The Autobytel 2013 Crossover/Wagon of the Year illustrates just how seriously car companies are taking the small people mover segment after decades spent focusing on plus-size entries. Not only is it now possible to pick up a value-focused compact crossover with style, but one can also enjoy a reasonably fuel efficient all-wheel drive crossover at an affordable price, or even slip behind the wheel of one that is designed to provide actual driving thrills alongside practicality.
Read on to find out more about the three finalists for the Autobytel 2013 Crossover/Wagon of the Year.
Sometimes an automaker is forced to juggle its lineup and weed out poor performers so that its most capable models can truly shine. Such is the case with the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, a crossover that represents the smaller, five-passenger sibling to the redesigned seven-passenger Santa Fe that replaces the departing Hyundai Veracruz. The Santa Fe Sport has been given a thorough update compared to the previous year's Santa Fe, and it features an extensive amount of available equipment (as is customary with the Korean brand). The crossover can be motivated by either a 190 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine or a more robust 264 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and all-wheel drive is available with either engine.
A lot of people might look at the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek and scratch their heads at what at first glance appears to be a jacked-up version of the Impreza hatchback. While the Crosstrek and the Impreza hatch do share much of their respective platforms and available drivetrains, the crossover is aimed at that subgroup of buyers who are looking for a more adventure-oriented, wagon-like daily driver that features additional ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. With its available CVT, the Subaru XV Crosstrek finally delivers the competitive fuel mileage that has often been missing from the automaker's portfolio (up to 33-mpg highway).
Mazda pays far more than lip-service to the idea that even affordable automobiles should feature great driving dynamics, and the all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 extends that philosophy into the compact crossover segment. Legitimately fun to drive, the Mazda CX-5 is also relatively fuel efficient thanks to its Skyactiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, that offers 155 horsepower and 33-mpg on the highway (when paired with a six-speed automatic transmission). A six-speed manual can also be paired with the crossover in order to further enhance its sporty nature, all-wheel drive is optional, and its practical interior helps to make it an appealing entry to the small family vehicle segment.
The editorial team of Autobytel has chosen the previous vehicles as the best of what we have seen in the category for 2013, and while there are many others in this class that probably deserve some kudos as well, we'd love to hear which you would choose for yourself. Let us know on the Autobytel Twitter or the Autobytel Facebook page.
2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
2013 Ford Fusion
2013 Cadillac ATS
2013 Jeep Wrangler
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2013 Porsche Boxster S
2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
2013 RAM 1500
2013 Mazda MAZDA5