CarReview's Best SUV and Crossover Choices of 2010

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best_suv_crossover_2010_300x230Five Standout SUVs/Crossovers – CarReview’s Recommendations for 2010

By Greg Gaillard and the CarReview editorial team

In the 1990s when the practical minivan began to seem passé, consumers turned their heads and wallets to the fledgling Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market for some excitement to suit their new active lifestyles. The watchful eye of corporate marketing caught the emerging trend and aggressively promoted the ready-for-anything aura of the new Ford Explorer and instantly identifiable Jeep Cherokee. It worked.

Over the next 20 years manufacturers have refined the SUV from an inefficient 4 door truck glazed with rugged styling into some of the more sophisticated vehicles on the market. The crossover refinements have spawned a dizzying array of choices all called SUV or some variation if SUV (Think BMW’s sports activity vehicle designation for its X-series). While today’s models are much better than their forbearers, picking the best SUV/crossover is not as easy as it once was.

CarReview believes the current market has some great SUVs that do something better than the rest. To select the top 5, contributors used criteria that align with the original vision for the segment.

1) A standout SUV must have a strong element of sport, however that is interpreted, to distinguish it from its more practical minivan and wagon cousins.

2) It must also have real-world utility. Consumers should not have to pay more for less functionality just to get big tires and rugged styling. SUV’s can be practical daily drivers.

3) A top SUV must also include state-of-the art comfort, convenience and safety features. For many households the SUV has become the primary or sole vehicle. It needs to do everything well.

4) Efficiency was not in the original SUV vision statement, but it is now. The days of flagrant gas guzzling and inefficient packaging are behind us. There is a place for large SUVs. They simply need to be as well designed and executed as their midsize and compact brethren.

5) Passion. Modern SUVs were meant to be emotional, passionate purchases. Dramatic styling continues to be a notable feature of the segment and manufacturers have always banked on SUVs appealing to the adventurer in all of us. A standout SUV has to be exciting.

The crossovers listed below represent the best for 2010. Click on any of the names below to learn why they are winners.


The final selection methodology was an unsophisticated blog battle where an argument for a given model had to fight its way to the top. We felt that this approach was somehow in keeping with the SUV ideal. Naturally the discussions were structured within the size and pricing framework that most shoppers expect. Trim levels were considered as a way to capture the essence of each choice. As always, CarReview welcome your comments on the selections.

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  • derek says:

    A few crossovers that nearly made onto our top 5 list was the VW Tiguan, Ford Escape, and Subaru Outback.

    One crossover that almost made the top 5, but got dropped was the new 2011 Kia Sportage. The exterior and interior design was done really well, and it is a great value with all the goodies that are included as standard equipment. One thing we hated was the strong on-center feel of the electric steering and the stiff suspension setup.

  • Richie says:

    The Q5 *is* a no brainer. Great review and great vehicle.

  • francois says:

    I’ve driven a few of these cars and the Ford Flex is the standout here.

    It is just so unexpected with its power, economy an handling. It drives like a touring car. Interior is awesome btw!

    I love the styling but understand it can be polarizing. It’s kind of square and ganster looking. Do you folks like the styling? Do women like it? Hmmm…

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