SKIERS DROVE THE POPULARITY OF CROSSOVERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE FIGURED THEM OUT. BETTER-THAN-EVER NEW MODELS ARE THEIR REWARD.
The new 2018 crossover vehicles will take you to the mountains and back in a hurry— and in style.
For nearly two decades, the default vehicle for skiers has been a car-based crossover. They offer a more comfortable ride than truck-based SUVs, along with improved economies. But all crossovers are not created equal. Heading into 2018, here are three favorites.
VW ATLAS SE 4MOTION ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
The all-new 7-seat Atlas is massive inside, with plenty of room for gear, skis and your posse. What’s surprising: It corners, steers, and accelerates “smaller” than it looks, because it’s based on a car, rather than truck chassis, yet it still has eight inches of clearance and two settings for winter driving. Snow mode dampens throttle inputs, so you can get unstuck without spinning the tires. From $36,790 PROPS FOR: 72,000-mile warranty, best of any SUV; can lock/unlock with phone app
GMC TERRAIN SLE AWD
If you drive a lot of crossovers like we do, you’ll be impressed by what GMC has managed here. First, the Terrain is ultra-stiff, so you experience a poised, smooth ride. And the cabin is muted via a sound system that works just like fancy noise-cancelling headphones. The second row flips flat, with room for ski gear and luggage, and an active lane-keeping/blind-spot assist keeps you safer on the highway. From $30,545 PROPS FOR: USB ports at all seats; wifi for up to seven devices
BMW X3 M40I
If you want a sports sedan feel, the BMW is our pick. Its transmission defaults to driving power to the rear wheels (on dry roads), it has an adaptive suspension that stiffens in corners, and its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six will launch the X3 to 60 mph in under five seconds. (That’s fast.) But it still has eight inches of clearance and AWD. The 40/20/40 split-rear seats leave room for both ski and human cargo. From $54,300 PROPS FOR: Actual volume and tuning knobs, rather than digital ones on a screen
VW launches its brawny new Atlas (above) this season, with room enough for seven ski buddies and their attendant pile of gear.