Crossover & Midsize

Are Crossovers Girly?

Some men might shy away from certain crossovers because they seem a little girly. Whether we like it or not, there are cars, trucks, or SUV models that seem geared more toward one gender than another. For example, a big black Ram 1500 pickup truck definitely appeals to more masculine energies than a red Mini Cooper. Of course, there are exceptions. There’s no rule that says guys have to drive trucks and girls have to drive cute compact cars––or a crossover.

2020 RAM 1500 truck is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The 2020 Ram 1500 | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

So are crossovers girly? Not necessarily. Especially when you realize that a crossover is anything built on a unibody frame with a more SUV-oriented body style. The thing is, many women drive trucks and many men drive compact cars.

A chrome 2021 new Kia Telluride navigating in water.
2021 Kia Telluride | Kia

RELATED: Michael Dietrich Says Downtime on Naked and Afraid Led Him to Live in a Camper Van

No matter what gender some people associate a certain vehicle with, each model still draws buyers from each side of the spectrum. Is the new Kia Telluride girly? Most would probably agree it’s not. And in spite of its rugged looks, the Kia Telluride is in fact a crossover.

Crossover or SUV?

There are some SUVs out there that are actually crossovers. For a vehicle to technically classify as an SUV it has to be a body-on-frame construction. Think Toyota 4Runner vs. Toyota Highlander ––similar size; different construction and capability. According to U.S. News and World Report, “simply put, if a vehicle is based on a truck’s platform it’s an SUV, and if it is based on a car’s platform, it’s a crossover.”

A silver 2021 Toyota 4Runner driving on rugged terrain
The 2021 Toyota 4Runner driving off-road | Photo via Toyota

RELATED: Are Crossovers Really Safer Than Sedans?

So, because the new Kia Telluride shares underpinnings with related models like the Kia Sorento and the Kia K5, it’s technically a crossover. The crossover movement has allowed larger vehicles with SUV styling to use less fuel and ride smoother. They do lose some of their capability. However, for most the sacrifice is worth it.

What SUVs are crossovers?

One of the first obvious answers to this question is the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Palisade, and Hyundai Santa Fe. These are all based on the same platform as the new Kia Telluride. While both the Palisade and Telluride are often called midsize SUVs, they are crossovers. The Toyota Highlander and Honda CR-V are also crossovers.

RELATED: These Nissan and Kia Family SUVs Won and Award That Others Didn’t

The Toyota RAV4, which was actually the first mainstream crossover ever, is owned predominantly by women––according to Female First. In addition, Car and Driver claims that “compact and small SUVs are the only segments where the majority of purchasers are women.” So some of the family crossovers like the Honda CR-V or the Hyundai Tuscon are not only bought more by women but they are also predominately marketed as small or compact SUVs rather than crossovers.

If a model is bought more by women does that mean it’s girly?

Evidence points to no. For example, the tough, rough and tumble Toyota Tacoma pickup truck is bought by more women than men. Yet I have a hard time believing that the average consumer would look at the Tacoma and think “that’s a girly truck.”

The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro truck in the snow isn't exactly the stereotypic image of a girly vehicle.
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Toyota

Moreover, the rugged adventurous look that many SUVs boast and crossovers emulate is fading as “manly.” In fact, it seems that as the interests and priorities of men and women find increased common ground that vehicles are more marketed toward certain types of people with a wide range of needs. While many vehicles will maintain a certain ‘girly’ ideology, there are fewer and fewer vehicles produced that offer style that polarizes men and women in terms of appeal.

A silver 2021 Toyota RAV4 driving on a highway road
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 in action | Toyota

Are crossovers girly?

Crossovers are not tough, truck-like SUVs. But they aren’t necessarily girly either. They are versatile and there is a huge spread of options for consumers to choose from. Preference doesn’t have to be gendered at all. In fact, most buys will come don’t to what buyers need and how much they want to spend. We don’t recommend passing up a vehicle that fits your budget and needs just because your friend said it’s too ‘girly’ or not ‘girly’ enough.