20 Best Small SUV Cars that are Safe, Comfortable and Unique

– Best Small SUV –

SUVs are popular in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. The section has been quietly increasing for years, but it has suddenly taken off.

Are you in the market for a new compact SUV? Then read our list of the best ten automobiles in this brisk market – and find out which ones we’d avoid.

best small suv

Manufacturers from many walks of life have introduced their own versions of these high-riding, family-oriented vehicles, providing purchasers more options than ever before.

Small SUVs are among the most popular vehicles on the market because they often provide the elevated driving position, practicality, and muscular appearance of more traditional off-roaders without the high purchase price or operating costs.

Many businesses no longer offer sedans in the United States, notably Ford, which discontinued the Fusion in 2021.

Compact crossovers are all over the place, and fortunately for us all, automakers have responded by making them more competent and enjoyable to drive.

Many vehicles in this market have greater luggage room than sedans, and one even has a 302 horsepower motor.

Here, we rank the top ten compact SUVs on the market right now. And tell which ones you should avoid.

There are a lot of well-known brands here, like the Nissan Juke, which sparked the compact SUV boom, as well as models from Audi, Ford, and Volkswagen, among others.

Best Small SUVs 2021

1. Range Rover Evoque

 
With the second-generation Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover has taken a decisive lead in the most crucial market category in which it now competes.
 
The car features mild-hybrid engines and sits on a larger wheelbase than its predecessor for enhanced internal space without having expanded considerably in any exterior dimension, thanks to an all-new mixed-material platform.
 
The Evoque P300e, a plug-in hybrid that fits within the UK’s 6% benefit-in-kind corporate car tax category, is the most recent addition to the Evoque derivative line.

Mechanical finesse, internal spaciousness, luxurious atmosphere, and technical attraction have all improved significantly.

While it isn’t the most practical car in its class, it is highly competitive in this regard, with plenty of room for adults in the second row.

Albeit behind a very high window line that limits sight.

The D200 diesel engine is the finest option. Offering excellent drivability and refinement above and above what we’ve come to expect from Land Rover’s four-cylinder diesel.

With a sleek plug-in hybrid powertrain, a long electric range, and engaging handling, the P300e model is also a viable contender.

After maturing into a Range Rover, the Evoque now represents the most luxurious-feeling car available in this class, which will help many purchasers rationalize what is a very expensive price.

2. Hyundai Nexo

best small suv

The Hyundai Nexo is the only compact crossover with a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen.

It’s more like fellow fuel-cell sedans like the Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai than the Mazda CX-5 or Nissan Rogue.

If you haven’t seen one, it’s likely because fuel-cell car infrastructure is confined to only a few regions, largely in California.

The Nexo is refueled with hydrogen, which is then used to create power in the onboard fuel-cell stacks. As a result, the high-tech Hyundai drives like an electric car, with smooth power delivery and relatively quiet running.

Because all-wheel drive isn’t available, the 161-hp electric engine solely drives the front wheels.

Range is the silver lining here. The Nexo Blue has a range of 380 miles and, unlike other electric vehicles on the market today, can be refueled in roughly five minutes.

Hyundai is offering free hydrogen fuel for three years or $15,000 to Nexo purchasers.

i. Base price: $60,120

ii. EPA combined: 61 MPGe (Blue)

iii. All-wheel drive: Not available

3. Jeep Compass

best small suv

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is an exception to the rule that compact crossovers aren’t recognized for their off-road abilities.

Without a doubt, it’s not a Jeep Wrangler, but the Compass fits between the small Renegade and the Cherokee, and Trailhawk variants come with a low-gear crawler mode.

The base 180-hp inline-four doesn’t have much oomph, and the front-wheel-drive variants’ sluggish six-speed automatic is out of date.

When accelerating, even the nine-speed automatic in the four-wheel-drive Compass feels a little sluggish.

Inside, it’s pleasant, although the interior materials aren’t as excellent as those found in the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5.

