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Crossover

Crossover-Utility vehicles at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show

Too tall to be called a wagon and too conservative to be called a sport-utility, crossovers are all the rage. Once classified as "cute-utes" by automotive experts, crossovers have become the norm for buyers looking to add more utility to the common family sedan.

A typical crossover utility vehicle has a car-based wagon chassis or unibody, offers front- or all-wheel drive and doesn’t have much more ground clearance than a typical passenger car. Most crossovers have six-cylinder engines, but a few offer economical four-cylinder powerplants and a couple are available with powerful V8 engines.

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One deciding feature that sets a crossover apart from a traditional SUV is the drivetrain. A crossover will typically have a light-duty all-wheel-drive system, while an SUV will have a four-wheel-drive system with a low range that’s designed for off-road slogging. The advantage of the light-duty AWD system is that it allows for better fuel economy while still offering additional traction on rain or snow-covered roads.

Most crossovers have a slightly elevated seating position that makes it easier for drivers to see down the road and they offer large cargo holds at the rear. Some even have three rows of seats to seat seven or eight passengers -- though most are five-passenger vehicles.

In many ways, today’s crossovers make a lot of sense for active families that are constantly carting around extra kids or sports gear.  You can find these crossovers on display at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show or at the Vehicles on Display section of the auto show Web site.

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