Some folks in search of a truck or an SUV at all times assume that greater is best. These folks have clearly by no means owned a subcompact SUV. These trusty autos are seen by many as affordably mass-market equipment, however they’re additionally able to offering a rising household with the whole lot it wants at an amazing worth. There aren’t as many choices for subcompact SUVs, however that market is rising at a quick fee yearly.

Whether or not you are in search of one thing fancy, one thing environment friendly or one thing merely good, these are our selections for the very best subcompact SUVs your cash should buy. It is also value noting that a few of these subcompacts could also be bigger than others, however relaxation assured: The whole lot we point out right here is kind of small.


For years now, the Hyundai Kona has remained considered one of our absolute favourite small SUVs. And regardless of an inflow of latest competitors, the Kona nonetheless stands out as among the best subcompact autos obtainable for buy.

There is not only one purpose, both. The Kona drives fantastically, whether or not with its tiniest engine or the honkin’ turbo four-pot within the Kona N. There’s additionally an electric variant available for these able to embrace EVs. For its value, styling and construct high quality are surprisingly excessive. We may hold going, too. It is an amazing worth.

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Step apart, Kona; you are not the one high-quality recreation on the town anymore. Although the Kona has lengthy been considered one of our high selections for a subcompact SUV, Japanese automaker Mazda has a brand new providing that offers the Kona a severe run for its cash.

The CX-30 packs a wonderful powertrain by the use of an elective turbocharged I4 producing 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, which makes it fairly darn sprightly for one thing this small. And it does that engine justice by advantage of being an amazing automobile to drive. Certain, the infotainment system leaves a bit to be desired, however glorious styling and driving traits make the CX-30 a correct worth. 

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There aren’t many small luxurious SUVs on sale, however of the few selections on provide, Audi’s subcompact Q3 crossover leaves the very best impression.

The Audi Q3 grew a bit in its second technology, however dimensions solely inform a part of the story. Construct high quality and elegance are top-notch, and the infotainment system normal on each Q3 is considered one of our favorites throughout the complete automobile trade. It might not win many races, nevertheless it’ll undoubtedly look the very best when it arrives. And with a beginning value nicely beneath the typical new-car transaction value, the Q3 is an effective method to break right into a luxurious marque with out breaking your pockets in two.


The Hyundai Kona is historically a reasonably sedate mass-market crossover, however not on this kind. The Hyundai Kona N is a kick within the pants in a section that does not usually provide this sort of expertise.

The Kona N will get its energy from a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 making 276 hp and 289 lb-ft, which is shipped to the entrance wheels by the use of an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. It is loaded with all types of enjoyable methods, like overboost, racing-game-inspired cabin tech and a variable exhaust tone. It is a beast.


Electrified subcompacts aren’t fairly ubiquitous but. However that is good for the Kia Niro, as a result of its many variants have a lock available on the market till sufficient opponents come up.

The Kia Niro Hybrid is a typical gas-electric hybrid sandwiched right into a capacious hatchback physique. It is not precisely highly effective, nor does it like to get tossed round, however that is not the purpose of the automobile; as a substitute, it is going to hold you away from gasoline stations for longer and supply a experience that is comfy with tech that is straightforward to make use of. What’s to not like? 


Plug-in hybrids enable patrons to go electrical with the comforting backup of a correct gasoline engine. There are even fewer PHEVs on this section than there are hybrids, however once more, that is a superb factor for Kia.

The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid takes the identical formulation as the usual hybrid and provides a 8.9-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That may not sound like a lot, nevertheless it permits for about 26 miles of electrical driving at a time, which may cowl a commute. And, like each different Niro variant, the automobile wrapped round that powertrain is fairly darn good.


The Volvo C40 Recharge is the automaker’s first full battery-electric automobile, though many, many extra are on the best way. But, regardless of being a primary effort of types, our time with the Recharge proves this feels nothing like a primary try.

Counting on a 78-kWh battery and a pair of electrical motors, this tiny SUV presents up a formidable 408 hp and 487 lb-ft, with 60 mph arriving in 4.5 seconds. Volvo expects this little man to get round 225 miles on a cost, which is not as a lot as some opponents, however the entire expertise is polished in a means that, say, a Hyundai Kona is not.

