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10 Japanese Crossovers Worth a Look for 2016

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
December 23, 2015
5 min. Reading Time

The current crop of Japanese crossovers offers family shoppers a wide range of appealing choices for transporting the entire herd across the busy modern landscape. Whether your daily drive includes snowy rural roads or bumper-to-bumper urban traffic, compact, mid-size, and full-size crossovers provide you with the versatility you need to haul not just human cargo, but whatever other gear life might throw your way, too. Forget a frumpy minivan - a crossover lets you take care of business in style, without compromising on practicality. Let's take a quick look at 10 Japanese crossovers that are worth a look for 2016.

1. 2016 Toyota RAV4

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 has been redesigned for the current model year, which includes the introduction of an all-new hybrid model. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid delivers 34-mpg in combined driving, along with 194 horsepower from its four-cylinder gas motor and pair of electric motors. All-wheel drive is standard with the RAV4 Hybrid and optional with the base RAV4, which is itself motivated by a 176 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder motor of its own. Conservatively styled, affordable, and spacious (the RAV4 provides a generous 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space, along with a roomy second row), the five-passenger Toyota is one of the leading Japanese crossovers on the market.


2. 2016 Nissan Rogue

The 2016 Nissan Rogue adds a dash of style to the entry-level crossover segment with its prominent grille and muscular curves. Inside, the Nissan Rogue has room for up to seven passengers by way of its unusual (for its class) option of third-row accommodations. If you fold down the rear seats you benefit from 70 cubic feet of hauling space suitable for even over-sized items, which is commendable amongst compact people movers. The Rogue is motivated by a 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder mill that's also good for 175 lb-ft of torque, and while all-wheel drive is optional with the Nissan, a continuously-variable automatic transmission is standard. Fuel efficiency for the Rogue checks in at 26-mpg city and 33-mpg highway.


3. 2016 Honda HR-V

Interested in a Japanese crossover that's bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside? Enter the 2016 Honda HR-V, a subcompact with perhaps the most versatile seating system found in any family vehicle. Thanks to its 'Magic Seat' feature, the Honda HR-V can flip up, fold forward, and otherwise disappear its second row, freeing up just under 60 cubes of space - an astonishing number for such a small player in the crossover sweepstakes. The lightweight design of the HR-V also helps it sip fuel at a relaxed rate (25-mpg city / 34-mpg highway), while relying on a 141 horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that can be matched with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT (the latter is required if you want to order all-wheel drive with the Honda).

 Photo by Benjamin Hunting

Photo by Benjamin Hunting

4. 2016 Mazda CX-3

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a Japanese crossover that isn't actually aimed at families. Unlike its HR-V rival, the Mazda CX-3 trades interior volume for sporty looks and an engaging driving experience that is a cut above most other vehicles in its class. Don't get us wrong - there's still enough room inside the CX-3 for a couple to stow all their weekend luggage and lifestyle accessories (42.3 cubic feet of total cargo space) - but you wouldn't want to ask anyone to sit in the second row of the five passenger Mazda for anything more than a short trip. A 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine generates 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque for the CX-3, managed by a six-speed automatic gearbox, and all-wheel drive can be had as an option with the vehicle.

 Photo by Benjamin Hunting

Photo by Benjamin Hunting

5. 2016 Toyota Highlander

The 2016 Toyota Highlander is a full-size, three-row crossover that comes up big-time in terms of comfort, reliability, and overall utility. The seven-passenger Toyota Highlander's back row is better suited for children rather than adult riders, but the second set of accommodations is respectable in terms of leg and shoulder room. Fold everything forward and you're looking at almost 84 cubic feet of cargo space inside the vehicle, which asks you to choose between a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower) and a 3.5-liter V-6 (270 horsepower). All-wheel drive is only available with the six-cylinder model, and while both editions come with a six-speed autobox, fuel economy for the four-cylinder is within a few miles per gallon of its more robust sibling (20-mpg around town and 25-mpg highway).


6. 2016 Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is another new-for-2016 Japanese crossover, and the big hauler's redesign has significantly modernized what was a popular, yet aging design. Sleeker inside and out, the Honda Pilot continues to provide room for as many as eight passengers, along with 83.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the rearmost rows folded forward. In addition to a higher quotient of tech features, the revised Honda Pilot boosts the output of its standard 3.5-liter V-6 to 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, and while a six-speed automatic transmission is included with entry-level models, an available nine-speed gearbox improves fuel efficiency to 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway. Of course, all-wheel drive is available with the Pilot as an option.


7. 2016 Lexus RX 350

The 2016 Lexus RX 350 - like the Honda Pilot - has been given a thorough re-think, with Lexus focusing the attentions of its engineers and stylists on the most popular member of its entire stable of vehicles. The end result doesn't stray too far from the Lexus RX's successful template, although it does dial up the bold front grille that has become a Lexus trademark. Longer and taller than the model it replaces, the RX 350 comes with a 295 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, available all-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It also returns 23-mpg in combined driving, can seat five, and offers 56.3 cubic feet of total interior storage space.


8. 2016 Subaru Outback

The 2016 Subaru Outback is the latest version of the tall wagon that kick-started the entire crossover segment, and while it has grown throughout the years it remains an appealing do-everything vehicle option for outdoorsy drivers. In addition to features such as the EyeSight active safety system, the five-passenger Subaru Outback offers four-cylinder (2.5-liter, 175 horsepower) and six-cylinder (3.6-kiter, 256 horsepower) models, along with standard all-wheel drive and combined fuel mileage of 28-mpg combined in four-cylinder trim (thanks to its continuously-variable automatic transmission). Cargo space stands at 73.3 cubic feet, which is near the top of the mid-size Japanese crossover class.


9. 2016 Infiniti QX50

The 2016 Infiniti QX50 has seen its platform stretched to improve its standing with space-starved luxury shoppers. The second row of seating in the five-passenger Infiniti QX50 is now much more capable of accommodating adults, although its 50.1 cubic feet of total cargo space places it behind several of its Japanese crossover rivals. Still, with the choice between rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, as well as a standard 325 horsepower V-6 matched with a seven-speed automatic transmission, the QX50 is more fun to drive than one might expect, especially compared to the typically staid entry-level people mover stereotype.


10. 2016 Honda CR-V

The 2016 Honda CR-V can be thought of as the HR-V's big brother, and this certainly shows through when examining the extra interior room it has on offer. Heftier and more composed out on the road, the Honda CR-V is a comfortable family choice for those that don't need three rows of seating - or a V-6. The CR-V comes exclusively with a 185 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is respectably efficient (29-mpg combined) in front-wheel-drive trim. Paired with a continuously-variable automatic transmission, the Honda can be had with optional all-wheel drive, and it offers 70.9 cubic feet of total interior storage space.

 Photo by Honda

Photo by Honda


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