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Crossover Guide

This newest category describes a utility vehicle, but one built on a car platform instead of a truck platform. The crossover has more carlike ride and handling and generally better fuel economy than an SUV, and more space than a station wagon.

Kia Sportage

Year: Starting at $19,000 MPG 20-27 The Kia Sportage is a realistic alternative to other small crossovers in the market, including the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. It stands out with its sharp styling, powerful engine in SX trim, lengthy warranty, and intuitive controls. Although the Sportage is a sibling to the Hyundai Tucson, it gets a unique look inside and out. One downside: the Sportage has less cargo capacity than some of its key competitors. The Sportage got a major redesign two years ago and receives only modest upgrades for the new model year. They include standard power folding outside mirrors, a new blue interior package for the EX model with dark blue cloth seats and a black headliner, standard LED accent lights for the LX and EX models, and a standard sun visor extender on all models. The base Sportage gets a 176-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. A standard 260-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine revs up the Sportage SX. While the base Sportage returns 22 mpg in city driving and 32 mpg on the highway, performance enthusiasts won’t pay too great a penalty if they opt for the turbo engine. The EPA says it returns 22 mpg in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway. The Sportage comes in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. …
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Chrysler Town & Country

Year: Starting at $29,995 MPG 17-25 While the other American carmakers were selling crossovers to moms who wanted more stylish wheels, Chrysler refused to give up on the minivan. In the 2013 Town & Country, you’ll find a more elegant family vehicle in which safety is a top priority. The minivan’s SafetyTec package provides you with blind spot monitoring, rear park assist, and rear cross path detection to help you avoid obstacles when in reverse. The car’s automatic headlamps and power mirrors adjust for easy, nighttime driving. These are great perks, as are the heated steering wheel, the 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and the fuel economizer mode, but chances are you’re going to want to keep antsy kids from chorusing “Are we there yet?” from the back seat, too. New this model year is a Blu-Ray DVD system allowing you to entertain your young passengers. There are even wireless headphones that they can use so you can have some piece of mind. Unfortunately, your quiet drive might be disturbed by the ambient road noise that fills the cabin, but with your small soccer stars and prima ballerinas occupied, it should still be a pleasant and comfortable ride. …
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Ford Edge

Year: Starting at $27,525 MPG 19-27 Ford’s Edge is all about versatility. It’s about moving beyond the carpool mindset and going for something more appealing to drive. Its looks are on the curvy side, distancing it from the boxy minivan aesthetic, yet it still has the kind of interior space a cargo- and kid-carrying family will appreciate. The Edge can be fitted with a turbocharged four-cylinder or one of two V-6 choices. With the four, fuel economy is 21 mpg in the city and an impressive 30 mpg on the highway, while the V-6s offer 19 mpg in town and 26 or 27 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive is an option for all models; it cuts fuel economy by about 2 mpg. The Edge offers well-tuned and responsive steering, along with some of the latest in safety technology: roll stability control, side air curtains for the first and second rows of seats, and blind-spot mirrors. A Blind Spot Information System is optional. Ford’s Sync multimedia system and MyFord Touch touchscreen interface are both available on every Edge except for the base model, but prepare for a learning curve. The top-end Edge, the Sport, has the biggest V-6 (305 horsepower) and lots of upscale goodies, including paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission, charcoal leather-trimmed seats with metallic silver inserts, a Sony audio system with HD radio, six-way heated power seats, twenty-inch polished aluminum wheels with black spokes, and chrome oval dual exhaust pipes. It also comes with a $10,000 higher price than the $27,525 of the base Edge, starting at $37,110. …
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Ford Escape

Year: Starting at $22,470 MPG 22-31 The Ford Escape, the top-selling vehicle in the hot small-crossover segment, is a worthy candidate in any year, but for 2013, it offers enticing safety features plus an attractive new design similar to that of other wedgy, small Fords such as the Fiesta and the Focus. It’s not only the appearance that is up to date; the 2013 Escape also has numerous top-flight safety features including roll stability control, integrated blind spot mirrors, side air curtains for the first and second rows, and an optional blind spot information system that displays alerts in the side mirrors if there’s another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. Ford is most proud of the curve control system, which automatically slows down the Escape if it’s taking corners too quickly—a segment first, the automaker notes. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s torque vectoring control, which helps the driver accelerate smoothly through a turn. Looks like Ford has all the bases covered with this five-passenger crossover. Did we mention 33 mpg on the highway, if you opt for the smallest EcoBoost engine? You would still get 178 horsepower from that 1.6-liter four-cylinder, meaning the penalty you have to suffer for good fuel economy is getting smaller all the time. …
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Subaru Forester

