Compact Crossover SUVs: Offering a Ranking System
We as consumers have spoken, the car makers of the world have answered, and what we now have is a highly competitive compact crossover SUV market that is literally filled with awesome vehicles that blend fuel mileage with performance with capability.
Many of these SUVs can handle some light offroad trail riding, some can actually tow a small trailer, and still more can handle the enjoyment of being a dynamic driving vehicle that offers more size and space than a sedan without the boring look and feeling of a minivan. In short, these are the compact crossover SUVs of 2015 and they are something to admire.
While the Sport is a great vehicle it’s not going to steal the show by any means. With a modestly powerful engine at 148 horsepower or the upgraded one that brings in 168 horsepower and the option of a CVT the Sport does offer a nice ride without insulting anyone on the road. The optional AWD helps the Sport be a vehicle that can be taken to a lake or campsite easily but it had a plain look to it that doesn’t offer any hint of being a style winner for anyone. The Sport is a nice ride and has a low starting price but is not going to excite you on a daily basis.
The Terrain is actually one of the largest players in this segment and is very comfortable, well-equipped and a great drive. With that said, the Terrain is not what a compact crossover should be; fuel efficient. For those who can overlook this negative, the Terrain offers a 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a 301-horsepower V6 along with the capability AWD adds to the vehicle. This is certainly a great choice for those who need the added space, and gives plenty to enjoy including a rugged but attractive look to the vehicle that makes it very easy to fall in love with.
The Equinox for 2015 can be described as aging, thankfully, this SUV will be restyled for 2016 and show up this fall. the Equinox has the same two engines the GMC Terrain offer and give the benefit of being one of the most technologically advanced SUVs with the addition of features such as the 4G LTE with Wi-Fi, forward collision alert, rear parking assistance and much more. As a highly attractive model, the Equinox brings in some awesome looks, great space and equipment to be another larger model that simple offers some of what most SUV owners want without the premium on fuel efficiency.
Driving the Rogue is a bit of an enigma. The look of the SUV from the outside make it look like it should be a great drive as it is attractive, athletic and just looks like it wants to get going. The driving is unfortunately a bit harsh and the power that is attached to a CVT leaves a lot to be desired. Even though the drive isn’t the best, the Rogue shows up with a fantastic upscale cabin full of luxury-like features and moving up to the higher trim levels ensures the features are as close to luxury without entering the price range as possible.
The Tucson is a fantastic small SUV. The size is perfect for the class, it has a roomy back seat, and the controls are easy to find. The suspension is active and engaging and the power is more than adequate at 164-horsepower for the 2.0-liter engine and 182-horsepower for the 2.4-liter engine. Add in the six-speed automatic transmission and this is a great SUV to drive. With attractive looks, and athletic stance and the ability to offer AWD the Tucson make a great choice in this group of crossover SUVs. An added bonus, the 2015 models will be reduced sometime in June and July to make way for the 2016 models that roll out in July.
The Sportage at one time was considered a generic SUV and did not compete highly in its class. Over the years it has been improved greatly to now live up to its name. It does this with a stance that is exciting and ready to go and a drive that is both engaging and powerful. The power comes from a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter or a 260 horsepower 2.0-turbo engine both of which are attached to a six-speed automatic transmission. The turbo offers the Sportage the advantage of being fast off the line and the space inside is enjoyable to give a great ride feeling in comfort.
Even though the Outback uses a CVT, it’s still a fan favorite and this CVT could give lessons to others on how to be a dynamic transmission. The Outback has still not declared a class, but offers its 8.7 inches of ground clearance and powerful pair of engines to enjoy. Both engines are set up with a flat format which allows the balance of the vehicle to be greatly improved with a better center of gravity to make the control easier and more enjoyable. As always, the Outback comes with standard AWD making it one of the best vehicles in its class, whichever class that may be.
The Forester has always been known as one of the most capable crossover SUVs on the market and one that easily handles itself on and off the road. The Forester offers up a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter or a 250 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo engine to attach to the CVT that has been highly developed by Subaru. The suspension has been tuned to a comfortable feeling making it easy for anyone to enjoy the drive in the Forester and head farther off road than most of the vehicles in this class. The style of this SUV is not overly enticing; it’s simple and plain in appearance but dynamic in performance.
