The author did a bit of tap-dancing when compelled to defend his conclusion that the Eagle was the first crossover SUV. It's true the Subaru of the 70s was 4-wheel drive, but with the oddity of engaging the rear axle when the driver selected it instead of the front. However, the Subaru did not measure up to the Eagle if only because the driver manually engaged 4-wheel drive instead of the system automatically apportioning power to each axle as did the Eagle.
Moreover, the beauty of the Eagle was the utter simplicity that characterized the 4-wheel drive system's execution. Perhaps today's electronically-controlled systems are more efficient that the Eagle's fluid coupling, but at what price? And the Subaru's system of that day required disengaging 4-wheel drive on dry hard-surfaced roads, whereas the Eagle's system was designed from the get-go to remain in 4-wheel drive at all times.
I still think the Eagle's status as North America's first crossover SUV is safe.