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2007 Crossover Buyer's Guide

2007 Crossover Vehicle Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

Something interesting happened on the way to utility. Having a rock-solid vehicle with toughie credentials began to sound less attractive, displaced by creature comforts, electronic gadgets and a gentler disposition - sort of like "sport utility" after some time spent at the spa.

"CUVs with sleek exteriors and cushy interiors, are the newest darlings among auto buyers."

Those who want something other than an auto, with attitude, a real ability to carry more than a foursome of golf bags, and have bounced minivans permanently off their wish lists are getting a lot of fresh choices as more and more crossover utility vehicles -- dubbed CUVs by popular consensus -- are edging out their tougher sport utility kin. These CUVs, usually based on auto instead of truck foundations, with sleek exteriors and cushy interiors, are the newest darlings among auto buyers. So much so, in fact, that new entries are sprouting up regularly from every auto maker intent on staying in business.

That doesn't mean these vehicles don't have the moxie to carve out an adventurous trip, haul a load of ski equipment on a weekend away or venture to the furthest campsite. They just seem to do it without needing to scale a rock wall in the process. And CUVs are showing off a new sense of style - with sultry, languid, voluptuous, curved, gently molded, aerodynamic shapes and luscious interiors that have emerged from the drawing boards of designers who formerly might have crafted their rougher hewn predecessors.

It's a change in trends that is fast-forwarding the number of players from a handful a few years ago to dozens now and even more on the horizon. That, of course, makes it so much more difficult to choose. For its 2007 Crossover Buyer's Guide RTM has selected a variety -- some new, some revised -- that represent a cross section of this well populated vehicle segment. We invite you to browse...

2007 International Crossover of the Year - Mazda CX-7