Crossover SUVs: The Magnificent SevenSeptember 15th, 2015 by David Beran
SUVs are changing their stripes and crossovers combining luxury, off-road performance, speed and fuel economy are competing against each other for consumer dollars. Rivalries between models run deep and soccer moms aren’t the only ones salivating over a smorgasbord of choices. Here’s a breakdown of seven SUV crossovers and minis and what sets them apart from their competition.
Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG SUV
An unlikely hybrid of a hatchback and a small crossover, the GLA-class packs power and handles well. Races from 0-60 in an impressive 4.2 seconds and has an exceptional interior that seats five. Fuel economy spans from 25-35 mpg and the modest price proves that Mercedes-Benz is trying to make the brand available to a wider audience.
Sleek and sporty, this upscale SUV features roomier seating than former models and its distinctive rear seat allows flexibility for loading gear. While heavier than predecessors, it runs surprisingly quiet. Speed and torque are not strong suits and the HR-V takes 8.4 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph. What separates it from the pack is its five star safety rating facilitated by the state-of-the-art ACE crash-structure design.
Ford Edge SUV
Roomy enough to accommodate five with a generous amount of cargo space, the Edge puts a premium on comfort. Although the electronic navigation via touchscreen is getting grave reviews, the jury’s out on a newly-integrated stiffer body structure. The Sport model boasts a turbocharged, 2.7-liter V6 and more robust suspension tuning.
The main changes to the Terrain are the front fenders and grille and all-wheel drive and V6 upgrading are attractive options. Highway mpg is purported to be just north of 30, which outstrips the crossover competition. The Terrain is ideal for family trips save for its 64-cubic-foot cargo capacity that doesn’t stack up well to other crossovers in its class.
Building on Nissan’s global B platform, the nimble Juke achieves 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, making it the speediest of the small SUVs. Debates are raging over whether it’s compelling and funky looking or just plain ugly. Getting 27-32 mpg, the Juke is designed to take on highway driving and off-roading, but the transmission is continuously variable, cutting down on rev and making it somewhat bland.
Considered a compact SUV, the Renegade has a Selec-Terrain switch for dirt, sand or snow and ranges from 24 mpg in the city to 31 on the highway. Boasting bona fide off-road capabilities and cargo capacity for urban or suburban hauls, Jeep gives drivers manual transmission and dual-clutch automatic options. Its bold exterior embodies sturdiness and curviness and the interior is surprisingly spacious. Adding Bestop or Rugged Ridge accessories to the Renegade’s classic Jeep stylings only renders it more fit for off-roading.
An assertive exterior belies the fact that the CX-3’s interior is placid and classy and its only shortcoming may be its shortness. 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds also leaves something to be desired, but once you get past these minor drawbacks, the CX-3 impresses. Possessing vim and vigor that most crossovers lack, Mazda offers an all-wheel drive option and the 146 HP 2.0-liter four-cylinder gives the CX-3 its kick.
About the Author: David Beran
As a professional inkspiller living in Los Angeles, I’ve written in industries ranging from entertainment to employment to automotive. Terrain I cover includes off-road events and races, budget builds, custom mods, EVs and the latest innovations in aftermarket 4x4 parts. I’m always eager to learn about new trends in 4x4s and my motto is “go off-road or go home.” Google+ is the destination for my dispatches: https://plus.google.com/+DavidBeran/posts.