The "slow and noisy" talk is just that in my opinion. I have an XLE FWD Cross and find the ride quiet and smooth. Handling with the EPS (electric power steering) is just right - neither sluggish nor overly "loose." Yes, the engine is no powerhouse, but I don't drive like most reviewers who tend to smash the gas and over rev the engine. There's power if you need it; remember that the Cross has a dual fuel injection system - port and direct - which can be noisy at high revs, but you get good response and the port system reduces carbon build up. The Cross is designed for decent mileage not racing. Enjoy!