love the way the Mach-E drives, its intuitive infotainment system, and its exceptionally spacious interior.
Tesla Model X
Tesla’s second mass-market model, the Model X made headlines when it was introduced in 2015 thanks to its crazy “falcon wing” doors, which open up instead of out. There’s a lot more to the package than the doors, though: the Model X has a very spacious interior with up to three rows of seats, and Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving technology is the envy of the industry. A large central infotainment screen consolidates all functions, and performance is exceptional, with acceleration to rival high-end sports cars. The EPA-estimated range for new Model Xs ranged from 305 to 351 miles, depending on battery specification.
The first of the European brands to enter the electric SUV market was Jaguar. In 2018, the sleek i-Pace rocked the luxury car world with its unique cab-forward design, which had a very long wheelbase and a huge interior on a relatively compact footprint. The i-Pace is great fun to drive, with powerful acceleration, responsive steering, and height-adjustable suspension, and it has a luxurious interior as well. The EPA-estimated range when new is at 234 miles.
Hyundai Kona Electric
If you’re looking for a used EV on a tight budget, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a great choice. This compact electric crossover delivers excellent acceleration, muscular torque, and a surprisingly fun driving experience in a spacious, practical package that continues to be one of the most affordable all-electric cars you can buy. The EPA-estimated range of the Kona Electric at 258 miles when new, making this an excellent choice for long-distance driving. Some early Konas may also now be eligible for the $4,000 federal used EV incentive, which is available for vehicles under $25,000.