SUV, MPV, Crossover or 4X4 - What’s The Difference?

SUV, MPV, Crossover or 4X4  - What’s The Difference?

If you’ve ever wondered about the differences between SUVs, MPVs, Crossovers and 4X4s, you’re not alone. These days there are varying terms to define vehicle types, and it can lead to plenty of confusion when looking for the perfect car.

MPV, SUV, 4X4 and Crossover

There are similarities between these four vehicle types, which is often why they are lumped together for people looking for a certain type of car. But their differences are distinct too. So, to help you narrow down your search and find the right car for you and your family, here are the headlines on each vehicle type.


Which is better, MPV or SUV?

If we get rid of the acronyms, the different benefits of MPVs and SUVs are easier to grasp. SUV cars are Sports Utility Vehicles. They are much like estate cars, but they have the added oomph to cope with off-road terrain. They also have that rugged vibe to their design. So, if something like a Range Rover is the type of look you like, this is the territory you’re in.

And what are MPV cars? They’re Multi-Purpose Vehicles. In basic terms, they’re designed to carry larger groups of people. You’ll find MPV cars capable of seating between five and seven passengers comfortably, along with their luggage. They are roomy inside, and this makes them a great choice for bigger families.

View our best MPV deals here, our best SUV / Crossover deals here, and our best 4x4 deals here.

What is the difference between an SUV and a 4x4?

So, if an SUV is an off-road car, what’s a 4x4? Well, this is partly why confusion happens, because basically, they are the same. They share a toughness and ability to tow heavy vehicles for example. But traditional 4x4s weren’t built for comfort. In contrast, modern-day SUV cars are. The key difference is in the drive type, a 4x4 means it is a 4 wheel drive whereas an SUV can be a 2 wheel drive vehicle or have the ability to adapt to a 4 wheel drive.

Nissan Qashqai SUV

Nissan Qashqai - SUV

  • Top Speed: 114mph
  • 0-62mph: 13 secs
  • MPG: 53.3
  • Seats: 5
  • Doors: 5

Nissan Qashqai leasing prices start from £197.43 exc. VAT per month

If you’re wondering which SUV is the best, it’s hard to whittle choices down. There’s an enormous range on the market, and in broad strokes, they do the same thing. They are high-riding, comfortable, and stylish. But each has its own merits, so choosing the right one for you comes down to your circumstances and chosen terrain.

See the top picks for offroad 4x4's

Is an SUV bigger than an MPV?

Here’s the thing, both come in different sizes. They are generally both categorised as large cars, but you get subsections within the SUV market for starters. There are mini SUVs, compact SUVs, and full-size SUVs.
On the MPV side of things, they tend to be a bit bigger than your average estate, but they too span the small, medium, and large car categories. Seating capacity usually ranges from five to seven seats. So, for example, you could easily try to compare a seven-seater SUV and a seven-seater MPV and feel flummoxed. Here, it’s best to consider not just the size, but it’s purpose.

If you’re an off-road type of family, an SUV seven-seater is a good choice. If you need space and comfort, extra headroom and you’re doing your driving along main roads, an MPV can be the perfect fit.

What is the difference between a crossover and an SUV?

If getting your head around the idea of an MPV vehicle versus an SUV is enough, there are also crossover vehicles. Sometimes referred to as a Crossover Utility Vehicle, or CUV, these cars blend features from SUV cars and family saloons.

That gives you a lofty drive, just like an SUV, and usually, they are 4x4s too, so you have that off-road capability. But they don’t handle rugged terrain as well as a through and through SUV. If you have a little bit of “off-the-beaten-track” driving, this can be a good car to bridge the gap between family comfort and road handling. But first and foremost, crossover cars are made to feel comfortable inside.

Read more: Top 8 Cars for Passenger Comfort

Ford Puma - Crossover

  • Top Speed: 119mph
  • 0-62mph: 9.8 secs
  • MPG: 47.9
  • Seats: 5
  • Doors: 5

Ford Puma leasing prices start from £206.05 exc. VAT per month

Ford Puma Crossover

Again, you can find a variety of crossover vehicles on the market. As a rough guide on sizes, they usually fall somewhere between the slightly smaller family hatchback and full-sized MPVs or SUVs.

Perhaps a big thing to note here is that crossovers are more fuel-efficient than SUVs too. So, if you have an eye on running costs, a crossover can be a good alternative.

Finding the right fit for you

If we debunk the industry jargon around MPVs, SUVs, 4x4s and crossover cars, we find that they have headline benefits that will help you make a choice. The MPV is spacious and family-friendly first and foremost. The SUV is slick and made for off-road driving, with added interior comfort compared to a 4x4. And a crossover blends some of the road handling from the SUV with classic family saloon features. It’s a bit of a middle ground for families who adventure to a point but need those practical elements inside.

Despite all these car types coming in different sizes, bear these headlines in mind. Ultimately, you can find the ideal-sized vehicle from any of these categories. But getting the functionality right is a top priority to improve your all-round driving experience.
If you’re looking for an MPV, SUV or 4x4 car, you might want to take a look at our wide selection of vehicles available to lease.

Want to find out more about car leasing? Give our friendly team a call on01273 433 480, or request a callbackat a time that suits you.

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