Think of them as part car, part sport-utility vehicle (SUV). Crossover SUVs offer the convenience of a cargo space that can accommodate upright items and is accessible via a hatchback door. Crossovers have body styling more similar to a car's than that of a rectangular, traditional SUV. Compact crossovers can also offer better gas mileage and lower purchase prices than large SUV models.
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Check measurements. Determine the space differences between the compact crossovers you're considering for purchase. Look for the "Dimensions" or "Specs" links on vehicle manufacturers' websites to find out how much head, leg, hip and shoulder room the vehicles provide in the front and back seats. You can also compare how much cargo room they have.
Determine what's under the hood. Compact crossover SUVs may have four- or six-cylinder engines and two- or four-wheel drive. You can find this information and the vehicle's horsepower on automakers' websites.
Find fuel mileage ratings. The government's fuel economy website allows you to search by year, make and model. Use this tool to determine which compact crossover will offer the lowest gasoline costs. Be sure to factor in how much of your mileage is in the city and how much time you spend on the highway.
Read reviews and rankings. "U.S. News and World Report" ranks crossover and compact SUVs, including a summary of each model's benefits. You can subscribe to the "Consumer Reports" magazine or website to access its reviews of crossover SUVs. The "Car and Driver" and "Motor Trend" magazines and websites also provide vehicle reviews.
See the safety ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides safety ratings for crossover SUVs that are based on crash test results and safety features. The government also provides safety ratings. Look up the data for crossovers you're considering to determine which vehicle may offer you the most protection. The government's website warns that you should not compare its 2011-and-newer safety ratings with results from previous model years because it instituted tougher safety tests starting with the 2011 model year.
Price them. If you've narrowed your search to a couple of models with similar features, safety ratings and fuel economy, price may be the factor that can help you make a final selection. Visit the Kelley Blue Book website to determine how much you should expect to pay for various models in your area. Market values for new and used cars are available on the site.
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