Midsize Crossover SUVs Face Frequent Challenges in the Great Outdoors

Crossover SUVs have gotten better at maneuvering and parking, but they need to offer the rigidity and traction functionality of traditional body-on-frame SUVs. Plus, their higher seating position can impair visibility.

They also remain prone to rollover crashes due to their high center of gravity. Despite these drawbacks, buyers crave the space and capability of an SUV.

Lack of Off-Road Capabilities

While many of today’s top midsize SUVs excel at blending sedan comfort and covered truck utility, some aren’t as well-suited to going off the beaten path like the Kia Telluride problems. That’s why it pays to consider your needs when selecting one of these models, especially if you plan on spending lots of time in the great outdoors.

For example, you like to hit the trails or explore the backcountry. In that case, it’s important to have plenty of ground clearance and robust four-wheel drive capabilities that allow you to traverse muddy, sandy, or rough terrain confidently. Also, you’ll want a vehicle with an advanced driving mode that can optimize the engine, transmission, and other systems for maximum traction when off the beaten path.

The good news is that there are still several excellent options to choose from that can provide the off-road capability you seek. For instance, some options offer solid capabilities with an advanced all-wheel-drive system that sends power to the rear wheels when cruising on the road for better fuel economy and to the front axle when driving off-road.

Meanwhile, some vehicles deliver exceptional all-terrain prowess with a symmetrical all-wheel drive system that can send more power to the rear wheels when cornering and less to the front for greater stability. You can further enhance its off-road abilities with an optional X-mode that adjusts the engine, transmission, and brakes for optimal performance in various conditions.

Lack of Third-Row Seating

Even though SUVs and crossovers have become one of the most popular vehicles on the road, they aren’t without flaws. For many drivers, a third row of seating is a must-have for the family car, and it’s hard to find a crossover with that capability.

Many manufacturers have addressed this issue by offering their midsize SUVs with three-row options. These versions are typically called ‘Liftbacks’ or ’3-Row SUVs’ and offer a more versatile seating configuration than the typical SUV. With this seating arrangement, passengers in the back don’t have to sit directly behind the front seats, making it easier for everyone to get into and out of the vehicle.

Another reason that crossovers are so popular is that they tend to be cheaper than true SUVs. They are often based on car platforms rather than truck frames. This decreases manufacturing costs and allows automakers to offer crossovers with more a la carte features than the bundled “package” options often found on the showroom floor.

Lack of Storage Space

Many SUV buyers are looking for a vehicle that can do a lot, and that often includes hauling lots of cargo. Sadly, not all crossover SUVs offer enough storage space to meet these needs.

This is especially true for models that are built on car platforms. These vehicles have similar cargo room to a typical hatchback or estate car, with the rear seats folded, but still less than a full-size SUV.

On the other hand, some SUVs are built on truck chassis and have much more storage room; with the rear rows folded up or removed, they can hold nearly 100 cubic feet of gear. This means these models are well suited to families with lots of camping equipment and other outdoor activities.

While SUVs are popular among drivers who want to avoid the minivan option, these larger vehicles are often less efficient regarding fuel economy. Their bigger engines require more fuel, and their greater weight means they produce more CO2 emissions than their smaller counterparts.

Lack of Comfort

Although consumers and automakers often use the words “crossover” and “SUV” interchangeably, these unique vehicles have distinct differences. Traditional SUVs use truck-based platforms and solid axles, which can enhance off-road capabilities and towing capacities. Still, they also take a toll on cabin comfort, fuel economy, and maneuverability. Crossovers, on the other hand, feature car-like unibody construction and more efficient engines.

Because of this, many midsize crossovers offer better drivability than SUVs do. They can maneuver through narrower spaces, stop more quickly, and easily turn. Additionally, crossovers typically provide a more comfortable ride.

This makes them great for daily commutes, suburban driving, and light-duty adventures. However, an SUV is the way to go if you want to tackle tough terrain or pull a heavy trailer.

The best midsize crossovers combine comfort and upscale features to create a compelling package for growing families. These two models can seat up to seven people, offer plenty of cargo space in the back row, and provide easy access to the third-row seats. Plus, they offer a variety of advanced safety features, including a gauge cluster seatbelt indicator that lets you know when your teen isn’t wearing their seatbelt. This can save lives in the event of a crash. A small but important advantage sets these models apart from the competition.

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