Although the Compass boasts 27 cubic feet of storage capacity in the back, if you want that plus two more inches of second-row legroom in a Jeep, spend a few thousand dollars extra and get the Cherokee.

i. Base price: $25,410

ii. EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 25/22/31 mpg (FWD)

iii. All-wheel drive: Optional

4. Kia Stonic

The Stonic is Kia’s smallest SUV, and although being only available in front-wheel drive.

It has a slightly jacked-up ride height, roof rails, and black plastic wheel arches to give it a tough appearance.

It’s also tidy and well-equipped, but budget-conscious consumers won’t be enticed by the lack of a bargain-basement entry-level model. Most people will benefit from the 118bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, according to us.

Pros

i. Punchy turbo petrol engine
ii. Plenty of standard kit
iii. Agile handling

Cons

i. Uncompetitive PCP finance deals
ii. Firm ride
iii. Rivals are more practical

5. Volvo XC40

best small suv

Volvo’s first try at a tiny sister for its established XC60 and XC90 SUVs is a true triumph.

And with the XC40, the Swedish company has given us a car with the kind of instant kerbside appeal you’d expect of a class-leading act, which it was only a few years ago.

The XC40 backs up its unique look with an interior of laudable richness, comfort, usefulness, and quality.

With a design sufficiently appealing and enticing to draw younger family shoppers into Volvo shops.

While it isn’t the most practical car in the small SUV class, it does have enough of luxury automobile atmosphere, as well as all the in-car technology you could want.

The engine lineup was recently updated, with all diesel variants being phased out.

Two plug-in hybrid variants, two mild-hybrid petrols, an entry-level T2 and T3 petrol, and the fully electric, 402bhp P8 are now available.

The XC40’s ride and handling exemplify Volvo’s greatest qualities, as well as the most pleasant compact family 4×4.

Rather than competing with other luxury brands for driver appeal, the XC40 prefers to focus on comfort, refinement, convenience, and ease of use – and it works.

Few SUVs do a better job of elevating their driver above the din and filtering out the misery of the daily grind.

6. Hyundai Tucson

best small suv

The Hyundai Tucson is a fantastic small SUV for 2022.

The new Tucson impresses with its huge cargo room, spacious five-seat interior, and premium cabin materials.

It includes an easy-to-use infotainment system and a long list of active safety measures, many of which are included as standard equipment.

The Tucson has a zippy but fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine that makes it feel quick and easy to drive on a daily basis.

A 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is also included. When you add it all up, the Tucson has what it takes to move from the rear of the pack to the head of the pack in this very competitive class.

Because to its balanced ride and handling, large and upmarket interior.

Plus user-friendly infotainment system, and comprehensive list of driver aid systems, the new Hyundai Tucson 2022 stands at the top of the small SUV class.

If you’re looking for a compact SUV, the 2022 Tucson should be on your list.

It provides a superb balance of functionality and elegance at an affordable price.

The Tucson starts at slightly over $25,000 and goes up from there. To be fair, the Mazda CX-5 and competent Subaru Forester, as well as the well-rounded Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, are all excellent choices in this class.

You might want to have a peek at those SUVs as well.

 7. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has been updated for the 2022 model year.

With a fresh appearance, a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, and a single-window back door that replaces the quirky two-glass piece from before.

It features the same engine, a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four with 152 horsepower and a continuously variable gearbox (CVT).

For $1600, you can add all-wheel drive to any model level.

Driver-assistance systems including as forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian recognition, and lane-departure warning are now standard on every Eclipse Cross.

Passenger room is adequate, but luggage capacity in the back is restricted, at only 23 cubic feet. The Eclipse Cross has a distinct appearance now, but it will need more to truly stand out in this crowded category.

i. Base price: $24,590

ii. EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 27/26/29 mpg (FWD)

iii. All-wheel drive: Optional

8. Honda CR-V

best small suv

In our small SUV rankings for 2022, the Honda CR-V ranks near the top.

It ranks first in its class in various categories, including passenger and cargo space, as well as fuel economy.

The second-place rating for the Honda CR-V in 2022 is based on its performance in the Compact SUVs category.

