The SUV of the 90s and early 2000s has largely been superseded by the crossover, that blend of car and SUV providing the utility of an SUV with a more car-like driving experience. They’re great grocery-getters, carpool carriers, and general stuff haulers. As the fastest-growing new car segment in the US, they’re also easily found on the used market. But before you fall in love with that crossover, here’s a few considerations.
Small, medium, or large?
Crossovers come in lots of different sizes now, from subcompacts like the MINI Countryman to large crossovers like the Chevy Traverse. Figure out how much you need. If you regularly carry a lot of people or stuff, spring for the bigger one, but understand that you’re probably going to have to pay a bit more, both in the initial purchase price and in fuel over the long term, since larger crossovers tend to be powered by V6s, with some luxury models offering V8s.
How big is your crowd?
Your initial thoughts on size may be influenced by how many people you need to carry – and how big are those people. Subcompact crossovers generally are limited to four people, and the rear seats may not be comfortable for larger adults. Some midsized crossovers have a third-row seat option, giving you capacity for as many as eight people… or the ability to put the kids as far from the driver as possible! And if you go for the third-row seat, remember to try them out yourself and see if they’ll be comfortable, and don’t forget that your kids are going to grow!
And now for the feature.
Crossovers can be feature-rich, particularly as you get into high-line models. Consider things like cupholders, which can be numerous, power ports and outlets, and maybe rear-seat entertainment if you’re going on long trips. Other niceties can be power liftgates, which make access easier, and large moonroofs to make the interior seem bigger.
If this will be your first crossover, make sure to take a test drive. While crossovers are essentially cars under the skin, they tend to be heavier and taller, changing the center of gravity and their handling. Some handle really nicely for a large vehicle, but you have to expect a different driving experience, and it’s important to know if you’re going to like it!
When you take that test drive, make sure to get a little highway time to make sure you have enough power for passing maneuvers. If that unloaded crossover runs out of steam with just you and the salesperson, imagine that it’s probably not going to do as well with a full load.
Once you’ve figured out your needs, it’s time to head to your local US Auto Sales and pick out your crossover!