Numbers don't lie. Today, the most popular body style in America is the four-door sedan. It's been that way for decades because sedans have long met the needs of so many drivers.

But American buyers are always looking for something different. Manufacturers have responded. In the 1980s, it was the minivan. In the 90s, it was more car-like sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. In the 00s, the crossover class emerged.

As the second decade of this still-young millennia begins, we're seeing the definition of crossover change. Crossovers are no longer only car-based vehicles with tough-looking SUV exteriors. For 2010 and beyond, the term crossover defines vehicles that defy traditional classification. Click ahead to see modern segment busters for every budget ...
Acura ZDX
  • Image Credit: Acura

Acura ZDX

From coast to coast, the all-new 2010 Acura ZDX turns heads. In a word, the exterior is provocative. What designers call "the greenhouse" is a sleek canopy shape that tapers dramatically as it flows over the cargo area. The powerful-looking rear fenders help give the ZDX a pleasingly aggressive look. Clever design details include the hidden handles for the rear doors.

As for what segment it falls into, the roof is too tall for a sedan, but the shape is way too sleek to be considered an SUV. Technically, the ZDX is a fresh design that is based upon the same chassis as Acura's main crossover, the MDX.
Acura ZDX

Acura ZDX

The edgy, sophisticated look of the exterior continues inside. The design is cockpit-like with separate space for the driver, front passenger, and up to three rear-seat guests. The feel is similar to well-appointed performance sedan, which is good because the 3.7-liter V-6 generates 300 horsepower that is distributed to all four wheels via Acura's "Super Handling All-Wheel Drive." Enthusiast drivers prefer the 2010 ZDX when equipped with the Advance Package with the adjustable suspension set to "Sport" because of the superior steering feel. The second-row seats fold individually, offering 26.3 to 55.8 cubic-feet of cargo room. This performance machine with SUV-like cargo capabilities runs from about $45,000 to $56,000.
BMW 550 Gran Turismo
  • Image Credit: BMW

BMW 550 Gran Turismo

BMW has carefully crafted its Ultimate Driving Machine corporate persona. The company's focus on a satisfying driving experience helps explain why its vehicles feel the way they do, from the least expensive 1-Series coupe to the $100,000-plus top-of-the-line ActiveHybrid 7 luxury sedan. Supplementing traditional station wagons and SUVs already wearing the blue and white BMW roundel, the Munich-based company just added the 2010 5-Series 550i GT (Grand Turismo) to their US line. Longer, lower and wider than the X6, the 550i GT satisfies drivers with a twin-turbo gasoline V-8 producing 400 horsepower. All models use BMW's new 8-speed automatic transmission, helping the V-8 GT reportedly hit 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds.
BMW 550 Gran Turismo
  • Image Credit: BMW

BMW 550 Gran Turismo

The 2010 BMW 550i GT's interior is equal parts luxury sedan, performance car, and pack mule. The cargo area may be accessed as a conventional sedan trunk or like a hatchback (for loading up to 63.6 cubic feet of bulkier cargo). Rear-seat passengers are treated to limousine-like accommodations, which isn't surprising when one learns that the 550i GT is actually based on the new 7-Series' chassis (meaning it has a long wheelbase that translates into substantial interior room). Drivers may find it impossible to be uncomfortable with available 20-way adjustable and ventilated seats. A panoramic dual-sunroof (accounting for 55-percent of the roof) keeps the interior of this fastback, tall-roofed $67,400 sedan-with-a-hatch feeling airy and bright.
Honda Accord Crosstour
  • Image Credit: Honda

Honda Accord Crosstour

Looks can be deceiving. Honda released early photos of its new 2010 Accord Crosstour on the company's Facebook page back in 2009. The overwhelmingly negative reaction caught Honda off guard but brought an important point to light: before you make up your mind about the Crosstour's styling, see it in person. The design looks tighter and better proportioned. Specifically, the heaviness one sees in photos goes away. With its taller, sloping roof, the Crosstour provides more interior room than the vehicle on which it is based, the popular Accord Sedan. Front- and all-wheel-drive versions are available, with up to 27 mph highway available from the standard 271-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6.
Honda Accord Crosstour
  • Image Credit: Honda

Honda Accord Crosstour

The 2010 Crosstour doesn't upset the fine balance Honda vehicles tend to exhibit in the areas of value, comfort, convenience, and driving sportiness. After sliding into the driver's seat, the large round gauges are easy to read with their clear blue and white markings. Ample back seat room with plenty of headroom satisfies passengers. Room behind the seats (25.7 cubic feet) expands to over 50 cubes when needed. On the road, the Accord Crosstour is a relaxed cruiser that offers room like an SUV in an overall package that's tidier than a new Ford Taurus. Plenty of people will find this mashup just about perfect for real life lived on a real budget (about $30,000 - $38,000).
Mercedes-Benz R-Class
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Given the recent explosion of crossovers, Mercedes-Benz may have been ahead of the curve when it introduced the all-new R-Class in 2006. The shape, often panned for being too much like a minivan but not enough like anything else, never caught on. The R-Class's lack of popularity wasn't due to a lack of performance or comfort. In 2007, the 507-horsepower R63 AMG edition could race to 60 mph in five seconds flat. AOL Autos editors really like the fuel-efficient 2010 R320 with the clean-diesel engine that provides good power and 18-mpg city, 24-mpg highway. All-wheel-drive is standard.
Mercedes-Benz R-Class
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

