KansasKid wrote:Yeah, I knew about the Porsche and the Tiguan. Most of the other ones I was kind of lumping into the SUV category, but I'm not the most well versed at judging when an SUV stops being an SUV and becomes a CUV.
The traditional definition is based on its chassis. Basically, SUVs are truck-based and have body-on-frame chassis. CUVs are traditionally car-based and have unibody chassis. Of course, times have changed so even reputable SUVs have a unibody chassis construction like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. However, hardcore SUVs tend to have body-on-frame construction and these include the most reputable offroaders like the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, Chevy Tahoe, etc. However, body-on-frame vehicles tend to be more expensive to build, are considerably heavier, and don't dissipate impact as well in crashes. The good thing is that they are much better offroad, more durable for heavy duty usage, and are better suited for towing.
CUVs were born out of passenger car chassis and basically automakers made little "SUVs" out of them by giving them ground clearance and AWD systems. Many CUVs were, or are still, based on their car counterparts. The Subaru Forester originally used to be based on the Impreza and the Honda CR-V on the Civic. The current Mazda CX-3 is based on the Mazda2 and the Honda HR-V on the Fit.
CUVs also don't tend to have real 4x4 systems. They tend to have AWD systems. While you'll likely find a traditional three-mode 4x4 system in SUVs (RWD, 4WD High, and 4WD Low), CUVs typically only have AWD and some feature a locking center differential for when the conditions get rough. However, that's like an imitation of 4WD High so it won't get you through the rough stuff like a real 4x4 system with 4WD Low gearing. It's why CUVs are also known as "softroaders".
Basically, if the vehicle doesn't have a truck counterpart and/or doesn't have either a body-on-frame construction or a full-range 4x4 system, it's really a CUV. If it has these features, despite being very small, it's still a SUV. The Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Sidekick, 2 door Jeep Wranglers are SUVs for this reason despite being smaller than many CUVs like the Toyota Highlander, Honda CR-V, etc. It's why Suzuki SUVs are quite famous for being "mini-Jeeps" and are way more capable offroad than their rivals like the RAV4, CR-V, Forester, Escape, etc. Even today, a primitive SUV like the Suzuki Jimny will outperform a new CUV like the Jeep Renegade offroad. This is quite remarkable because the Jimny is ancient now and the Renegade is new and arguably the most offroad-capable small CUV. Here's a video from Australia comparing the two:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJMgie87afQ
Given that the Germans really don't make many traditional SUVs for the North American market, it's quite evident that the majority of their "SUVs" are CUVs. About the only hardcore SUV a German brand sells in America is the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon. Not surprising given it's based on a military vehicle. You can even get some of these with portal axles for some insane ground clearance.
Benz G-wagon with portal axles