By on May 10, 2019

Image: 2017 Dodge Journey SE, via FCA

This is not a knock on the usefulness and broad appeal of the vast crossover segment. It exists for a reason, and you still don’t have to buy one if you don’t want to. Yes, yes, buyers don’t know what they’re doing and should demand better/something else, but you’re stuck living your life and no one else’s. Face up to it.

While crossovers do perplex, annoy, or just plain bore a great many of us, the segment is not immune to style. Some models are, for sure, but the heightened competition of recent years has seen designers go bolder with their brushstrokes. Sculptors have grown more daring, more willing to envision a set of hips, and maybe… well, you recall those 1950s Cadillac bumpers.

Eyeing these new family haulers, is there a particular model you’d dare call sexy?

As the ill-fated private detective said in Psycho, “It’s not a slur on your manhood.” You can open up here.

For some reason, everywhere I’ve gone these past few days, a certain new-for-2019 compact crossover has followed. And while I’ve commended the premium marque for its skillful handling of the model’s redesign (buyers seem enamored, too), I’d never viewed one from its most attractive angle: side-on, from two parking spaces away, and while sitting behind the wheel.

Whoa, I thought — this thing has more shape than I gave it credit for. Strangely, not a single photo in the automaker’s media gallery shows this particular angle. And yet it’s arguably the model’s best look. Rakish, slim (if you can call a high-riding vehicle slim), with body lines and curves that — amazingly — hint at a much more utilitarian E-Type. Granted, the long nose/tapered roofline look is most definitely in these days. Ask Lincoln about that.

What was the model?

This. A 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec, which Acura apparently feels should only be seen from the front and rear quarter.

Acura’s not alone in designing a lowly (read: lucrative) crossover that’s actually worth looking at. The Range Rover Velar adopts a similar, if lengthier, profile, with less-busy flanks that could be seen as sensuous by the right observer. Porsche’s cayenne has gone coupe. BMW’s X4 and X6 … well, maybe those aberrations aren’t worth mentioning. But Mazda’s CX-5 and CX-9 might turn a few heads.

Admit it. There’s a crossover out there that’s capable of turning your head, and maybe, just maybe, stirring a sense of desire. What model deserves kudos for style?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Acura]

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76 Comments on “QOTD: Do You Dare Call a Crossover ‘Sexy’?...”

  • avatar

    You know something?

    I take QOTD seriously. So out of respect, I spent some time googling all of the crossovers I could think of.

    None of them were sexy.

    So I hate to be a copout, but no, I really don’t think there are any sexy crossovers.

    It takes a lot for a car to be “sexy”. very few are… You have some exotics, occasionally a non-exotic hits the note… but no crossovers.

    There are some good looking ones… but definitely nothing that crosses the “sexy” line.

    I think it may be possible, but sexy elicits sleekness. crossovers typically try to be overly burly, seeming more “manly” than most cars. I think that is the reason none are.

  • avatar

    I’m also not sure I’d call many of them sexy … in fact many of them look weird and disproportionate. Even though I love Porsches and have driven both a Macan and a Cayenne, I don’t like the looks of either.

    I have a 2019 Acura MDX A Spec which I think is pretty good looking, but not sure I’d call it sexy. I also agree the RDX A Spec looks good, too.

    I think the new Kia Telluride is near the tops of good-looking cross-overs.

    Otherwise, the only other one I’d add to the list is the yet-to-be-released Lincoln Aviator.

  • avatar

    Would I call any crossover ‘sexy’? In a word, “No!” With very few exceptions they are all little more than eggs on wheels, those few exceptions (some of which no longer exist) using drastic and sometimes glaring repositioning of lights and fascia shapes to suggest a unique identity.

  • avatar

    “Eyeing these new family haulers, is there a particular model you’d dare call sexy?” Uh, no.

  • avatar

    I didn’t need to look any further than that sexy, SEXY Dodge Journey at the head of the article. Ohhhh, Ahhhhhh! Be still my stomach!

  • avatar

    Alfa Stelvio is definitely a looker, and probably the closest any CUV can get to “sexy” (especially in Montecarlo Blue), but there’s only so much that can be done with the CUV body style, which looks inherently frumpy to me. Compared with the Giulias and 4Cs sitting on the same lot, it just doesn’t quite fully push those buttons for me.

  • avatar

    When I think of “dare” I think of taking off my clothes and running around naked for a block or two. Never thought to associate that term with crossovers?

