Of the title of the album and the title track, bassist Steve Dawson has said that "In England, there's a paper called the Daily Express, and on the logo at the top of the paper, there's a crusader, and there was a car made by Ford called a Cortina Crusader. That's what started it off. We just liked the name "Crusader". We didn't have any connotations of what it meant as far as history goes, but we just liked the name "Crusader", so we just wrote the lyrics to fit the title, really."
Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic gave Crusader a rating of three and a half out of five stars. He said that although by the time they released the album, "the band had obviously stopped leading the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with its aggressive, blue-collar biker anthems", the album "as a whole offers a slight improvement over the previous year's Power & the Glory from an overall songwriting perspective" and described the title track as "very unlike Saxon" but "stupendous heavy metal theater". However, he also said that the band "was perhaps taking itself too seriously" and criticised a number of tracks such as "Sailing to America" for being "tedious historical lecturing" and "Do It All For You" for being "overwrought balladry that sailed right over the heads of its intended female audience".