The terms "crossover" and "SUV" are often used interchangeably to refer to higher-riding vehicles with hatchback-style cargo areas and available four-wheel or all-wheel drive. In many ways, "crossover" is used as an adjective to describe a type of SUV. However, by traditional definitions, an SUV uses body-on-frame construction like a pickup, and a crossover features unibody construction like a car. As a result, a crossover sacrifices towing and hauling capability for greater interior space and less weight, which in turn benefits fuel economy and agility. Here are our top crossover choices.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda HR-V: The subcompact crossover segment is relatively new, and we don't consider any of its increasing number of entries to be all-stars. Each has fundamental flaws, such as the HR-V's feeble power, frustrating touchscreen and potentially uncomfortable driving position. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like: specifically, the HR-V's unmatched interior space and versatility. It offers genuine backseat space that allows the HR-V to serve families in a way others in the segment cannot. Its unique flipping and folding Magic rear seat also provides far more cargo space than its rivals. It's a good crossover for those shoppers who want to get the most space with the smallest exterior dimensions, highest fuel economy and lowest price.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda CX-3: The CX-3 definitely lives up to the descriptor "subcompact" because its limited backseat and cargo space will lessen its appeal for many. It also doesn't offer much of an elevated seating position that you might expect from a crossover. Yet, the little CX-3 largely excels in ways the HR-V does not. It achieves class-leading fuel economy but also provides the best acceleration. It's also fun to drive thanks to its sharp handling. The CX-3's available all-wheel-drive system sets it apart from similarly sized hatchbacks, and we also think it looks fantastic inside and out. It's a crossover for those who prioritize everything except utility.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek: The Crosstrek is just an Impreza hatchback with extra ground clearance and some more rugged styling flourishes, but the result is nevertheless a vehicle that compares quite favorably with the more traditional subcompact crossovers. It will tackle light-duty trails without issue, and its cabin features an honest, no-frills design with decent materials, simple controls and comfy seats. The Crosstrek's cargo area and backseat are what you'd expect from an average compact hatchback (because it is one), and its fuel economy is only so-so. But in total, the little Crosstrek is a good alternative for outdoorsy sorts who don't need a bigger crossover.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda CR-V: Last year's CR-V was a well-rounded crossover that readily met the needs of most shoppers. Ample passenger space, an enormous cargo area with a low load height, a fuel-efficient engine, confident handling, generous feature content, renowned reliability and strong resale value checked off virtually every box for crossover shoppers. Well, all of that carries over to the redesigned 2017 CR-V, which is polished up with sharper styling, a higher-quality and more functional interior, even more space and feature content, a new, more efficient turbocharged engine and greater overall refinement. The bar has been raised even higher.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Escape: The Escape doesn't get a full redesign like the CR-V, but a substantial update for 2017 keeps the Escape highly competitive. Beyond its revised exterior styling and new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, the 2017 Escape's key improvements are to its feature content and interior functionality. It's now available with Ford's new Sync 3 touchscreen interface (a great improvement over the old MyFord Touch), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a variety of accident avoidance tech and driver aids. A redesigned center console also makes the Escape far friendlier for your smartphone and various odds and ends. Meanwhile, its sharp driving manners, punchy turbocharged engines and just-right size for many continue to be key appealing attributes.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Subaru Forester: It's not the biggest or the prettiest, the fanciest or the most efficient or the most fun to drive. Yet, the Subaru Forester provides rugged, no-nonsense transport for those seeking an unabashedly sensible compact crossover. It has a large cargo area with a reasonably low load floor and a boxy shape ideal for hauling big items or large dogs. Its airy cabin provides unmatched versatility. The backseat is comfortable and spacious. The ride is soft and secure. There are simple, easily reached controls, including those for the user-friendly touchscreen interfaces. Plus, it has standard all-wheel drive and an optional turbocharged engine that provides best-in-class acceleration.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Expansive passenger and cargo space is not the Grand Cherokee's forte, but there is a solidity, composure and overall refinement to this excellent Jeep that makes it rise above the typical midsize crossover. Take its upper Overland and Summit trim levels, for example, which are priced like luxury models and look and feel every bit the part. Beyond its high-quality cabin and obvious off-road talents, the Grand Cherokee boasts exceptional towing abilities, especially with its EcoDiesel V6 that manages to match the tow rating of the also-optional V8 but betters the fuel economy of the standard gas V6.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Kia Sorento: Yes, the Kia Sorento is available with seating for seven, but unlike the vehicles in our midsize three-row segment, the Sorento's aftmost quarters are more of an occasional, kids-only proposition. That's OK, though. Its lower price point and more manageable exterior dimensions should be appreciated by those who don't really need that much room. Beyond that, the Sorento offers an attractive, well-made cabin, ample cargo space, abundant features for your money and a strong V6 engine. (The four-cylinder engines are less appealing.)
