Volkswagen Tiguan

2018 Auto Preview: Go for a drive in these suave crossovers

As may be obvious when you look at the roads, crossovers now out-sell sedans. Some are big boxes for carrying big families while others are barely large enough for a couple and their weekend luggage. Some are boring while others get your heartbeat racing. Right in that mix are crossovers that are fun to drive, efficient to operate and are as suave as any sleek sedan.

Nissan Rogue Sport
A solid example of smaller being better, Nissan offers a more compact version of its mega-popular Rogue. Compared to its bigger sibling, Rogue Sport’s styling is more aggressive with a lower stance. Rear seat space is a bit tighter but still adequate for club hops with friends or taking young offspring to the park. Load it with heated leather seats/steering wheel, automatic climate control, moonroof and navigation. Step out with a 141-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 24/30 mpg. Tight handling is more Juke than Rogue — especially with available all-wheel-drive.
Base price: $21,420

VW Tiguan
I’m still not sure what the heck a Tiguan is, but it’s back for a second sexier generation. Stretched with available third-row seats, it’s roomier for all you haul and do. A larger interior translates into more expansive streamlined bodywork that channels Audi, looking great at the valet stand or parked at the outdoor mall. Getting you there is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 184 horsepower and 22/27 mpg — a bit less with 4Motion all-wheel-drive. Slip into the left lane and have at it! Like all Volkswagens, the new Tiguan drives like it was engineered to swallow miles of fast Autobahn.
Base price: $25,345

Volvo XC40
If Swedish style and luxury are your preferences, you’ll have a great choice early next year. There’s a new Volvo XC60 coming, but check out this slightly smaller and more youthful expression of Volvo. The crossover is distinguished by an optional color-contrasting roof, LED mood lighting, vertical swipe-screen, panoramic sunroof and large wheels. Not surprising in a Volvo, safety is fortified by standard pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle and large animal detection with autobrake. A 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be standard at first with hybrids and EVs to follow. Leave it to the Swedes to create a fuel-efficient crossover that protects as beautifully as it looks.
Base price: $33,200

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso

Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Named for Italy’s challenging Stelvio pass, Alfa Romeo’s first-ever crossover is sufficiently roomy and imminently sexy. Built in Italy, Stelvio is based on the all-new rear-drive Giulia sedan and is offered with a 2.0-liter turbo-four that reaches 144 mph or, in Quadrifoglio trim, a 505-horsepower engine that romps 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Either engine is enough to put a dance into the Stelvio’s step. Torque-vectoring AWD sharpens cornering, adjustable chassis settings adjust for sport and comfort and Italian craftsmanship only enhances the drive. If the Stelvio is any indication, Alfa Romeo may finally have what it takes to compete against Europe’s best models.
Base price: $41,995

Range Rover Velar
Unveiled at The Design Museum in London, this is the meticulously-dressed, perfectly-coiffed sibling of the Land Rover family. Sharing architecture with the Jaguar F-Pace, it’s the right size for weekend flings and daily commutes. Streamlined styling with LED headlamps and flush deployable door handles resonate. Check the copper detailing on the hood vents, front bumper blades and fender vents. Twin 10-inch touchscreens and specially-developed leather-alternative upholstery spoil passengers. Moving it is a choice of 247-horsepower turbo-four, 380-horsepower supercharged V6 or 180 horsepower diesel engines.
Base price: $49,990