When SUV crossovers came out in the mid-1990s, it didn’t take long for the niche to become worldwide bestsellers. By the 2010s, these vehicles seem like they’re everywhere. Crossovers sell 3 times the sales volume of SUVs and minivans combined. They’re even challenging the sales numbers of sedans (aka “regular cars) as 2 crossovers are sold for every 3 sedans sold.
These vehicles became popular because they drive like regular cars yet they give the impression of a larger size. They’re very comfortable, and in a sense you get the best of what cars and SUVs have to offer.
It’s often said in jest that from a distance, you’d be hard put to tell the difference between one crossover to another. Yet they can be very different from one another indeed, and some are definitely better than others. Here are the picks that many experts list when it comes to the best SUV Crossovers:
1. Kia Soul. As it’s a Kia, it’s quite reliable and yet so affordable. This model has been praised by experts and customers alike, and in fact it has received several “Crossover of the Year” awards. It seems playful and yet it’s so useful too. You have a choice of engines, with the fuel-efficient 130-hp 1.6-liter inline-4 with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission or the 201-hp turbo 1.6-liter four that teams with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. If you want a compromise, there’s also the 161-hp 2.0-liter four engine with the automatic.
2. Hyundai Kona. Here’s another example of a rather playful styling for a crossover that promises a fun ride. For your engine and transmission, you can choose between the 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 175-hp turbo 1.6-liter four with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Front wheel drive is standard, but you can opt for AWD for any of the engines. It also has the standard 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
3. Mazda CX-3. The styling is fun and edgy, and it offers sharp handling for drivers. This comes with sport-tuned suspension, while the wizards at Mazda found innovative ways to cut down on weight to make it easier to handle. The inside is quite nice too, with a great design and luxurious materials. You get a 146-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 6-speed automatic with front-wheel drive but AWD is an option.
4. Nissan Kicks. This is Nissan’s replacement for the discontinued Juke, and it’s a sassy alternative for many young families and urban dwellers. This is mainly for city driving, as you only get the 125-hp inline-four along with with a CVT and front-wheel drive. But families will appreciate the smooth ride and larger interior space. Standard features include automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning so that your family is much safer on the road.
5. Subaru Crosstrek. This is the crossover for the adventurous, as AWD is standard in this model. In addition, the 8.7 inches of ground clearance anticipate your need to go off-road once in a while. This is more for regular driving than for speeding, as you get a 152-hp 2.0-liter flat-four engine along with either a 6-speed manual or a CVT. The interior design is understated and sedate, and it offers great outward visibility and supportive front seats.
6. Nissan Rogue Sport. The original Rogue crossover was a smash bestseller, and this Rogue Sport version is its smaller but spunkier little brother. You get a 141-hp 2.0-liter inline-four with a CVT driving the front wheels, although you can opt for AWD. It’s very spacious, nicely appointed, and extremely stylish.
7. Buick Encore. Never let it be said that only the Asians can provide the perfect crossover. Buick may be an expert on big cars, but the Encore proves that it can go small with as well. Under the hood, you can opt for the 138-hp 1.4-liter turbo-four engine if you tend to drive light in the city. But if you’re carrying more weight, you can go with the 153-hp engine instead. It offers an extremely smooth ride while the handling is sharp.
8. Jeep Renegade. Yes, this has been called the “cutest” of all the Jeep in history. But it can be a workhorse too if you need it to be. The standard engine option is the 160-hp turbo inline-four which comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. If you need even more power, you can go for the 180-hp four with a 9-speed automatic transmission. AWD is also an option.
9. Fiat 500X. This retains the classic charm of the iconic Fiat 500, but now you get more breathing room inside along with more functionality with all-weather capability. The base model gives you a 160-hp 1.4-liter turbo four, with FWD and a 6-speed manual. But there’s a 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder option with AWD too.
10. Ford EcoSport. As you may have guessed from the name, this crossover offers a fuel-efficient yet sporty vehicle with a 6-speed automatic. You can opt for a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder with front-wheel drive for fuel savings, but you can also pick a 2.0-liter four with optional AWD.
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