The Whole Package: 5 Perks of Cruising in a Crossover Vehicle

Crossover vehicles are the dark horse of the automobile industry. Minivans had their day, but soccer moms demand more. Actually, soccer dads are probably demanding more too. With automakers' recent struggles, it's amazing that anyone is buying anything anymore. It used to be that SUVs were the go-to vehicle for families. The problem is that, while SUVs have size, they don't have fuel efficiency and they also aren't always comfortable.

Enter, the crossover. It's a mix between a car and an SUV, and it has many of the attributes of a minivan without the stigma of "mom jeans."

They're Stylish Now

Styling isn't always the most important factor, but no one really wants to drive around in a box or something that looks like it came from the '70s. Car manufacturers are keen to the importance of style, and have updated it in their new offerings. They're also experimenting on consumers. Some companies are making their crossovers smaller than the previous market standard. Others are testing the idea of larger vehicles. What does this mean for you? It means more choice.

They're Better With Gasoline

Old SUVs used to get 13 MPG, but that just won't do today. gas prices are rising, and they might keep going in that direction if oil refining doesn't pick up soon. On the other hand, if you need to tow a boat behind you, the old crossovers can't "man up" to the job.

Today's crossovers offer more power, yet they're easier on your wallet at the pump. Part of the innovations here come from a switch to more conservative engine sizes. The Toyota RAV-4 is a 4-cylinder that boasts 22MGP in the city and 28MPG on the highway. The company's Highlander Hybrid mates an electric engine with a traditional gasoline one, and achieves 280 horsepower with an EPA rating of 28 MPG on the open road.

There Are Lots of Extras

Gone are the days of crank windows and no A/C. Even with SUVs, you had to sacrifice some of the creature comforts. But, with the new generation crossovers, you actually get as many options as you do with cars. For example, the Chevy Traverse has a towing capacity of 5,200 lbs. That's enough to tow just about anything except a semi.

All-wheel-drive is another important feature than manufacturers are adding to many of these vehicles. When you look at the Outback vs Forester, you suddenly realize that both are good choices, and one of the reasons why is because the manufacturer has gotten smart about what will be important to a family - namely, safety. And, there are few recent technological innovations that are safer than AWD.

The Third Row

Unlike being the third wheel in a group of friends, there's nothing social awkward about having a third row in a vehicle. In fact, having one makes it a lot easier to transport kids - even ones that aren't yours. And, that's a reality in today's world. You trade off taking kids to soccer or baseball or whatever. You might also arrange play dates or take your kid's friends out with you.

Robert Navarro is a car connoisseur with a passion for innovation and practicality. When not researching trends and auto tech, he enjoys blogging about the ins and outs of the industry.
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