Almost every manufacturer has a great compact crossover on offer. Today we’ll look at 10 compact crossovers you should consider when car shopping.
One of the mostly highly contested car segments right now is the compact crossover. Nearly every single car manufacturer offers some form of a compact crossover and there’s even some with multiple variations to choose from, but it makes sense. All these companies are jumping on the bandwagon as car shoppers are buying them up faster than any other body style. They’re fuel efficient, great for families, have available cargo space, and are easier to maneuver than their full-sized SUV counterparts. With so many to choose from, we went and narrowed it down to 10 of the best compact crossovers you should consider when car shopping.
The Jeep Compass is a sweet spot between the Renegade and the Cherokee. It has all the design cues from the Cherokee line while being compact in design, but not to point that it falls into the “cube car” realm the Renegade occupies. The only engine available is Jeep’s 2.4L I4 engine making 180hp. Kind of underwhelming, but to be expected in the compact crossover segment. Drivetrain options are standard FWD or 4X4 for an extra $1,500.
The 2020 Jeep Compass starts at $22,280, but I’d recommend splurging a little bit and getting the Trailhawk at $29,850. Jeeps just aren’t the same without 4X4, front bumper tow hooks, and improved suspension that is found in the Trailhawk trim. The off-road capabilities found in the Trailhawk are the best part when considering the Compass, but that’s best it has going for it when compared with the competition.
The Chevroler Blazer is back, but is it better than ever? The returning model isn’t the large, intimidating, off-roader of the K5 generation but rather a compact crossover with some sporty Camaro-esque designs. Available engines are 2.5L I4, 2.0L turbo I4, and a nice little 3.6L V6 engine that makes 308hp. FWD is standard across all trim levels, while AWD is optional at higher tiers.
The 2020 Chevrolet Blazer starts at $29,995 which is a little much for such a basic compact crossover offering. At the $40K area the Blazer gets more interesting with the racing inspired RS and the luxury Premier trims, but there’s better options for less money on the list.
Volkswagen knows how to make driving a compact car fun and they continue this with the Tiguan. While its exterior looks aren’t very attention grabbing, the Tiguan makes up for it with a responsive, sporty handling reminiscent of its GTI brother. Under the hood isn’t quite as interesting. You can only find a 2.0L turbo I4 making 184hp paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission throughout all of its trim levels. Available drivetrains are FWD or Volkswagens 4Motion AWD for $1,300 more.
The 2020 Tiguan offers a flip up third row seating option for an additional $595, but at the cost of cargo capacity and the third row is best suited for small children. Starting at $24,945, this Volkswagen is best suited for people familiar with the brand looking for a new family vehicle. But if you’re a devout VW fan, don’t shy away from the Tiguan. For everyone else, there are better options.
All of Subaru’s models have some form of its rally history shining through, and that includes the Forester. The Forester offers standard AWD, Vehicle Dynamics Control, 4-wheel disc brakes and independent suspension, and that well-known Subaru exterior design. It’s not made for harsh rock crawling, but the Forester is prepared to go down trails and perform in inclement weather. It only comes with a 2.5L DOHC I4 engine making 182hp paired with their CVT. Adding a sporty feel to the ride is the 7-speed manual mode found in the top trim levels, as well as integrated paddle shifters on the Sport trim.
The interior of the Forester is aesthetically pleasing and reaches a nice luxury feel in the top Touring trim. Passenger room is one of the best when compared to its class without taking too large of a hit to its cargo capacity. Starting at $24,495, the 2020 Subaru Forester stands out as a nice ride that boasts AWD right out the gate with plenty of interior room, but it lacks in acceleration with its lone engine offering. If you’re shopping for a nice daily that can get you through some tough snow, the Forester may be what you want. Just a bit more “get up and go” paired with that AWD would help bring it up the list.
The Santa Fe showed up in 2001 as Hyundai’s first ever offering for the US market. Since then, the Santa Fe has proved to be one of the best in class values among compact crossovers. Touted as “the family-first SUV”, the Santa Fe provides a roomy interior with ample cargo space and great design inside and out. It comes with a 2.4L I4 engine or 2.0L turbo I4 engine both paired with an 8-speed automatic. FWD is standard and optional AWD goes for $1,700.
The 2020 Santa Fe isn’t the quickest or the most fuel-efficient of the group, but it has great safety ratings, Hyundai’s great warranty backing the car, and 3-year’s complimentary maintenance. Starting at $26,275, you get a great long-term value and a practical family car. If the base isn’t doing it for you, the decked out Limited trim starts at just $36,025 featuring nearly every technology, comfort, safety, and performance package offered in the Santa Fe. That’s a lot of positives at a very positive price.
Kia has been a leader in great crossovers with the likes of the Soul and Sorento, but the Sportage is the one that fits the bill here. It runs in the same category as the Santa Fe, where it isn’t the best in any one area, but make a decent showing across the board. The interior is nice, with plenty of passenger room and enough cargo room for a grocery run. The exterior design isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it’s far from being a letdown. Powering the Sportage you’ll find either a 2.4L I4 engine or 2.0L turbo I4 engine, similar to the Santa Fe, but the lighter Sportage accelerates ever so slightly faster. The only transmission is a 6-speed automatic with a Sportmatic electronic manual shifting mode. FWD is standard, and the optional AWD will cost you an additional $1,500.
