As fuel prices fluctuate and more people downsize, a stream of buyers are shying away from thirsty, truck-based SUVs as the family hauler of choice. This has spawned a hot market for crossover sport-utility vehicles, which have room for growing families like a traditional SUV, but offer a sedan-like ride and better fuel-efficiency.
The poster child for this segment could easily be the Chevrolet Traverse. Since debuting in 2009, the Traverse has shined as an alternative to both traditional SUVs and the oft-stigmatized minivan. Since then, vehicles such as the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder have softened from their rugged ways to join the crossover-SUV party that also includes the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9. Though the cast grows, the Traverse more than holds its own.