With the ascendancy of the crossover SUV (or CUV), auto designers have a new category to play with. While the crossover segment was originally accepted to refer to unibody platform, car-based vehicles with better handling and fuel economy than traditional SUVs, the term has been increasingly used as a catchall. From vehicles such as the Subaru Forester, which would have been called a station wagon 10 years ago, to the Mazda CX-9, which is an SUV in all but name, we have seen our fair share of crossovers here at CNET Car Tech over the past year; here is our roundup.
The FX45's futuristic exterior houses a wealth of entertainment and communication tech in the cabin. Its car-based platform and brawny V-8 give it admirable performance, but you'll pay for it at the pump.
Taking its place above the CX-7 as the largest car in Mazda's lineup, the CX-9 sports a unique exterior look that embodies the company's "zoom-zoom" theme. The CX-9 works as a minivan replacement and has three rows of seats for maximum people-carrying capacity.
The 2007 Cadillac SRX is a well-appointed crossover with some neat design elements and plenty of gadgetry to recommend it to the digital-age family. Rear seating, including the optional foldable third-row seats, is arranged in what GM calls a "tiered" configuration, giving passengers in back a decent view of the road ahead by placing them progressively higher than the row in front.
A few years before automakers started jumping into the "hot" crossover market, Chrysler launched the car-based Pacifica, which lay somewhere between a minivan and an SUV. The refreshed 2007 model has a luxurious interior, peppy acceleration, and a unique navigation system.
If the job of the new crossover segment being hyped by automakers is to wean people off of gas-guzzling SUVs, the 2007 GMC Acadia represents a small step, a nicotine patch for those people having a tougher time quitting their mammoth vehicles. The Acadia has a modern, variable valve timed engine and a six-speed transmission, while its independent suspension makes for a comfortable ride. The heads-up display is a neat gee-whiz feature.
Honda has revamped its popular CR-V for the 2007 model year. Gone are the boxy lines and the barn door, replaced by a curvy crossover SUV with car-like dynamics. With its stylish exterior and interior design and a wealth of useful tech features, the 2007 Honda CR-V is a positive evolution for the popular urban SUV.
The SX-4 comes in at the small end of the wide crossover segment. The rugged little runabout comes standard with all-wheel drive, making it ideal for outdoors types prone to get stuck in the mud with other bargain basement cars.
The Forester is a classic example of a car that has been rebranded in the crossover mold. While most people might still consider it a typical station wagon, Subaru calls the Forrester an "all-utility SUV". The car's standard all-wheel-drive, high clearance, and peppy engine give it some off-road credibility not associated with your average grocery-getter.
The all-new Edge shares a platform with the 2007 Mazda CX-7--evident from the cars' similar body style--and is also the source of Ford's newfound quality touches. It combines the cargo space and visibility of an SUV with the smooth ride and fuel economy of a sedan.
Looking at the body of the 2007 Acura RDX, we couldn't help but think of it as a truck, until we got behind the wheel. And that's the essence of a crossover--a vehicle that combines the utility of an SUV with the drivability (and, ideally, some of the fuel economy) of a car . The 2007 RDX is a very fun car to drive, with a responsive turbocharged engine and excellent handling. It also has one of the best-sounding stereo systems we've heard
The release of the RX 350 for the 2007 model year brings yet another performance upgrade to Lexus's top-selling car-based SUV line. The RX 350's 270-horsepower V-6 engine and advanced driver-assist systems, combined with the car's distinctive, aerodynamic form, give it performance credentials more in line with a car than with a full-size SUV.
With sharp exterior styling; a high-tech, fuel-efficient engine available; and a range of novel interior design accents and features, the car-based front-wheel drive Compass is taking Jeep in a more intelligent, on-road direction. The Compass is an ideal car for sedate trips to the strip mall or nights out at the ballgame. Don't be fooled by its badge, though--this is one Jeep that is best kept out of the rough.