If one were blindfolded and placed in an R-Class, as soon as the blindfold was removed, they'd know they were in a Mercedes-Benz. Consistent M-B design cues include gauge-within-gauge instrumentation, the elegant column-mounted chrome gear selector, and the richness of the materials. The 2+2+2 seating configuration comfortably accommodates up to six in first-class luxury. The utility afforded by the rear hatch contributes to the R-Class's minivan-ness, but facilitates a critical degree of useful functionality. If shoppers hold the line on expensive options, an R-Class can be driven for about $50,000.
Mazda5
  • Image Credit: Mazda

Mazda5

The 2010 Mazda5 has sliding doors, just like a minivan. It also has three rows of seats like a minivan. The only thing is, if you park it next to a real minivan, your brain tells you that the Mazda5 is no minivan. Park it next to a traditional station wagon, and your brain knows it's not one of those, either. From behind the wheel, the Mazda5 steers more like a sporty, sub-compact sedan. If you're used to full-size minivans (is there an oxymoron there?), the lithe Mazda feels exceptionally maneuverable. The zippy 153-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine hums along and delivers up to 28 mpg on the highway.
Mazda5
  • Image Credit: Mazda

Mazda5

The first thing to strike many drivers of the Mazda5 is the vehicle's exceptional outward visibility. This helps make all driving tasks easier, from parking to passing. While the Mazda5 is no BMW 550i GT or Mercedes R-Class, it's comfortable enough considering its $18,000 starting price. The six-seat interior comfortably seats four adults plus another two small children. Carrying any significant cargo requires folding seats, cutting down on the passenger count. Once folded, the cargo floor is nice and flat. An all-new Mazda5 is due for 2011, so use this fact when you're negotiating a final deal on a 2010 edition.
Toyota Venza
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Toyota Venza

Why Toyota doesn't call their 2010 Venza a station wagon escapes the understanding of some AOL Autos' editors. With the exception of a slightly raised roofline, the Venza looks and functions like a wagon. And that's not a bad thing. This new-for-2009 Venza meets the needs of drivers who want the flexibility and capabilities of a larger crossover without the larger size. Because it's smaller than some crossovers, the starting-at-$26,000 Venza can offer an economical 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that can hit 29 mpg on the highway. Performance is much better with the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 that's shared with many other Toyota and Lexus vehicles.
Toyota Venza
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Toyota Venza

Like the other vehicles in this gallery, the 2010 Toyota Venza's interior is optimized for practicality. Its two rows of seats accommodate five, and older occupants will especially appreciate how easy it is to get in and out of the Venza because of its purposefully narrow rocker panels. The Toyota's maximum cargo room tops every vehicle in this gallery (except the next one) at 87 cubic feet. Unfortunately, legendary Toyota quality isn't evident inside the Venza. Large, hard plastic trim panels aren't attractive and resonate hollowly if struck. Cheap plastic blanks fill the spots where switches would go on fully optioned versions. While not unpardonable sins, but these detract from an otherwise solid choice.
Ford Transit Connect
  • Image Credit: Ford

Ford Transit Connect

Just as copiers are called Xerox machines and tissues are called Kleenex, across Europe, delivery vans are now casually referred to as Transits. This is the ubiquitous level of success the Ford Transit has achieved. Since 2003, Ford reports to have sold over 600,000 Transit Connects models in 58 different countries. For 2010, Ford introduced their latest version of the Transit Connect to North America. While primarily intended to be an economical commercial van that would help businesses replace their inefficient full-size vans, adventurous families on a budget might consider the Transit Connect.
Ford Transit Connect
  • Image Credit: Ford

Ford Transit Connect

The Transit Connect can be ordered as a five-seat "Wagon." This configuration includes a folding rear bench seat and large windows set in to the rear doors. Because the Transit primarily targets businesses don't expect Lexus-like luxury and quietness, but the basics are there; air conditioning, power windows, audio system, keyless entry, etc. With a durable 136-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a four-speed automatic transmission, the front-wheel-drive Transit Connect is designed for low-cost ownership (well-equipped at $23,000) and operation (22 mpg city, 25 mpg highway). This combination could work well for small, active families who are on the move with lots of gear ... up to 135 cubic feet and 1,600 pounds of it!
  List
Share This Photo X