You can mitigate that pesky over-the-shoulder blind spot by properly setting your mirrors, but it always helps when a car has good sightlines to begin with. Five years ago at the Chicago Auto Show, we documented visibility in a slew of small SUVs. Of the 10 we checked out, the Subaru Forester's narrow pillars and tall windows made it the clear winner. The cavelike Nissan Rogue, meanwhile, pulled up the rear.
The ever-moving target for aerodynamics is responsible for pulled-forward windshields and rakish rooflines, but cars can still be fuel-efficient — and meet roof-strength crash tests — without being a visibility nightmare. Case in point: The Honda Accord sedan ranked second in a mileage drive among its family-sedan competitors, thumped the group in our driver-visibility rankings and achieved top roof-strength scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. See, you can have it all.
What about these SUVs? The whole class has been redesigned since our last checkup, and I took my iPhone to investigate the mainstream players — all 2014 models — during the auto show. Check out my grades from best to the worst.