In an era marked by economic downturn, rising fuel costs, and overcrowded urban streets, more and more people are turning toward small SUVs and crossovers as a more practical alternative to the gas-guzzling behemoths of decades past—and automakers are responding. Featuring many of the perks of their oversized brethren—the increased towing capacity, the ample cargo space, the roomy interiors—while alleviating much of the burden experienced by traditional SUV drivers both on the road and at the pump, these vehicles are the perfect choice for adventure seekers and soccer moms alike. From luxuriously equipped high-end models such as the Infiniti EX35, to sporty and affordable options like the Kia Sportage, our list represents the best of this growing new class of automobiles.
Patriot Latitude 4x4
Combining cutting edge off-road technology with comfort-enhancing features, the all-new Patriot is as at home on city streets as it is dirt roads. However, no matter how you plan to use your Patriot, this SUV's low point of entry and class-leading 4x4 fuel economy are sure to keep you satisfied.
RDX Completely redesigned for the 2013 model year, the all-new RDX swaps out its turbocharged inline-4 in favor of a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine that utilizes Acura's fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management system. A comfortable, space-maximizing interior and available intelligent all-wheel drive make this small SUV perfect for families on the go.
Though the GMC Terrain's exterior may imitate the appearance of a bulked-up, muscular Hummer, its enhanced fuel economy and utility-friendly amenities make it a more efficient and slimmed-down SUV.
Escape Hybrid 2WD
A practical and efficient daily driver, the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid continues to let SUV lovers have their cake and eat it, too. While it looks like a sport utility, the fuel economy will soon explain otherwise with a mpg rating of 34 city/31 highway.
Mazda CX-7 i Sport FWD This no-nonsense crossover SUV offers excellent drivability and respectable fuel economy at a great price. In addition to its sporty and fuel-efficient inline-4, the CX-7 also features above-average handling and an intelligent interior.
This luxurious crossover SUV combines the cool looks and performance capabilities of Infiniti's stylish G35 sedan with the utility and versatility of a family wagon.
Nissan Rogue SL 2WD Versatile and compact, this five-passenger crossover boasts the raw power of a SUV with the stability of a sedan. Independent suspension on both front and back wheels help provide for a smooth ride.
Land Rover LR2
This impressively rugged luxury SUV adapts to suit your lifestyle, whether you're ferrying the kids to soccer practice or off-roading in Mexico.
SUV has something for everyone. Gearheads will appreciate
the amped-up performance, and luxury lovers will love
details like sixteen-way comfort seats and chrome exhaust
GLK350 4MATIC Part of Mercedes-Benz’s next big release, the GLK-class, this anticipated luxe crossover is powered by a 268 hp V6 and boasts a top speed of 143 mph. The cozy SUV also features 4MATIC all-wheel drive, all-wheel ventilated disc brakes and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Grand Vitara 4WD A well-designed and practical small SUV that's as comfortable in the city as it is off-road, the Grand Vitara comes
with Suzuki's long warranty and packs pretty good power.