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Subaru Outback: Some would consider the Outback the original crossover because it added traditional SUV traits (extra ground clearance, all-wheel drive, rugged body cladding) to a car-based wagon body. Indeed, today's crossovers have far more in common with the Outback than the truck-based SUVs that spurred their popularity. Perhaps fittingly, though, the current Outback has become a bit more SUV-like, with larger proportions taking precedence over agility. We like how the 2017 Subaru Outback represents a versatile, family-friendly vehicle that provides the sort of space, quality, comfort, safety and all-weather capability people are looking for from a midsize crossover — even if it's technically a wagon.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Pilot: The Pilot is a must-drive for those looking for a three-row family crossover. It all starts with its size. The Pilot boasts more interior space than many rivals, and its adult-friendly third row and cargo capacity are excellent. Yet Honda has somehow made the Pilot easy and relatively nimble to drive. The cabin quality is also very good, the driving experience strikes a good balance between comfort and control, and its V6 engine provides strong acceleration and good fuel economy. It's a total crossover package.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda CX-9: Should you be trading in a fun sedan or coupe for a big family crossover, perhaps kicking and screaming, then the Mazda CX-9 should make the transition a lot less painful. Yes, it has three rows of seats, plenty of cargo space, and all the family-friendly infotainment and safety tech you'll desire. But the sleekly styled CX-9 stands out with a more involving driving experience in keeping with the rest of the Mazda brand. Its cabin design is also more like that of a car than a family crossover or minivan. The CX-9 maybe not be as utilitarian as some rivals, but we think a lot of folks will be just fine with that.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Highlander: The Highlander gets some revised styling for 2017 and a more powerful and efficient V6 powertrain, but it's the now-standard suite of accident avoidance tech that really stands out. Forward collision warning is optional on all competitors and usually available only on upper trim levels. Otherwise, the Highlander continues to provide a just-right size for most families, a functional and well-made cabin, and a driving experience that strikes a good balance between comfort and handling response. It's a top choice and a must-drive for anyone shopping in this segment.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Explorer Sport: Every Ford Explorer is a capable family vehicle, but the majority of its trim levels fall short of the above selections on our list. The exception would be the Explorer Sport. Its turbocharged V6 engine provides impressive acceleration, and the Sport's firmer suspension tuning transforms the Explorer from ponderous to sporty without ruining the ride quality. If you're begrudgingly transitioning from a smaller, more nimble car, the Sport, like the CX-9, is a great choice. And, like every Explorer, it still has a high-quality, technology-packed interior that features superior cargo space behind its third row.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Flex: This is the last year for the Ford Flex and it sadly won't be replaced. It has been one of our favorite family haulers since it debuted all the way back in 2009 for its ability to provide equal parts utility and style. As long as you get the sliding second-row captain's chairs, adults can fit comfortably in all three rows with a surprising amount of room remaining for their luggage. The driving experience is a bit more carlike than in its competitors, and it's available with the same class-leading turbocharged V6 as the Explorer Sport. Although it is certainly a bit long in the tooth in some areas, we'll be sorry to see the Flex go and we urge you to consider it while you still can.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Acura RDX: The RDX is perfect for those looking for a functional, family-friendly small crossover that's more lavishly equipped than the Honda CR-Vs and Toyota RAV4s of the world. Indeed, the RDX isn't an overtly luxurious crossover, but it's put together well, has proven to be quite reliable, and has more passenger and cargo space than most compact luxury SUVs. You also get far more feature content for your money than in its competitors. The RDX is a luxury value if there ever was one.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW X3: The X3 has been around longer without a redesign than most competitors, but it remains a well-rounded compact luxury crossover. It provides more backseat and cargo space than most, and it has BMW's typical combo of sharp handling and composed ride. We also like the X3's diverse range of engines that include an fuel-efficient diesel, a performance-oriented, turbocharged inline six-cylinder and a Goldilocks "just-right" turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers excellent acceleration and fuel economy. There's a reason the X3 has served as a benchmark for so many other crossovers.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace: Plenty of people will consider the Jaguar F-Pace for its good looks alone. But its powerful supercharged V6 and sharp handling should also carry a lot of sway. In other words, the F-Pace could be a very emotional purchase. But there are some rational reasons to buy an F-Pace. It's respectably spacious for passengers, has one of the highest ground clearances and offers a lot of features for the money. And its optional diesel engine delivers high fuel economy. Here's an opportunity to think with your heart and your head.