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Our picks for compact crossovers under $40,000.

Summary: Every year it becomes more obvious that compact crossovers have conquered the market. It's nothing less than a generational change, with buyers opting for vehicles from this segment that offer all the advantages of a sedan and the best parts of an SUV without any of the shortcomings.

BEIRUT: Every year it becomes more obvious that compact crossovers have conquered the market. It's nothing less than a generational change, with buyers opting for vehicles from this segment that offer all the advantages of a sedan and the best parts of an SUV without any of the shortcomings. If you want the sleekness of a sedan, this segment offers it. It also offers respectable fuel economy, interior refinement, a nice ride, the ability to park easily and all the advanced features usually reserved for the executive sedan segment. But then you also get the height and ground clearance of an SUV without the length, making a crossover seem bigger than it actually is; you get all-wheel-drive, larger cargo capacity, roof rails and the looks of a rugged off-roader, all for the price of a sedan.

With so much interest in this segment, manufacturers have not been idle, and most produce at least one offering in various price segments.

That means it's become a more complicated chore to pick the right one for you, so The Daily Star has narrowed them down to the eight most affordable models on the market today that can comfortably cater to a family of five.

Honda CR-V: This is without a doubt the most popular compact crossover of all time, and its 2017 redesign made it all the more appealing. The new CR-V not only features more interior space, but also boasts more power. It's a great deal more comfortable than its predecessor and comes equipped with even more technology. It even brought back a proper volume knob, eliminating one of its few weaknesses. If you're in the market for a crossover, you can't go wrong with this one. (Starting $37,400 without registration.)

Mazda CX-3: The CX-3 is one of the most attractive crossovers on the market, in any segment. This compact crossover embodies Mazda's Kodo design, with a sleek exterior, an equally suave interior, a peppy Skyactiv engine that offers excellent driving engagement, and all-wheel drive. It also comes loaded with features and equipment, and in top trim level can take on luxury crossovers that cost far more than the Mazda's price tag. It also looks fantastic in any color, especially Soul Red. Add it to your shortlist. (Starting $29,040 without registration.)

Hyundai Tucson: I'm having trouble keeping the Tucson off my lists because it's just so good. Not only does the current model wear some of the nicest sheet metal ever produced by Hyundai but it matches that well-balanced design with an equally stylish interior, appropriate engine power, all-wheel-drive, a generous repertoire of equipment and plenty of space for the family. The fact that it's designed in Germany also goes a long way in confirming that the Hyundai of today is a very different breed. This is a purchase you won't regret. (Starting $29,150 without registration.)

Nissan X-Trail: If you liked last year's X-Trail, you will love this one. This crossover gets a facelift for 2018, adopting Nissan's new family look. It retains its spacious and comfortable interior, and if you spring for it you can get a third row of seats. In entry-level trim it lacks the CR-Vs generosity in terms of equipment, and it falls behind the CX-3 in terms of style, but it's still a solid contender. And, backed by Nissan's track record for reliability, it offers peace of mind to the discerning driver. (Starting $29,590 without registration.)

Kia Sportage: Probably one of the best-selling compact SUVs in Lebanon, the Sportage has come a long way. Its latest incarnation is as sleek as it is affordable, with a very handsome exterior and a smartly designed interior. It boasts lots of available features, and affords a sporty yet comfortable ride. The 2017 redesign also addressed the space problem, and the Sportage now has plenty of space both front and back as well as increased cargo capacity. It also has one of best warranties in the class, and one of the lowest starting prices. (Starting $25,850 without registration.)

Chevrolet Equinox: This all new redesigned compact crossover is one of the bigger arrivals in the segment. The new Equinox boasts some 30 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be more than doubled with the second row folded flat. It also offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hot spot, as well as features that include keyless entry and a push-start ignition. The new Equinox also boasts a handsome yet tough design language and includes advanced driver assistance equipment such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and front crash mitigation. (Starting $27,999 without VAT, registration.)

Toyota RAV 4: In case you weren't aware, this is the fourth generation of the car that started the whole crossover craze, which is why it needs to be on this list. This grown-up RAV4 features a warm and familiar interior, though not the most stylish. But the refinement of its four-cylinder mill and option packages more than make up for any shortcomings. And though it's starting to feel a bit aged next to its redesigned rivals, it's still a true contender and one of the best compact crossovers on the market. (Starting $35,750 without registration.)

Ford Escape: The 2018 Ford Escape is one of the best all-around compacts crossovers you can buy today. Thanks to its turbocharged engines in higher trims and sporty handling, it's more fun to drive than most of its competitors. It makes our top eight due to its engaging performance, warm interior, ample head- and legroom and above-average cargo space. It does, however, fall behind in terms of fuel economy and lacks some of the nicer features in entry-level trim. (Starting $28,600 without registration.)

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Oct 6, 2017
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