    But I did look into it and the answer is generally no. They all look pretty awkward to me. Even the Mazda CX-3, which everyone in the automotive “press” googles and oggles over as being very sexy looks dumpy to me. Radically slab sided and slits for windows. Like a jacked up Camaro. I mean, is the federal safety rule on doors now that the door has to be tall enough to completely cover the torso of a six foot tall man sitting down?

    If you held a gun to my head, I might say the Porsche Macan GTS looks decent. Less up right and stubby than others. But it still looks too slabside and the tires are too big for me to consider it sexy.

  • avatar

    I like the boxy utilitarian look of Jeeps, Land Rovers and now Lincolns, but I wouldn’t consider any of them “sexy”

    • 0 avatar

      Frankly, I find the boxy, station-wagony, utilitarian look of the Journey to be more visually appealing than the generic melted-jellybean look of 90% of CUVs out there. At least with the Journey you can tell what it is from a glance. Most other CUVs I have to take a look at the badge to figure out what it is.

      • 0 avatar

        Ok, but the Journey has a distinct minivan look about it, it’s also been around a looong time and that’s probably why it’s so easily identifiable

  • avatar

    There is no sexy crossover because the crossover category itself is borne of an incredibly cynical ploy by automakers to essentially charge 20% to 40% more for lifted sedans, where the cost difference of production MAY be an additional 2% to 5%, max, assuming AWD is standard on the crossover version of the sedan.

    That notwithstanding, Honda’s products, including the CR-V are automatically disqualified base case:

    Honda has massive problems, including defective turbocharged direct injected engines that CAN’T BE FIXED.

    Honda has a MASSIVE PROBLEM with their 1.5 liter turbocharged “earthdreams” engine (rolled out for the 2018 MY)as used across their CRV, Accord and Civic lineup…

    Major Oil Dilution.

    It’s a massive issue which Honda has yet to even remotely acknowledge, let alone devise a fix for, and it’s a global problem with those motors, from China to the USA.

    Here’s just one link that represents a glimpse into the tip of the iceberg of the scale and scope of the problem (Honda should NOT have gone the turbo-direct injection route, let alone CVT):

    Read this driveaccord forums thread (one of many) on serious fuel dilution issues with 1.5 liter turbo AND 2.0 liter turbo engines used in global Accords, Civics and CRVs.

    By the way, Consumer Reports has now pushed hard on this and is awaiting for an accurate and complete response from Honda Corp, given that CR is now also fielding many survey complaints from very unhappy owners of 2018- going forward CR-Vs, Civics and now, Accords (10th gen) who have fuel dilution problems that Honda dealerships can’t seem to remedy.

    The dilution issue is likely a design defect inherent to these motors, rather than a manufacturing one, which is even worse news.

    Honda’s quality control and reliability rankings have been sliding precipitously.

    Small displacement turbo engines and CVTs = big risk. Honda will pay a huge financial AND reputational price.

    AGAIN, many owners are suffering fuel dilution in their motor oil of 20% or even MORE, at often as little as the 2,000 mile post oil-change interval.


    Google or search (and on YouTube) “Honda oil fuel’dilution.”

    • 0 avatar

      God Forbid automakers build what consumers want to purchase!

    • 0 avatar

      @DW: You were fine until you flat cut-and-pasted the argument from the Honda forum. Hey, you had your say once and MAYBE some people agree with you; that doesn’t mean you should reiterate it into every forum you enter afterwards. Once was fine. Twice is annoying. We understand you don’t like Honda. Most of us simply don’t care that you don’t like Honda. Please leave it at that.

      • 0 avatar

        Copy-pasting an unhinged rant once is forgivable. Copy-pasting an unhinged rant twice is annoying. Copy-pasting an unhinged rant 5000 times is asdf.

    • 0 avatar

      DW, good to see you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      “cynical ploy by automakers to essentially charge 20% to 40% more for lifted sedans”

      I heartily disagree. Manufacturers generally follow consumer demand, very, very seldom create it. Example: Porsche did not create demand for high end hot rod SUVs with Cayenne, but it most certainly satisfied that demand.

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing sexy about a cynical ploy!

    • 0 avatar

      Naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engines with manual transmissions in lightweight cars–that’s what put Honda on the map. Unfortunately, it appears also to be the only thing Honda is good at.

      All of this started when the cars got heavier and the engines got bigger. 1998-2005 transmissions on V6 engines? Trash. Then they seemed to fix that, but almost immediately went to Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) on the V6 motors. Look THAT one up. Trashed engines left and right.

