The Most Reliable Used Crossovers To Buy Now
Prospective car buyers around the world have moved away from the compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks to pledge their love to the more spacious and versatile crossover, which can be described as offering the best of both smaller passenger cars and the larger traditional SUVs.
The great news is this category offers quite many affordable yet highly reliable vehicles with various advanced safety features to make long commuting safer and more comfortable.
In this car review article, we handpicked the most reliable crossovers that you can confidently buy used and know that they will be of good service for many years down the road. They boast above-average reliability and safety ratings, thanks to an array of useful driver assistance systems that can make commuting safer and less stressful. In addition, these crossovers offer great family-friendly versatility, excellent value for money with satisfactory driving experience, ride quality, cabin comfort and fuel economy.
Most Reliable Used Crossovers For Your Money
2010 Toyota Highlander
- AWD 5-seat midsize crossover
- Engine: 3.3L V6 270-hp, paired with 5-speed shiftable automatic
- Base trim’s standard features: Cruise control, Stability Control, Traction Control, 4-Wheel ABS, Emergency Braking Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Rear Door Child Safety Locks, Dual Front Side-Mounted Airbags, Front, Rear And Third Row Head Airbags
- EPA ratings: 27 MPG city, 25 MPG highway,
In the midsize crossover class, the super popular 2010 Toyota Highlander is one of the most reliable vehicle with well-rounded performance. It boasts a perfect reliability rating of 5 by J.D. Power, which is one of the highest reliability ratings in the class, superior safety scores thanks to a host of driver assist technologies, excellent fuel economy, a smooth ride, and a spacious, quality, well-insulated interior that make it a bestseller in this category.
It offers 2 rows with a total of 5 seats, but you can upgrade to higher trims to get the third row and a total of 7 seats. If you need more space and seating options for a larger family and pets, wait for the 2021 Toyota Highlander, which also comes in many 8-seat options. All in all, it has received raving reviews for its family-friendly versatility.
Its only flaws though are small third row (available on higher trims only), which is common for its class, and delow-average cargo space with all seats in use. And note that very few options or upgrades are available for the base model, so the majority of buyers are opting for higher trims.
2019 Toyota RAV4
- FWD 5-seat compact crossover (New-for-2021 Prime plug-in hybrid model available)
- Engine: 203-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder (Hybrid model 219-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder)
- Base trim’s standard features: adaptive cruise control, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) distance pacing, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), driveline traction control, electronic stability, lane-centering steering, road-sign assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, rear child-safety lock, airbag occupancy sensor, side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag
- Base trim’s options: blind spot warning system, rear cross traffic alert
- EPA: 28-30 MPG combined (Hybrid model 40 MPG combined)
Compared to the best selling Corolla or Prius and the CH-R above, the RAV4 offers more cabin and cargo space to fit all the gear for a weekend getaway or a childcare pickup. Although it is not as sporty and athletic as some competitors in the compact crossover category, it is loved for its comfortable ride, great gas mileage and a whole host of standard driver assistance features, making it a reliable family commuter.
The base trim LE offers Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which comes with adaptive cruise control and lane-centering steering, both down to a stop, as well as road sign assist and rear child-safety lock, a handy feature for families with young kids.
The great news is, you won’t have to move up a trim level to add a blind spot warning system plus rear cross traffic alert, as they are bundled and offered as a standalone option. Another standard feature on the XLE Premium and Limited trims is ABS And Driveline Traction Control.
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2017 Kia Niro
- 5-seat FWD compact crossover
- Engine: 1.6-liter gas engine with an electric motor, paired with a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission
- Base trim standard safety features: adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, airbag occupancy sensor, driver’s knee airbag.
- EPA ratings: 49 MPG city, 54 MPG highway, 50 MPG combined
Only ranked behind the Toyota Prius by a tiny gap, the Kia Niro shows that it’s possible to combine great fuel economy with crossover utility. This compact crossover seats five people, and its upscale interior provides more cabin and cargo space than many small SUVs.
It even comes with easy-to-use tech features and earns an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 Kia Niro its top score of Good in all crash tests conducted.
The Kia Niro comes powered by a 1.6-liter gas engine with an electric motor and a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission, which provides decent handling and a smoother driving experience than a typical hybrid’s CVT. Its hybrid powertrain gives it surprisingly brisk acceleration performance.
FWD is standard across the board. Five trim levels are available, among which the base FE model is slightly more efficient than the rest. A plug-in hybrid version arrived in 2018 and then an EV version in 2019, though you’re less likely to find those models on the used market. The base trim FE should already meet the needs of most car drivers in terms of performance, safety, handling and comfort.
