You don’t need to spend a fortune to drive in style
CASEY WILLIAMS | Auto Reviewer
Even in Texas, there’s a limit to the size of our ranches. That ginormous SUV is not going to fit in the tight garage of your urban loft, apartment, or bungalow. Any of these new eight urban-size crossovers provide big-truck utility with small-car practicality.
Priced $20,000 and under
Honda HR-V. It only dishes 141 horses, but style and utility get top billing. Deep body sculpting adds flair while top interiors sport fly-bridge center consoles, stitched dash coverings, swipe-sensitive touchscreens, and glassy climate control touchpads. A rearview camera, 1-in. alloys, Bluetooth and USB come standard. Flip rear seats to cross-load gear. Enjoy up to 28/35-MPG city/hwy. Base price: $19,115.
Fiat 500X. Launched with Viagra-inspired commercials, 500X adds girth and length. Sharing architecture and Italian assembly space with Jeep Renegade, 500X comes with a 160hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 9-speed transmission to deliver 34-MPG hwy. Lane departure, blind zone warning, and Beats audio systems are optional. It’s the Fiat for a growing, um, family. Base price: $20,000.
Mazda CX-3. The Miata of crossovers flaunts dynamic KODO design cues, backup camera, and push-button starting standard. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 146hp and up to 29/35-MPG city/hwy. AWD is optional. Sporty interiors can be equipped with navigation, head-up display, Bluetooth, internet radio apps, heated seats and crash avoidance warning systems. Base price: $19,960.
Jeep Renegade. Sharing architecture and assembly space with the Fiat 500X, Jeep’s baby boasts removable roof panels and Jerry can taillamps. Choose between 150hp 1.4-liter and 184hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines, achieving up to 31-MPG hwy. Go Trailhawk for a crawl mode and skid plates. Funky style, flamboyant colors and compact dimensions delight. Base price: $17,995.
Priced over $20,000
Hyundai Tucson. Tucson is right-sized for your urban clan. Upscale styling flashes a bold grille, HID headlamps and LED running lamps. Get it basic or stacked with heated/ ventilated leather seats, proximity-opening rear hatch, remote start/stop, app for Android watches and crash-avoidance technology. Choose the up-level 1.6-liter turbo-4 that serves 175hp and 26/33-MPG. It’s a tomb quiet refuge from city life. Base price: $22,700.
Buick Encore. Buick’s city-sized luxury crossover adds a new Sport Touring package that includes 18-in. wheels, body color trim, projector-beams and spoiler. Luxury is bolstered with 4G Wi-Fi, Bose audio, rearview camera and active noise cancellation. Heated leather seats and steering wheel warm winters. Enjoy up to 153 horses and 25/33-MPG city/hwy. Base price: $24,065.
Land Rover Discovery Sport. Orgasmic leather and glass roof overwhelm senses as you tap the 240hp 2.0-liter turbo-4. Styling is distinguished by a sleek body with forward-canted C-pillars. Get heated seats, heated steering wheel and primo audio. Land Rover’s Terrain Response System adjusts for snow, mud and sand should date night turn into a campout. Base price: $37,455.
Infiniti Q30. Squint at the proportions and examine the switchgear — you’ll realize this is a Mercedes GLA in disguise. But, Infiniti’s expressive lines will appeal to younger trend-loving buyers. Interiors flaunt themes dubbed City Black, Café Teak and Gallery White. Active noise cancellation, 208 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 and 7-speed dual-clutch au
tomatic transmission come standard. Sales commence late this year. Base price (est): $35,000.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 6, 2015.