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Nine utility vehicles to suit your family - and your budget

thespec 2017-11-10 22:15:00


A versatile, five-passenger compact crossover, the 2018 Crosstrek is more spacious than ever with amped up cargo space and roof rails to aid in your family adventures.

Safety-wise, this ride tops the list, nabbing the Top Safety Pick+ award from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety last month, for its sixth consecutive year.

The Crosstrek now offers lane assist, new to the 2018 model, as well as Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology, which comes with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management.

The infotainment system boasts a 6.5-inch or 8-inch touch screen, featuring apps and services, plus compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the STARLINK Smart Access platform.

Pricing starts at $23,695 for six-speed manual transmission.

2018 GMC Terrain

~photo by Jock McCleary

This new-generation GMC compact SUV is positively stylin'.

Smoother and sleeker, the 2018 Terrain seats five with plenty of legroom and cargo space (846 litres with the seats up and 2,294 litres with the back and front passenger seat folded), and has three engine options (1.5-litre four-cylinder, direct injection turbo DOHC, 1.6-litre Turbo-Diesel DOHC or 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection DOHC).

It comes equipped with a passenger sensing system, rear camera, electronic stability control system, tire pressure monitoring, Teen Driver technology and more.

The GMC IntelliLink infotainment system is truly the star of the show: a seven- or eight-inch touchscreen with a number of apps and features, including the option of up to five personalized infotainment profiles, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Pricing starts at $30,295 for the base SLE 1.5-litre, with front-wheel-drive.

2018 Ford Escape


Starting at $26,099 for the S model, the 2018 Ford Escape continues its legacy as a reliable and well-loved compact SUV.

The Escape has seating for five and a cargo capacity of 1,925 litres, plus an array of goodies for your busy family including foot-activated, hands-free power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, enhanced active park assist and start/stop technology. Plus, its Intelligent 4WD System monitors traction and road conditions to help with more precise handling.

The Escape's SYNC infotainment system is voice activated and boasts an eight-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

2018 Honda CR-V

~YouTube/Cars and Dogs

This handsomely sporty compact crossover is in its sixth generation and still a favourite for Canadians.

Starting at $27,090 for the LX-2WD model, this bad boy comes with proximity key entry, pushbutton start, heated front seats, a remote engine starter, as well as available LED lights, one-touch power moonroof, roof rails and more.

Safety features on the CR-V include controlled braking, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, hill start assist, child safety and pedestrian safety. And Honda Sensing Technologies provide a little extra peace of mind while on the road or while squeezing in and out of tight spaces.

Honda's display auto system flaunts a seven-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and HondaLink Next Generation has apps that can be personalized to suit your everyday needs.

2018 Mazda CX-9

~YouTube/Cars & Technology

This seven-seater SUV will take your boring old minivan to school. Spacious, stylish and fuel-efficient, this is a great choice for your big family.

Starting at $36,200 for the GS model, the CX-9 comes with a long list of safety features including roll-over stability control, hill launch assist, advanced blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, child-safety rear door locks, integrated rear seat child safety seat lower anchors and upper tethers and more. 

Mazda's i-ACTIVSENSE Package is also available on the GS and GS-L models (standard on the GT), with additional features to help drivers identify hazards and aid in collision prevention.

Audio and connectivity options are endless on the CX-9, but to name a few: seven-inch colour touchscreen display with Mazda Connect, two USB ports, auxiliary audio input jack, Bluetooth with audio profile and integrated Aha Internet Radio functionality.

2018 Kia Sportage

~YouTube/World of Cars

Starting from $25,095, this five-seater is safe, sporty and versatile – perfect for the active family.

The Sportage is engineered for impact safety and comes equipped with electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, hill assist control, downhill brake control, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection and more.

And for comfort and convenience, Kia's got you covered with an array of features including a tire-pressure monitoring system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, USB and AUX inputs, Bluetooth, keyless entry and smart power liftgate, to name a few. 

The LX model comes with a five-inch LCD audio display, the EX model comes with a seven-inch, and the SX has an eight-inch multimedia interface with navigation (also an option for the SX with the tech package).

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

~YouTube/Review More

Starting from $28,998, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander exudes elegance, while flaunting those family-friendly features that make this ride an all-around great choice.

The Outlander has seven‑passenger seating available, a V6 engine and 3,500‑pound towing capacity.

Safety features include blind spot warning and lane change assist, forward collision mitigation, rear cross traffic alert and a camera system with multiple viewpoints.

And the interior boasts a number of comfort and convenience features, including a heated steering wheel and Smart Display Audio, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

~YouTube/Kelley Blue Book

The trendy and boldly-designed Atlas can definitely turn some heads while conveniently fitting into your busy life.

This mid-size SUV has room for seven and flaunts spacious, adult third-row seating. Stowaway second-row seats make lots of space for extra cargo.

There are numerous available safety features, among them: front assist with pedestrian monitoring, a widescreen rearview camera and post-collision braking.

The technology really shines in the Atlas, which features App-Connect for messaging, music, nav and more, along with available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit and a Fender Premium Audio System.

The 2018 Atlas starts from $35,690.