The first real crossover that started it all was the Toyota RAV4 back in 1994, and the little crossover that could spawned the most successful automotive segment in recent memory, overtaking the venerable family sedan in terms of sales volume. Now, every major automaker has at least one, and even the ultra-premium brands are cracking into the segment (Bentley, Lamborghini, Ferrari).
Now crossovers are more diverse than ever but still tick the right boxes when it comes to ferrying people and gear, as well as providing practical space. The final box is that all-important driving fun factor, and a handful of them can pull that skill of remarkably well. We've chosen three crossovers that are wildly different from one another but still manage to adroitly handle the important stuff.
2019 Volvo XC60 ($39,800 base MSRP)
When Volvo introduced its new XC90, the world noticed. In terms of looks and luxury, it could easily hold a candle to offerings from the Germans. The smaller XC60 adopted the same looks, only sleeker. Plus, it was (and is) more fun to drive, especially with the powerful turbocharged and supercharged 316 horsepower engine. The XC60 has a drive mode selector that toggles to "Dynamic" where things tighten up, and throttle responses are noticeably better, and the Swedish crossover ends up striking the proper balance between luxury and sport in terms of the ride and handling.
What you may notice more than the performance and the exterior style is the originality and beauty of the interior. The perforated leather seats are simply stunning, and they're some of the most comfortable in the industry with excellent levels of support and the right amount of cushion. High-grade metals and wood trim are the real deal, too. The big 12.3-inch digital instrument display is stunningly designed, and the 9-inch Sensus touchscreen is one of the most original infotainment setups in the industry.
2019 Hyundai Kona ($21,800 base MSRP)
You might think the Kona is small (and it is), but it's meant to slot in below the Tucson and appeal to the younger car buyer. Its youthful appeal resides in features like its compact dimensions, sporty and fun interior, and the big styling elements outside. The thin driving lights sit on top of the actual headlights, and the cascade grille's dark mesh adds the right amount of attitude. The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is a peppy one, and the Kona's throttle response and punchy verve combine with crisp handling that belies its crossover category. Man, this thing is a hoot to drive.
Hyundai didn't hold back inside, either. The body-color matching trim pieces are a nice touch that provide vibrance to an otherwise dark interior. Seats in front and back are very comfortable, even though the 2nd row might be tight for taller adults. The 8-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is crisp and easy to operate. In Ultimate trim, there's also a standard 315-Watt Infinity Premium Audio with 8 speakers that fills the cabin with rich sound. Add in the Top Safety Pick+ IIHS and a flat-loading 45.8 cubic feet with the seats folded, flat, and you have a reassuring commuter that'll make ownership far more than ho-hum.
2019 Dodge Durango SRT 392 ($62,995 base MSRP)
The base Durango is a great vehicle thanks to its muscle car styling and the roominess in all three rows. But if you upgrade to the monster SRT 392 with the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine, there's that much more to love. 475 horsepower to all four wheels will send this land rocket to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, which is righteously fast for something this big. The adaptive suspension manages the big curb weight to the point where you're not afraid to take corners hard and fast. Add on a menacing hood scoop, blacked out wheels, Brembo brakes, and SRT badging, and you have yourself a recipe for street domination and some of the most eye-opening commutes of any crossover out there.
Inside, the look and feel of the SRT 392 is sporty-premium thanks to rich full-leather seats (you can get what's called "Demonic Red Seats"), a big 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen, and big paddle shifters that make quick work with the capable 8-speed automatic transmission. In terms of space, you can seat seven occupants, and the Durango has 17.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 47.7 cubic feet with the third row folded flat, and a capacious 84.5 cubic feet with all the seats folded. That's plenty of room for more gear than you may actually own.