10 of the Best Crossovers of 2018
Which of these is the best crossover 2018 has brought us?
The crossover and SUV segment in the US still hasn’t managed to surpass sedans in terms of sales. However, they’re getting closer and closer with each passing year. It’s just a matter of time before the best-sold compact crossover finally topples the best-sold mid-size sedan. Even now, the best-sold crossover for the 2017 model year, the Honda CR-V, has managed to accumulate close to 360,000 sales, while the Toyota Camry – the leader in sedan sales – has found close to 390,000 new owners. Furthermore, the number of available crossovers has risen dramatically in recent years. But which one of them is the best crossover 2018 has to offer?
Choosing that perfect crossover can be a tricky venture. Apart from the aforementioned issue with their sheer numbers, prospective buyers have plenty of other factors to take into account. Size, price range, safety features, seating arrangement, etc. Every buyer has their own favorite category or feature that is most important to them. While compiling this particular list of best crossover SUVs, we’ve included both affordable and luxury models. We have also included all available sizes. Well, almost all. We’ve decided against including subcompact crossovers since they usually fail to provide where they’re supposed to provide the most. I’m talking about the available room, of course. Moreover, in order to make it fair for the more affordable badges, which lack the quality and refinement of premium models, we’ve also decided to feature an equal number of non-luxury and luxury crossovers.
If you’re looking for newer rides we’ve now released the Best Crossovers of 2019
10. Audi Q7
This German automaker’s first crossover SUV has really bloomed after the 2016 model year redesign. Its sales almost doubled overnight, and for good reason at that. The second gen Q7 looks much sharper, is more powerful, and offers far more amenities than its predecessor. And, base models start from below the $50,000 mark, which is a great value for a luxury crossover with three rows of seating. Bear in mind the fact that base models are practically bare boned, and prices tend to soar quickly with extra options included. So much, in fact, that a fully-stacked Audi Q7 easily costs more than $90,000 – and that third row isn’t really a place for adults; especially not large ones.
Despite that, however, the Q7 can still be affordable if you manage the extras carefully. As a bonus, the Q7 comes with a choice of two very different engines. One for economy and one for power. The former is naturally the 252-horsepower 2.0L turbo four while the latter, a 3.0L supercharged V6, generates up to 333 horses. Although efficient, the 4-cylinder tends to exhibit acceleration problems – especially since the Q7 has a mandatory 8-speed auto gearbox which is programmed for efficiency by executing quick upshifts, thus leaving you out of boost for the most part. The V6, on the other hand, is a marvel to behold, but it warrants an additional $6,500. All in all, an extremely smooth, quality ride and tech savviness more suited to a car from beyond the year 2020 are what’s making the Audi Q7 one of the best crossovers of 2018.
9. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V doesn’t get to boast being the best-sold crossover in the U.S. for no reason. This compact does nearly everything right, at least as far as compact crossovers go in any case. It may have an awkward design and it might not be the most exciting car to drive, but the CR-V compensates with an upscale interior, lots of safety features, plenty of boot space and of course, good fuel economy, which is rated at as high as 30 mpg combined.
In order to get 30 mpg combined from it, you’ll have to order your CR-V with the 1.5L turbo four rated at 190 horsepower. And you’ll have to satisfy yourself with front-wheel drive since all-wheel drive drops the economy rating by a point. On the other hand, the base engine is actually a 2.4L naturally aspirated four with 184 ponies. It only comes with entry-level LX models, though and both engines are ultimately tied to a CVT gearbox. The CR-V’s class-leading feature is its trunk space, which features 39.2 cubic feet of room behind the rear seat and as much as 75.8 cubes with the seat folded. Paired with an abundance of safety gear, the roomy interior makes the CR-V one of the most practical choices on the market, and people have recognized that.
8. Volvo XC90
Much like the Audi Q7, the Volvo XC90 competes in the same luxury mid-size segment. Furthermore, the Volvo XC90’s U.S. sales first tripled for the 2015 model year and then almost tripled again in 2016 compared to the previous year. This means that between 4,000 units in 2014 and 32,000 units in 2016, XC90’s sales had practically octupled. That’s a testament enough to the Swedish automaker’s crossover’s quality. Furthermore, the second generation Volvo XC90 is currently one of the best-looking crossovers on the market – both on the outside and on the inside.
But that’s not everything. Volvo has always been a leader in safety tech, and their flagship model reflects that perfectly. 2018 model year examples now come with an impressive list of standard safety gear which includes advanced electronic goodies like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. A potential problem might be the fact that the XC90 relies on a 2.0L 4-cylinder mill alone. Base T5 models offer a 250-horsepower turbocharged version of the engine, while upscale T6 models come with a turbocharged and supercharged 316-horsepower version of the mill. Finally, plug-in hybrid T8 models add electric motors to the aforementioned T6 setup, for a total 400 horsepower. And, while base models start from around $47,000, top-of-the-line units require as much as $105,000, making the Volvo XC90 one of the cars with the widest price gaps between models in the auto industry, percentage-wise. Price aside, this all-around package makes the Volvo XC90 arguably the best crossover 2018 has brought to market.
7. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Despite becoming an entry-level luxury crossover SUV which emphasizes road driving, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is as capable an off-roader as it always has been. The Grand Cherokee’s biggest downsides are its below-average crash test scores. Although all-wheel drive models get 5 stars, the NHTSA still rates the rear-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee with a 4-star overall score. The IIHS, on the other hand, rates Jeep’s largest SUV “Good” in all but the small-overlap front test where it scores “Marginal”. Despite the negatives, Grand Cherokee still offers most advanced electronic safety systems as options.
One of Grand Cherokee’s biggest advantages – apart from equal capability on and off the road – is a highly refined interior usually reserved for more upscale badges. That very same advantage can make it quite pricey, though. Power comes from no fewer than five different engines this year. The base 3.6L V6 generates 295 horsepower, while the 5.7L V8 delivers 360 ponies. Those with fuel economy in mind will opt for an Italian-sourced 3.0L turbodiesel V6 with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the performance lineup consists of an old 475-horsepower 6.4L V8 found in SRT models, and a new 707-horsepower 6.2L Hellcat V8 found in Trackhawk Grand Cherokees. With such strong powerplants, towing figures are among the highest in the class. Diesels top the lot with a 7,400-pound rating, whereas V8s and V6s rate at 7,200 and 6,200 pounds respectively.
6. Land Rover Range Rover
Land Rovers have always been some of the best off-roading SUVs money can buy, and that tradition goes back roughly 70 years now. Modern Land Rovers are still terrific off-roaders, but they now especially emphasize on luxury. So much so in fact, that the Land Rover Range Rover is rather expensive from the get-go, starting from $85,000 or so. Not to mention the top-of-the-line fully stacked SV Autobiography Dynamic model which is shockingly expensive at around $200,000. Yet, Landy’s signature off-road capability, abundance of space, top-of-class refinement and tech-savvy interior are available even with base models.
To top it all, Range Rover offers three different engine options: the 3.0L supercharged petrol V6 and 3.0L turbodiesel V6 are only available with short wheelbase models. The former develops 340 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque, while the latter delivers 245 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Available on both short and long wheelbase models is a 5.0L supercharged V8. 510 hp is what it makes in conventional models, while the aforementioned top SV Autobiography Dynamic trim gets the SVO-tuned 550-horsepower version of the mill. Land Rover Range Rover sets the template for large luxury SUVs and crossovers thanks to its terrific driving dynamics in all conditions imaginable. Is it really worth six digits, though? That’s on you to decide.
5. Kia Sorento
This seven-seater crossover from Korea may rightfully be the best crossover 2018 has to offer. Built in West Point, Georgia, the 2018 Kia Sorento comes without any major changes compared to the last year. It’s still a stylish mid-sizer with a quiet and comfortable cabin, and correspondingly tame ride. It does, however, lack the cargo room of some of its competitors though, and the Sorento’s third row of seats isn’t exactly spacious either. Yet, it offsets these disadvantages by offering lots of advanced safety and tech features.
The Kia Sorento is powered by a trio of engines, but the base 2.4L 4-cylinder with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque will likely be the rarest of the lot. It’s only available with entry-level L models, and it’s tied to a front-wheel drive configuration and a 6-speed auto gearbox. The 240-horsepower 2.0L turbo four will likely be found in most Sorentos, on the other hand. Finally, there’s also a sturdy 3.3L V6 good enough for 290 horsepower. Order it with available all-wheel drive and your Sorento will be able to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Base models start from around $26,000, while top-of-the-line trims may require up to an additional $20,000.
4. Tesla Model X
Despite being sort of a niche vehicle, the Tesla Model X simply has to be regarded as one of the best crossover SUVs on the market. Its impeccable acceleration doesn’t belong in this segment, yet here it is. Performance P100D models only need 2.9 seconds in order to hit 60 mph from a standstill. They have a quoted output of 762 horsepower, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. At the same time, their 100 kWh battery allows up to 289 miles of gasoline-free range. Models fitted with a 90 kWh battery should be able to travel up to 257 miles on a single charge, while the Tesla Model X 75D has a range of 238 miles. The Model X 90D and 70D also accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 and 6 seconds respectively.
Although technically a luxury car, the Tesla Model X can’t exactly boast the most refined of cabins. The interior is simply plain and minimalist compared to that of its direct competitors, but don’t confuse that with being cheap, either – the Model X’s cabin is still comfortable and futuristic, the latter of which it owes especially to the huge 17-inch touchscreen display. Not to mention the autonomous driving feature, which Tesla can be rightfully proud of. One of the Model X’s biggest downsides is its rather high price tag. Entry-level 75D models start from $79,500, the 90D costs at least $93,500, the 100D costs $96,000, and the coup-de-grace, the P100D, requires as much as $140,000. Despite this high pricetag, the Model X is arguably one of the best awd crossovers on the market, and could even be considered the best crossover 2018 has brought our way.