      And now this.

      Honda makes trash cars. In the meantime, over the last 3 years or so VW seemed to have gotten some things right. Film at 11.

      • 0 avatar

        Honda has made some troublesome automatics even with low-powered engines; my friend’s early-2000s Civic grenaded the trans two days after she finished paying it off. But in general, Honda has mastered the art of making a car that’s somehow both lightweight and built like a tank, affordable yet reliable. Having one very expensive problem sucks, but when it’s the only problem…maybe not so bad.

        • 0 avatar

          When they KEEP making cars with “one very expensive problem,” model after model, each one with its own “one very expensive problem,” that’s called a PATTERN.

          Honda burned bright in the 80s and early 90s, and that burned out and they’re living on the leftover warmth of the candle wick.

  • avatar

    Infinti FX. Barely remembered that this existed – even still exists, I think, but deciphering 10 cars all named Q takes more patience than I have. Right wheel drive, long hood, V8 (at least for a few model years), what’s not to like?

  • avatar

    Also a “no”.

    CUV/SUV’s and trucks are all – what I would call in a person – “portly”. Which is fine for those who like it, but not my cup of tea.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t buy one, but I think the Volvo XC90 is pretty good looking.

  • avatar

    Exterior? Not really. It’s all varying levels of minivan to my eye. The Durango is probably the best, but that pulls off “butch minivan” more than “sexy”.

    HOWEVER, I would rub my balls on the CX-9 Signature’s interior.

  • avatar

    They’re just tall station wagons. I thought we liked station wagons.

  • avatar

    I can think of a few that I’d consider very nice looking, if not sexy:
    1) Infiniti QX50
    2) Alfa Romeo Stelvio
    3) Audi Q8
    4) Lincoln Aviator

  • avatar

    The word crossover itself is so horrendous that nothing associated with it can be considered attractive. Does anyone outside of the automotive industry actually use this word in conversation? If you drive a Pilot do you ever say “I drive a crossover?”

    • 0 avatar

      I just tend to say things like “Let’s take the Highlander” my daughter says “momma’s car” and “daddy’s car” but she’s 4 years old so you can imagine what the automotive landscape has looked like in her lifetime.

  • avatar

    Since the term “crossover” is just a generic marketing term with no real definition, can we just say SUVs?

    If so, than the most obvious one is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Looks sexy from any angle.

    Also, the Mazda CX-5. Stunning design work.

    • 0 avatar

      “Since the term “crossover” is just a generic marketing term with no real definition, can we just say SUVs?”
      — No. SUV stands for “Sport Utility Vehicle” which is meant to be capable of serious off-road as well as on-road operation. The majority of these crossovers have no off-road capability at all, even if they do have some sort of AWD capability.

      The Crossover Utility Vehicle is meant to be a cross between a sedan and a utility vehicle such as a minivan; it rides on a more car-based suspension and is intended for on-road use almost exclusively.

      • 0 avatar

        So the Edge is a CUV and the Grand Cherokee is a SUV?

        See what I mean? Crossover is a marketing term developed when gas prices were high because “SUV” became stigmatized.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes. To go a step further, the Edge is a glorified fwd car which is appliance grade basic transportation. The Grand Cherokee is a more civilized/refined version of what SUVs circa 1990s set out to be, which is less heavy duty than an actual truck but still capable of doing most of what a truck can but much more than a normal car, since those had mostly been downgraded to fwd. when full-size cars were mainstream, they still had decent road clearance, cargo capacity and towing capabilities. A Grand Cherokee or Durango is the modern day replacement for something like an early 70’s Coronet sedan or wagon in that respect.

  • avatar
    John R

    RDX from the side:


    Somebody mentioned the old Infiniti FX with the V8. That is about as close as it gets. Otherwise it’s no for me, dawg.

    Does the Trackhawk count?

  • avatar

    My neighbor down the street just bought a used white 2015(?) Porsche Cayenne. It looks nice but it’s not something I lust over. When he drives by I don’t even give it a second look.

    Even my much cheaper 2014 Mustang V6 – ruby metallic – is a prettier/sexier vehicle to my eyes.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I don’t view any inanimate objects as “sexy” in any way.

    As far as automotive design and marketing, I honestly don’t understand why anybody associates sex appeal with vehicles.

