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Latest trend for SUVs is to go smaller

July 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Higher gas prices made many people rethink driving an SUV. So the latest trend is for the family friendly vehicles to get smaller. What's the hot segment that almost every car company wants to be part of? Compact crossover SUVs.

Proof comes from Honda. Its CR-V is the best-selling small crossover. It's also the best-selling SUV. So while Honda dominates the segment, other brands want to get in on the action too.

Hyundai has completely revamped its Tucson. Swoopy lines replace the former blocky look and the interior has gotten some upgrades too.

The Tucson works great as a commuter vehicle you can even get navigation with traffic information.

Want a compact crossover with some sporty flair? Mitsubishi offers a GT version of its Outlander. Under the hood is a V6 engine good for 230 horsepower. The racy theme continues inside. There are paddle shifters for the six speed automatic transmission.

It's got a practical side too with a clever tailgate arrangement and a third row seat.

Last year the new Chevrolet Equinox debuted. The previous one was OK. The 2010 model is improved in just about every way including looks and build quality.

The smaller SUVs still have the ability to carry a lot of cargo, but because they are smaller they are easier to drive and easier to park. They are also pretty good on gas.

For example, the Equinox racks up impressive fuel economy numbers with its base four-cylinder engine. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway in two-wheel drive form.

Honda, meantime, isn't slowing down with the CR-V. It made some changes to the vehicle for 2010 with an improvement in mileage. It now gets 21 mpg in the city and 27 to 28 mpg on the highway, and that's with an increase in power.

And for tailgate parties or just utility, there's now a handy shelf for the rear cargo area.

These little SUVs may be smaller, but they're still very useful and increasingly very popular.


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