2013 Chevrolet Equinox
Base price: $26,935
Base engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder (182 horsepower)
Why you might like it: The Equinox has been a solid hit for GM, performing well in all the basic areas – safety, reliability and crash test scores. It’s on the biggish side. Canadians should note that it is assembled in Canada, too.
Why you might not like it: It is one of the older designs in the segment. The big contenders, from Toyota RAV4 to Honda CR-V to Ford Escape to Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, have all been redesigned since the ’Nox hit showrooms. Look for discounts.
Click here for a full review: A giant leap forward for Chevy's Equinox
2013 Dodge Journey
Base price: $21,495
Base engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder (173 hp)
Why you might like it: The Journey, with discounts, can be had for less than $20,000. It’s a bargain. It consistently sells well. Two years ago, Dodge gave the Journey’s cabin a makeover and it’s okay even now.
Why you might not like it: The road manners are middle of the road. Road noise is more pronounced than in contenders with more recent redesigns. The exterior design is boxier than most, too. And Chrysler has yet to nail down all its quality issues.
Click here for a full review: Dodge Journey raises quality question mark
2013 Ford Escape
Base price: $21,499
Base engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder (168 hp)
Why you might like it: The Escape is one of the most stylish compact crossovers you can find anywhere. Pricier versions come loaded with fancy technology and modern power trains. The ride is slick and the cabin looks space-age.
Why you might not like it: The size issue might come into play. The Escape isn’t as big inside as some rivals and unlike, say, the Outlander and Journey, cannot be had with an extra row of seats. It’s also easy to drive the price up with just a few extras.
Click here for a full review: Redesigned Ford Escape a stylish rig with novel features
2013 Honda CR-V
Base price: $25,990
Base engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder (185 hp)
Why you might like it: The total package is what makes the CR-V a perennial best-seller. Safe, reliable, excellent resale value, easy-to-use features, good fuel economy and made in Canada. No one should be surprised the CR-V is so popular.
Why you might not like it: The latest design has made for more cargo room, but a less compelling look. Honda is fiercely defensive of pricing (and resale values) so buyers will find limited discounts to sweeten the deal.
Click here for a full review: Honda CR-V: Tried, tested and true
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
Base price: $26,499
Base engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder (190 hp)
Why you might like it: Racy looks and a modern engine are two major pluses here. The Santa Fe has had solid quality numbers for years and fuel economy is good. A long-wheelbase version comes with a third row of seats.
Why you might not like it: While Hyundai Canada has slapped on incentive money to keep interest percolating, the base sticker here has crept up to the head of the class. Basic highway ride quality is good, but steering precision and feel need more refinement.
Click here for a full review: Hyundai Santa Fe: Bigger, better, lighter
2014 Kia Sorento
Base price: $26,695
Base engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder (191 hp)
Why you might like it: Kia has given the 2014 version of the Sorento a serious update, with a new look to the cabin particularly impressive. Available with three rows of seats, too. And the direct-injection gas engine, shared with the Santa Fe, is quick and responsive.
Why you might not like it: There is a truck-like feel to the way this Sorento behaves on the road. The design is a tad conservative from a brand that fancies itself a styling leader. And Kia is still working on nailing quality scores.
Click here for a full review: 2014 Kia Sorento keeps on truckin'
2014 Mazda CX-5
Base price: $22,995
Base engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder (155 hp)
Why you might like it: If you are a driver at heart, the CX-5 should be on your test drive list. This one can handle. The design is modern, too. The base four-cylinder might save fuel, but it’s not muscular. You’ll probably want the more powerful four-banger. The transmission choices are class-leading. And the technology is useful.
Why you might not like it: As we said, the base engine is a little limp. No third-rowing seating available, either.
Click here for specs for the 2014 Mazda CX-5, and a review of the 2013 Mazda CX-5.
2013 Nissan Rogue
Base price: $23,978
Base engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder (170 hp)
Why you might like it: Fuel-efficient and a good price. The Rogue is ending the run of its current design, which means Nissan is offering deep discounts. The Rogue’s design has held up over the years, the drive is good and reliability has been solid.
Why you might not like it: This is an old design. And the Rogue does not have as much cabin space as others in this segment. The CVT is also a drawback for driving enthusiasts who like the feel of gears shifting.
Click here for a full review: Nissan Rogue a serious contender in the crowded crossover market
2013 Subaru Forester
Base price: $25,995
Base engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder (170 hp)
Why you might like it: The all-wheel-drive system is second to none. Subaru excels at all the basics, from crash tests to resale values to durability and reliability. The engine has a lower centre of gravity that helps with handling.
Why you might not like it: Subaru rarely plays the discounting game, so buyers can expect to pay something close to full pop. The design is fine, but hardly art.
Click here for a full review: New Subaru Forester for 2014: No need to fix what ain’t broke
2013 Toyota RAV4
Base price: $23,970
Base engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder (176 hp)
Why you might like it: The redesign is solid in every way, right down to the new and more conventional cargo door at the back. Reliability has always been exceptional and so have resale values.
Why you might not like it: The cabin looks and feels like the budget-cutters had a say in things. Where others have direct-injection four-cylinder engines – state of the art – the base engine here is basic.
Click here for a full review: Newest Toyota RAV4 is cheaper, with less junk on its trunk
2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
Base price: $24,990
Base engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, turbocharged (211 hp)
Why you might like it: It’s solid. The Tiguan feels stable and well put together. Crash test scores are good. The cabin is comfy.
Why you might not like it: The design is plain Jane, so as not to overshadow its Audi stablemate, the Q5. The interior is okay, but not brilliant.
Click here for a full review: VW Tiguan a crossover for the buyer who wants a practical rig with style