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2013 Honda CR-V
- FWD or AWD 5-seat compact crossover
- Engine: 1.5-liter 4-cylinder 185-hp intercooled turbo engine, paired with 2-speed CVT transmission with overdrive
- Base trim standard safety features: cruise control, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow distance pacing, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), integrated navigation system, driveline traction control, airbag occupancy sensor, side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags
- EPA rating: 23 MPG city, 31 MPG highway
Honda introduced the fourth-generation CR-V for 2012, and the 2013 Honda CR-V is a solid choice if you’re in the market for a reliable second hand compact crossover. It ranks among the top of its class thanks to its car-like handling, spacious interior, decent fuel economy, above-average reliability, and respectable safety scores, thanks to a host of standard driver assist features that makes commuting safer and less stressful. The 2013 CR-V has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five stars from J.D. Power.
Overall, all model years of the fourth generation are very reliable family crossovers with a good balance of everything. If you are not too limited by your budget, do check out the later 2015 CR-V. This model year gained a continuously variable automatic transmission that helps the CR-V achieve even better fuel economy.
The base trim LX should already satisfy the needs of most owners. But if you want extra luxury and convenience features, get the EX trim to get a moonroof and a six-speaker audio system. The top trim EX-L adds leather upholstery, a seven-speaker audio system, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
2020 Toyota C-HR
- FWD 5-seat subcompact coupe-SUV crossover
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 144-horsepower engine
- Base trim’s standard features: adaptive cruise control, lane-centering steering, road-sign assist
- New-for-2021 base trim standard features: forward collision warning, emergency steering assist, intersection warnings, daytime cyclist detection, low-light pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights
- EPA: 29 MPG combined
Within the arena for affordable and reliable crossovers with high-tech safety features, Toyota definitely leads the pack with its C-HR, which is short for Coupe High-Rider. The name comes from the stylish design that is a cross between a coupe and an SUV, but this 5-seat subcompact SUV is more of a roomier four-door hatchback with the styling of a sporty two-door. It has a surprisingly spacious interior, including the cargo area. This, coupled with its surprisingly generous array of standard advanced driver-assist technology, makes for an excellent commuter vehicle.
This coupe-SUV crossover not only stands out for its aggressive exterior with fastback roofline and gaping lower grille, but also its features thanks to Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 suite that comes standard in the base LE trim. It includes lane-centering steering and adaptive cruise control that both work at highway speed down to a stop, plus road-sign assist.
If you’re looking for an SUV packed with the most used driver assisting feature at a bargain, the great news is the updated 2021 version of the base trim even adds on forward collision warning, emergency steering assist, intersection warnings, daytime cyclist detection, low-light pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights. Moving up a trim level to the XLE and higher will add blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.
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- FWD 5-seat compact SUV (AWD available and dual-level cargo floor available)
- Engine: 181 horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, paired with CVT automatic
- Base trim’s standard features: lane departure warning, blind spot warning, pedestrian detection, reverse automatic emergency braking
- Standard features for SV trims and up: adaptive cruise control, hands-free lane-centering steering, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera system
- EPA ratings: 30 MPG combined
Note that the Nissan Rouge is unrelated to the Rogue Sport, a separate model of SUV. The base model S offers lane departure warning, blind spot warning, pedestrian detection, and reverse automatic emergency braking. The SV trim includes the features in the base model, plus adaptive cruise control, hands-free lane-centering steering, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera system for easier parking and maneuvering in tight spots.
You can buy an earlier model year, but if you’re only planning to buy a new vehicle in the next few years, check out the 2021 model. The Rogue was redesigned for 2021 Rogue to add much-needed driving refinement by way of the enhanced ProPilot Assist and Nissan Safety Shield 360. Both systems come as standard in the SV trim and higher trims.
With the SV trim and up, you can get a panoramic moonroof, tri-zone climate control, heated seats in both rows, power front seats, keyless access, hands-free power liftgate, and leather seats. Extra techy options include a $ wireless phone charger for plug-free power and a Bose premium stereo.
2019 Subaru Outback
- AWD 5-seat midsize crossover wagon with SUV-inspired styling
- Engine: 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder flat-four or 260-horsepower, turbo 2.4-liter 6-cyliner flat-four
- Base trim’s standard safety features: adaptive cruise control, lane-centering steering, EyeSight Assist Monitor, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning
- EPA: 29 MPG combined
The 2019 Subaru Outback is a midsize crossover that boasts top-notch safety score, spacious seating and roomy cargo area, a smooth ride and a big plus is it comes standard with all-wheel drive. One can find little flaws with it, with the only thing we notice is rather poor acceleration with the standard four-cylinder engine, which is underpowered although fuel-efficient. The available2.4-liter, six-cylinder 260-horsepower turbo engine delivers more punch, but is a gas guzzler.
