In any case, they're vehicles that have a cargo-friendly rear hatch and are designed to move people—sometimes up to six or seven, with a third-row seat—comfortably and safely. And they drive far better than older, traditional SUVs, while still offering a typically higher seating position versus sedans.
That's the case with both of our Best Car To Buy 2014 nominees in this category. The 2014 Kia Sorento has been improved in nearly every way; while the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester is as rugged and practical as ever, but with broader appeal for families.
Be sure to take a look at the entire list of 2014 Best Car To Buy Nominees, then check out our list of sedan contenders and browse the following couple of pages to see a more details on our crossover-wagon nominees. And of course, check back for plenty more leading up to our big November 12 announcement.
2014 Kia Sorento
Overall Rating: 8.2
Bottom Line: The 2014 Kia Sorento gets a quick fix for its minor flaws: they brighten the cabin and soften the ride.
The Kia Sorento isn't completely new for 2014; instead it's a very smart, calculated mid-cycle refresh that addresses nearly all the ways the current generation might have missed the mark. New materials, a little more interior space, and much-improved infotainment altogether grace the cabin with a more refined, upscale look and feel, while a new direct-injection V-6 puts the powertrain on the same ground as luxury crossovers. With improved ride and handling, multi-mode steering, and other new features, this collection of changes is enough to make the 2014 Sorento one of the top picks in the class.
2014 Subaru Forester
Overall Rating: 8.4
Bottom Line: The sharp-looking 2014 Subaru Forester gets a lot more comfortable inside, and offers some useful driving aids and safety electronics.
The Subaru Forester has long attracted active, outdoor types. The latest, all-new Forester continues that focus, retaining its ground clearance and toughness, and even adding a new traction-oriented X mode. Meanwhile, there's a more composed ride, better seating, and a quieter interior, which altogether extends its reach out to the mainstream—as a strong rival to the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The sporty XT turbocharged model doesn't offer a manual gearbox, but it earns kudos for its paddle shifters and a special Sport Sharp (S#) mode that gets eight simulated gears out of the CVT. There's something for everyone in this lineup—including an affordable price and a great reputation for reliability.