The car-based construction used in crossovers not only helps them have a smooth ride, but it also makes them lighter than most SUVs. That means they can have smaller engines and get better fuel economy than most SUVs do.
Let's do some comparisons from an iconic SUV brand that's now making crossovers: Jeep. The Jeep Wrangler is considered by some to be the first SUV. The 2011 model has EPA fuel economy ratings of 15 miles per gallon (6.4 kilometers per liter) in the city and 19 miles per gallon (8 kilometers per liter) on the highway. The Jeep Patriot, a newer crossover, gets 21 miles per gallon (8.9 kilometers per liter) in the city and 26 miles per gallon (11.1 kilometers per liter) on the highway. That's quite an improvement. In fact, the EPA estimates the cost to drive 25 miles (40.2 kilometers) in the Wrangler is $5.25 (with gas at $3.57 a gallon) while the cost to go the same distance in the Patriot is just $3.88. If you're heading out on a road trip and saving $1.37 every 25 miles (40.2 kilometers), it can really add up. Over a year, the EPA says you can expect to spend $3,149 fueling up the Wrangler and $2,329 fueling the Patriot. And, if your need to go green goes beyond keeping cash in your wallet, the EPA estimates that the Wrangler emits 11 tons of carbon each year, while the Patriot releases just 8.1.
Hit the road in a crossover instead of an SUV and you'll have enough cash to visit roadside attractions like the World's Biggest Ball of Twine and even hit the gift shop.