Best-performing crossovers, SUVs for ‘green’ shopper on a budget

Kia Niro green crossover
Photo credit: Kia via Newspress USA
The Kia Niro took home more ASG awards than any other crossover.

SUVs and crossovers are on a roll.

Consumers have been buying a lot more of them than traditional cars.

So, Automotive Science Group (ASG) rated the best-performing crossovers and SUVs in its 2019 awards recognizing “ecologically sustainable, socially equitable and economically viable” vehicles.

“With SUVs accounting for 48 percent of U.S. sales last year … fortunately, consumers have an abundance of choice, and in fact, in 2019, there are notable SUVs that deliver on all fronts,” ASG reported in its study of 1,640 current-model-year vehicles, including 877 crossovers, SUVs and minivans.

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Three of four automotive brands recognized by ASG – Mitsubishi, Toyota and Tesla – all are represented among the “best” crossovers, SUVs and minivans of this year.

“Mitsubishi Motors once again ranks highest among all industry brands … further evidence of the brand’s core strengths that continue to resonate with new-car buyers,” said ASG’s best-brands report, covered in our last post. Toyota’s diverse product line “impresses with its longstanding hybrid technology, and its renewed push into the car electrification zone.”

Crossover ratings winners

But it is the Kia Niro that took home more awards, four, than any other crossover.

Other multiple crossover winners were the Nissan Kicks and Toyota RAV4, with three awards each, and the Mazda CX-3 with awards in two categories.

Best crossovers (overall)

Kia Niro Plug-in, all-around performance

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Kicks and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, other all-around performance

Kia Niro Plug-in, environmental performance

Nissan Kicks, economic performance

Mini-crossovers (83 vehicles)

Mazda CX-3, all-around performance

Lexus UX 250h, environmental performance

Hyundai Kona, economic performance

Compact crossovers (101 vehicles)

Kia Niro Plug-in, all-around performance

Kia Niro Plug-in, environmental performance

Nissan Kicks, economic performance

Crossovers (235 vehicles)

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, all-around performance

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, environmental performance

Jeep Compass, economic performance

SUV ratings winners

Among SUVs, the Nissan Rogue and Rogue Hybrid combined for four awards, while the Mitsubishi Outlander and PHEV captured three, and Tesla Model X and Kia Sorento, two each.

Best SUVs (overall)

Mitsubishi Outlander, all-around performance

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Rogue Hybrid, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Kia Sorento, other all-around performance

Tesla Model X, environmental performance

Nissan Rogue, economic performance

Mid-size SUVs (184)

Mitsubishi Outlander, all-around performance

Tesla Model X, environmental performance

Nissan Rogue, economic performance

Full-size SUVs (222)

Kia Sorento, all-around performance

Toyota Highlander Hybrid, environmental performance

Kia Sorento, economic performance

Minivans (52)

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, all-around performance

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, environmental performance

Ford Transit Connect, economic performance

Besides taking account of typical performance factors, ASG said it sought to identify costs that have “a measurable impact not only on the consumer’s best financial interest, but on the best interest of the environment in which we live and the global community of which we are all an equal part.”

Vehicles included in the ASG study were current-year models or variants in full production and widely available to North American consumers this year.

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