One of the hottest car segments for families — and all car shoppers — is the compact SUV. New versions of the popular Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and the Mitsubishi Outlander were unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week. All three can undoubtedly handle family duty in their own ways, but they each have different strengths when compared to one another.
2013 Toyota RAV4
Before its redesign, this was the SUV I'd recommend most to my friends with kids but would never actually drive myself, but the all-new RAV4 is something I'd not only consider but enjoy. The tried-and-true RAV4 has been a winner for families because of its reliability and spacious cargo area. That's because it had an awkward-to-open swing-gate with a spare tire attached to it, allowing for more room inside.
The new RAV4 got a drastic makeover; now it's chiseled and polished with a liftgate (the spare tire is underneath the cargo area), but it hasn't lost all of its interior space. The cargo area is slightly smaller than in the previous generation, but it's still large, especially when compared to sleeker competitors such as Kia Sportage. The second row is roomy and provides more legroom than the redesigned Ford Escape. Simply put, the RAV4's biggest strength is that it looks great and still manages to feel larger inside than it really is.