These days, it is not so simple to attach a label to what one would call an AWD SUV, given the vehicles garnering the attention of most American buyers.

Once upon a time it was rather easy, given that all SUVs seemed to be modified body-on-frame pickup trucks with names that described the outdoorsman on an adventure such as Tahoe, Expedition or the Durango. But nowadays, everybody is wondering what image is bestowed them with less descriptive brands such as the X5, RAV4 of CX-7?

Product development teams and marketing executives are banging their heads against to wall to assign some creativity to the constant production of specific categories, names and features for what many experts are simply referring to as “crossovers.”

Whatever you decide to call them, whether they are urban activity vehicles, sport activity vehicles or recreational activity vehicles, they all center on one notion in that a responsible size unit-body car is a superior base on which to build a vehicle for the urban buyer jetting off to work each day.

That same urban buyer who also relishes in thoughts of an adventurous weekend; a weekend requiring a vehicle that tackles places and does things demanding all-wheel-drive traction and some extra ground clearance.

Built into this segment of vehicles are the particular attitudes and specified attributes, attitudes of sport, luxury, style, capability or perhaps what seems to be an endless combination of such attributes. What they each have in common however are all-weather all-wheel drive, an engine with gusto, unique features and pricing that is affordable to not only purchase, but also to drive and maintain.

These trendsetters are simply demanding confidence in a vehicle’s drivability in all-weather conditions and they express that demand in their purchase of the crossover vehicles. When your preferences dictate an AWD SUV, the market offers up an endless array of fantastic selections available in both the new and used markets.

Relying on the automotive experts, there are three selections where you can begin your search. Feast on these three AWD SUV crossover models and see if your hunger subsides.

Ford Flex

Let’s begin with the Ford Flex Limited. The Flex, offered by the Ford Motor Company, is classified as a midsize combination crossover and SUV. It makes ample room for seven passengers, incorporates an enthusiastic design, comes with a load of standard features, and is simply an excitement to drive.

Flex coasts along the highway on the same base as the Ford Taurus and the Volvo XC90 and is offered in front-wheel drive (FWD) and AWD. Autotropolis has placed the 2009 Ford Flex in its list of Top 2009 AWD Vehicles and Consumer Guide includes it in its recommended picks. To boot, IIHS has selected the Ford Flex as a Top Safety Pick for 2009 and for 2010.

Now enter into the picture, the Mazda CX-9. Adapting well and offering a quiet ride over a variety of road surfaces the CX-9 corners smoother than most minivan might.

Car and Driver praised the engineering in of the 2008 model that for it structural integrity and drivability, giving it high marks in both categories. Consumer Guide gave the 2009 CX-9 a Best Buy nod, for its stylizing, that adeptly, solid driving capabilities and with ample passenger and cargo room. And Autotropolis selected the CX-9 as one of the Top 2009 AWD Vehicles.

Let’s not forget the Subaru Tribeca. Subaru has over 40 years of experience perfecting the class of vehicles they call “symmetrical all-wheel drive.” Subaru claims, their design distributes power equally to all four wheels and keeps the vehicle perfectly balanced for both poise and exceptional handling.”

Consumer Guide commented that a ride in the Tribeca is soft, stable, and well-balanced over just about any surface. Drawbacks though may be in the areas of a lack of comfortable interior design and materials. U.S. News and World Report conferred rave reviews for Tribeca’s standard AWD, its impressive engine, appealing and handy interior, comfort ability and handling.

Tribeca also garnered the attention of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a Top Safety Pick for 2007 to 2010. Not to mention the Tribeca, was given an even more improved redesign in 2008.

Other possibilities for those seeking an AWD SUV crossover include the Acura RDX AWD, Ford Escape AWD, Honda CR-V AWD, Nissan Rogue AWD, Subaru Forester AWD, and Volkswagen Tiguan AWD just to mention a few.

3 Responses to “AWD SUV”

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