Subcompact SUVs are the smallest and least expensive SUVs on the market, notching below compact SUVs in automakers lineups. They offer the cargo flexibility of a hatchback with the higher ride height and in most cases available all-wheel drive of an SUV. If you can go without the large cargo volume and roomier back seat of a compact SUV, a subcompact SUV will save you money upfront and at the gas pump.
Let me walk you through top 8 subcompact SUVs as per consumer reports.
8. 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer
The trailblazer is a new model in the growing subcompact SUV category, slots between the Chevrolet Trax and the Chevrolet Blazer SUV. It’s roomy despite its small footprint. It’s good fuel economy and packs an impressive level of standard safety features.
The 2022 Trailblazer mostly carries over from 2021 model year aside from the addition of a heated steering wheel to high end versions. Look for L, LS and LT as the mainstream trim levels plus rugged looking, active and sporty looking RS trim. A duo of turbocharged 3-cylinder engines is offered with a 1.2 litre being standard and a 1.3 litre unit serving as the upgrade.
Neither one delivers quick acceleration but the Trailblazers spacious cabin and cheeky styling may be enough convincing buyers to overlook its powertrain shortcomings. The 2022 Trailblazer starting price is at $21,600 but that low base price doesn’t buy a very desirable SUV. The base model is short on equipment and the LT trim with the larger 1.3 litre engine is the best version to get which costs an additional $2,400. The 2021 Trailblazer got a slightly below average overall score and below average relaibility rating from consumer reports and ranked 8th among its class.
7. 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport
The 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport fills the very narrow gap between the slightly larger standard Rogue and the Nissan kicks Crossover. The Rogue Sport is available in front or All-wheel drive trim. All trims are powered by a 141 horsepower, 2 litre 4-cylinder engine that’s paired with a well tuned continuously variable transmission.
While the engine could be more refined it’s still acceptable for the segment. What Rogue Sport lacks in acceleration it makes up for in fuel economy, with front-wheel drive earning EPA Ratings of 25mpg City and 32 mpg Highway. 2021 model year is expected to be the last before a major redesign for the Rogue Sport.
Consumer reports is given an average overall score with below average reliability rating. The2021 Rogue Sport has a starting price of $24,000.
6. 2022 Kia Seltos
Occupying the slim middle ground between the Soul and the Sportage in Kia’s SUV lineup is the subcompact 2022 Seltos, which pairs style with practicality in a size that’s just right. The Selto shares its platform and power trains with the smaller Hyundai Kona which helps it deliver an engaging driving demeanor and a competitive fuel economy.
Base models are powered by a 2 litre 4-cylinder but upmarket trims come with a turbocharged 1.6 litre that pumps out a 175 horsepower. The base LX model comes standard with popular driver assistance features including the standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Consumer reports (cr) has given the Seltos an above overall score and predicted reliability score. Cr suggests the EX is the best trim to get which brings standard blindspot in rear cross traffic warning. The base LX trim has a starting price of $23,600 and the Seltos EX will cost an additional $3,000.
5. 2022 Honda HR-V
The hr-v is the smallest of Honda’s SUV offerings, slotting below the cr-v in terms of price and size. It was introduced in North America for the 2016 model year and shares underpinnings with the now discontinued 3rd generation Honda Fit. The hr-v carries over for 2022 with no changes.
The1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine and cvt returned 29mpg overall in cr tests, impressive for an All-wheel drive vehicle but cr testers suggests the car feels underpowered. An impression intensified by the loud engine drone amplified by the cvt. It takes a leisurely 10.5 seconds for the All-wheel drive version to reach 60m/h. That makes a difference when merging unto the highway. The hr-v isn’t the cheapest or snazziest of sub-compact SUV but it’s a brilliant option for people who want one of the most practical vehicles in the class.
That said we think the mid-level EX model is the most logical choice to get which comes with Honda’s sensing, safety and driver assistance suite. 2021 hr-v is one of the 5 small SUVs recommended by consumer reports witha good overall score and excellent predicted reliability rating.
While 2022 hr-v X costs $22,500, The Ex trim cost an additional $3,000.
4. 2021 Mazda CX-3
In a market growing with tiny SUV choices the mazda cx-3 is a stylish well-designed crossover. Agile handling a spirited powertrain when throttled contribute to an enjoyable drive and it gets good fuel economy to boot a 146 horsepower 4-cylinder engine provides the motivation. But on the downside, the engine is not particularly refined and an All-wheel drive costs extra.
