Big vehicles may be bold and luxurious, but they aren’t exactly ideal for the busy city streets. An executive sedan or a sports coupe may be able to squeeze in, but an enormous SUV or pickup truck just won’t cut it. This is where small crossovers come in; they mix the benefits of a practical high-rider with the maneuverability of more traditional cars. Compact and subcompact models are ideal, as well as those that slot somewhere in-between, like the new Mazda CX-30. Midsize configurations hold some appeal, too, especially for shoppers that need a third row for additional passengers.
There are plenty of options within the US market, from affordable Nissan and Honda models, all the way through to luxury nameplates from Mercedes-Benz or Volvo. Many are even available as hybrid or electric variants, adding affordability to the already appealing list of traits. Considering the saturation of the segment, competition is stiff. This is why some brands are branching out of their comfort zones. A Mazda SUV, for example, is both affordable, high-quality, dependable, and packed with modern tech. Here are just a few of the best crossovers for city living.
1. Mazda CX-30
A curious mix of the CX-3 and CX-5, the latest subcompact offering from Mazda bridges the gap between its two siblings. Savvy shoppers in the USA are always looking for the best value for their money, and that is what the CX-3 aims to be. Already an appealing crossover, it gets a little extra oomph in 2021, courtesy of a turbocharged engine on the top-tier trim. Unfortunately, that does mean spending $8k more than you would for a base model.
If you stick to the basics, you still get a very handsome vehicle with a higher-quality interior than you’d expect from this price bracket. And, even without the turbo powertrain, it’s still more fun to drive than your average, sedate high-rider. Those in the back seat get a bit more room than you get in most subcompacts, but you still shouldn’t put adults back there for too long.
2. Kia Seltos
Kia seems incapable of erring in this particular segment, with multiple nameplates earning praise across the board. The Seltos is noteworthy not just for its spacious interior and very attractive price tag, but also for its good looks. The Soul is even cheaper while still delivering excellent practicality, but the blocky design dissuades many consumers.
The base engine is a little lackluster, but there is the option of a turbocharged variant. However, you’ll have to sacrifice some fuel economy in the name of fun. Luckily, the Seltos gets such great gas mileage that you may not mind. The standard four-cylinder returns an EPA-estimated 29/34/31 mpg city/highway/combine, while the turbo gets 25/30/27 mp
3. Toyota RAV4
This is a car you see everywhere you go, which is not surprising considering it is one of America’s five top-selling vehicles. This is hardly a surprise when you look at what it brings to the table. In its standard configuration, it is a handsome, comfortable, and well-built crossover. It has a choice of two powertrains, loads of cargo capacity, and a fully decked-out safety suite. It’s not particularly fun to drive, but it will keep the whole family safe and happy.
You can add extra value to an already enticing package by opting for either the hybrid or the electric variant of the popular crossover. They are a bit more expensive but will save you money in the long run. But you also get a lot more for your money in terms of infotainment features and amenities.
4. Ford Mustang Mach-E
Speaking of electric cars, the Mach-E may be one of the most exciting additions to the segment. Bearing the Mustang logo, it sets out to redefine what an EV crossover can be, and it succeeds remarkably well. It’s quite powerful, right from the start, but you can opt for even more horsepower and torque by moving up through the trim levels. This gives it some impressive 0 to 60 mph sprint times, while still delivering top-notch MPGe figures.
Unlike some of its Blue Oval siblings, the Mach-E doesn’t cut any corners. The interior is gorgeous, not to mentions very accommodating. Those in the rear seats can stretch out on longer drives, and the 35.4 cubic feet of total cargo capacity is nothing to sneeze at. Sure, it is probably the most expensive model in this list, but it is worth the money.
5. Honda CR-V
Honda was once the name on everyone’s lips when it came to affordable, dependable, and high-quality crossovers. That’s not to say the CR-V is any less impressive than it used to be, but the competition has stepped up its game in a big way. This has left Honda playing catchup. Nevertheless, fans of the Korean automaker won’t be disappointed by what the compact crossover brings to the table.
The standard four-cylinder engine is very frugal, but a hybrid is available for the penny pinchers out there. In both guises, it supplies a cavernous cabin that is well-appointed but lacking some of the more high-tech features modern buyers are starting to expect. It is extremely safe, though, and handles like a dream around town.