Many ways to customize your CUV

Your crossover utility vehicle is built to give you and your family hours of enjoyment and entertainment on the open road. With the ability to tackle a variety of conditions and terrain with style and comfort, it's a vehicle that intends to provide flexible operation-- no matter the task you throw its way.

Some folks leave their crossover the way it was built - but for many, the factory is just the start. More owners than ever are into crossover customization - effectively fine-tuning their rides to fit a precise need or lifestyle.

Sound interesting? Be sure to check out the selection of accessories and add-ons available to help customize your crossover.

If you're into outdoor sports, consider a roof-rack or cargo carrier to help haul around any sporting gear your adventures may require. You may even find a ski or snowboard attachment for the roof-rack, allowing more cumbersome items to be left outside the vehicle. A bike-rack may be available to carry your two-wheeled transportation on the vehicle's exterior, too.

Additionally, a bumper protector and cargo mat will keep paint and carpeting free of damage during loading and unloading of gear or pets. Typically, a little protection goes a long way towards the life of your vehicle's interior and finish.

Dividers, liners and boxes may be available custom-fitted to the cargo area of your crossover model too. These can be handy to keep cargo in place while protecting carpeting from spills.

Mud-flaps are a good investment as well. They can add a sense of ruggedness to your machine's looks while preventing long-term paint and body damage caused by salt and sand spray from the tires. Consider upgraded rims, window tinting or chrome accents for additional visual flare.

Of course, upgrading the exterior of your crossover is only part of the equation - so be sure to check out interior trim accents, a hands-free phone system, navigation, or a rear-seat DVD entertainment console. Depending on the model in question, you may even find an iPod integration kit available to keep connected to your music collection on the go.

Into security and safety? Check out a backup-camera system. Available for virtually any model, it displays a rearward-facing image on a small screen that gives drivers a better view of what's going on behind them while backing up. For more peace of mind, you dealership likely carries a selection of security alarms and anti-theft devices as well.

Note that unlike some cheap knock-offs, factory accessories will fit and perform properly the first time, and last for years. They're often covered by the same new-vehicle warranty that applies to the rest of your machine, too.

After a test-drive, be sure to talk to your sales representative about accessorizing your crossover, or ask for a copy of the accessories catalog for some ideas.

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