Downsized SUVs offer the capacity of their beefy predecessors, but with less truck-inspired rides and better mileage. And meet Jeep’s new Italian cousin while you’re at it.
The golden age of the big SUVs of the ’80s and ’90s feels practically Paleolithic when you compare it to an evolving generation of smaller crossover models, which drive less like trucks but still offer truck-like utility and surefootedness.
Want to haul a family without the fuel penalty of a traditional SUV? New full-size AWD sedans look to smooth the way to the mountains.
Grand and gracious full-size sedans come to mind for a night on the town, not a ski trip up to the slopes. But vehicular times they are a-changin’. Some of America’s most beloved four-door family brands now boast models with the winter-beating traction and agility of all-wheel drive, handling all but the deepest of blizzard-buried roads. And even the Koreans are getting into the game.
Today’s full-size crossovers look to fill the traditional role of the family station wagon and can haul seven in total comfort. So much for the good ol’ days.
The ’70S-era Brady Bunch station wagon might be all but extinct, but families aren’t. And neither is the need to haul kids and gear. If you’re not interested in making the jump to an SUV, consider a variety of stylish crossovers—vehicles built on car rather than truck frames—that mix capacity with a smaller size.
Subaru down-shifts back to its off-beat roots with the affordable mountain-ready Crosstrek
While the rugged and reliable Subaru brand has become positively ubiquitous in snowy lands since the 1970s, there’s been one alarming trend: The cars have become less and less weird in recent years, much to the dismay of iconoclastic tweakers with their Mad River Glen bumper stickers.