There’s little surprise that the compact SUV and crossover segment has been booming over the past few years. As fuel prices continue to rise, and with urban environments growing more and more cramped, car shoppers continue to gravitate toward these tall, short-wheelbase rides that still offer a reasonable amount of passenger and cargo capacity. The modern-day urban family continues to stand opposed to the minivan mantra for the time being, choosing instead something both practical and stylish that can navigate the cramped streets of our cities. With these shoppers in mind, here is a look at two solid options on opposite ends of the spectrum.
2014 Jeep Cherokee
By far one of the strangest-looking compact SUVs available, the new Jeep Cherokee is more than just another urban people mover. As with anything sporting the Jeep logo on its grille, this thing can take you deep into the wilderness if you’re ready for the adventure. That is, as long as you put the right tires on it. The Jeep Cherokee just won AJAC’s Canadian Utility Vehicle of the year for its bold design, well-built interior and excellent fuel economy. Thanks to a class-exclusive 9-speed automatic gearbox, the Cherokee is capable of highway fuel economy with ratings as low as 6.4-Litre/100 kilometres. Even if you’re not an off-road enthusiast, the Cherokee’s rough-and-tumble style will look good no matter where you need to go.
2014 Jeep Cherokee
Engine options: 2.4-L, 184-hp and 171 lb-ft torque / 3.2-L, 271-hp and 239 lb-ft torque
Fuel economy: 2.4-L: 9.6-L/100 km (city),
6.4-L/100 km (highway)
2014 Toyota Venza
Toyota is probably one of the last brands you would think of when looking for a sleek and sexy new ride, but the Venza is a sharp-looking unit. Designed in a way that takes traditional minivan proportions and skews them until they gain some visual appeal, the Venza is one of the first crossovers not to go for a shrunken SUV or traditional station wagon form. In the process, it has earned plenty of fans. Another benefit of being built by the Japanese automaker is that the Venza can come as lightly or heavily loaded in creature comforts as you like. A barebones model with cloth seats and a 4-cylinder engine will run you less than $30k, whereas a leather-trimmed all-wheel-drive V-6 model with navigation and a panorama sunroof will push you closer to the $40k range.
Engine options: 2.7-L, 182-hp and 182 lb-ft torque /
3.5-L, 268-hp and 246 lb-ft torque
Fuel economy: 2.7-L: 10-L/100 km (city), 6.9-L/100 km (highway)