Crossovers have become something of a must-have for those looking for a car with a breadth of talents. The best in this class combine top family car practicality with the kerb appeal, rugged off-road looks and high-set driving position of an SUV.
Despite the 4x4 looks, crossover cars don't have the high runnings costs that often come with owning one. Most have efficient petrol or diesel powerplants with high mpg figures throughout the range, with the option of two- and four-wheel-drive.
The key to the appeal of popular models such as the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti and Kia Sportage is the ability to provide a high driving position and a decent amount of interior space in a package only marginally bigger than the cars on which they're based.
In most cases crossovers are based on small family hatches, but there's been a surge in supermini-based crossovers recently, thanks to the success of models like the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and MINI Countryman.
There's a comprehensive range of shapes and sizes on offer in the crossover class, so it's important to know exactly what your priorities are before you buy. Unless you regularly have to deal with tricky terrain in a rural location, it's likely a two-wheel-drive version will suit you just fine - especially when four-wheel-drive is reserved for top-spec models or only available as an option. Exterior design-wise, there's bound to be something to suit everyone's tastes.
Fuel choice is also an important consideration in this segment. While diesels are popular and often very fuel efficient, economy figures of petrol crossovers are becoming more impressive and aren't as expensive to buy in the first place. So, if you're unlikely to cover a high mileage, it would be worth considering a petrol. Whatever you choose, though, the virtues of a crossover are bound to ensure this segment continues to boom.
Click through the links on the left to see which crossovers are our favourites.
For an alternative view of the best crossovers, check out our sister site Carbuyer.