Crossovers are on the rise and sedans are declining in sales overall. Wagons are pretty much a forgotten segment in the American automotive industry. We test vehicles every day at Torque News and our opinions have started to shift. Most of us started out loving coupes, respected sedans, and understood the versatility of station wagons. However, as time goes on, we find ourselves recommending the crossovers more and more to our friends and family and the rest of the vehicle types less and less. A recent spur of the moment shopping trip gave us a great photo opportunity that helps explain why.
Crossovers vs. Sedans and Wagons - Cargo Flexibility
Our spur of the moment shopping trip was to buy a new bicycle for your author. I have a mountain bike but wanted a new hybrid bike for riding rail trails and back roads. During my shopping, I happened to have the subcompact Hyundai Kona with me for testing. The Kona is a fantastic vehicle that is a joy to drive. However, it is also a subcompact. Once I bought the bike, I was concerned that it might not fit easily inside the vehicle.
In fact, the Kona's 19.2 cubic feet of cargo area expands to a generous 45.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. I had never folded the seats in a Kona, nor had I looked at the manual. However, within literally two seconds, I had the Kona reconfigured from a five-passenger "car" to a compact cargo van. I removed the front wheel using the quick disconnect and slid the new bike in. The added ceiling height of the cargo area compared to a wagon made putting the bike in simple. Since there is no cargo floor lip over which to lift cargo, like in a sedan or wagon, the bike also slid right back out when I arrived home. The rear seats then popped right back up and the chore was complete.
Crossovers vs. Sedans and Wagons - Visibility
Another reason that crossovers are becoming increasingly popular is visibility. Here in New England, we get multiple feet of snow on a regular basis four months of the year. At intersections, the plowed up snow makes it hard to see left and right. However, crossovers have a higher seating position and larger windows to make it easier to see oncoming traffic. Sure, the higher ride height is great in many situations, but in winter it is a distinct safety advantage.
Crossovers vs. Sedans and Wagons - Easier To Get In and Out
Another aspect of crossovers that we like is that they are easier to get in and out of than sedans and wagons. The higher seat height is just part of this. The B-pillar behind the driver's door tends to be farther back in a compact crossover than in a small sedan. This in combination with the higher seat height makes getting in and out much easier.
Crossovers vs. Sedans and Wagons - More Family-Friendly
In addition to getting ourselves in and out, strapping a baby into a car seat or helping a young child buckle up is much easier in crossovers. Since they tend to be higher up, one does not need to stoop over as much to help secure a child.
Small Crossovers - A Quick List Of Great Models
Here is a quick rundown of some great crossovers and what we like most about them:
- Hyundai Kona - Fun to drive, great drivetrain in top trims
- Subaru Crosstrek - Best Off-road
- Mazda CX-3 - Best Looking, best handling
- Kia Niro Battery Electric - Our favorite small green crossover