During the SUV boom of the mid 90s, car makers found that customers often liked the perception of safety that comes with the tall ride height of a large SUV, but didn't appreciate the truck-like way many of the big vehicles drove. Enter the Crossover SUV. The small sport utility vehicle combines the versatility and height of a normal SUV with the ease and economy of a standard four-door sedan. Most crossovers accomplish this by building a small, lightweight SUV body on the frame of an already existing sedan model.
Here is a breakdown of our five favorite used crossover SUVs:
The Honda CR-V was the first SUV ever completely built by Honda. First launched in 1997, the CR-V was one of the very first crossovers in the USA. Since the current CR-V model was launched just recently, most of the used Honda crossovers on the market are the third generation vehicles that were produced from 2007 to 2011. Every CR-V on the market has been sold with a small, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, making it one of the few crossovers to not offer a V6 option.
Like the Honda CR-V, the Toyota Rav-4 was one of the first crossover SUVs on the market. The little Toyota broke new ground when it was first offered to the public in 1996, and the Rav is still the benchmark for crossovers today. The current Rav-4 has been on sale since 2005, but the SUV has undergone two major facelifts since its debut. In 2009, it received some new equipment, a redesigned front end, and a tweaked back end. Similarly, the 2012 model received some new bumpers and some other minor changes.
Ford's Escape was a relative late comer to the crossover SUV game, but the little truck has gained popularity since its launch in 2001 and is now one of the top selling crossover SUVs around. The first generation of the Escape was built from until 2007 and was redesigned for the 2008 model year. The Escape is available with a 171 horsepower, 2.5-liter four cylinder engine or a 240 horsepower, 3.0-liter V6. A gas-sipping hybrid was introduced in 2006 that offers the best fuel efficiency of any SUV around.
The Nissan Murano is arguably one of the most unique crossover SUVs on the market. Its flowing curvy lines are instantly recognizable on the road and unique features like its continuously variable transmission (the tech is usually reserved for much smaller vehicles) make it almost one of a kind. The current design for the Murano started in 2009 and the previous model was on sale from 2003 to 2007, meaning the plucky Nissan SUV was off the market for one year in 2008.
Unlike most other crossover SUVs on the market, the early Kia Sorento was designed like a truck. The yearly 'body-on-frame' Sorentos were known for exceptional (if not a little surprising) off-road capability. When the first generation was phased out in 2011, Kia decided to change the design and go with a more traditional car-inspired chassis, much to the chagrin of truck lovers who appreciated having a very affordable, rugged truck on the market. Another advantage for the Sorento is its best-in-the-business 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty that can transfer to new owners.