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Crossover or small SUV recommendations?

I recently survived a serious car crash in which I hit a concrete median, flipped and rolled my 1994 Acura Integra, which was totalled. Now I am looking for a somewhat larger car with excellent visibility and crash test ratings. We also have 2 large dogs, so we want something that will hold them comfortably, but I don’t want a big truck-like vehicle. Based on CR and other reviews, we are considering Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, or possibly Hyundai Sante Fe (though that seems too big and had more mixed reviews). Am I missing other good options?

Others with the same weight are the Toyota Rav4, the Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Volkswagen Tiguan. The Outlander and Rav4 have comparable repair costs; I didn’t find data on the Tiguan. In addition to CR, I’d look at,,, and for information. Gas mileage is available at

Larger cars are not necessarily safer. Since you want more space, Mazda has a great crossover (Mazda 5?) vehicle with lots of space and a good rating, as well as a very reasonable price.

Toyota has just come out with the Venza, a simlar very spacious model. Unless you live in a rural area with heavy snowfall, you don’t really need AWD, and will save considerable money by going with just front wheel drive and a good set of winter tires.

My recommendstions are based on you having a sizable dog. Years ago people bought full size station wagons.

My parents just bought an '08 Santa Fe (identical to the current model) and they like it well enough–but you’re right, for a “small” SUV it’s fairly large. I personally don’t like it because the gas mileage is too poor (we average 20 MPG) the engine is too small (a 180HP 2.7L V6 in a 4,000 pound vehicle?! Are they insane?) the instruments are hard to read during the day and the interior as a whole is dull as dishwater.

I like the Subaru Outback. It’s better on gas than most SUVs, is easier to drive and park than most SUVs, has just as much cargo space as most SUVs, will go just about anywhere most people would take an SUV (and yes, the Subie CAN do some light off-roading) and I personally really like their styling, inside and out. The Subaru is what I’d go for.

You Are Wise To Look For A Larger Car.

I’m glad you survived the crash. I guess that was your “wake up” call.

Larger cars are generally safer than smaller cars in a collision (There are exceptions.) Insurance companies know this and adjust the premiums accordingly. Pick out some models you like and check the safety ratings of each. Here are some sites to help you. Click these links. You will see that larger is usually safer.

Don’t hesitate to call your agent to compare insurance costs and get advice on safety. Agents deal with collisions and their consequences almost daily.

Subaru Forester would be another good choice.

I’d give the edge to the Legacy over the Forester due to the Legacy’s slightly better economy numbers–but the Forester isn’t a bad pick.

Then again I have a bit of a soft spot for Subarus to begin with.

Toyota Rav4, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-7

Love my Ford Escape.

The CX-7 (3800#) is almost as heavy as the Santa Fe (4000#). The Escape is also among the larger small SUVs, weigh in in at about 4200#. The Outback, CRV, Rav4, and Tiguan are about 3500#. Weight is not exactly proportional to size, but it’s a reasonable approximation. And it’s a lot easier than messing with interior dimensions.

Still a Honda CRV/RAV 4 fan and if the two dogs are the priority, a Honda element or Scion xB. The last two seem excellent doggy cars…especially the Element.

all those I listed don’t really drive like a truck, more so with the CX-7

The Rav4 with the 2.5L 4cyl has plenty of get up and go for 179hp and a curb weight of 3494lbs, 4535lbs gross weight, and 24mpg combined for the 4x4 model.
The CX-7 has a curb weight of almost 4000lbs, 244hp 4cyl, but gets 18mpg combined with it’s AWD model. Granted the turbo charger drinks down a good deal more fuel than a naturally aspirated engine.