    I have never known a female who gets aroused by any car, or, by extension, its owner/driver. In this way, automotive marketers, who constantly seek to attach sex appeal to car ownership, have completely failed.

    I picked up a beautiful young woman for our first date in a white 1980 Pinto station wagon. She dug me, Pinto notwithstanding. We have been married 26 wonderful years, and she has delivered two great children.

    • 0 avatar

      I tend to agree that describing an object as “sexy” is a stretch. But I do see a loose connection in the way that a car’s curves, proportions, capabilities, or sounds might be reminiscent of a member of the opposite sex. The interesting idea that presents itself is that, if men and women see any cars as sexy, we should expect the sexy cars to be different for men versus women.

      If you view the automobile not as an extension of the self, but as a surrogate for the beloved, then I would expect to see single men in curvy 2-door coupes, married men in sleek wagons or sedans, single women in trucks and SUVs with knobby tires (or the occasional pony car), and married women in 3-row SUVs.

      Hmm, I think I just cracked the code.

      • 0 avatar

        • then I would expect to see single men in curvy 2-door coupes,
        — ’60s through ’90s Corvettes, almost all 2-door “sedans”;
        • married men in sleek wagons or sedans,
        ’50s up Nomad, station wagons, 4-door versions of 2-door models where available;
        • single women in trucks and SUVs with knobby tires (or the occasional pony car)
        — Exactly where you see so many of them;
        • and married women in 3-row SUVs.
        — When they’re not in a 4-door pickup truck.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        “….but I do see a loose connection in the way that a car’s curves, proportions, capabilities, or sounds might be reminiscent of a member of the opposite sex.”

        Okay, as far as anthropomorphizing cars, I see how headlights can be roughly analogous to eyes, and the grille a nose, and the bumper a mouth…but beyond that…nothing.

    • 0 avatar

      I hear you. On our first date, I picked up the woman who has been my wife for the last 21 years in a seven year old Aerostar minivan. Granted, I’d made it much more appealing by putting a “SCCA Club Racing” sticker on it since it was being used as a tow vehicle. ;)

      I honestly believe that they only way you can impress a woman with an automobile is to buy it for her.

      As far as the topic goes, no, I don’t think any crossovers or SUVs are “sexy”, though some of the Lincolns I would consider handsome, and the Stelvio is not bad either.

      • 0 avatar

        “I honestly believe that the only way you can impress a woman with an automobile is to buy it for her.”

        That’s been my experience with the love of my life over the past 52+ years.

        To wit: new 1992 Towncar, new 2008 Highlander, new 2012 Grand Cherokee, new 2016 Sequoia purchased by the family real-estate business.

    • 0 avatar

      As someone who’s mostly owned interesting vehicles (from a genuine interest and passion for cars) I can tell you that none of the women I’ve dated were with me for my Jeeps, trucks or current muscle car. The general ‘type’ of women I go for tend to appreciate the ‘type’
      of guy who is into cars, working on them and probably most importantly having actual fun and thrills in them. But any worthwhile woman can spot a poser trying to advertise something that isn’t there. The Midlife Crisis Corvette Guy and BMW D-bag stereotypes have their roots in reality even if they’re gross generalizations.

      Sure, a beige cammccord might not hurt your chances with the Pam Beasley types but that’s about as far off my radar as it gets. I’ve been stuck with a frumpy, uncool vehicle that Id have never in a million years chosen for myself, too. It’s pretty humbling and a HUGE blow to your confidence when you lose control of your situation and can’t fix it in a timely manner. So I’ve been there too.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I think the Lincoln Nautilus is a beautiful design, especially in dark blue. I also like the uniqueness of the CR-V.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    BMW X6 is the sexiest of them all. That said, it’s basically a modern sedan as it should be designed, except with a liftback instead of a normal trunk, so it’s not much of a cross-over.

    Among the proper cross-overs, Porsche Macan is the sexiest. I think Stelvio is trying a bit too hard.

    The RDX is handsome and well sculpted, but it’s not particularly “sexy” to my eye. It’s too utilitarian.

  • avatar

    Dumb question. The idea that a car can be sexy is entirely an invention of the Marketing Department.

    A person can be sexy if they are physically, emotionally, or intellectually arousing.

    If you’re getting aroused by cars, maybe you should talk to someone about that.

    • 0 avatar

      “Sexy” is just a turn of phrase. He’s not asking if there are any crossovers you’re literally sexually attracted to.