Starting at $23,990, you’ll find that the 2020 Kia Sportage is nice family car that comes with great safety ratings and a warranty that is only beat by the Santa Fe. Going into the high-end SX Turbo trim starts at just $33,590. You’ll receive every safety, comfort, and technology package offered in the Sportage making it an even better value than that of the Hyundai Santa Fe’s top trim. However, it’s basically a wash when pitting the Sportage and the Santa Fe against each other, with either option giving you a lot for less.
One of America’s favorite compact crossovers is the RAV4. Toyota really made a standout design with the RAV4 that really sets it apart from the rest of their lineup. It features bold and aggressive angles and sharp styling that make a huge impact on the look of the vehicle. The available engine options are the standard 2.5L DOHC I4 engine that makes 203hp or the RAV4 Hybrid 2.5L I4 engine making 219 net hp and a great 40 combined mpg. Both are paired with an CVT variant that features a sequential shift mode. Available drivetrains are FWD and optional AWD for another $975.
The RAV4 also has a great interior style that evolves throughout its trim levels to satisfy multiple tastes. Starting at $26,050, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 offers a long list of standard features, nice fuel economy (especially in the hybrid option), great interior room with plenty of head space, and a decent powertrain. Plus, for the outdoorsy car shoppers the RAV4 has the TRD Off-Road trim starting at $35,780. While it isn’t as extensive as the TRD-Pro upgrades found in other Toyotas, you still get Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD and a TRD-tuned suspension.
The Ford Escape has come a long way since it first debuted in 2000, and the newly designed 2020 Escape might be the best one yet. Sleek curves and an upgraded interior help the Escape enter the modern age of compact crossovers. It’s more of a city-based commuter model now and less of a “maybe we’ll go camping this weekend” type of vehicle, which is for the better in my opinion. Under the hood you’ll find a 1.5L EcoBoost I3 engine, 2.0L EcoBoost I4 engine, or a hybrid 2.5L I4 engine. Gas engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while hybrid options get a CVT. FWD is standard with optional AWD for an additional $1,500.
The Escape’s non-hybrid options get pretty good gas mileage, but it’s the hybrid variants that really shine. The Escape FWD Hybrid gets a great 41 combined mpg, but the Plug-in Hybrid gets a staggering 102 combined mpge when fully charged. If fuel-efficiency is less of a concern, the 2.0L engine creates great acceleration and generates 250hp. Starting at $24,885, you can’t go wrong with the Ford Escape as your daily driver. Even more so if you spend a bit extra to get either Hybrid or Plug-in Hybrid variants. Those higher dollar options can save you in the long run.
The Mazda CX-5 is probably one of my favorites in the compact crossover segment. It has sleek body curves, luxurious interior, and, new for 2020, was the addition of a turbocharged engine. The CX-5, like most of Mazda’s lineup, has the best in class handling and makes driving a crossover actually enjoyable, a huge plus in this category. Under its hood is a standard 2.5L I4 engine making 187hp, but the added turbo in top trims produces 250hp and really brings the ride together. This is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and standard FWD or optional AWD for $1,400.
Gas mileage isn’t best in class, but it is commendable, with the base model attaining 28 combined mpg. Cargo room is more limited when compared with the rest of the class, but passengers will enjoy a comfortable ride. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 starts at $25,190 and comes standard safety and technology enhancements that aren’t found in some models until you go up in trim levels. The highest trim on the CX-5 is the Signature trim and brings the car all together with standard AWD, turbo, all available features, and a refined luxury interior. Plus, starting at just $37,155 it makes a very competitive choice.
The Honda CR-V has dominated the compact crossover segment and has continued to do so for 2020. It’s a practical and well-designed crossover that hits all the marks when shopping in this segment. The CR-V has some of the best passenger room available while not costing you in cargo room. Its interior is visually appealing and comfortable for passengers. Its base engine is a turbo 1.5L I4 that makes 203hp and is paired with an CVT making for some commendable acceleration. A hybrid option is also available with a 2.0L I4 that makes 212hp and 38 combined mpg. FWD is standard with the CR-V, while AWD is available for $1,500 more.
The CR-V doesn’t quite reach the driving capabilities of the CX-5 or off-roading of the RAV4, but it makes up for it with great fuel-economy, more interior space, and lots of standard features. Starting at $25,150, the 2020 Honda CR-V is equipped to deliver what crossover shoppers are looking for including an excellent safety rating, top tier warranty, tons of features, and it’s a Honda, so it well poised for longevity. If you’re looking for a little more value out of this model, the top of the line Touring trim starts at $33,350. All the technology, comfort, safety, and luxury enhancements for much less than its competitors. If you really want a compact crossover, the Honda CR-V checks all the boxes.