Four Great Small Crossovers And What Makes Them Standouts

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There are many great small crossovers on the market today. Here are four that have special abilities that go beyond what is expected in this class. 

Every vehicle segment has its standouts. In the growing small affordable crossover segment, we found four models that have something very special. Each of these four would check off a wide range of shopper must-haves. However, each also has something that makes them stand out in a segment where being great is the minimum expectation. Here’s what makes these particular vehicles special.

Subaru Crosstrek – Off-Road Capability

Subaru is known for its great all-wheel drive capability. If you haven’t driven a new Subaru in the past year or two what you may not have tried is the new Subaru X Mode system. Does your local forecast say three feet of heavy snow are on the way? Perfect time to head out! Select X Mode to blast through the heavy stuff. Did your desert off-road course just turn into a mud bog due to heavy rain? Subaru’s X Mode and nearly nine inches of minimum (not maximum) ground clearance will make the day one to remember. All the crossovers here have some all-weather and all-road capability. The Subaru Crosstrek offers all-terrain capability.

Related StoryWe Test Subaru’s Crosstrek On A Land Rover-Designed Off-Road Course.

Mazda CX-3 – Sporty Handling

Shortly after Mazda released the CX-3, it earned the top spot on Car & Driver’s comparison test of small crossovers. The folks at Car and Driver focus mainly on performance and in that test the CX-3 had the quickest acceleration time of the group to 30 MPH, to 60 MPH, to 100 MPH, and to 110 MPH. It also had the fastest time in the slalom, was the lightest, and had the lowest center of gravity. Talk about a rout! To see just what in the dickens Mazda had created we finagled a bit of racetrack time in the CX-3. On the track, we found the CX-3 had compact sports car handling and loved to be tossed into a corner. Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom genetics are found in everything it builds and the CX-3 is no exception. If you are looking for a compact sporty car with a big cargo area, look no further.

Hyundai Kona 1.6T & EV- Advanced Drivetrain Technology

The Hyundai Kona is strong in many areas. However, its drivetrain options are what impresses us most. The top two Kona trims get a gutsy 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that pulls stronger than any of its rivals. The engine is mated to a dual clutch automatic transmission that snaps off quick shifts. This makes the Kona crazy fun to push around on back country roads, or during point and shoot city driving. Hyundai also makes the Kona with an EV drivetrain. It has over 250 miles of range and nearly 300 ft-lbs of torque. As much as we love the gas turbo, we’d opt for the battery-electric Kona. Gobs of torque, a $7,500 tax deduction, $2,500 state rebate, and $9,000 in fuel savings over ten years? Yes, please.

2019 Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V – Packaging

Honda’s HR-V is one of those vehicles which you’d swear is larger on the inside than on the outside. Honda found a way to cram over 100 cubic feet of passenger space into the HR-V. The cargo area is also large for the class, yet the HR-V isn’t bigger than its peers on the outside. Despite maintaining as much interior space as possible, Honda still found room for the spare tire, standard on all HR-V trims. Still, with just size on its side, the HR-V may not have made this list of four special crossovers. What puts it over the top for us is the¬†second-row Magic Seat, which folds up, folds down and splits to accommodate a wide range of cargo needs. Crossovers are often called compact utility vehicles, or CUVs. The Honda HR-V nails that theme with its very useful and very unique second row of seating, or cargo area, depending upon what you need at that moment.

There is a long list of great crossovers from which one can choose today. However, they all have their own personalities. Which of these four appeals most to you and best suits your needs?




John Goreham

John Goreham

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