The RAV4 is s a highly useful crossover as a people or cargo mover, but does lack the “sport” part of SUV. Even with that said, the RAV4 has been one of the most popular choices since its unveiling many years ago. The 176 horsepower 2.5-liter engine and six-speed automatic give the RAV4 plenty of utility and the ability to handle the off road challenges with the AWD aboard. The hybrid version is on its way and should prove to be exactly what is needed for the RAV4 that comes from the leader in hybrid technology.
Driving the Tiguan offers a variety of experiences from the range of models and the two six-speed transmissions, one manual and one automatic. The single engine, a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder version is a great choice, but leaves us wanting more as we all know Volkswagen has many great engines and engineering that could be put in the Tiguan. AWD is offered on this SUV and having a German player in a segment that is filled with entries from the US and Asia gives a bit of a different approach to the overall dynamics of the segment.
The Santa Fe Sport is a small five-passenger crossover that offers handsome and rugged styling along with an active and enticing driving experience. The engines include a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter and a 264-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo giving excellent power to this small SUV. Both engines enjoy the ability to be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and the availability of AWD. The handling of the Santa Fe Sport is exceptional and sharp, similar to a small sports car. On the inside this SUV offers plenty of space to enjoy the ride and a full menu of feature choices that can be selected.
Even though many don’t consider the Wrangler to be a crossover SUV, it doesn’t actually have anywhere else it can be ranked. Maybe it’s not fair to put it up against the crossovers, but it has everything we want in a crossover except fuel efficiency. The Wrangler is known as an offroad monster and offers the four-wheel drive that allows it to continue to be just that. The active suspension and ground clearance have made the Wrangler one of the most popular choices for SUV shoppers for many years and with additional models such as the Rubicon in the lineup it’s easy to find one with everything you want aboard.
The Cherokee may fit in this category more easily than the Wrangler. This SUV is considered the best-driving small Jeep and is a dynamic vehicle to fully enjoy. The Cherokee offers either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.2-liter V6 to provide the power, both of which are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission making it great for highway cruising as well as off road driving. The equipment aboard feel as if it competes better in this class than the more off road built Wrangler and the Cherokee allows a smaller price tag to be enjoyed than its larger sibling the Grand Cherokee.
The Escape offers a firm ride from a stout chassis and an engaging driving experience. The engine lineup offered includes two turbocharged engines and all are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Escape offers a great sporty appearance and an interior that is full of premium features. All of this makes the Escape one of the most dynamic, engaging and attractive driving machines on the market today. For those who don’t head off road much, the Escape has become one of the top choices to have a vehicle that does everything we want.
As the most popular SUV on the market, the CR-V will continue to be the one many choose as their daily driver or off road adventure vehicle. The stylish look as been made even better with a modern upgrade and the fun filled interior offer an even quieter ride making it easy to experience even more fun in the cabin of the CR-V. The 2.4-liter engine is now attached to a CVT that does a magnificent job of handling all the gearing needed. Taking this SUV off road allows enjoyment to continue in remote areas made for the appreciation of nature and the CR-V itself.
If you want an athletic SUV that takes both the “sport” and “utility” part seriously, the CX-5 is the right choice. The 155-horsepower 2.0-liter engine is mated to a six-speed manual, but the 184-horsepower 2.5-liter is the better choice and can be had with AWD and an automatic transmission. The style of the SUV is gorgeous and intriguing giving a great look from nay angles. Inside the CX-5 offers more than enough fun and equipment for anyone inside to have a great time on the road. The CX-5 shows us everything we may want in an SUV that will help keep the fun and excitement going.
These sixteen crossovers offer you the opportunity to enjoy some great driving and experience the power you desire in an SUV in this class. With a wide variety of equipment choices along with a great deal of amazing features that make it easy to enjoy any one of them, there is certainly going to be an SUV that is right for you on this list somewhere. The fun and the challenge will be finding the right one to give you all the excitement and enjoyment you can imagine while driving.