3. Mazda CX-5
With around 110,000 models sold in the U.S., the Mazda CX-5 is far from the Honda CR-V’s 360,000 units. That, however, doesn’t make it any less good, and the CX-5 (with the right trim) could even be considered the best awd crossover on the market. The CX-5 is a stunner – both inside and out. It’s affordable too, starting at around $24,000. Even the top Touring grade doesn’t cost more than $29,500. At least without the extra equipment, that is. Despite being a compact, the Mazda CX-5 offers a lot of room for passengers. Since it emphasizes on passenger comfort, however, the CX-5 falls short in cargo space department. At least the second row of seats folds down flat, which certainly helps.
As it is the case with most Mazdas, the CX-5 too comes with only one available engine. The 2.5L 4-cylinder is good enough for 187 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, the Japanese automaker has also limited transmission options, having made a 6-speed auto the mandatory choice. Although somewhat anemic compared to its direct competitors, the Mazda CX-5’s engine should be enough for what compact crossovers are intended. And this year it comes with active cylinder displacement, which halves the number of active cylinders during light load situations. This results in boosted fuel economy ratings of 28 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 26 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. Despite all this nifty tech, the CX-5’s biggest advantages are its sharpness, poise, and overall driving dynamics, which make it one of the most fun to drive and best-handling crossovers on the market.
2. Porsche Macan
The Porsche Macan is a luxury crossover through and through, but it’s also more than that: the Macan is a performance crossover as well. There simply isn’t a way to deny that. The base 2.0L turbocharged four offers a healthy 252 horsepower from the get-go. An upgrade comes in the way of the 3.0L twin-turbo V6, which delivers 340 ponies in Macan S models and 360 horses in GTS-badged units. Finally, the Macan Turbo manages to squeeze out as much as 400 horsepower out of the same engine, while the Macan Turbo with Performance Package does even more. It yields 440 ponies and accelerates to 60 mph in around 4 seconds. All Macans are offered exclusively with smooth-shifting PDK dual-clutch 7-speed automatics.
Apart from extremely good performance for a small crossover, the Porsche Macan also exhibits a high level of sophistication. The Macan is a Porsche in every sense of word, and there’s no need clarifying that. Both the interior refinement and ride quality are what you’d expect from the German luxury brand. No, the real problem is that the Macan also gets quite expensive in a hurry. Base models start at $48,000 while the Turbo with Performance Mode costs close to $88,000. But even that’s not all as Porsche always offers numerous expensive options, easily raising a top-trim model’s sticker into six digit territory. Then again, that’s another thing one should expect from a Porsche.
1. Buick Enclave
The most American-made car of the 2017 model year is also one of the best models in its segment, which is a surprising metric that gives us hope that domestic car industry can still turn things around in its favor. This midsize crossover is fully redesigned for 2018, and it’s now better than ever. The ride has remained smooth and sound while handling has been improved dramatically. The new Enclave is still as spacious as its predecessor and offers plenty of room for both the occupants and their cargo. Even third row space is more than adequate, which isn’t something a lot of the Enclave’s competitors can boast.
Every Enclave – at least for now – gets the same 3.6L V6 engine capable of producing 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Paired to a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic gearbox, GM’s crossover returns 21 mpg with front-wheel drive and one point less with optional all-wheel drive. Not a great improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. With prices starting from just under $40,000, the Enclave seems like a good value for the money. Even the top-tier Avenir model starts from around $53,000, which is just the right spot for a large, practical Buick. What could possibly be the best crossover 2018 has to offer, however, has many ways to become more expensive than it likely should be.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a crossover? Traditionally, a crossover or crossover utility vehicle is a downsized SUV built on a car chassis. This combination of cargo and passenger space combined with the driving and handling dynamics of a passenger car make crossovers highly popular for younger drivers and on the market as a whole. Crossovers also typically ride higher and have greater ground clearance than passenger vehicles, and some, such as the Subaru Crosstrek, boast off-road readiness from the factory. Thanks to this desirable mesh of characteristics and a “jack of all trades” attitude, the crossover segment is the largest growing segment in the auto industry at the moment.
Why are crossovers so popular? Crossovers are increasing in popularity due to being larger in size than traditional passenger cars while still being smaller than large and cumbersome SUVs. Crossovers can be both compact and feature a surprising amount of storage space at the same time, making them the ideal vehicle format for everyday use. Many crossovers, while riding on unibody car frames, feature increased ride height and altered suspension, making them more capable than their car counterparts when driving off-road.
Are there all-wheel-drive crossovers? Certainly! In fact, awd crossovers are so popular that every single crossover from our list offers an AWD drivetrain in at least one trim. From compact crossovers and midsize crossovers to large crossovers, it is almost a guarantee that any crossover worth its salt is going to have an AWD feature – it’s basically a must to be considered competitive in today’s market!
What crossovers have third-row seating? Among those listed in our article, the Kia Sorento, Volvo XC90, and Buick Enclave feature third-row seating, while the Range Rover offers it as an option. Outside of this, the Volkswagen Atlas, Chevrolet Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Acadia and more offer third-row seating as well.