7. Midsize Crossover SUV–Toyota Venza
Starting price: $28,810
Fuel-economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 21-23
More like a station wagon than an SUV
, the Venza could well be the ideal empty nester’s car, with a comfortable ride and a quiet and roomy interior that can accommodate five adults in comfort. With the rear seatbacks folded flat there’s enough room for a garden full of plants or a day’s worth of antique shopping. The standard 2.4-liter engine generates a sufficient 181 horsepower with reasonably good fuel economy, though a quicker and smoother 3.5-liter V-6 is alternately available with a pleasing 268 horses for those who don’t mind sacrificing a few mpg. All-wheel-drive is available with either engine to afford improved wet-pavement traction. Toyota
’s optional Entune multimedia system includes full smartphone connectivity with the ability to access mobile apps for tech-savvy Boomers.