The Honda CR-V currently has an 8.9 out of 10 score, which is based on our analysis of 31 pieces of research and data items gathered from multiple sources.

A good SUV is the Honda CR-V. It has quick acceleration and a smooth ride, plus it gets high gas mileage.

The inside has a high-end appearance and feel.

The cargo capacity is one of the largest in the small SUV class, and both rows of seats are wide and comfortable.

The only serious flaws in this Honda are the basic trim’s low list of standard options and the infotainment controls, which are mildly annoying.

The CR-V should be a top consideration for most compact crossover buyers. This Honda has a competitive price tag, making it an excellent value in the class, in addition to all of the nice items we listed above.

9. Hyundai Bayon

The Bayon, which is based on the i20 hatchback, is a pleasant car to drive.

With a smooth ride and calmer driving characteristics than most competitors. It’s big in the rear and well-equipped, so it’s a shame Hyundai didn’t make more of an effort to improve the interior’s perceived quality.

The tough external features of the 2021 Hyundai Bayon, which include several triangular and arrow-shaped parts as well as a towering stance, give it a sporting appearance.

Hyundai called the car after Bayonne, a city in the French Pyrenees, to reflect its athletic aspirations.

The 2021 Hyundai Bayon stands out with all-around LED lighting and indicators, as well as the option of a contrasting black roof that matches seven of the nine paint colors available.

Depending on the specification level, the Hyundai Bayon comes either a 10.25in audiovisual navigation screen or an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system.

Both technologies provide wireless links to the smartphone mirroring systems Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Calendar integration, live parking services, natural speech recognition for voice requests, as well as live traffic information and navigation rerouting are all included.

There is also a wireless phone charging pad and three USB ports in the vehicle’s center console.

10. Mazda CX-5

best small suv

This is without a doubt one of the most attractive SUVs on the market, and it is objectively far more polished than its predecessor, with decent fuel efficiency and an exceptional amount of handling agility for this class.

The inside of the CX-5 is substantial and quietly attractive, with enough of passenger and cargo capacity.

Mazda’s newest infotainment system, as well as a new range-topping 2.5-litre petrol engine that formerly debuted in the Mazda 6 saloon, will be introduced in a 2021 facelift.

The CX-5 has lost none of the handling pep that has made it one of our favorite small SUVs.

Despite the fact that it’s a little older than some of the other candidates on this list.

The Mazda CX-5 delivers an excellent blend of excitement, economy, and family-friendly room, so it’s worth serious consideration for consumers looking for a car that can do it all.

11. Jeep Cherokee

best small suv

Unlike the other cars on our list, the Jeep Cherokee may be customized in nine distinct trim levels, ranging from moderate to crazy.

The Cherokee, like the Compass, can be configured for off-roading.

Although an off-road-focused Cherokee Trailhawk costs more than a more competent four-door Ford Bronco Big Bend.

Even on cheapest versions, front-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive may be upgraded for $1500.

A 180-hp inline-four with a nine-speed automatic is standard on the Latitude, Freedom, Latitude Plus, and Altitude trims. On the Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk versions, the larger 271-hp V-6 is standard.

Although recent improvements increased storage space, the Jeep Cherokee still behind the class leaders in fuel efficiency and driving finesse.

i. Base price: $28,005

ii. EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 26/23/31 mpg (FWD)

iii. All-wheel drive: Optional 4WD

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12. Kia Sportage

best small suv

Because of its stylish, roomy cabin and user-friendly electronics, the 2022 Kia Sportage ranks in the top half of our compact SUV rankings.

The Kia Sportage’s position of #4 in 2022 is based on its performance in the Compact SUVs category.

The Kia Sportage currently has an 8.4 out of 10 score, which is based on our analysis of 35 pieces of research and data items gathered from multiple sources.

The Sportage is an excellent small SUV. It has two rows of adult-friendly chairs and is decked out in high-end materials. A simple infotainment system, a smooth ride, and confident handling complete out what is a strong overall package.

The standard engine in this Kia is acceptable, but the optional turbocharged engine provides extra power.

