Any suggestions for a cross-over?

Looking for input or suggetions for a crossover with decent gas mileage, 20-25 mpg, and under 20k used.

I had a full size SUV but sold because of the poor gas mileage. I down sized to a 4 cylinder FWD Ford Fusion. It’s a zippy, fine little car but after 6 months of driving it I still don’t feel the love.

Can you help me find the automotive love of my life…

Okay, here are my three mutually exclusive suggestions, FWIW, in descending order of preference.

  1. If the Fusion fits your transportation needs (notice “needs”), keep it. You could waste a lot of money trading cars to find the perfect one. It doesn’t exist. Any vehicle (or anything else designed by humans), is a set of compromises. Live with this one and think of how much gas you save, how nimble and stable it is compared to an SUV, and how easy it is to park.

  2. Or, get back your full-size SUV or something very similar to it. Since you seem to have liked it, you shouldn’t get tired of it as you apparently have the Fusion. Consider the gas mileage a small price to pay for the automotive love of your life. It will certainly be less expensive than trading from vehicle to vehicle to find perfection.

  3. Or, get a copy of Consumer Reports Used Car buying guide and develop a short list of SUVs you might like to buy. Rent each one for a weekend trip, until you find the automotive love of your life. Then go from there.


You are so right. #1 surely makes the most sense and I’ve been telling myself this however, I just can’t imagine driving the Fusion for another 5 years.

I would love to go back to an SUV but my 35,000 mile a year commute is holding me back. My consciene and wallet just can’t justify guzzling up that much gas every day.

When I sold my SUV I got a fantastic unsolicitated offer from a private party. It was a great offer that I couldn’t pass up but it but left me little time to car shop. I have already looked into trading and am going to take a very small hit on my car, I picked it up for a great price last year. So, for probably the first and last time in my life I’m not buying high and selling low. Otherwise I probably would be keeping the Fusion.

I’ve been reading reviews until they are coming out of my ears so was hoping for a few suggestions to help me round out a short list.

Okay, here’s my thoughts

As for 1) something that might help psychologically is: instead of thinking abstractly how much money you’re saving, think of what you can DO with that money. A vacation or two in Hawaii with your SO, for example?

As for 3) maybe if you could tell us what your old ride was, and what you liked about it, we could come up with some more economic suggestions.


From what I’ve heard, the Ford Freestyle is a perfect cross-over. It’s currently called the Taurus X (what a stupid name) but used versions will have the original Freestyle nameplate. It’s based on the Ford 500, which means it’s probably underpowered, but has lots of room. Anyone I know who has one loves it.

However, I have a question: why do you want a large vehicle? A Chevy Impala gets over 30mpg (I know, because I own one) and while it doesn’t have as much room inside as a Freestyle, it likely has more power. Also, a Crown Vic/Grand Marquis will fit your needs, and gets around 27 mpg. Lastly, is your Fusion. From what I’ve heard and read, it’s one of the best vehicles available right now, and you will get great mileage with it. Other vehicles to consider, though, if you like size and luxury, is perhaps a Hyundai Azera or XG-series of cars. Or, if you want to spend more, the new Hyundai Genesis will be available later this year.

In any case, more details on your desires and needs will help to pinpoint vehicles you’re most likely to like.

I recently test drove the Mazda CX-7. . .WOW . . . it’s an impressive vehicle. It handles and drives like the BMW 3 series that I’m looking to trade. The turbo 4cyl is the key. Otherwise, the vehicle is heavy and would lumber around with a basic 4 or 6 cyl. (I rented the Ford Edge V6 which is the sister car to the CX-7 and there is no comparison!)

Also, there are some leftover 07 models around which you could get below invoice. While I really looking at a 2-3 year vehicle to buy instead of a new Mazda, the Mazda is still on my shortlist.

Good luck to you.

I was driving a Mercury Mountaineer that was loaded with accessories and I loved and used them all. (especially the seat heaters) It was an AWD but that’s not a must have for me. All of my other vehicles have always been FWD and that’s worked out fine for me.

Hmm, why do I want a large vehicle. I guess the biggest reason is for cargo space. It was so easy to put strollers, diaper bags, overnight bags, groceries, etc. ect. in the back of the mountaineer. Now, if I have the stroller in the trunk it’s full. With the car seats in the back seat that leaves not a lot of room for other stuff. Yes, I’m a mom transporting kids and the mountains of stuff they come with but please don’t suggest a mini-van. I’m not in the marekt for one.

I know the Fusion got great reviews but I just don’t agree. I’m driving the 4 cylinder FWD and average 25 mpg which I’m not that impressed with for a 4cyl. It has horrible traction and handing in our Minnesota Winter. I’ve had more close calls this Winter with this car then I’ve ever had in all my years of driving. The HVAC system is not great. We are in our cold long Winter and I drive with my fan on high 95% of the time to keep warm. Even though my dealer mechanics don’t agree, I’m convinced they have a probem with the shifting. (I have read this same comment in other user reviews) To me, I feel like I could have saved some money and got a Ford Focus and got the same level of quality.

