Do you need to shuffle varied numbers of people and amounts of cargo from one place to another, daily? If you've done some shopping around you know that it can be tough finding just the right crossover or SUV to fit the bill, in terms of price, features, versatility, safety, and styling. For 2013, there are a number of redesigned vehicles to consider, ranging from compact family SUVs and crossovers all the way to full-size family-friendly haulers.
2013 Buick Encore
With the addition of the 2013 Buick Encore to the brand’s expanding lineup, Buick is targeting its all-new compact luxury crossover against the BMW X1 coming soon and the Audi Q3, which may not be far behind. One point worth noting, in terms of cargo capacity that’s important to family crossover buyers, is that the Encore has 48.4 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down, and 18.8 cubic feet with them up.
Inside the Encore, the “terrific looking” dashboard seems to flow into the door panels. A standard seven-inch color LCD display works with the available navigation system and Buick’s IntelliLink voice activated system, which will be standard.
But families will really appreciate the Buick QuietTuning or active noise cancellation feature. Whether on a long ride or during hops around town, the cabin of the Encore is supremely quiet. And QuietTuning is standard in all Encore models.
Safety-conscious families will note the ten standard airbags, cornering brake control, and brake assist. Optional safety technology includes rear vision camera, front and rear park assist, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.
2013 Ford Escape
The all-new 2013 Ford Escape compact crossover gets high marks from our editors, who rate it an 8 (out of 10), especially for its tight new styling, taut ride and handling, and high estimated gas mileage. “After eleven years, a changeup: the 2013 Ford Escape drops the faux-SUV pitch and reels off authentically athletic looks and performance.”
The new Escape also has more cargo space than the previous model and includes numerous clever spots for hiding and toting various family paraphernalia. These include umbrella holders on the seats, a hidden floor bin in the second row, and ticket holders in the sun visors. And the new hands-free tailgate option opens and closes the hatch with the swing of a foot.
Other stellar attributes of the Escape include best-in-class safety technology, from standard stability and curve control to optional rearview camera, parking sensors, active park assist and blind spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts.
2013 Mazda CX-5
The 2013 Mazda CX-5, Mazda’s first all-new crossover in some time, replaces the now-discontinued Tribute and is aiming to take on the likes of the new 2013 Ford Escape, the redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4 and the Chevrolet Equinox.
Our editors found the CX-5 to be one of the best-handling crossovers they’ve driven, while also lauding its smart, sporty styling, comfortable and well-bolstered front seats, and more-than-adequate room in the back seat for six-foot adults.
The load floor is long and flat and the 40/20/40 split rear seat has a clever folding arrangement. The only drawbacks seem to be somewhat sluggish acceleration and the fact that the CX-5 only has six airbags, when some competitors are offering up to ten. All in all, though, our editors rate the 2013 Mazda CX-5 an overall 7.4 (out of 10).
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
Derived from its Impreza half-sibling, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek compact crossover is an all-new model name making its first appearance in the company’s product portfolio. As with nearly every Subaru, the XV Crosstrek will come with standard all-wheel drive, a feature increasingly popular with American consumers, and will arrive at dealerships sometime this summer.
But this is no Impreza clone. The XV Crosstrek achieves its separation by starting with larger 17-inch wheels and a higher 8.7-inch ground clearance than the 5.9 inches standard on the Impreza. The front disc brakes are also bigger.
Exterior styling notable in the XV Crosstrek includes the new front grille and fascia and new rear bumper design, along with a different rear spoiler, standard roof rails and tinted glass.
On the inside, the specs of the XV Crosstrek are not much changed from the Impreza. With the 60/40 split-rear folding seat down, there’s 52.4 cubic feet of cargo space. A removable rolling cargo cover, tie-down loops, grocery bag hooks and waterproof tray are other familiar Subaru features.
Available in well-equipped Premium and Limited models only (no base), the XV Crosstrek has optional power moonroof and a navigation system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen. The All-Weather package, including heated front seats and exterior mirrors and a wiper de-icer is optional on Premium and standard on Limited.
2013 Ford Explorer Sport