Choosing a cx-3 is easy because last year its lineup was streamlined into only one trim level; Sport. Its most notable standard features include a 7-inch touchscreen display. Automated emergency braking, blindspot monitoring,a head-up display and lane departure warning. The cx-3 is another subcompact crossover recommended by consumer reports and it got 5 out of 5 predicted reliability rating as well.
2021 cx-3 sport is priced at $22,000 but those who want the All-wheel drive can add it to any cx-3 for an extra $1,400. However the upgrade drops the cx-3’s EPA rated highway from 34 to 32mpg.
3. 2021 Mazda CX-30
The new Mazda CX-30 fills the gap between the cx-3 and cx-5 SUVs and competes with several compact and subcompact SUVs. It borrows its styling interior design and powertrain from the mazda 3 sedan and hatchback and adds a slightly lifted suspension that gives it an SUV like feel from behind the wheel.
The 2.5 litre 4-cylinder provides adequate power and can be had with either front or All-wheel drive. A far more powerful turbocharged 2.5 litre is optional and comes standard with All-wheel drive. Inside you’ll find a near premium cabin that should give more expensive rivals such as the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1.
Mazda throws in a host of standard driver assistance features as well. In our opinion if you insist on a subcompact SUV over a similarly priced sedan or hatchback the cx-30 belongs at the very top of your shopping list. Consumer reports has provided a very good overall score and 5 out of 5 predicted reliability rating. 2021 cx-30 is another subcompact SUV recommended by consumer reports.
The base model is priced at $23,000 but the price goes all the way up to $35,000 for turbo premium plus trim.
2.2022 Hyundai Kona
The subcompact SUV Kona is simply put , a great package that blends car-like on-road behavior with bold styling. A dose of practicality and an elevated driving position.
Hyundai has given the Kona a refreshed exterior and interior for 2022 model year complete with a new front end treatment. New wheel designs, updated exterior lighting elements, a new wide mouth grill and faux front and rear skid plates are all new styling features. Inside the Kona receives a redesigned dashboard, a new digital gauge display, wireless smartphone charging and heated rear seats.
Now 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard and a new 10.3-inch screen is available as an upgrade. Two engines are offered; a 2 litre 4-cylinder and a turbocharged 1.6 litre 4-cylinder. The Kona is one of the smaller offerings in the subcompact SUV segment so it gives up cargo and passenger space to some of its larger rivals. But we think the trade-off for the Hyundai’s compact package and fun to drive nature more than makes up for those shortcomings.
Consumer reports ranks the 2021 Kona at number 2 among subcompact SUVs and provided 5 out of 5 predicted reliability ratings. 2022 Kona price starts at $22,000 and goes up to $29,500 for higher trims.
1.2021 Subaru Crosstrek
When it comes to rugged car based crossovers few brands do it quite like Subaru. The 2021 Crosstrek subcompact SUV exemplifies the Japanese automakers personality in a neatly sized and thoughtful package. Based on the Impreza hatchback, the Crosstrek inherits a decidedly car-like driving experience but offers more ground clearance and truckier styling.
The standard 152 horsepower 2litre 4-cylinder engine has just enough power for most situations which is on par with most of its rivals. On the downside consumer report testers say it sounds strained and raspy when hard acceleration is needed but the higher trims get the more powerful 2.5 litre engine; the CVT mostly avoids suddenly revving the engine by mimicking the shifts that a traditional automatic transmission would make.
2021 Subaru Cosstrek is one of the 5 subcompact SUVs recommended by consumer reports and is ranked number 1 based on the overall score. 2021 Crosstrek starts at $23,000.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is an all new choice for shoppers seeking a small fuel-efficient SUV that comes loaded with safety features. It fits into the gap between the Toyota ch-r and Rav4. The automaker is drawn on the more than 50 year legacy of the corolla name for this vehicle and the configurations are simple with a choice of front or All-wheel drive. There are 3 trim level; L, LE and XLE and single 2 litre 4-cylinder engine paired to a CVT transmission which can produce a 169 horsepower.
The corolla cross comes standard with both the Toyota safety sense suite of advanced active safety systems as well as Toyota’s signature star safety system. This means all trims have forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, automatic high-beams and road sign assist for reading speed limit warnings.
Look for the Corolla Cross to appear at your local dealer by the end of 2021. Toyota has not released any information on pricing yet but look for the small SUV to start at around $23,000.