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.
These SUVs may seem distant from their racing and autobahn roots, but they’re surprisingly capable—and still plenty speedy.
There may have been a time when rolling up to the slopes in a beater SUV was fine for your hardcore cred—and budget. But now that you’ve achieved a new station in life, it’s time to represent with one of a growing stable of prestigious German luxury SUVs. Each is loaded with innovative safety and entertainment systems and luxurious leather. Each dashes through snow with confidence but would be equally at home on a racetrack. And they’re all available as diesel models, if extra torque (and mileage) turns you on.
A new wave of scaled-down SUVs takes Continental inspiration and turns it on its head.
When it comes to automotiverole models, it’s hard not to want to craft your all-new ride in the style of those trendsetting Germans—dramatic looks, Autobahn power, and plenty of grip in the slippery stuff.
That impulse has yielded striking new designs in a trio of once-bland small and midsize SUVs, one of which (Jeep’s Cherokee) returns to the market after a long absence.
The future of ski cars might be the new range of tiny, hyper-stylish luxury crossovers.
While there was a point, not so long ago, when it looked like GMC’s Yukon XL would be America’s ski car forever, rising gas prices and—oh, yes—an auto market that includes the rest of the planet have meant some new and very international AWD choices. Meet the small luxury crossover.
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.
Only the names remain the same when it comes to the newest SUV models.
Besides old Glen Plake videos, nothing captures the ski-trip vibe of the mid- to late ’80s like that first generation of box-on-frame SUVs—slab-sided classics like the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4Runner, and Jeep Cherokee, followed in 1991 by the Ford Explorer. Just about everybody owned one—or wanted to. Back when nobody worried about gas mileage (or ride quality) they were must-haves for winter road trips.