Even the young and hip are in on the Crossover game now
The death of hatchbacks and sedans in the USA made way for the wave of crossovers and SUVs that the market demands. And, whether you’re after a sporty, stylish type like the BMW X2 or a more tech-laden Tesla Model Y, there is a myriad of cool crossovers and compact utility vehicles that you could choose from. Here are seven of our favorites that combine modern tech, sassy looks, and that unspoken “cool factor” that make it ideal for the younger generation, not just soccer moms.
1. Kia Seltos
All-new for 2021, the Seltos hit American shores to rave reviews for its affordable MSRP, beautiful interior, superb gas mileage figures, and relatively comprehensive safety features. There’s also more than enough room for passengers and cargo in the front and rear seats, and although the engine isn’t particularly impressive for assertive performance, it manages to be a rather brilliant city runabout. Did we mention it look pretty good, too?
What we love about the brand itself is the superb ten-year drivetrain warranty that comes standard, and with no recalls for the Seltos at the time of writing, you’re almost guaranteed a problem-free run with this car.
2. Ford Mustang Mach-E
Much anticipated, and already beloved simply because of its name and brand, the Mustang Mach-E is a divisive electric SUV from the Blue Oval – divisive simply for its perceived misalignment with the Mustang image. The link back to the Pony car DNA comes from its exterior looks which hark back quite strongly to the famous coupe, although there is no doubt that this is an SUV. In fact, there’s also no doubt that this is an EV, with a very telltale front end sans traditional grille, and a coupe-like rear.
The Mach-E doesn’t just look great, it offers instant torque and a low center of gravity that should make driving it a pleasure. Horsepower ranges from 266 hp in the base model, to 480 hp in the GT trim. The best range can be achieved with the California Route 1 edition, which can manage more than 300 miles on a single charge.
3. Mazda CX-30
The Japanese manufacturer really pulled something unique out of the hat with the CX-30 by filling a gap we never even knew was there – slotting in between the CX-3 and the bigger CX-5, the CX-30 is somewhere in the middle in terms of size comparison. This darty little ute capitalizes on the brand’s brilliant driving dynamics and merges a fun-to-drive demeanor with a brilliant cabin and attractive pricing. Although some have complained about restrictive rear legroom (insert eye roll – what did you expect from a compact crossover?) and a rather limited configurations list, the 2021 model does come with the super turbocharged four-cylinder motor popularized in the Mazda 3. The overall package is superb, and will only set you back around $22k, although the top-of-the-range model requires at least $34k without destination fees and other bits and bobs.
4. Volvo XC40
On the smallest end of the Scandinavian automaker’s lineup, the XC40 is the little brother to the Swedish sweetheart that is the XC60 – and it’s just as brilliant, in our opinion. Nimble and nippy, the XC40 is also extremely handsome, with three trims to choose from: the base Momentum, the sporty R-Design, or the elegant Inscription. And, for 2021, there’s now also an all-electric Recharge variant that negates the need for fuel entirely.
All the XC40 variants are winners, though, with superior driver aids and tech features, a banging optional sound system (even the standard setup is good!), and a cabin that’s surprisingly plush and luxurious – there’s leather everywhere, and the Inscription trim even boasts a crystal gearshifter. You can’t go wrong with a Volvo, and this is one of the hippest contenders in this segment. It’s a little pricier than most, but it’s also worth every penny.
5. Volkswagen ID.4
Making its debut in 2021, the ID.4 is VW’s dedicated electric crossover which was launched as a rear-wheel-drive only option with 201 horsepower from its single-motor setup. Later in the year, we expect to have an AWD version with an extra motor and at least 100 more hp on tap hitting US shores. We’re fans of the ultra-modern look and a smart digital cockpit that hint at the technologies under the sheet metal. The central touchscreen can be up to 12 inches in size, and complements the minimalist layout in the rest of the cabin.
Keeping in line with modern trends, the interior is spacious and comfortable, with an airy feel thanks to a lack of clutter. We like that there is a commitment to contemporary styling without being outlandish and that the convenience of fast-charging is made standard on all models. Although the infotainment can be a little niggly, this is a brilliant option if you have around $40k to spend.
6. Tesla Model Y
Naturally, a Tesla had to make it onto this list – nothing says ‘hip’ and ‘tech’ quite like this brand. Making its debut in 2020, the Model Y – based on the Model 3’s platform – brings with it heart-stopping acceleration, impressive one-charge range, and a drive that feels pretty nimble, even at speed around corners. The other benefits of owning one of these are that you have access to Tesla’s brilliant Supercharger network.
As is expected of Tesla products, the Model Y has a very spartan interior that exudes sophistication. The tech-savvy approach here is obvious, but weirdly enough, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not part of the package.
7. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
Closing off our list is a true luxury offering from one of the biggest names in the business. Mercedes are known for their plush vehicles, excellent drive comfort, and high starting prices. The GLA-Class isn’t too different. Sitting inside one of these beauties means you are surrounded by top-notch materials. The raised seating position for the front passenger and driver is a boon, and with turbine-style air vents, two displays ranging in size from seven inches to 10.25 inches, there’s nothing old-fashioned here.
With more than enough power on tap from the standard turbo inline-four, the GLA-Class uses a slick automatic gearbox to get you where you’re going, and at around $35k, you’ll get one of the best crossovers in the business.