Buying Guides

2018 Best New Crossovers

These are the new contenders in the hottest segment

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

With crossover utility vehicles still insanely hot, automakers have continued to come up with new versions of the versatile vehicle type. They've crafted smaller and larger, faster, and generally better versions of the tall-standing wagon-esque vehicles that people seem so enamored with. The crossovers of 2018 are the best that the segment and all its subtle sub-segments have seen. People now have more choice than ever before when it comes to CUVs, and here are the best of the new-for-2018 models.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse

  • PROS: Plenty of features, good engine and transmission combo, comfortable cabin, plenty of space.
  • CONS: Feels big on the road, styling may be a little too boring for some, top safety features exclusive to top trim levels.

If you need something a little more capable than a minivan but want three rows and generous cargo space, the 2018 Traverse is right up your alley. It’s better than ever before and offers a good blend of family-friendly practicality and serious capability. Under the hood is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 hp. The Traverse isn’t special because it offers a powerful V6, though. It’s standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as several other available tech features, are what make it so good. Well, that and its generous seating and cargo capacities.

2018 Audi Q5

  • PROS: Excellent ride quality, standard all-wheel drive, lots of tech and features, sophisticated cabin design.
  • CONS: Bland styling, infotainment system can take time to get used to.

The Q5 is known for being a good crossover that lacks much personality. Well, the 2018 Q5 should have much the same demeanor but with some seriously welcomed updates. Audi did a full rework on the model slightly improving just about every bit of the crossover. Its styling has been revised, its engines and technology updated, and its interior made even better. It features Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the latest MMI infotainment system with navigation and a slew of additional tech. It has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder under the hood that makes 252 hp and manages respectable fuel economy. In short, it’s darn good, but not all that much more exciting.

2018 BMW X3

  • PROS: Excellent engines, good handling, smooth ride, good interior fit and finish, standard all-wheel drive.
  • CONS: Doesn’t look all that different from last gen, no Android Auto, infotainment could be smoother.

We dislike the fact that BMW seems to have gone all in on the crossover vehicle type. That said, the company is getting really good at producing them. Case in point is the 2018 X3. The last X3 was good, but the new 2018 model takes the nameplate to a whole new level. It drives better, has more technology, an improved cabin and efficient and powerful engine options, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder. While this isn’t the ultimate driving machine, it may just be the ultimate compact luxury crossover for 2018.

2018 Buick Enclave

  • PROS: Spacious interior, curvy and attractive exterior, smooth and refined ride, plenty of features.
  • CONS: Third row is on the tighter side, some materials not up to snuff.

Buick has long needed to improve the Enclave, and finally, it has for the 2018 model year. The updates should serve the brand well, as the new Buick three-row crossover is more shapely, more comfortable, and packed full of available tech features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Navigation, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. The only engine option is the 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 hp while still managing decent fuel economy. The Enclave isn’t really about power, though, its strengths lie in its refined ride and comfortable and spacious cabin. Want a luxurious American people mover? This is it.

2018 Volvo XC60

  • PROS: Gorgeous and elegant styling, luxurious interior, powerful engine options, roomy cabin.
  • CONS: Occasionally lagging infotainment system, competitors are sportier, smaller cargo area than previous model.

Volvo redefined its crossover lineup with the XC90. The 2018 XC60 follows suit, offering much of what its bigger brother does in a smaller, easier to manage package. The XC60 has an exterior and interior design on par with the best in the business, an innovative infotainment system, good driving dynamics, and a few powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid. The best engine of the bunch is the turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It’s powerful at 316 hp and still reasonably efficient. What sets the XC60 apart, though, is its elegance and fit and finish.

2018 Hyundai Kona

  • PROS: Distinctive styling, simple layout for controls, plenty of available technology, two engine options.
  • CONS: Polarizing headlight design, late to the small crossover party.

Hyundai’s new Kona is a small crossover that will compete with the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, and the Kia Soul. It has some tough competition, but the vehicle looks promising, offering plenty of technology including available Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Navigation and Hyundai’s BlueLink connected car system. Also, there are two engine options, a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder. Hyundai’s newest CUV is built on a new chassis, which should mean it handles and rides better than some of its other models. We’d have to say this little vehicle poses a threat to its competitors, that is, if you like the styling.

What's new for 2018?

  • Updated powertrain technology.
  • More features and better technology.
  • Improved driving dynamics.

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