Babble Best Picks:
Best Crossovers for the Family
With winter right around the corner and dealers clearing out the lots to make room for next year's models, now is a great time to take advantage of dealer and manufacturer incentives and shop for a new SUV. To help consumers make sense of the increasingly crowded crossover market, I examined the most popular models on the market under $35,000 and chose the best SUVs for families based on price, cargo capacity, safety, features, and fuel economy. Read More »
There are a lot of options to choose from, and many vehicles are very evenly matched. When there was a tough call in deciding which vehicle was best for the category, I took the uncertain economy and the ever-changing price fuel into consideration and gave the top spot to the less-expensive vehicle that got better gas mileage.
Safety is also a big consideration when selecting a vehicle. New car stickers have the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 5-star safety ratings on them, so here we listed the more stringent crash test scores given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). To cross-check our results, we also listed the Consumer Reports vehicle score and provided their Consumer Satisfaction rating when available.
We hope you find this information helpful in your search for a family crossover. Don't see your favorite vehicle on the list? Nominate it here! - Liane Yvkoff
Best compact SUV | 2011 Hyundai Tucson
FUEL ECONOMY: 22/32 mpg
The only thing tougher than the competition in the mid-size crossover market is the battle being waged among the compact crossovers. With a heavy dose of style and a good balance of power, fuel economy, and cargo capacity, the 2011 Hyundai Tucson has a lot to offer buyers shopping for a small crossover at a surprisingly low price.
The base model is equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and a 165-horsepower, 2.0L engine that’s just right for the size of the car. When paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Tucson gets a surprisingly better 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Designed by Hyundai’s European design team, the Tucson is one of the most stylish crossovers in its class and features flowing lines on the exterior. It looks less boxy and more sophisticated than its competitors and strikes a balance between cute and aggressive. And, earning points with parents who spend a lot of time in their vehicle, the Tucson is available with dual sunroofs.
However, putting form before function has its drawbacks, and Consumer Reports dings the crossover for its small windows, which hurts side-view visibility, especially for kids in the second row.
Other features worth noting are the Tucson’s 7-year unlimited mileage warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance for five years, which will help bring down maintenance costs.
SEATING + STORAGE
The Tucson has more cargo space than competitors, but its high-styled, sloping roof means that there is less vertical space for bulkier items or pets in the rear.
ENTERTAINMENT + NAVIGATION
Hyundai offers a respectably sized navigation system, with a 6.5-inch touch screen that interfaces with iPods. One of the best features of the system is the iPod integration that places the “shuffle” button for songs on the center of the screen instead of burying it in a menu, making it easy to access while driving.