The crossover vehicle has come a long way since the AMC Eagle of the 1970s and Pontiac Aztek of the early 2000s. Today’s crossovers combine the passenger and cargo capacity of a wagon or SUV with the handling and feel of a passenger car.

What is the definition of a crossover?

It can be hard to distinguish between a crossover and their SUV and wagon cousins. The standard definition is that a crossover uses the platform of a car (rather than a light-duty truck like the traditional SUV) and has a higher, SUV-like profile than the traditional wagon. This can be potentially confusing as some vehicles that are traditionally considered SUV’s, such as the Jeep Cherokee (which is built on the FIAT Compact platform) and the Ford Explorer (built on the Ford D3 platform), are technically crossovers by this definition. The field is further muddled by brand-specific terms like BMW’s “Sports Activity Vehicles.” In general, it’s safe to refer to most crossovers as SUVs or to most small to mid-sized SUVs as crossovers.

What advantages do crossovers offer?

Crossovers offer many of the advantages that made SUVs popular such as a higher seating position, spacious seating (some even offer a third row) and plenty of cargo space. At the same time, they provide a smoother drive, sharper handling and better fuel-economy than an SUV. For families, pet owners and others who will need more capacity for their everyday drive but don’t need the towing capacity or off-road capability of the true SUV, the crossover can be an excellent choice.

Which crossovers are most popular?

At Cartelligent, we help thousands of people decide which car will work best for them. We’ve used this data to compile a list of our top-selling crossovers below.

10. Subaru Forester – built on the Subaru Impreza platform

Why we love it: The Forester is an IIHS Top Safety Pick + when equipped with optional front crash prevention. It boasts fuel economy of 32 mpg highway/24 mpg city and comes standard with symmetrical all-wheel drive. Subaru’s top-rated EyeSight driver assist is an available option and a rear-vision camera comes standard.

9. BMW X1 – built on the BMW 3 Series platform

Why we love it: Introduced in 2013, the X1 is quickly becoming a favorite with Cartelligent clients who like the responsive handling and sporty acceleration of the brand’s smallest crossover (and least expensive model). The X1 has a lower profile and a smaller cargo area than the X3 or X5.

8. BMW X3 – built on the BMW 3 Series platform

Why we love it: The nimble X3 combines the supple interior of a luxury vehicle with ample cargo space and a responsive drive. Available safety upgrades include Head-Up Display, active blind spot detection and active driving assistant.

7. Mercedes-Benz GL-Class – built on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class (dedicated platform)

Why we love it: The seven-passenger GL is one of the largest vehicles to meet the crossover definition and it gives it a more comfortable ride and better handling than most vehicles its size. A BlueTec Diesel model is also available. (See Why you should consider clean diesel)

6. Audi Q7/SQ7 – built on the Volkswagen Group PL71 platform

Why we love it: With seating for seven and ample storage room, Audi’s luxurious Q7 is among the larger crossovers. It is currently available with a supercharged V6 or a V6 turbodiesel and a diesel plug-in hybrid will debut when the all-new 2016 model is released this fall.

5. Acura MDX – built on the Honda Accord platform

Why we love it: The family-friendly MDX was redesigned for 2014 and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick + when equipped with optional front crash prevention. Its third row is easily accessible thanks to a touch button that slides the second row forward.

4. Subaru Outback – built on the Subaru Legacy platform

Why we love it: The capable Outback is more wagon-like than many crossovers offering ample cargo space, a comfortable ride and sporty handling. Kelly Blue Book named Subaru the brand with both the lowest cost to own and the highest resale value for 2015.

3. Lexus RX – built on the Toyota Camry platform

Why we love it: Quiet and refined, the RX provides a smooth, comfortable drive and is available as a V6 or a hybrid. Lexus is renowned for their hassle-free ownership experience and high resale values.

2. Audi Q5/SQ5 – built on the Volkswagen Group B8 platform (Audi A4)

Why we love it: With its available panoramic sunroof, sporty drive and luxurious interior, it’s no wonder that the Q5 remains a favorite with Cartelligent clients. A turbo four-cylinder engine comes standard and upgrades include a supercharged V6 and V6 turbodiesel.

1. BMW X5 – built on the BMW 5 Series platform

Why we love it: All-new for 2014, the X5 is the most SUV-like crossover in the BMW stable. With an available third row, the X5 combines the utility of a full-size SUV with the luxury and performance of a BMW sedan.

Whether you’re looking for a wagon, crossover, SUV or sedan, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.