Poor fuel efficiency and below-average luggage room are two of the Sportage’s most noteworthy flaws.

The basic model of the Sportage is one of the most affordable in the class, and it comes with a big list of standard equipment, making it a superb bargain.

The Sportage isn’t the most exciting or enjoyable crossover, and a competing SUV with a larger luggage capacity or higher fuel efficiency stats, such as the newly revamped Hyundai Tucson or the fuel-efficient Nissan Rogue, may entice you.

13. Nissan Qashqai

best small suv

And it does, for the most part.

There’s not much here for enthusiastic drivers, and the only engine available for now is a 1.3-litre petrol MHEV that’s a touch sluggish, but what did you expect?

This car isn’t about speed or handling; as one reviewer put it, “it’s extremely sensibly designed for families, well-equipped, and costs pennies to purchase and run.”

While the Qashqai is available in two-pedal and CVT transmission configurations, we’d opt for the manual solely because it increased the car’s rolling smoothness.

The original Qashqai stayed at the top of the sales rankings in its class right up to the end of its life-cycle, and with its new, lighter chassis, more commodious proportions, and much-improved handling, you’d expect this new third-generation vehicle to do the same.

Is this a game-changer? Not any longer, but an evidence of how well Nissan understands its customers. In the non-premium tiers, it’ll be tough to beat.

14. Seat Arona

best small suv

The Arona, which was formerly the class leader, remains tempting due to its precise handling, superb usability, and inexpensive PCP finance rates.

Although the 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is the smallest in the lineup, we think it’s the best deal, especially if you’ll be driving mostly on city streets.

When you order it in SE Technology level, you’ll receive a better infotainment system and rear parking sensors.

The most notable addition to the mid-cycle upgrade is the introduction of a rugged-looking Xperience trim.

It replaces the previous Xcellence variant and has aesthetic improvements that emphasize the Arona’s crossover personality.

However keep in mind that it’s still a front-wheel-drive car with no AWD option. It comes with full-LED headlights as a higher-end model level.

The SEAT emblem is a dual-tone chrome finish on all models of the 2021 Arona, and the model’s name is spelt out in handwritten form.

The makeover brings new hues including Sapphire Blue, Camouflage Green, and Asphalt Blue, as well as a 17-inch alloy wheel set and two 18-inch variants.

The roof may be painted in a new Candy White color to complement the Magnetic Gray and Black Midnight colors.

15. Volkswagen Tiguan

best small suv

After the Golf and Polo hatchbacks, the Tiguan is Volkswagen’s third-best-selling vehicle.

It’s adaptable, roomy, well-constructed, comfy, and sophisticated.

It might be an even more fearsome combination with a bit more driver involvement, but even as is, it’s hard to top. It’s a bit costly, and the inside isn’t really intriguing, but it more than makes up for it in robustness.

A plug-in hybrid variant and a top-of-the-line Tiguan R performance derivative have been introduced to the lineup as part of a recent redesign.

The Tiguan’s driving experience is a touch spec-sensitive.

The Tiguan performs and handles extremely well with the better, more powerful engines and adaptive suspension.

And rides with all the refinement you’ll desire, but the more basic versions are more dynamically average.

Is this a premium product? It’s not perfect in every way, but it’s a cut above the rest of the small SUV class.

16. Ford Bronco Sport

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport boasts composed handling on and off the road, a strong engine, and simple controls, but it also has tight back seats and shoddy cabin materials.

The #6 position for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is based on its performance in the Compact SUVs category.

The Ford Bronco Sport currently has an 8.3 out of 10 score, which is based on our analysis of 25 pieces of research and data items gathered from multiple sources.

If you’re looking for a compact SUV with true off-road skills, the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a wonderful choice.

Because of its basic all-wheel-drive system, tough suspension, and several skid plates, the Bronco Sport can withstand a surprising amount of punishment on rugged terrain.

It comes with two turbocharged engines, both of which propel the SUV quickly.

When you return to paved roads, the Bronco Sport impresses with its refined ride, simple infotainment system, and several active safety systems. It also has a spacious cargo compartment.

