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Range in Motion - 2005 Crossover Buyer's Guide

2005 Crossover Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

We once lived in a world of autos. Then came trucks that let us tow along the stuff of life. Families and kids made us grab at the imminently practical minivan, when it emerged as a choice some two decades ago. And the sport utility vehicles that followed, loaded with grunt power and attitude, put the fun equation back into how we got around.

After such a sensible chronology, what could possibly be next? How about a combination of all of the above in a smart, tailored package, defined more by variety and less by limitation than anything that came before. That, according to some folks at Ford among others, is how we've landed smack in the middle of what could be called the "Decade of the Crossover" they predict will dominate for years to come. (That opinion, no doubt, reflects the growing popularity of Ford's new Freestyle crossover reviewed by RTM in February.)

Not a bad comparison, it seems. As consumers, we've been savvy in our selections and put our bucks where our interest has traveled. And somebody -- a lot of somebodies, actually -- listened to the Crossover cash register going "ching." The result is a growing wealth of choices from virtually every vehicle nameplate. They range from small, entry-level wagon-type vehicles -- sort of subcompacts on steroids -- to amenity-laden road cruisers, sometimes with a built-in ability to forage. In other words, there's something for just about everyone. The common point for them all is a car-like foundation designed for creature comfort, in a trendy, sporty package with the ultimate use of space. It's a sort of do anything, go anywhere chameleon that reflects our diverse needs when we travel.

On the following pages, we've culled 10 top choices from the current range of offerings RTM feels will appeal to our readers' broad scope of interests.