Rating 70/100 Background Toyota’s RAV4 owns the distinction of being the first bite-size sport-utility vehicle. The RAV4 debuted in 1996 when most SUVs were still unwieldy, body-on-frame beasts. In contrast, the car-based Toyota was small and easy to drive. That it was shaped like a jelly bean hardly seemed to matter. With plenty of sales …

Rating 70/100 Background For parents who consider safety the top priority when shopping for an SUV, there are few better choices than the 2007 Volvo XC90. This midsize luxury SUV pioneered rollover avoidance technology when it came to market for the 2003 model year. It was also one of the first to provide side curtain …

Rating 62/100 Background As most people know, Volkswagen translates into English as “people’s car.” For a long time, this meaning has perhaps been too salient for many VW dealers. Despite Americans happily opening their wallets for all things truck and SUV the past two decades, Volkswagen’s lineup has been all about the car. It was …

Rating 80/100 Background Representing the seventh year of the model cycle, the 2007 Toyota Highlander is the oldest midsize crossover SUV on the market. Like most Toyotas, though, it was well designed from the start and has aged gracefully over the years. Key strengths include a cozy ride, easy maneuverability in tight spaces, above-average gas …

Rating 80/100 Background The largest SUV in the Toyota lineup, the full-size Sequoia is designed to accommodate families who need three rows of seating, a moderate level of off-road talent for accessing campsites and the ability to haul a boat or horse trailer. In reality, only a small percentage of Toyota Sequoia owners use their …

Rating 55/100 Background Hoping to broaden its customer base, Saab introduced its first-ever sport utility car a couple of years ago: the 9-7X. It’s new to the Saab lineup, but the car is familiar in some aspects. The 2007 Saab 9-7X shares its underpinnings with General Motors’ midsize SUVs, which means there are a host …

Rating 65/100 Background Some people will go to any lengths to avoid driving a minivan. Armed with this knowledge, manufacturers have been scrambling to produce large crossovers – vehicles that offer minivan spaciousness, SUV styling and a carlike ride. The latest addition to this segment is the 2007 Saturn Outlook, an all-new crossover sport-utility car …

Rating 80/100 Background Now in its fourth generation, the Toyota 4Runner is largely unchanged for 2007. It still has the expected rugged good looks and true off-road capability of a stout, no-nonsense sport-utility vehicle. While other SUVs in its class have evolved into softer, kinder, gentler versions of their originals, the 4Runner has retained much …

Rating 53/100 Background Sized between compact SUVs and larger truck-based midsizers such as the Chevy TrailBlazer, the 2007 Pontiac Torrent is aimed at consumers desiring an easy-to-drive car that’s also stylish and provides plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Essentially a twin to the Chevrolet Equinox, the Torrent shares that ute’s car-based platform, clean …

Rating 60/100 Background Upon its debut five years ago, the Saturn Vue attempted to separate itself from the compact SUV herd by way of unique powertrains and construction. In addition to a choice of four- and 6-cylinder engines, Saturn’s small ute also offered a choice of transmissions that included class-exclusive 5-speed automatic and continuously variable …

Rating 80/100 Background Sport-utility vehicles have evolved with as much efficiency as living, breathing organisms. The first sport-utility vehicles were most at home in the wild, cresting grassy knolls and scrambling down boulder-strewn trails. Eventually, though, many of these vehicles migrated to the city, purchased by buyers enamored with their size and brawn, and a …

Rating 63/100 Background In recent years, the Nissan Pathfinder has been on the horns of an identity crisis. Born in 1986, the sport-ute was originally conceived as a rugged outdoorsman. It was a two-door, body-on-frame hauler designed to tackle trails with the best of them, and its clarity of purpose won the Nissan its share …