LEARN MORE ABOUT CROSSOVERS: www.edmunds.com We keep a couple seven-passenger crossover SUVs in our long-term test fleet and they're indispensable for carting around kids, terriers and lawn furniture. Of course, we still crack the obvious jokes. We'll tell you that these are minivans with hinged doors, SUVs trail-rated for the Starbucks drive-thru, tall wagons that think they're too good to be called tall wagons. But there's nothing superficial or irrational about crossover SUVs like the 2009 Honda Pilot, 2008 Mazda CX-9 or 2008 Toyota Highlander. All three make good on the crossover promise of a vast interior, easy maneuverability and decent fuel economy. Maybe you're aghast that anyone would need three rows of seating, but maybe you've never tried to cram three toddlers in Britax car seats into a Honda Accord. We have. You need that third row. But if that third row were in a minivan, you might find yourself filling a prescription for antidepressants. This leaves you to consider a crossover SUV of medium-to-large proportions. Just about any current-day crossover will accomplish the basics, but the diversity of this vehicle genre might catch you off guard. Even though the 2009 Honda Pilot, 2008 Mazda CX-9 and 2008 Toyota Highlander seem to match one another airbag for airbag, their personalities are so different that you can't drive them without taking sides.
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