Read our 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric review.



A few of these automobiles on this checklist are simpler to select than others. This class was easy, as a result of we did not have to select a favourite, the US authorities did.

The EPA charges the Hyundai Kona as extra environment friendly than some other non-electrified subcompact SUV, with an estimated gas economic system of 30 mpg metropolis and 35 mpg freeway. Then once more, this little utility automobile is all about thrift, making simply 147 hp from its 2.0-liter inline-4. Its CVT is clean, and the inside high quality is increased than what you’d possibly anticipate from one of many least costly autos on sale as we speak.


With the typical new-car transaction value capturing nicely previous $40,000 this yr, it is no shock that so many individuals are clamoring for a brand new automobile that is not going to interrupt your pockets in half. Nicely, pals, you are in luck, as a result of the Kia Soul exists, and it is nice.

The 2022 Kia Soul begins at $20,545 together with $1,175 for vacation spot, making it some of the reasonably priced new automobiles available on the market. And it is a good one, too, providing about 33 mpg freeway and a typical 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Throw one other $900 into the combo and you may match the Soul with each lively and passive security system Kia presents. Not a foul deal!

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There are many fantastic subcompact merchandise from the same old gamers within the luxurious recreation, like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However none of them seems like one million bucks as a lot as a Vary Rover Evoque does, particularly now, when its newest refresh places its seems nearer to the big-boy Vary Rover than ever earlier than.

That counts each inside and outside, too. The Evoque is filled with clear traces and minimal visible litter. Many of the middle stack is a display, and the seats could be outfitted with the identical smooth Windsor leather-based we take pleasure in on far costlier Land Rover merchandise. It is exhausting to discover a plusher subcompact SUV than this one.

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You will not be tackling Moab in any subcompact, as a result of the wild {hardware} required is not actually obtainable on this section. That mentioned, in the event you do plan on tackling some trails and possibly discovering a extra distant place to camp, and also you want one thing small for the duty, the Subaru Crosstrek is a reasonably good method to get there.

The Crosstrek is not actually a subcompact, nevertheless it’s small and we’re rounding down. All-wheel drive is normal, as is 8.7 inches of floor clearance, the latter of which ought to be fairly essential within the occasion of some stray rocks on the path. Along with being small and fordable, the Crosstrek has a beautiful cabin and a few spectacular on-road effectivity, that means it will not be completely annoying to pilot when you’re again on stable floor.

Read our 2021 Subaru Crosstrek review.


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A couple of of those classes haven’t got a transparent winner. Since automakers share a lot of their tech between their autos lately, it solely felt proper to speak about our favourite tech-laden automobiles as a gaggle.

On this class, Hyundai and Kia reign supreme. When their autos do not embody the complete suite of lively and passive security programs, these upgrades are sometimes obtainable for a low value. Practically all their autos throughout the worth spectrum come normal with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however in the event you do want the in-house interface, these automakers have among the best infotainment programs on provide as we speak. These are straightforward automobiles to advocate for tech aficionados.

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Once more, we now have a tie. Automakers have supplied lengthy guarantee durations as a method to provide patrons peace of thoughts for an extended stretch of time, which lately can typically prolong to a full decade.

Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Kia all provide spectacular warranties. When it comes to bumper-to-bumper protection, all three provide a 5-year, 60,000-mile guarantee. All three additionally give the client a 10-year, 100,000-mile guarantee for the powertrain. It is by no means enjoyable calling the dealership, however realizing you are protected in opposition to unexpected prices may help soften the blow.

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This class would have had a unique winner just a few months in the past. Previous to the discharge of VW’s newest SUV, the subcompact with probably the most cargo room was the Kia Seltos. However now, due to some intelligent packaging, the Volkswagen Taos has taken the crown.

Regardless of its diminutive body, the VW Taos presents almost 28 cubic toes of cargo house with all seats up. That quantity jumps even increased to 66 cubes as soon as that second row is folded down. Merely put, that is a ton of capability. The quantity shrinks a bit in the event you go for all-wheel drive, given the additional {hardware} required to get these wheels to maneuver, however the Taos is a tough act to beat both means.

Read our 2022 Volkswagen Taos review.


