The day of the mini-van and station wagon are long gone (thank God!). Today, automakers know that the road ahead is all about fuel economy, space, and capability, and for those reasons, crossovers SUVs are leading the charge.

2020 Mazda CX-9

Photo courtesy of mazdaofelkroad via Instagram
Photo courtesy of mazdaofelkroad via Instagram

For decades, drivers had to make the difficult decision of choosing between performance and practicality. According to US News & World Report, the Mazda CX-9 gives drivers a bit of both, saying CX-9 “is arguably the sportiest midsize crossover SUV available today.” Here are some the key attributes of the Mazda CX-9.

  • Power – The CX-9 has a robust engine, providing drivers with up to 250-horsepower from its 2.5L four-cylinder turbo charged engine. That’s quite a punch, and even the more compact CX-5 model offers 187-horsepower. That’s some serious “get up,” enabling drivers to be quick off the line and punch it down the open road.
  • Fuel economy – Of course, the old rule implies that added power comes with added costs at the pump. Well, the engineers behind the CX-9 are trying to make it easier for consumers, so they don’t have to choose between the two. The CX-9 gets great scores in fuel economy, as for city driving you’ll get 22 miles per gallon (mpg), and up to 28 (mpg) on the highway.
  • Passenger and cargo space – In 2017, the CX models got a revamp on the interior of the vehicles, and now it’s as luxurious as it is robust. You can fit up to seven people comfortably inside, and gets top marks for “First-class cabin styling and materials.”

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe mostly gets high marks because of affordability. You might think that you have to skimp on things like power and luxury, but Santa Fe is fairly comparable in both those categories. Even with the low cost, the Santa Fe still scores extremely high marks in these categories:

  • Price – The 2020 Hyundai Sante Fe starts at $25,900, and that’s among the cheapest in the crossover SUV category. The Santa Fe used to be known for having all the technological bells and whistles for the driver and passengers, but cutting the cost meant scaling back some of these features. Losing the third row is a good example of that, making it ideal for five people instead of seven.
  • Safety – While the Sante Fe reduced its price by nearly $5,000 in its base model, Hyundai didn’t skimp on safety features. The Sante Fe is among the highest rated crossover SUVs in crash tests. This has been a staple feature of the model, and engineers didn’t want to change it. They also didn’t change the unbeatable 10 year, or 100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty.
  • Fuel economy – The Santa Fe has similar power to the CX-5 and CX-9, but comes in a little short on horsepower. The engine’s a bit smaller at 2.0L, but higher end models push 235 horsepower. What this means is better fuel economy, as the Santa Fe glides on the road with 22 mpg in the city, and 29 on the highway.

2020 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul scores extremely high marks on price, as no one can even come close to touching it in that category. Kia also makes a decent electric version, called the Soul EV, which gets 235 miles on one charge, and sports a 201 horsepower engine. But for those not willing to make the switch to electric, the features of the 2020 Kia Soul are outlined below:

  • Upgrades – For a car that basically rolled out the same price as the previous years model, we didn’t expect so many features to be upgraded. For starters, and this is a big one, the base model has 17 more horsepower than the previous year’s model. That’s significant because Kia’s are notoriously under powered. Interior features followed suit, with a 7-inch touchscreen, up from 5-inches in 2019.
  • Price – The Kia Soul is hands down the best priced crossover SUV in its class. The Soul starts at an astonishing $17,490, and it’s a bit under powered, but safe and a great investment. An investment into this crossover SUV is made especially ideal when you consider that it also comes with a 10 years, 100,000 powertrain warranty.
  • Passenger and cargo space – The Soul may not have a third row for fitting seven passengers, but it does have five seats that allow enough room for comfort for everyone. There’s also plenty of cargo room when the car is full of passengers, and when it’s not, you can fold down the back seats to reveal over 62 cubic feet of storage space.

2020 Honda CR-V

For the top of class in the crossover SUV category, no model rates higher than the 202 Honda CR-V. It’s not as cheap as the Kia Soul, but it sure beats the Soul in most categories, including cargo space, safety, power, and fuel efficiency. For a closer look at features, take a look below:

  • Safety – While most crossover SUVs come with models that include a plethora of safety features, the Honda CR-V offers them standard. Safety features take time to get integrated into cheaper models, and Honda seems to have led the way. The Honda Sensing suite includes lane and blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera for backing up.
  • Price – Again, the CR-V isn’t as cheap as the Kia Soul, but you get so much more bang for your buck in this crossover SUV. Outside of the Soul, the CR-V ranks with other low prices, as its base model comes in at $25,050.
  • Fuel economy – Honda has put together a fantastic engine. Admittedly, it’s small, at only 1.5L, but somehow if delivers up to 190 horsepower. Even with that speed off the line, the CR-V gets up to 28 mpg in the city, and up to 34 mpg on the highway, which is the best score in the category among non-electric vehicles and hybrids.

If you’re one of millions of Americans who want the fuel economy of a sedan, and the space of a small truck, then you’ll enjoy anyone of the crossover SUVs listed above. They’re perfect for the great American road trip and beyond. Enjoy!