2014 Nissan Pathfinder
Starting price: $28,950
It took the Pathfinder a long time to forget its SUV heyday, but it looks like it finally crossed over.
As recently as a year ago, the Pathfinder was still being built to compete with the Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco. It was hopped up on trucks, still getting a paltry 18 miles per gallon and it still firmly believed a 4.0-liter V6 is something anyone wants in a family vehicle. Recently, it joined the rest of the modern automotive world by switching to a car-platform crossover, trimming to a 3.5-liter V6 and cutting fuel economy to a combined 23 miles per gallon. It still has seven seats, nearly 80 cubic feet of storage room with the two rows of rear seats down. The second row moves up five inches for easy rear-seat access and there's three-zone climate control to go with an available three-zone entertainment center.
Your '90s fun wagon is gone, but its transition to the family shuttle is just beginning.
2014 Honda CR-V
Starting price: $22,945
In the stages of adulthood grief, the CR-V is acceptance. It's the sign that young adult parents committed to someone else's needs other than their own.
It's surrender, but at least it's an amicable one. The popular crossover's 2012 overhaul only made it more alluring by adding a leather interior, heated seats and rearview windows and navigation system with controls mounted on the steering wheel. It's also trimmed fuel efficiency to a combined 27 miles per gallon while leaving all 70 cubic feet of cargo space untouched. As practical utility vehicles go, it's a sound and popular choice that won't be the worst in the school lot.