Modern family vehicles have to do a lot of different things these days. Depending on the size of the family, an average family sedan or SUV may be called upon to transport people around to various locations and activities, provide a comfortable ride for a long family road trip, or even head off road every now and then for that extra sense of adventure. As a result, most SUVs that are used in the family-vehicle role are designed to do a lot of things at the same time. Need a reliable car that will get your family from point A to point B in a short amount of time? Want something that gets better-than-average gas mileage? Should it have a lot of passenger and cargo space? Does it need any luxury features or accents that put it above the competition? All of these differences demonstrate just how different a family vehicle may be depending on how you answer these questions. That is why modern automotive manufacturers are trying to accommodate as many needs as possible with their SUV lines. These models are similar in many ways, particularly when it comes to the capability and performance each vehicle needs to provide. At the same time, these models are different in how they actually meet the typical needs an average family has. This has given rise to the popular crossover SUV category. This type of SUV tries to combine a lot of different aspects of classic family cars and more off-road oriented sport utility vehicles. By offering more passenger and cargo space, they can provide a more comfortable riding experience without sacrificing much in terms of power, traction, and overall performance. At the same time, the crossover design tries to maintain some aspects of the more rugged design of modern-day SUVs. How well does the crossover design style actually work? Here’s a comparison between the 2018 Ford Escape vs. 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe to see what works and what doesn’t.
If there is one thing that most people do not want to compromise on, it is performance. The power underneath the hood of a crossover needs to be enough to get the family around on the daily commute. Depending on the driving location, this may not be a significant challenge. Driving in a city, for example, does not require the high-speed capability of a sports car. Instead, urban environments tend to be more about fuel efficiency. Since vehicles lose some efficiency when they are in stop-and-go traffic moderated by traffic lights, they need an efficient engine to keep it going.
The great thing about crossover SUVs is the greater amount of fuel economy you can expect on average. Obviously, this will vary depending on the particular model you look at. In the case of the 2018 Ford Escape versus 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the Escape has more to offer that is closer to the general performance of a true family sedan or station wagon. At 23 city and 30 highway miles per gallon, the Escape overshadows the Santa Fe’s 21 city and 28 highway MPG rating.
How does a crossover SUV get better gas mileage? This is where some sacrifices are made. Both vehicles use an inline-four cylinder engine more commonly found on typical family cars. In engine technology, cylinders help to determine just how much horsepower and torque the engine can provide. True SUVs typically use more powerful V-6 and V-8 engines for better power output for unique driving situations such as going off-road. In most cases, the more powerful engine also results in lower fuel economy.
By using a four-cylinder engine, a crossover SUV can maximize the fuel savings since traditional urban driving does not need the same horsepower as other more challenging driving situations. A better engine that sacrifices some power will be able to handle the rigors of urban driving more adequately while still providing the speed and acceleration required for the city environment.
One thing that really defines a crossover SUV like the Ford Escape is the convenience the vehicle offers small or medium size families. The interior comfort mixed with the safety and convenience features a vehicle offers largely defines how the vehicle feels to drive. Whether you are driving the vehicle yourself or are just a passenger, these additional touches will make the SUV feel less like an old jeep and more like a modern family car.
The first thing that really influences the feel of an SUV is the interior dimensions. The width, length, and height of the interior space will determine how much room passengers have to sprawl out and remain comfortable, especially on longer journeys and trips. The Ford Escape, for example, offers a roomy interior that emphasizes headroom for taller adults to remain more comfortable for longer periods of time. This interior comfort is enhanced by strategic additions such as optional leather seating and roomy benches to fit a lot of people in a more ergonomic manner.
The other thing that really influences how comfortable the interior riding experience is comes in the form of safety and convenience features. Most modern crossover SUVs have the same set of standard safety features such as crumple zones, air bags, and safety restraints. Optional upgrades can include active safety features like forward collision detection and blind spot monitoring sensors.
On the convenience side, the real magic that defines a true crossover SUV is the infotainment system. A vehicle with an excellent infotainment system expands the capabilities of that vehicle. In other words, when you have a computer at your fingertips, you can do more. Most infotainment systems come with handy features such as voice control, vehicle settings management, turn-by-turn navigation, and smart device connectivity.
Both the Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe win top marks in safety, convenience, and technology categories. As a result, this comparison is less about which vehicle does the better job and is more about proving just what you can get with a crossover SUV. When you want a little bit of a car and SUV feel, the crossover is the way to go.