Crossovers with Great Utility

US News

Crossovers are a great choice for shoppers looking for a vehicle with plenty of cargo and passenger space and more car-like performance than truck-based SUVs. Most crossovers seat five to eight people, and have a good amount of cargo space with passengers in every seat. Of course, some crossovers are more practical than others. We’ve provided a few guidelines that will help you find the best crossover for your lifestyle.

Crossover Passenger Space

Most crossovers seat five to eight people, but not all of them do so comfortably. If you have a family, take the kids and their car seats with you during your test drive to see if they can sit in the back comfortably. While you’re getting the kids situated, look for cup holders, cubbies and pockets that can hold books and snacks. Make sure your kids can reach drinks and books on their own. If you’re driving, you won’t be able to grab these items for them.

Hop in the back yourself and see if the back row is comfortable for adults or teenagers. As you test different crossovers, you’ll find that many have tight back seats. The Dodge Journey, for example, has first and second rows that are spacious enough for most adults, but its optional third row is cramped and best suited for kids. The Ford Flex, which seats up to seven, has third-row seats that are roomy enough for adults.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) connectors help hold car seats in place, but they aren’t located in the same place in every crossover. Make sure your crossover has enough LATCH connectors for your car seats, and that the car seats are easy to install.

Crossover Cargo Space

One of the most important characteristics of any crossover is how much cargo space is available with all seats in use. The GMC Acadia and Honda Pilot, for example, can seat eight, and of the two, the Acadia has the most cargo space behind the third-row seats at 24.1 cubic feet. The Pilot has less space, with 18 cubic feet behind the third row.

A lot of automakers say they have easy-folding seats, but test these claims at the dealership. Crossovers like the Ford Flex have optional power-folding third-row seats. However, if you don’t want to pay extra for this feature, make sure you can easily fold the second and third rows manually, as some can be heavy and difficult to fold down.

Next, check cargo storage. Some crossovers, like the Nissan Rogue, have under-floor storage bins. Generally, these areas aren’t very large, but they can be pretty helpful because they let you maximize the cargo space behind the passenger seats. The Nissan Rogue and other crossovers have tubs lined with plastic where you can toss in wet beach clothes or dirty camping gear. Also, some models have helpful details in the cargo areas such as bag hooks or cargo nets to help secure your gear. The Ford Escape has a motion-activated automatic liftgate opener. When you kick your foot under the rear bumper, the liftgate opens.

Crossover Small-Item Storage

Most crossovers come standard with side door pockets, a center console and a glove compartment, which are great for storing maps, electronics and other small items. Features like a center armrest in the back seats, which can have additional storage, aren’t always standard, but might be worth considering adding. The Chevrolet Equinox has a deep center console, and the GMC Acadia has a rear cargo area storage system for the second row.

Test these compartments to see if they’ll fit all your stuff. Bring your MP3 player along and hook it into the USB port. Are the plugs easy to access? Are the ports exposed so that you have to hide your cell phone or MP3 player before you leave the car?

Crossover Roof Rails and Towing

Despite their smaller size and car-based frames, crossovers are capable of transporting bigger items on their roofs and towing small trailers. The Dodge Durango can tow up to 7,400 pounds with the optional HEMI V8 engine, and even the V6 model can tow up to 6,200 pounds. Even if you don’t think you’ll be towing a trailer, you may still need to transport larger items like skis, surfboards, kayaks or cargo boxes from time to time. Most crossovers have roof rails and crossbars either standard or optional that let you attach bigger items to the roof. The Jeep Compass has standard roof rails on its base model, for example, while the GMC Terrain has them only on higher trim levels.

Utilitarian Crossovers

Chevrolet Equinox

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

GMC Acadia






Max. Seats





Cargo Capacity in Cubic Feet*





Notable Features

Deep center console, sliding rear seats

Optional second-row armrest with storage, under-floor cargo storage

Power tailgate with lift-up glass hatch

Under-floor cargo storage, optional second-row center console

* behind third/second/first-row seats


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