Category 4: OK, OK, the Compact SUV

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to detect that I’m not keen on crossovers. Honestly, how often do you need all-wheel drive in the city? AWD is the bridesmaid’s dress of the road: everyone’s got them on hand but never uses them. My biggest issue with them was being so high up, you lose the sensation of the road and they drink like cops at a Robbie Burns supper. But some are shrinking, aping the dynamics of cars and offering fuel-efficient engines.

The Urban Driver: Top 10 Vehicles for the Urban Grind top picks insights advice auto articles auto consumer info
The Urban Driver: Top 10 Vehicles for the Urban Grind top picks insights advice auto articles auto consumer info
Top 10 Vehicles for the Urban Grind. Click image to enlarge

Subaru XV Crosstrek

When you’re paddling to shift gears, the XV’s nothing short of a thrill. Recently it came first in our Mini-Crossovers Comparison Test, where it was much admired for its ride and very impressive with its fuel economy. I had no complaints about the handling and the steering was sportier than any compact SUV I drove this past year, except for…

Volvo XC60 T6 AWD R-Design

Proving once and for all you can be a badass and still be safe, the XC60 is laden with industry-leading safety features. Its 3.2L six-cylinder engine is turbocharged, the biggest in its class, and blessed with a Polestar performance software upgrade. The result? It wrings extra oomph out of the engine without hurting the fuel economy. The Polestar upgrade brings you 325 ponies at 5,400 rpm and 354 lb-ft torque at 3,000 rpm! So you get g-force lift off. It’s easy to forget that it’s a crossover. It drives like Volvo’s sleek S60 sedan within the snowsuit awkwardness of an SUV.

Category 5: Mid-life Crisis

In his seminal work, The Human Zoo, zoologist Desmond Morris compares the shiny red rump of an aggressive alpha male baboon to a fifty-something businessman ensconced in his bright red two-seater roadster. If I could have either of the following when my fifties arrive, I say bring on the crisis already!

The Urban Driver: Top 10 Vehicles for the Urban Grind top picks insights advice auto articles auto consumer info
The Urban Driver: Top 10 Vehicles for the Urban Grind top picks insights advice auto articles auto consumer info
Top 10 Vehicles for the Urban Grind. Click image to enlarge

Mini Coupé

It’s everything you love about driving a Mini without having to take more than one passenger. There’s that diminutive turning radius of 10.7 metres over a wheelbase of just under 2.5. Its four-cylinder is turbocharged and its curb weight is just 1,215 kilograms (add another 15 if you choose an automatic transmission). Meaning? You become a slingshot, secured down by three-point seat belts. Such precise steering reminds you you’re in a go-kart made by BMW engineers.

Porsche Boxster

It’s flawlessly balanced. The steering, a haptic revelation, lets you practically feel the road without messing your manicure. The transition of 0 to 100 kph, 5.1 seconds, is akin to Han Solo’s leap to light speed. Yes, it’s utterly impractical on city streets with the roof up but if that really mattered you’d be on public transportation.

 

Connect with Autos.ca