Crossover vehicles (CUVs) are today's answer to consumer demand for truly versatile vehicles. Besides having more passenger and cargo room than your typical four-door sedan, CUVs are usually more fuel efficient and more fun to drive than clunky SUVs. For 2009, automakers are continuing to refine the CUV, making these vehicles a good overall value. Are you ready to trade in your compact car, old sedan or giant SUV? Check out these 2009 model CUVs for some transportation inspiration.
Suzuki's 2009 SX4 Crossover is one of the year's best buys. At around $16,000, the 2009 Suzuki SX4 comes standard with a super cool flip-top Garmin navigation system. This five-seat CUV has a fun-to-drive 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Plus, the 2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover is an all-wheel-drive vehicle, making it great for driving in all kinds of weather. The Suzuki SX4 also has rather good cargo space with its large hatchback and fold-flat second row seats.
Toyota considers its 2009 Toyota Venza a passenger car. In actuality, Toyota's five-seat Venza is blend of hatchback wagon and CUV with tons of high-tech features for about $26,000. The Venza is offered in four - and six-cylinder engines, which have been described as powerful and agile. Inside, the Venza is spacious with 70 cubic feet of cargo capacity and is built with upgraded materials and trims. Toyota's Venza also comes with tons of luxury-minded features.
The 2009 Infiniti FX35 is one of the most luxurious CUVs on the market today. With a base price of $42,150, the five-door, five-passenger 2009 Infiniti FX35 comes with a long list of standard features, an uber stylish interior and a sexy, curvaceous exterior. As for performance, the 2009 Infiniti FX35 has a powerful 3.5-liter V6, seven-speed automatic transmission engine, which also features futuristic engineering like intelligent brake assist and lane departure prevention.
Nissan's Murano was one of the first CUVs to offer style, a sporty attitude and excellent performance. For 2009, the second-generation Murano continues to combine Nissan's premium 3.5-liter V6 engine with tons of technology, lots of luxury appointments, versatile cargo room and rather masculine, yet thoroughly pleasing interior. Outside, the 2009 Nissan Murano gets a mini makeover with a wider front grille, stronger body lines and a more distinctive back end.
Subaru is an oft overlooked car maker, but CUV lovers should be sure to check out the award-winning 2009 Subaru Forester. Starting around $20,000, the Forester is an excellent all-weather vehicle with its handles-like-a-car 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and standard all-wheel-drive. No longer geeky-looking inside or out, the 2009 Subaru Forester is now a sophisticated, sporty ride for commuters, soccer moms and especially for those who need reliable, versatile vehicles for colder climates.
Not available until late 2009, the 2010 Kia Soul may be worth the wait. Built to compete against Toyota's Scion and Honda's Element, the five-seat Kia Soul is a funky urban utility vehicle. Kia calls the Soul's interior cabin a "personal lounge on wheels" with its roomy cabin, 14 storage zones and highly customizable colors, fabrics and audio systems. As for performance, the Kia Soul has two options: a 1.5-liter and a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine.
Mazda's 2009 CX-9 compares to the best luxury CUVs on the market, with its room for seven, sporty engine, sexy design, luxury features and versatile cargo space. Available in either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, the Mazda CX-9 offers superior driving performance with its 3.7-liter V6 engine. The interior's wrap-around cockpit design is superbly elegant as well as highly functional. The Mazda CX-9 also boasts a superb audio system and optional DVD entertainment system.
You may think the 2009 Ford Flex is an SUV with its large size and seating for seven adults, but you'd be wrong. This award-winning CUV is super stylish both inside and out, has tons of room and has rather unique features from the Vista sunroof to a built-in refrigerator to Ford's high-tech SYNC connectivity system. The Flex's powerful 3.5 liter V6 engine is also exceptional with excellent acceleration, handling, braking and suspension.
Honda's CR-V is one of the best-selling CUVs ever. Why? The 2009 Honda CR-V has it all: a stylish exterior, spacious interior, excellent safety, a low price, great reliability and a sporty drive. The 2009 CR-V comes in three trim levels from the basic LX to the EX to the EX-L, which has premium features like GPS navigation and a rear view camera. Plus, the CR-V's zippy 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is definitely a fun-to-drive ride.
For 2009, Toyota has redesigned its Scion xB as a super sexy urban utility vehicle. With a low price and a long list of standard features, the 2009 Scion xB is a best buy for a five-seat CUV as the xB has decent fuel economy, a roomy interior, zippy 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, tons of cargo space, excellent safety ratings and lots of cool optional features, especially when it comes to the xB's rocking sound systems.
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Sheryll Alexander is a lifestyles writer from Costa Mesa, California.