With so much choice in the car market, you’re bound to feel overwhelmed when deciding whether or not to buy a sedan or SUV-type vehicle, and with the latter increasing in popularity, there are even more compelling reasons to consider the amalgamation of these two types of vehicles: the crossover.
Popular examples include the likes of Hyundai’s Tucson and the Subaru Crosstrek, but if you’re more into contemporary-looking offerings, a review of the Hyundai Kona is must. With less of a footprint than full-size sport utility vehicles, crossovers such as these have quite a few things going for them.
A variety of options and styles
With the style increasing in popularity over the last few years, most manufacturers have a range of crossovers for buyers to peruse. From compact crossovers to off-road-focused variants, there’s a broad spectrum to choose from. Additionally, carmakers keep tabs on trends and are constantly busy modernizing and refreshing their offerings, too.
So, while some use this as a reason to refresh the styling and experiment with futuristic designs year after year, some experiment with new designs entirely. Think of the Mini Cooper Countryman, which debuted as a crossover for the iconic small car range, and is to date the brand’s best-selling model in the United States.
The segment in the USA is broad, with vehicles from reliable makers like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, as well as true luxury crossovers from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo, to name but a few. In fact, there’s nary a carmaker in the US that doesn’t have a finger in this pie.
The idea behind the design of the quintessential crossover is to maintain the maneuverability and small footprint of sleeker hatchbacks or more compact sedans, with the versatility and benefits of large SUVs.
The result of this marriage is more space inside the vehicle for passengers and cargo, but less bulk to keep city driving an easy affair. Negotiating traffic-laden streets or busy parking lots is no chore. And, generally speaking, crossovers can seat five occupants, although some push the boundary by offering a third-row seating option for two or three more bodies.
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It might be best to keep to two rows in the segment though in terms of comfort, as another row of seating eats into cargo space and is, more often than not, quite cramped. And speaking of cargo space, these cars are ideal for loading with luggage, groceries, or even the family pet, with trunk areas designed to hold more than your average hatch.
Capability and strength
An additional pro of choosing a crossover is that these sometimes come imbued with mild off-roading capability and, at the very least, the capacity to tow quite a bit more than a standard small car or sedan. This makes the crossover ideal for those who have a slightly more active lifestyle and make the effort to spend time outside of the city.
With more ground clearance to manage the road less traveled, these also can be fitted with sportier suspension setups, a 4×4 or all-wheel drivetrain, and features such as hill descent and crawl control, meaning your family trip to the local national park or the beach will be even easier.
This is a boon for those in wet-weather states, too, or those that often deal with rougher terrain or snowy conditions. And, with the right equipment, hauling a small trailer will be no effort either – making your weekend fishing or camping trip a no-effort adventure.
Another benefit that tends to be overlooked is that these crossovers benefit from car-like handling, with less bulk to move about.
They are often smooth riders, with suspensions designed to soak up bumps and maximize ride comfort.
Less to fork out at the pumps
Unlike heavy-duty carriers such as minivans, trucks, and large SUVs, the crossover segment offers some savings in terms of gas mileage, too.
The Hyundai Kona, for example, manages EPA estimates of 27/33/30 mpg from its base engine, with even the turbocharged mill on offer returning admirable figures of 28/32/30 mpg. When compared to larger variations such as the midsize SUV that is the Santa Fe, this is impressive – granted, the Santa Fe is equipped with a much more powerful motor with its 2.4-liter inline-four, but offers only 22/29/25 mpg in its most frugal guise.
To make this segment even more alluring, many manufacturers also offer hybridized versions of these crossovers, with plug-ins and even fully electric vehicles also on offer here.
The Kona itself is offered as an EV with a 258-mile all-electric range and the equivalent of 132/108/120 MPGe across city/highway/combined cycles. This also plays into the number of options available in the segment.
More affordable sticker price
Because there is just so much competition in this segment and manufacturing costs are not as high as it is for large SUVs or true luxury sedans, pricing in this category means there really is something for every budget.
Most base models start in the region of $20k, with some having an MSRP as low as $17.5k, as in the case of the Kia Soul, or just under $19k for the Hyundai Venue’s base model.
Hybrid or electric models will obviously set you back quite a bit more, as will certain brands – both the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz’ AMG GLA 35 will need a starting outlay of around $50k. And, because these vehicles are designed to carry larger groups of people and are generally family-oriented, carmakers make numerous safety features available, if not standard, on these vehicles to provide peace of mind, too.
This makes the crossover a superb value-for-money purchase.
With all of these factors to consider, there’s almost no reason not to test drive a crossover, if you’re shopping for a new vehicle.
Even second-hand, these make for brilliant all-rounders, and although they don’t offer the capacious cabins of bigger utes, or focus too much on opulence, you can get a good balance of both quite easily.