Year: Starting at $22,495 MPG 21-27 You may not realize it, but we guarantee that you’ve seen at least one Subaru Forester once a day during your travels. They may not belong to one of the more recent model years, but there’s a reason why so many people are still driving their ten-year-old Foresters in 2012 and it’s the reason why you should take a look at a 2013 model if you’re looking for a new crossover. It’s a basic vehicle that can take the wear and tear accompanied with carting around luggage, athletic gear, and even the family dog. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, that is definitely a plus. The 2.4-liter Boxer engine will give you a fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, which is an increase from 2011’s rating. If you want to enhance your driving experience, look into the models with the 224-horsepower turbocharged engine. For your driving safety and convenience, you can opt for adding a voice-activated navigation system to your Forester and one of two winter weather packages. Possibly the best thing about the Forester, besides its durability, is the all-wheel drive, which comes standard on all Subaru vehicles and will be with you for the years to come. …
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Honda Crosstour

Year: Starting at $27,230 The Crosstour is easily Honda’s most distinctive mid-size car, with a body more SUV-like than the studiously sedan-y Accord and Civic. The 2013 model year will bring an even more aggressive style, inching it closer to the SUV side of the crossover market. The Crosstour shares much of what’s inside with the Accord, including the engine and suspension. It also makes use of variable cylinder management, which allows the car to adjust its power to the demands of the driver and increases fuel economy. The 2013 model will come with Honda’s new safety equipment, including blind spot cameras, lane departure warning, and front collision warning. The Crosstour distinguishes itself from Honda’s other mid-size cars not only in its styling, but with its much greater capacity. With 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space, it has just about twice as much space as the Accord or Civic. Despite being one of only four Honda models not rated above 30 mpg on the highway, it still gets a relatively strong 25 to 27 mpg highway and 17 to 18 mpg in the city, enough to incite gas-pump envy from plenty of drivers. …
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Honda Odyssey

Year: Starting at $28,675 MPG 18-27 The Honda Odyssey is the kind of minivan you always hoped you’d be able to drive. It holds seven or eight people, depending on seat configuration, tows up to 3,500 pounds, and boasts almost 40 cubic feet of storage behind the third row. There’s plenty of room for storage up front, too, with a large removable center console that can fit a bag and several water bottles. For trips to Ikea or cross-country moves, the rear seats fold seamlessly into the floor to maximize cargo space. The Odyssey runs a V-6 engine with either a five- or six-speed automatic transmission. It has Honda technology that allows some cylinders to shut off when not in use, helping it achieve a class-high 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Perhaps best of all is an available giant rear video monitor with a split-screen to avoid tantrums if your brood can’t agree on a movie. The Odyssey’s price is high, its design is far from sexy, and it can be a little slow to accelerate and decelerate, but otherwise it is just about everything you could ask for in a minivan. …
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Volkswagen Tiguan

Year: Starting at $22,995 MPG 18-26 Many Volkswagens have quirky names, but the Tiguan takes the cake for originality. The name is a portmanteau of “tiger” and “iguana.” It is unclear specifically which iguana-like qualities Volkswagen hopes to embody in the Tiguan, but for a car this utile, we’ll give the name a pass. Conceived as a larger alternative to the Golf , the Tiguan has space for five and can tow up to 2,200 pounds. The cargo hold is large, especially with rear seats down. The Tiguan a prime example of a crossover, combining true versatility with a powerful, turbocharged engine and a smooth ride. Missing from the Tiguan is good gas mileage. It doesn’t quite make the 30-mpg mark, one of only three Volkswagens to miss that milestone. The controls are familiar and easy to use, and the interior is equally user-friendly. Each seat in the back row folds separately, so you could fold down one, two, or all three to accommodate anything from skis to flea market finds. There is an available panoramic sunroof, touchscreen, and six-disc CD changer with MP3 hookup and SD card input. With all your photos and music stored in the dash, you may not mind playing chauffer to the kids. …
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Volkswagen Routan

Year: Starting at $27,020 MPG 17-25 Volkswagen’s minivan is really Chrysler’s minivan, modeled after the Town & Country and manufactured in a Chrysler plant. That does nothing to reduce its extreme convenience, though. The Routan seats seven comfortably, and the rear seats can do all types of gymnastics, allowing you to fold them completely into the floor for a flat cargo area or flip them around for comfortable tailgating. The front and second rows have roomy captain's seats, available in leather or leatherette. Perhaps the Routan’s most impressive features are its thirteen cupholders, including four mounted on a sliding center console. It’s not entirely clear why thirteen cupholders are necessary in a car whose maximum capacity is seven, but Volkswagen certainly has not skimped on convenience. The V-6 engine is powerful enough to carry a loaded Routan, though this has a predictable negative impact on the Routan’s fuel economy. The exterior says “minivan” louder than it says “Volkswagen,” but it does come in fun colors like Deep Claret Metallic and Mariner Blue to add a touch of excitement. …
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