      The idea of pleasing design aesthetics when it comes to machines or inanimate objects existed long before the creation of marketing departments or cars.

    • 0 avatar

      My therapist said it’s normal.

    • 0 avatar

      Reminds me of a show —something like “Taboo,” maybe — where some guy was having a “relationship” with his Monte Carlo! Tailpipe and..yeesh! (::Vomit!::)

  • avatar

    I dare to call the Mazda CX-9 and Volvo XC/V models attractively-styled. But no vehicle can be “sexy”. I mean not even an Aston Martin DB11 makes me stop and think to myself, yeah, I’d do that.

    Perhaps the real question is whether or not we’re ready to discuss “crossovers” like mature adults, instead of retreating to the echo chamber every time we’re triggered by the sight of fender flares and sensible ground clearance.

  • avatar

    Alfa Romeo Stelvio is pretty sexy I would say. Inside and out.

  • avatar

    Did anyone ever call a station wagon sexy? Didn’t think so.

    While I appreciate the effort the designers of the 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec made, I just see a lot of of unecessary lines and creases going nowhere. Sadly this seems to be a trend in Japanese vehicle design. It’s like we’ve gone back to the days of the Datsun B210.

  • avatar

    I would consider the original Volvo P1800 wagon (I believe it was also called an Alpine.) I would also consider the ’50s and ’60s Chevy Nomad (especially the ’59 model) and even the Oldsmobile VistaCruiser (I believe based on the Cutlass body in the early ’70s.) Even the old Chevy Vega Panel/delivery was sexy, in a fun-to-play-with way. (Especially if you dropped a Buick V6 under the hood.) Unique can be sexy without being erotic.

  • avatar

    The RDX looks good, for a Honda. It doesn’t look like a luxury vehicle. There is something ham-fisted about its overall design and detail. Acura’s A-spec packages add boy racer looks rather than sophisticated luxury sport vibes.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    A friend bought a Dodge Magnum AWD 5.7 in almost showroom condition. He then modded it the way he wanted it to be. It’s perfectly civil enough for family duties but 13 second runs during test and tune at the local strip makes it sexy.

  • avatar

    Here are 73 lumps of coal. Pick out some pretty ones and tell us which ones YOU think are sexy.

    Uh, um, ah. There was one mntioned by others – the Bionic Cheetah, a hard-riding, aggressive son-of-a-gun. Five liter V8 before they issued the cheap V6 version. 390 hp, gallons per mile economy.

    A wealthy friend bought one. The ride aggravated his ruined back. In it went for a trade against an RX-350 after one jolt too many. Drove that cheetah only once, felt like a hulking truck on steroids ready to stomp the ground into submission. But it sure looked good, that Infiniti FX.

    And I wouldn’t turn down a Ferrari FF GTC Lusso V12 AWD wagon – it just needs a JC Whitney $54.95 universal lift kit to compete in this QOTD.

  • avatar

    At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I’d say the CX line from Mazda is attractive, aside from the unibrow on the back of the CX-9. I wouldn’t say they’re sexy, but reasonably handsome is a trait I can appreciate. Of the others that can be found close to a price range I could approach, I’d say the Tiguan is attractive as is the Atlas. The Qs from Audi are nice, if out of my price range by…a lot.

  • avatar

    The Range Rover line, so clean that it appears still to be made of modeling clay, is handsome. The Volvo XC line — the automotive equivalent of toned Amazon yummy mummies in yoga pants — is elegant. But no crossover is sexy as such.

    The Buick Regal wagon, on the other hand…sexy.

  • avatar

    I should note that others may disagree with my contention that crossovers are inherently unsexy. Like the guy I spotted hiding in the bushes outside Enterprise Rent-A-Car, furiously masturbating as he ogled row upon row of 4-cylinder 4-speed Dodge Journeys with plastic wheel covers.

    Uh…Steph, was that you?

  • avatar

    The KIA Sportage is a looker.

  • avatar

    For me there are only two sexy crossovers. The first one is the FX from Infiniti and the second one is my favorite is the Ford Flex. Nothing sexier then this box on wheels

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My wife and I didn’t buy a CRV because it was sexy we bought it because it best fit our needs. Few of today’s vehicles would I call sexy at best many of them are just boring and appliance like which is not entirely a bad thing.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Gentlemen, automotive marketing departments and you local car dealer doesn’t give a whit what you care about CUV/SUVs. What matters is what the person who sleeps on the other side of your bed thinks of them.

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