Just about every brand has models that are similar in design, price, and components as every other brand. For example, the Giant Roam line and the Trek DS series are comparable to the Specialized Crosstrail. And not all brands are available everywhere, so your best bet is to visit all of the bike shops near you to do test rides.
How a bike fits you is crucial and unless you can judge how it will feel based upon the frame angles and measurements overall, your best bet is to do test rides. As an example, I really like the Giant Escape (especially the City model) on paper, but there is something that felt a bit off when I looked at one at the LBS.