With more space than the Subaru Crosstrek, the 2021 Outback rates highly for crash safety and its Base trim also boasts a healthy dose of standard safety and convenience features bundled in the automaker’s EyeSight suite. All trims come with standard adaptive cruise control with lane centering down to a stop, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and a standard EyeSight Assist Monitor, which projects warnings and system status onto the windshield for easier viewing.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek
- AWD 5-seat subcompact SUV
- Engine: 2.0-liter, 152 horsepower or 2.5-liter ,182 horsepower
- Base trim’s standard features: adaptive cruise control, lane-centering steering, lead-vehicle start alert, rear-seat reminder
- EPA: 25 MPG combined
Subaru’s SUVs are particularly excellent for weekend camping trips, but this subcompact crossover is also ideal for the daily commute. One thing that makes it special is that the Crosstrek is a larger alternative to other competing entry-level subcompact SUVs.
An update for 2020 gave the Crosstrek a standard continuously variable automatic transmission. Standard safety features include advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering steering, both down to a stop, as well as a lead-vehicle start alert and rear-seat reminder. However, the adaptive cruise control won’t automatically hold you at a stop for more than a few seconds before you have to step on the old-school mechanical handbrake, unlike most adaptive cruise control systems today which have electric parking brakes.
All CVT-equipped trims offer a rear-seat reminder feature as standard, which notifies the forgetful mom and dad if a child or pet is left in the backseat. Upgrading from the Base to the Premium and adding on the option package will gain you a power moonroof, blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.
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Want A Reliable Car? Crucial Safety Features to Look For
Adaptive Cruise Control Down to a Stop
Adaptive cruise control is designed for long highway driving. It does this by controlling your vehicle’s speed and maintaining a safe preset distance from the car in front. Adaptive cruise control is available on most newer vehicle models as standard, or in rare instances as an option.
But note that not all such systems function at highway speed all the way down to a stop, and some do cut out below a minimum speed of 35 mph or so. Adaptive cruise control down to a stop is extra safe and handy, as it lets your vehicle brake in traffic down to a full stop, and usually these systems can hold you at a stand still until traffic resumes, but do double-check.
Lane Keeping Assist/Lane-Centering Steering
“Lane keeping assist” should not be confused with “lane departure warning”. Lane departure warning feature was introduced earlier and designed to keep the absent-minded or fatigued drivers from unintentionally leaving the lane. When the car is leaving its lane, there will be sound and/or visual alerts on the car’s side view mirrors to notify the driver.
Lane keeping assist is more advanced in the way that it doesn’t notify you when you are changing lanes intentionally, but you’ll only get notified while crossing lanes due to absentmindedness. The visual and/or audio signals only get activated if the vehicle is crossing over into another lane without the driver turning on the blinker.
Recent lane keeping assist systems these days are more advanced and can even self-correct the car’s steering to gently nudge the car back toward the centre of the lane. Most lane-centering systems now work from a stop up to highway speeds, though some systems work only within a certain speed range. A majority of this type of system will require you to keep your hands on the wheel, with only a handful of the latest cars now offer hands-free lane centering, but usually only available with premium trims.
All vehicles sold in the US market are required by law to have backup cameras. They operate like an extra pair of eyes that can look into a driver’s blind spots, thus are essential for backing into and out of a parking lot stress-free.
Backup cameras have evolved into the comprehensive 360-degree camera systems with superior visibility that will make navigating crowded parking lots daily a lot more manageable. Another nightmare of every driver, that is parallel parking, will be much more bearable too.
This technology can bear many names, like bird’s eye view, multi-angle view, or surround vision. The system, in a nutshell, employs several cameras, all displayed on a single dashboard screen, and allows the driver to have a 360-degree view of their surroundings.
Parking Assist, or Parking Guidance System
This feature bears various names, including parking guidance system, park assist, parking assistant, and active park assist, and it is useful in both reverse parking and parallel parking.
Park assist is an automated feature that uses computer processors, multiple sensors, plus camera-based solutions and other technologies to analyze the surroundings and accordingly direct the car to steer itself into a tight parking space with little input from the driver, usually with a push of a button at the right time.
The processor uses many special sensors to analyze the space and determine the steering angle, then displays this information on the touchscreen. As the vehicle shifts into reverse, the backup camera and the park assist function are engaged.
As for parallel parking, as the driver shifts into reverse and selects the parallel park button, the parking space will appear on the screen with a grid with lines and several adjustment arrows. You only need to adjust on the screen and once the alignment is ideal, all you need to do is press the OK button, let go of the steering wheel and press down on the brake pedals. As the car backs into the designated space, let go of the brake slowly.