Sedans and wagons have their charms. But crossovers can go the extra mile.
Crossovers may not be as easy on the eyes as low-slung coupes and stylish sports sedans, but they have other benefits. One of the easiest to understand is cargo capacity. A Subaru Legacy sedan is a roomy five-passenger vehicle, but it has just 15 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Sure, you can load up the back seat in a pinch, but you still won’t come close to the 76 cubic feet of cargo volume a Forester offers when the rear seats are folded. If you are moving a student to or from college, that space is very valuable. One bonus to a crossover is that when it pours rain you can stand under the open hatch while you load and unload the cargo area.
Another advantage to the cargo area of crossovers is the flat floor. Unlike many sedans, there is no lip to lift items over. The cargo area is also higher up and that means loading and unloading bulky items is done without as much bending and twisting. Your back will thank you.
Small crossovers like the Hyundai Kona may not have the same total volume that a vehicle the size of a Tucson crossover does, but that same flat floor and high roofline make it easy to slide in a long item like a bicycle. With crossovers, the cargo space is essentially a cube. This makes the most of the storage capacity for a given footprint.
Crossovers are cars that have “crossed over” from SUVs. There was a time when crossovers were arguably just all-weather versions of tall wagons. That time has come and gone. Many popular crossovers are truly all-road capable and that includes fire roads and back-country trials that Jeeps and pickups can run. The added ground clearance and tougher suspension of crossovers like the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and the Subaru Crosstrek make these crossovers almost shockingly capable off-road. They may have started off as all-wheel-drive wagons, but many crossovers today come with no compromise in all-terrain capabilities.
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Although a wagon with all-wheel drive and snow tires is one of the best winter-weather setups possible, the fact is that when the white stuff piles up the low front fascia and long overhangs at the front and rear of wagons is a limitation. When the big blizzards hit, the ability to blast through plowed-up street entrances without pushing the foglights into the wheel wells is meaningful. Add in a few extra inches of ground clearance and the benefits of a crossover in serious winter weather are hard to dismiss.
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Coupes, sedans, and wagons all have their merits. However, when it comes to practicality, flexibility, and convenience, it is no surprise that crossovers are growing rapidly in popularity.