Despite our lack of love for these machines, they are cars that people love to buy, so we felt we had to rank our favorites, despite not really having a favorite. It’s more like a list from the vehicles we can’t stand to the machines we could tolerate.
In order to rank these crossovers we had to look at them in a few ways. The reason for buying one of these is practicality, safety, style, and comfort. That’s what the public is looking at. We, on other hand, will incorporate those with our own interests, such as speed, driving dynamics, and coolness level. All of these machines will cost under $30,000.
There are plenty to choose from, with options from Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota. Not to mention the smaller companies like Hyundai and Kia who are creating better machines on a monthly basis. So, do these new boys have what it takes to take down the old veterans?
Hit the jump to find out.
10) Ford Escape
If what you’re after is safety and decent performance, the Escape is right up your alley. If you want crisp handling, a well-laid out interior, and a good transmission; look elsewhere. The 2010 Ford Escape has a few things to like about it, but there are also many things to hate about it. The climate control and the stereo equipment are disappointing and the transmission is awful. The price is around $21,020 and for something that feels outdated, it just isn’t worth it.
9) Chevrolet Equinox
We like the look of the new Equinox, which we don’t say too often about Chevrolet products, but there are just too many issues with it to move it up the list. The interior materials leave a lot to be desired and there isn’t a whole lot of space for stuff like you would find in some of the rivals. The steering is horribly lifeless and some of the buttons are hard to reach. As far as practicality goes, this car isn’t scoring high. The same can be said for driving dynamics. Prices start at $22,614.
8) Subaru Forester
We really like the Forester for its unique approach to the world of the crossover. It’s slightly lower than the normal family tank, but it can do things that the Mazda CX-7 and Chevrolet Equinox could only dream of. Buyers will get all-wheel drive as standard, great engine choices, and a very roomy cabin. On the downside, the materials are a little bargain basement and the transmission is a little outdated. Prices start at $20,295.
7) Mazda CX-7
If style and fun are what you’re after, the CX-7 is just perfect. The drive is pretty sporty and the handling is good, considering the big heavy body. The build quality is top-notch and the styling is very good as well. On the downside, there isn’t a whole lot of room in the cabin and the engines are a tad thirsty. Prices start at $21,700.
6) Mitsubishi Outlander
This is a crossover that seems to be forgotten about, but isn’t all that bad. We are huge Mitsubishi people, except for the Evolution of course, but the Outlander is pretty good. The styling will turn heads and the driving dynamics will make owners smile. The rear-lift gate makes loading easy and the warranty will keep owners worry-free. The interior plastics are a tad poor, but that’s about all we can find wrong with the quirky little crossover. Prices start at $20,800.
5) Hyundai Tucson
We really like the look of the new Tucson inside and out. If you want a vehicle that will turn heads, this is the one to get. The drive isn’t that bad either, as the handling is crisp and precise. The controls are well laid out and the price is cheap enough for any family. Some might be turned away by the harder ride and the badge, but we weren’t. Prices start at $18,995.
4) Kia Sorento
The new Sorento is a real player in the crossover market, but there are a few things that hold it back. The ride is hard and the five-passenger model lacks a sliding second-row seat. On the plus side, the engines are good, the interior is well laid-out and well made, the price is low, and the warranty is high. The handling is even good. Prices start at $19,995.
3) Toyota RAV-4
Like the Ford Edge, there is a lot to not like about the RAV-4, but there is far more to love about it. The ride is smooth and comfortable, the fit and finish is what you would expect from Toyota, the motors are strong and economical, and the interior has enough room for anything you might need. The interior does have a cheap feel to it, the side-hinged rear gate impedes curbside loading, and the driver seat is a tight fit for taller drivers. That being said, it’s miles ahead of the Edge. Prices start at $$21,675
2) Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a cleanly styled small crossover with good build quality and decent performance. The interior is well laid-out and they are built to a high standard. The handling is crisp and the crash scores were very good. On the downside, there is no third-row seat or sport-shift mode. Prices start at $21,545
1) Volkswagen Tiguan
If you can afford the extra few thousand for the Volkswagen it will be worth it. For that higher price you get German build quality and engineering, which is hugely impressive in the new Tigaun. The engines are peppy and the handling is brilliant. The crash scores were very high and the interior is a nice place to be. Like we said earlier though, the price is a tad higher at $23,200, but it’s well worth it. If they offered it in a diesel it would really put this machine over the top.
This top ten might not have been as fun to work on over the week as the top ten sports cars, but after some time in each of these machines we think we got ourselves a pretty decent list. The Volkswagen is great because it’s rare and it’s different. It drives well, is built to the highest level of quality, and will be worth a pretty penny more than the most of the other machines on this list when it comes time to trade in. A smart buy for the family man.