However, there are a few glaring flaws with this baby Bronco. The rear seat is tiny, the interior materials are flimsy, and the fuel efficiency is only mediocre.

The starting price of the Bronco Sport is $26,820, which is greater than many of its competitors.

17. GMC Terrain

best small suv

The Terrain is the second best-selling pickup and SUV in GMC’s current lineup, after the full-size Sierra vehicles.

New front and back bumpers, LED headlights and taillights, and redesigned interior parts are all on the way for the 2022 GMC Terrain.

The current Terrain has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 170-hp and a nine-speed automated transmission.

Front-wheel drive is standard, however all-wheel drive is available for an additional charge on the SLE and SLT grades.

The ride is rough, and the interior build quality, like that of its Chevrolet-badged Equinox brother, leaves something to be desired—at least at the GMC’s pricing point.

Standard is a 7.0-inch touchscreen, although SLT levels receive an 8.0-inch display.

While we enjoy the standard touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the 4G LTE internet connection and Wi-Fi hotspot, the Terrain inside seems like a tundra of low-quality plastic and rubber.

i. Base price: $26,195

ii. EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 27/25/30 mpg (FWD)

iii. All-wheel drive: Optional

18. Ford Escape

The Ford Escape stands out in a crowded sector thanks to a combination of lively performance and a spacious interior.

However, the vehicle’s low-cost interior contributes to its placement in the bottom third of our small SUV rankings.

The Ford Escape is a capable little SUV.

This crossover has a powerful turbo-four engine, above-average mpg estimates with the standard turbo-three engine, engaging handling, and a smooth ride.

It offers lots of room for passengers to spread out and plenty of luggage capacity on the inside.

However, the Ford’s interior is littered with harsh plastics, and the gearbox occasionally searches for the proper gear.

Our in-depth evaluation will tell you all you need to know about this SUV. It combines 26 professional ratings with real statistics like as mileage calculations, horsepower numbers, and cargo space measurements.

This Ford Escape review for 2021 includes relevant data for all models in this generation, which debuted in 2020.

Since 2007, U.S. News Best Cars has been evaluating and assessing automobiles, and our crew has over 75 years of total automotive expertise.

To maintain our neutrality, we never take expensive gifts from carmakers, and the adverts on our site are managed by a third-party company.

19. Chevrolet Equinox

best small suv

The Chevrolet Equinox, like its GMC brother, will be refreshed for the 2022 model year.

But until then, here’s what the current Equinox has to offer.

All-wheel drive is an optional feature. Front-wheel drive is normal.

A 170-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automated transmission is the sole option.

It has the same load space as the Terrain, with 29 cubic feet in the back and 63 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Unfortunately, the Equinox’s lack of power and available options puts it at a disadvantage against competitors like the Hyundai Tucson, which offers 11 more horsepower and better fuel efficiency for a lower starting price.

The Chevrolet Equinox is a nice small SUV for 2022.

The Equinox boasts a spacious five-seat cabin, an intuitive infotainment system, and a good list of standard safety features.

It’s pleasant to drive on less-than-ideal roads, and getting about town is rather simple.

The Equinox also scores well in terms of expected dependability. However, it falls short of many of its competitors. The quality of the cabin, luggage room, and engine performance are all mediocre at best.

20. Peugeot 2008

Discover the seductive force of the NEW PEUGEOT 2008 SUV, a powerful, beautiful, and sophisticated SUV that delivers genuine sensations.

Enjoy a unique driving experience while sitting behind the controls of the new 3D PEUGEOT i-Cockpit®.

The new PEUGEOT 2008 SUV has a robust and flowing shape with considerable ground clearance, implying a substantial size and controlled power.

For a vibrant and sharp style, its faceted design unfolds tight lines and sculpted sides as near to the structure as feasible.

Its expressive front end, prominent light signature, lightweight 18″ rims with aerodynamic insert, and Black Diamond top all contribute to its efficient and athletic demeanor.

Improve your driving experience with the new PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® 3D cockpit.

