Buying Guides

The 5 Best Totally New Crossovers for 2017

These new designs take crossover utility vehicles to a new level

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

Crossovers are popular because of their versatility. They can be good at just about anything. The vehicle type is a practical and attractive form that offers enough space for multiple passengers, plenty of power in most situations, and attractive SUV-like looks in a smaller package. Automakers blur lines between traditional vehicle segments with crossovers, and this means they can cater a specific vehicle to a large or small target market with ease. The following five models aren't too much alike, but they all have distinct offerings that attack a variety of consumer pain points. If they fit your needs, you should take a closer look at these new and innovative designs.

2017 Jeep Compass


for Off-roading

  • PROS: Can be equipped for some serious off-roading, attractive Grand Cherokee-like exterior, composed on the road.
  • CONS: Sluggish engine and automatic transmission make accelerating laborious, somewhat grabby brake pedal, the seating position isn't quite right.

Jeep was in dire need of updating the Compass. The model was far behind the competition in just about every category, but those days are over. The new Jeep Compass ($20,995 base MSRP) is better than ever before and will likely bring in a wide variety of buyers that want a CUV that can handle the tasks of everyday family life to the rigors of a tough off-road trail or two. Powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the new Jeep Compass comes equipped to take on practically anything, and that’s what makes this new design so alluring. Skip the old Compass even though Jeep is still selling it. Go straight for the new design.

2017 Mazda CX-5


for twisty roads

  • PROS: Excellent handling and steering, good brakes and engine, sexy exterior, comfortable interior.
  • CONS: The engine only has a few more horses than the last generation, lightweight doors can be hard to close, nose sticks out farther than front bumper and invites damage.

If you want a crossover with the heart of a sports car, look no further than the Mazda CX-5 ($24,045 base MSRP). It’s one of the best driver’s CUVs out on the market. This vehicle is perfect for the person who loves to drive but has to get something that’s practical and family friendly. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine moves the vehicle along with gusto and gets 31 mpg on the highway. Its available all-wheel drive means it’s a good vehicle all year round, too. If you liked the exterior of the previous CX-5 you’re bound to love this one. It’s more dramatic and interesting without being over the top, and the interior is upscale and comfortable for the whole family. The CX-5 can’t take on the Compass off-road, but on pavement, it dominates.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

  • PROS: Plenty of space in all seats, powerful V6 available, quiet cabin, and composed ride.
  • CONS: Somewhat boring to look at, the slow transmission makes for lackluster acceleration, four-cylinder engine isn’t very powerful.

Chevrolet’s Equinox ($32,100 base MSRP) has been a successful model over the years. The company has sold millions of them, but the issue with this particular crossover is that it’s never been a true competitor with the top of the class CUVs like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue. The Equinox has always just been good, never great. That changes with the new design. The redesigned Equinox takes the model up a few notches and makes it a real competitor. It’s got a more spacious and people-friendly interior, a strong available V6 engine, and tons of optional technology. If you’ve considered the Equinox before but didn’t pull the trigger, you can now buy the vehicle knowing it’s the best it has ever been.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

  • PROS: Sportier looks, less expensive than the standard Rogue, brings the Rogue’s offerings to consumers in a smaller package.
  • CONS: Less cargo space and interior room than its bigger sibling, not much new in terms of technology or mechanical equipment.

Nissan’s Rogue is the best-selling car in America right now. The Rogue Sport ($21,420 base MSRP) is essentially a significantly smaller version of the standard Rogue. It shares most of its mechanical equipment with the original crossover. Known as the Qashqai around the world, the Nissan Rogue Sport is a little more athletic-looking than its larger sibling thanks to the shorter overhangs and tighter styling. Still, it pretty much looks the same in terms of performance. The vehicle has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood that’s mated to a CVT. All-wheel drive is available. All the technology fixings that you’d expect to find in the standard Rogue appear in the Rogue Sport as well. If you really like the regular Rogue, but it is a little too big for you, the Rogue Sport is a logical alternative.

2017 Kia Niro


for Excellent fuel economy

  • PROS: An attractive hybrid crossover inside and out, exceptional fuel economy, easy to use and live with cabin.
  • CONS: No all-wheel drive available, cargo space needs to be larger, more power would be appreciated.

The Kia Niro ($22,890 base MSRP) is kind of like the anti-Prius. We know the Prius isn’t a crossover, but any hybrid vehicle will be compared to Toyota’s successful car. The Niro is different from the Prius in that it’s happy to look and act like a typical car. It doesn’t try to look or feel like some high-tech vehicle from the future. Kia stripped away all the pretension and just made a good-looking, practical CUV that just so happens to be a hybrid and get up to 50 mpg in the most efficient trim level. It’s a refreshing package. The Niro isn’t sporty, but it isn’t supposed to be. The vehicle is an urban crossover with a focus on practicality, efficiently, and affordability. It’s an honest and straightforward approach that many will find appealing. If that combination sounds good to you, don’t pass it up.

Why do these new crossovers matter?

  • These new models show how CUVs have evolved.
  • New designs mean new technology.
  • All of these models have a specific portion of the CUV market in mind.

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