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5 Vehicles That Were Crossover Before There Were Crossovers

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Toyota RAV4

Baby SUV. Cute ute. Compact SUV. The Toyota RAV4 was like a category unto itself when it rolled onto the automotive scene in 1994. For the U.S. market, the first- and second-generation RAV4s arrived at a time when U.S. auto buyers were just starting to suffer big SUV fatigue: many enjoyed the elevated seating position and perceived safety advantage of the sport utility vehicles proliferating in the mid-1990s. But for some, the almost big-rig proportions seemed like overkill, the ride quality was jolting, and well, SUVs' reputations as gas hogs are legendary.

The diminutive RAV4 (Recreational Active Vehicle, 4-Wheel Drive) solved many of those problems by attaching a downsized SUV body to the chassis of an ordinary passenger car. In the first- and second-generation RAV4's case, it shared its under-the-body bits with the Toyota Corolla. The RAV4 is in fact credited with being the first compact SUV [source: MotorWeek].

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While today RAV4s are in fact classified as crossovers, it made our list because it came out in 1994, many years before the term entered popular use. And the ground-breaking RAV4 proved that even in a time when massive Hummers freely roamed the roads, that there was a market for the non-extreme SUV.

For more information about crossovers and other related topics, follow the links below.

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Sources

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  • Atwood, Jeff. "The Pontiac Aztek and the Perils of Design by Committee." CodingHorror.com. June 16, 2005. (July 12, 2011) http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/06/the-pontiac-aztek-and-the-perils-of-design-by-committee.html
  • Burry, Jeff. "Modern Classics: Subaru BRAT, 1978-1987." Autos.ca. Sept. 16, 2009. (July 13, 2011) http://www.autos.ca/auto-articles/modern-classics-subaru-brat-1978-1987
  • Edmunds.com. "Toyota RAV4 Review." (July 15, 2011) http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/rav4/
  • ElCaminoCentral.com. "El Camino History." (July 14, 2011) http://www.elcaminocentral.com/articles/hist/hist.html
  • Gilbert, John. "SUV craze may 'cross over' to solve its own dilemma." NewCarPicks.com. Jan. 15, 2003. (July 15, 2011) http://newcarpicks.com/site/?p=13384
  • Heritage Region Jeep Alliance. "Jeep History." (July 20, 2011) http://www.hrja.org/history.htm
  • Manning, Steve. "A Short History of Station Wagons in the USA." Stationwagon.com. June, 1998. (July 14, 2011) http://www.stationwagon.com/history.html
  • MotorWeek (via Maryland Public Television). "Road Test: 2009 RAV4." Program #2834. (July 20, 2011) http://www.mpt.org/motorweek/reviews/rt2834b.shtml
  • Museum of Modern Art. "The Museum of Modern Art Exhibits Entire Automobile Collection for the First Time, Including Three New Acquisitions." June 2002. (July 16, 2011) http://press.moma.org/images/press/PRESS_RELEASE_ARCHIVE/AUTO.pdf
  • Neil, Dan. "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time." Time.com. January 2007. (July 12, 2011) http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/completelist/0,,1658545,00.html
  • Nunez, Alex. "One for the Gipper: Ronald Reagan's Subaru BRAT restored." Autoblog.com. Jan. 31, 2009. (July 15, 2011) http://www.autoblog.com/2009/01/31/one-for-the-gipper-ronald-reagans-subaru-brat-restored/
  • Stearns, David M. "Leaping Lena Joins the Army." Popular Science. May 1941. (July 19, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=VCcDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA52&dq=popular+science+may+1941&hl=en&ei=-5-VTLmSJMqmnQeu-5SxBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=popular%20science%20may%201941&f=true
  • Stewart, Ben. "Comparison Test: 10 Crossover SUVs." Popular Mechanics. July 1, 2002. (July 14, 2011) http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/reviews/comparisons/1270186
  • Warner, Gary. "Who built the first utility -- where -- when?" Fastlane.com. Aug. 8, 1999 (July 15, 2011) http://www.fastlane.com.au/Features/First_ute.htm

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5 Reasons to Buy a Crossover Vehicle

5 Reasons to Buy a Crossover Vehicle

What are the best reasons to buy a crossover vehicle? Read about 5 reasons to buy a crossover vehicle at HowStuffWorks.


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