I’m thinking something like a Jeep Compass or Hyundai Santa Fe or Tuscon.

With the cargo room and kids factor, I’d heartily recommend the Freestyle now. It may just be the perfect car for you.

I would also recommend a used school bus, as they are extremely cheap to buy, run and repair, not to mention tons of room. However, they don’t have seatbelts, and seeing as you have young children, it wouldn’t be a good idea. Perhaps later, though. I say this because my family used to have one, and it was great. Bought a 88 bus in 98 for $900, sold it 5 years later for $300, and had very few repairs on it in that time. But again, it’s not a good vehicle for you right now. The Freestyle, however, I think is.

By the way, the Focus is considered to be inferior to the Fusion - maybe the same gas mileage, but relatively poor reliability, and I found the ergonomics to be stupid - for instance, they put a cup holder below the driver’s knee, which is an instant turn-off to a coffee drinker like myself. And I’d bet the Tuscon wouldn’t have enough room for you, and the Santa Fe might just be doable.

Just a thought, but what about a station wagon. Although the Freestlye is essentially a station wagon on steroids, how about a Ford Taurus Wagon (they made them up until 2003 or so,) or perhaps a Dodge Magnum, or any variety of large hatchbacks, like Subarus or Mazdas?

decent gas mileage, 20-25 mpg

In about 45 years of driving I have never had a car that got that poor mileage.

You are a bit whacked :slight_smile: A used small school bus on its best day will not deliver any where near 15MPG. This poor guy is driving 35k miles year. The cheap vehicle would bankrupt him on fuel costs AND chiropractor appointments to recover his body.

Your best bet as mentioned before is stick it out with the Fusion. However this seems to be an emotional driven not pure logic based decision.

I would simply keep trying used crossovers for a few hour test drive each. A good car dealer will work with you if they know you, I have test driven brand new cars in this same manner.

I’m interested in discussing why the poster, and many others, shy away from buying a minivan when it seems the ideal vehicle for their needs. A closely linked question is why so many buy (expensive, gas hogs) SUVs just to drive the kids to school.

I can’t believe it’s style. Is it “keeping up with the neighbors”?

I regularly got around 20mpg with the used school bus my family used to have. A full size school bus wouldn’t get that, but a minibus, such as one might buy as a personal vehicle, certainly can get over 20mpg.

You mentioned a lot of near-misses this winter along with poor traction and handling. Are you using the all-season tires that came with the car? Because that’s half your battle right there - in Minnesota, you need snow tires or very good all-seasons.

My brother-in-law drives a Fusion and loves it. My sister has a Freestyle and loves it. If you want good gas mileage in an SUV, what about the Ford Escape hybrid? My dad drives a 2001 Escape and likes it, and he had no problem hauling two kids and all the associated sporting equipment around with it (there were days with 10 bowling balls in the back!). What about a Subaru Outback? They get pretty good mileage and you can definitely load it up with stuff! I’ve also heard good things about the Mazda CX-7 and the Nissan Rogue.

My BIL bought a Kia Rondo about 8 months ago and is very happy with it. They start at $16,000 for a new vehicle; you might put one on the road for $18,000 with A/C.

You have two issues here; an economic one and a “change of scenery” one!

As other posters point out, in the absence of unlimited income, you have to analyze your NEEDS first. It seems the Ford Fusion, a highly rated MIDSIZE (not LITTLE) car fits your finacial, commuting, and family needs well.

The next step in vehicle selection is to totally disregard what your friends, neighbours and colleagues at work drive or think about what you drive. That is an independence and maturity issue. When the Mini was originally introduced in England in the late fifities, no one would buy this funny little car. Then the Queen of England bought one and drove around with it and suddenly everyone wanted one.

SUVs are very useful where the roads or driving conditions are poor most of the year. I had one in the Arctic. I would not own one for commuting since they are inefficient, top heavy, rollover prone and expensive to maintain.

Your transportation and commuting budget needs a more economic vehicle. The 4 cylinder Fusion is about as good as it gets. You made a good choice!

As other posters point out trading cars is expensive; I would keep the Fusion and you will eventually enjoy this really excellent mid size car.

Your situation reminds me a little of an old movie about newlyweds with Jane Fonda and Tony Francioso called “Period of Adjustment”.

When my other-in-law traded her Mercury Grand Marquis for a Pontiac Sunbird, she first complained that “it steered too fast”. Now she would not drive anything else.

I don’t understand your need for a vehicle with great gas mileage. You’re wasting more money then you’ll ever recover by keep buying cars every 6 months. Keep the fusion…forget loving the car…try loving the gas mileage.