What crossover should I buy?

If you’ve decided a crossover seems like a better option than an SUV or minivan, you’ll want to determine which CUV size is best for your price range. There are three distinct types of crossovers and while each can fulfill the majority of a family’s needs, some are definitely more of a car than an SUV. For example, a small crossovers can achieve car-like gas mileage while a full size crossover can seat up to eight and tow a boat. The midsize crossover is obviously slotted between the two.

Small Crossovers

Toyota RAV4


  • Small 4 cylinder engine
  • MPG around 25 city and 30 highway
  • FWD standard, AWD optional
  • No 3rd row available
  • Light towing capabilities from 1000 to 2000 lbs
  • Best maneuverability

If you intend on using your crossover for dropping the kid(s) off at school and making trips to Target, a small crossover will do the job just fine. The Toyota RAV-4 and Honda CR-V are our favorite picks from this category. Both vehicles come standard with fuel efficient 4 cylinder engines and FWD, just like their sedan brethren. You can also be sure that they’re going to drive similar to a sedan, too. Although they’re small, the raised roof on these crossovers affords them a surprising amount of cargo room, especially when you fold the rear seats down. You’ll be able to fit almost anything you buy from Ikea in these cars. If you live in northern states with winter, opting for AWD is a good move.

Want to learn more about other small crossovers?

Read reviews for the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Ford Escape.

Midsize Crossovers



  • 4 cylinder, V6 and V8 options
  • MPG around 22 city and 26 highway
  • FWD standard, AWD optional
  • Larger passenger/cargo volume
  • Towing capabilities from 2000 to 4000 lbs
  • 3rd row available on some models

Midsize crossovers are the best selling type of crossover in the United States. They offer just the right amount of space and utility without becoming arduous to maneuver. You can find midsize crossovers with capable V6 engines and economical 4 cylinders. They may not be as good on gas as the smaller crossovers, but they’re far better than traditional SUVs. Our favorite midsize crossovers are the Subaru Forester, which comes standard with AWD and plenty of off-road capability, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee which is available with a V6 or V8 HEMI engine and can tow a class-leading 7,400 lbs.

Want to learn more about midsize crossovers?

Read reviews for the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Edge and Nissan Murano.

Full Size Crossovers

Ford explorer lines


  • V6 and V8 options
  • MPG around 18 city and 24 highway
  • FWD or RWD standard. AWD available
  • 3rd row seating on most models
  • Largest towing capacity above 5,000 lbs
  • Most cargo room

The full size crossover category consists of many vehicles that were SUVs in the past and have now become crossovers. Take the Dodge Durango for example, at one time it was a full-fledged body-on-frame SUV, but is now built on a unibody platform similar to a car. Albeit, the platform is reinforced to afford the 7,400lb towing capacity. Same goes for the Toyota Highlander, which over the years has become more focused on people moving than off-roading.

The full size crossovers are typically the most expensive crossover you can buy, unless you’re in the market for a luxury crossover. If you’re really only looking for lots of space and a comfortable ride, check out the Chevrolet Traverse, which offers a host of standard tech features and plenty of room for people and cargo. Full size crossovers are the most closely related to the traditional SUV and they often fulfill the same needs.

Want to learn more about full size crossovers?

Read reviews for the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.

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Written by Tristan Cathers