Let’s face it: the popularity of crossovers is is palpable, as they fly off showroom floors due to their one-size-fits-all attributes. We’ve put together a short guide detailing the cream of the crop, the very best of the best, and why they made the cut. Like the 2018 Nissan Murano, which packs loads of tech from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to Amazon Alexa connectivity. Or the 2017 Toyota RAV4, a model that has been popular with consumers since arriving over two decades ago and remains so boasting a healthy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and 36 cubic feet of cargo space.
In the crossover segment, the Nissan Murano has always been a product that stood out visually. The current third generation version is no exception, boasting the brand’s signature V-Motion grille, boomerang-style notched headlights, and blacked out pillars creating the illusion of a floating roof. There are also lots of unique creases and bulges throughout the bodywork giving it a particularly muscular appearance. Open up the doors and find inside a technology-forward cabin with an eight-inch touchscreen display controlling the NissanConnect infotainment system, which, for 2018, includes Amazon Alexa voice control functionality.
All trims utilize a 3.5-liter V6 motor rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, channeled through Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission that has D Step Logic, providing the feel of traditional shifting. Both front and all-wheel drive are offered.
While sold in overseas markets or quite some, Ford recently brought the Ford EcoSport stateside. The handsome subcompact SUV is all about customization: it’s sold in a wide array (10!) of paint options and customers can choose from six different interior color and ambient lighting schemes. For the audiophiles, the top-of-the-line Titanium grade comes bundled with a class-leading B&O PLAY premium stereo. And, you won’t find this feature in too many vehicles: the cargo area is accessed via a horizontal swing-out gate rather than a traditional tailgate.
Depending on preference and needs, two engines are available. A fuel-sipping turbocharged EcoBoost 1.0-liter three cylinder (123 horsepower) or a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four cylinder (166 horsepower), mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Did you know the RAV4 stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD? The Japanese manufacturer was one of the trailblazers in the small crossover game and continues to innovate by packing in a lot of cutting edge safety equipment as standard, part of the Toyota Safety Sense P suite. For example, the pre-collision system detects an imminent impact and will apply automatic emergency braking if needed; and lane departure warning alerts the driver when the wheels drift over lane markers unintentionally, and then autonomously steers everything back towards center.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder mill is both punchy and fuel efficient, achieving 176 horsepower and a consumption rating of 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on the highway, and 26 in mixed use conditions. A selectable Eco mode optimizes shift timing and throttle response to further maximize economy.