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: It may not be the most spacious choice out there, but the GLC checks off most other boxes. It looks fantastic and has an elegant cabin boasting excellent quality and abundant feature content. The latter is particularly well-executed, proving that features such as ventilated seats and adaptive cruise control aren't all created equal. And then there's the ultra-refined driving experience that cossets and isolates you yet also provides more than enough feedback if you prefer your crossover to err on the side of sporty. Really, no search for a compact luxury crossover would be complete without considering the GLC.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Porsche Macan: The Macan is every bit as great to drive as its Porsche badge would indicate. The nimble Macan is the dynamic leader in this segment, from the base four-cylinder model up to the Turbo model and its sports-car-like acceleration. At the same time, the Macan has a meticulously crafted cabin that can be customized however you'd like it. True, it has less space and a higher price than most, but on the whole the Macan is fantastic.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Acura MDX: The MDX is a luxury crossover that's built to a higher standard than three-row family crossovers such as the Honda Pilot and is available with more premium features, but it's not quite as stylish or traditionally luxurious as its competitors listed below. And frankly, the Acura name doesn't pack quite as much cachet. But that's OK because the MDX also has a lower price tag. It's also able to literally carry more — it's one of the most spacious luxury crossovers. That roominess helps make it a go-to choice for families, along with top crash scores and the standard AcuraWatch suite of accident avoidance tech.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW X5: The X5 was one of the first luxury crossovers and continues to be one of the best today. Though originally it put a priority on sportiness, it has changed things up to be one of the most luxurious. Its cabin gives up nothing to that of the BMW 5 Series sedan in terms of quality and features, while its comfortable ride and impeccable refinement make it one of the most pleasant crossovers to spend time in — whether behind the wheel or in the backseat. We also appreciate its diverse range of engines, including turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder engines and an efficient diesel choice, as well as the high-performance X5 M and the new xDrive40e plug-in hybrid models.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: Sure, as the name suggests, the Range Rover Sport is sportier than the regular, higher-lux Range Rover. But it's also more practical, too, given its kid-friendly third-row seat. Otherwise, you get the same sort of impeccable quality and style, refined road manners and go-anywhere off-road capability that has made the name Range Rover almost synonymous with the term "luxury SUV." We recommend the robust, efficient and surprisingly hushed diesel six-cylinder as the go-to engine option, although it'd be hard to say no to the 510-horsepower or the 550-hp supercharged V8.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Lexus RX 350: Today's RX 350 adds bold styling, a strikingly modern cabin and more responsive driving dynamics to the RX's traditional attributes of comfort, dependability and impeccable quality. It doesn't have as much cargo space as past RXs or its competition (many of which have three seating rows), but the RX still has plenty of room for four people. Of particular note for 2017 is that it now comes standard with forward collision and lane departure warning systems. If we were to recommend a particular version, it would be the F Sport, which provides a better ride and improved handling thanks to its adaptive suspension.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Porsche Cayenne: It's probably not surprising that the Cayenne is one of the sportiest crossovers available. There are also varying degrees of sportiness available, though, ranging from the base model all the way up to the positively nutty Turbo S. As for its crossover credentials, it has an exquisitely crafted and highly customizable cabin with a comparatively modest but still usable amount of space. It won't suit everyone's lifestyle or budget, but the Cayenne is nevertheless a great luxury crossover.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Volvo XC90: The XC90 proves a three-row family crossover doesn't have to be dull to look at or dreary to drive. Indeed, the XC90 is stylish and luxurious enough for those without families to yearn for its sleek styling and oh-so-Scandinavian interior. Yet you still get top-notch quality, sublimely comfortable front seats and impeccable safety credentials. And as long as you skip the big 21- and 22-inch wheels, it features nicely balanced ride and handling, too. Volvo offers a three engines, including a turbocharged four-cylinder (T5), a turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder (T6) and a plug-in hybrid (T8). The T6 is the one to get in our opinion, given its blend of power, fuel economy and affordability.
Find out how much your car will cost over time.