Which has intuitive ergonomics, a small steering wheel, a 10″HDi capacitive touch screen, and a customisable 3D digital instrument panel.

It allows you to start the car with your hands free and lock and unlock the doors with your key in your pocket by just approaching or moving away from the vehicle.

You may also tailor your journeys by choosing a driving mode.

TomTom® 3D navigation allows you to track your path on the capacitive touch screen or the 3D digital dash. Keep in contact by utilizing the Reflect Screen function to mirror your favorite smartphone applications onto the touch screen.

21. Subaru Forester

best small suv

The Subaru Forester hasn’t strayed far from its proven recipe.

It has all-wheel drive as standard, good vision, a spacious cabin, and a large load capacity.

Subaru now includes a rear-seat reminder system as well as driver-assistance technologies including automated emergency braking, lane centering, and lane-departure warning.

LED headlights with automatic high-beams are standard on the 2021 Forester.

We’re a touch unhappy that the formerly offered turbocharged engine, as well as the accessible manual transmission, are no longer available.

The 182-hp naturally aspirated boxer-four engine, which is standard across the lineup, works nicely with Subaru’s CVT to give smooth, quick acceleration.

The Subaru Forester isn’t the fastest in the class, but it’s still one of the greatest all-around small crossovers and a cost-effective way to acquire all-wheel drive.

22. Ford Kuga

best small suv

In Ford’s SUV hierarchy, the new Kuga stands above the redesigned Puma, and the two cars share a dynamic DNA that is equally outstanding.

In summary, by class standards, it’s remarkably excellent to drive, but this has been a strong point for the Kuga from its introduction in 2008.

The rolling elegance, which contributes more to elevate the Kuga than the interior, as well as superb levels of comfort and utility, are highlights.

However, the hefty PHEV version’s performance may be better, and we’re excited to try the ‘lesser’ petrol variations, which could be the best all-rounders in the lineup.

Overall, the Kuga is a vehicle worth considering.

Apart from the extensive overhaul, the selection of possible powertrains has expanded to include a 222bhp plug-in hybrid that can go up to 35 miles on electric power alone.

The only variant we’ve tried so far. Ford issued a safety recall for the Kuga PHEV earlier this year, and the vehicle has been temporarily removed off the market until the issue is resolved.

The automobile is still available with a gasoline or diesel engine, as well as a modest hybrid version.

23. Jeep Wrangler

best small suv

In our small SUV rankings, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler is in the bottom third. While it’s a great off-roader, it lacks the premium cabin and on-road manners of its competitors.

The Jeep Wrangler is a good SUV, but because of its specialized character, it’ll either be your first or last pick.

The Jeep Wrangler is an excellent off-road vehicle with a variety of viable powertrains, including a new plug-in hybrid for 2021 and a Hemi V8.

The user-friendly Uconnect infotainment system is standard on this Jeep, and the four-door Wrangler Unlimited boasts a roomy cabin.

Oh, and any Wrangler’s top and doors can be removed, which is a great bonus.

24. Mitsubishi Outlander

The overall score for the Mitsubishi Outlander is currently unavailable, however its Critics’ Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our analysis of 17 pieces of research and data.

The Outlander’s single significant flaw is its powerplant. The Outlander’s 181-horsepower engine and continuously variable automatic gearbox can get the job done in town, but they’re not as eager on the highway.

25. Nissan Rogue

The new Nissan Rogue outperforms the crossover it replaces in every way.

With a considerably better seating position and a nicer interior with tons of standard and optional amenities.

Nissan has brought attention to detail and a degree of refinement that the previous Rogue lacked. T

he basic engine is a 181-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder with CVT, but Nissan has announced the inclusion of a turbocharged three-cylinder option to improve fuel economy.

The ones on this list are slightly smaller than usual on the size chart, yet they are the most popular.

Some of them even reflect the brand’s best-selling SUV model.

On the interior, customers demand Tardis-like room and premium-brand quality, as well as a commanding driving posture with the compactness of a typical family car to keep hands dry in town and on small highways.

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