2016 Chicago Auto Show Show Guide - page 10

After decades of market-share
dominance, the midsize sedan is
no longer America’s most popular
new-vehicle type. By a slim but
growing margin, small SUVs are
now consumers’ favorite rides; the
category accounted for more than 2
million sales in 2015.
These tiny utes provide the same comfortable upright
seating position and packaging efficiency as larger
crossovers — as well as available all-wheel drive — but
give up some passenger and cargo space in exchange for
improved fuel economy and a lower purchase price.
This new breed of smaller crossovers may prove the
perfect fit for single folks or small families, especially
those living in urban environments where parking space
is limited and close-quarters maneuverability is most
appreciated. Empty nesters may also see the appeal in
downsizing from larger, less-fuel-efficient vehicles.
Let’s look at a few of the players in this growing
Sporty Pick: Mazda CX-3 ($20,840-$27,120)
A Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy, the new-
for-2016 CX-3 is a solid pick for shoppers looking for
athletic handling
and good power.
A classy, upscale-
feeling cabin adds
to this pint-sized
Mazda’s appeal.
Note, however,
that rear-seat
passenger space
trails most class rivals.
Luxury Pick: Buick Encore ($25,915-$29,200)
A class veteran, the Encore has been part of the Buick
lineup since 2013. Consider this classy subcompact if you
place a high priority on the ride quality, quietness, and
cabin appointments.
Standard 4G LTE
WiFi capability is
another plus. Encore
prices, of course, run
commensurate with
this little crossover’s
luxury intentions.
Outdoor Pick: Jeep Renegade ($18,990-$27,740)
Another Consumer Guide Best Buy pick, the Renegade
joined the Jeep lineup for 2015. Among its charms are a
surprisingly spacious cabin and huge available My Sky
sunroof. Off-road enthusiasts will want to check out the
Renegade Trailhawk, which boasts a long list of serious
trail-ready upgrades.
Honda HR-V ($20,015-$22,065)
With almost 60 cubic feet of cargo space, the new-
Honda HR-V
is among the
most functional
of these new
tiny trucks. The
handy second-
row seat not
only folds flat
to extend the cargo load floor, it can be folded up and out
of the way to clear the floor space between the rear doors.
Fuel economy is excellent, too, with front-drive models
earning a 35 mpg EPA highway rating.
Expressive Pick: Nissan Juke ($21,150-$26,140)
The polarizing Nissan Juke slots easily into the
subcompact crossover class, though it was originally
marketed as a sporty coupe alternative. Around since
2011, this provocative Nissan is among the quickest
of small crossovers, boasting a 188-horsepower
turbocharged engine mated to a CVT automatic
transmission. Front-
seat occupants will
find a surprising
amount of space,
though the rear
seat is best left to
children and smaller
By Tom Appel
Consumer Guide Automotive Publisher
More Than100 , 000 Veh i c l es Jus t A Cl i ck Away…Dr i veCh i cago. com
A Crossover Revolution
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