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You are not going to be towing horse trailers or whole double-wides with a subcompact SUV, however a few of these little utes are capable of tow a pair thousand kilos, which ought to make it easier to get extra of your stuff round city.

The Jeep Renegade, Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30 are all able to towing 2,000 kilos, however that is not the very best determine amongst small SUVs. Volvo has all of them beat, with the XC40 SUV providing a formidable 3,500-pound tow score. Must get a race automobile throughout city? Now you possibly can, and you do not have to purchase one thing the scale of a small condominium constructing to make it occur.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Most autos lately carry the identical sorts of lively and passive security programs — ahead collision warning, lane-departure warning, all that good things. Which is why, to settle this class, we went straight to the specialists on the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security. According to their figures, the Mazda CX-30 reigns supreme in security.

Security is greater than the sum of the aforementioned tech programs. In each crash check, the CX-30 achieved the IIHS’ high score of Good. It additionally obtained full marks for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash safety. Surprisingly, what places the CX-30 forward of its rivals, nonetheless barely, is its child-seat LATCH system, which the IIHS rated Good+ due to its ease of use.

Comparability of the very best subcompact SUVs for 2022

Class Identify Base Engine Output Gas Financial system (mpg, metropolis/hwy/mixed) Base Worth
Greatest subcompact SUV Hyundai Kona 2.0-liter I4 147 hp / 132 lb-ft 30 / 35 / 32 $22,545
Greatest subcompact SUV runner-up Mazda CX-30 2.5-liter I4 186 hp / 186 lb-ft 25 / 33 / 28 $23,425
Greatest subcompact luxurious SUV Audi Q3 2.0-liter I4 turbo 228 hp / 258 lb-ft 22 / 30 / 25 $37,595
Greatest subcompact efficiency SUV Hyundai Kona N 2.0-liter I4 turbo 276 hp / 289 lb-ft 20 / 27 / 23 $35,445
Greatest subcompact hybrid SUV Kia Niro Hybrid 1.6-liter I4 104 hp / 109 lb-ft 51 / 46 / 49 $25,945
Greatest subcompact plug-in hybrid SUV Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid 1.6-liter I4 139 hp / 195 lb-ft 105 MPGe $30,845
Greatest subcompact electrical SUV Volvo C40 Recharge Twin electrical motor 408 hp / 487 lb-ft TBD $59,845
Greatest subcompact SUV for gas economic system Hyundai Kona 2.0-liter I4 147 hp / 132 lb-ft 30 / 35 / 32 $22,545
Greatest reasonably priced subcompact SUV Kia Soul 2.0-liter I4 147 hp / 132 lb-ft 28 / 33 / 30 $20,545
Greatest subcompact SUV if cash is not any object Land Rover Vary Rover Evoque 2.0-liter I4 turbo 246 hp / 269 lb-ft 20 / 27 / 22 $46,050
Greatest subcompact SUV for off-roading Subaru Crosstrek 2.0-liter H4 152 hp / 145 lb-ft 28 / 33 / 30 $23,820
Greatest subcompact SUV for cargo house Volkswagen Taos 1.5-liter I4 turbo 158 hp / 184 lb-ft 28 / 36 / 31 $24,690
Greatest subcompact SUV for towing Volvo XC40 2.0-liter I4 turbo 187 hp / 221 lb-ft 23 / 32 / 26 $36,195
Greatest subcompact SUV for security Mazda CX-30 2.5-liter I4 186 hp / 186 lb-ft 25 / 33 / 28 $23,425

How we made our checklist

We drove them, after all! Over the previous yr, and for a few years prior, Roadshow’s editors have evaluated the complete new-car spectrum, which supplies us all of the context we have to determine which automobiles are finest for you, expensive shopper. We’ve many years of collective expertise in figuring out what gives the very best worth, and people efforts have led to the checklist you are studying proper now.

In fact, it bears mentioning that this checklist should not be taken as canon. Your expertise issues most, so take these suggestions to your native dealerships and get to check driving. As soon as you have truly had a while with a automobile, you may be in a greater place to decide that takes your pursuits and preferences into consideration. And do not forget to take the above costs with a grain of salt; haggling is, for higher or worse, nonetheless a part of the shopping for expertise for most individuals.

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