Which Compact SUV Is Right for You?
Compact SUVs make up one of the hottest segments in the new car market, and why not? These vehicles combine the cargo space and versatility of an SUV or station wagon with the ride quality and fuel efficiency of a sedan.
But it goes so much further than that, as this crop of cute ‘utes showcases some of the leading in-car technologies – including power rear tailgates that open with the wave of your foot – or no wave at all.
But with so many options out there, the process of shopping for a new compact SUV can be overwhelming. Some prioritize fuel economy, others cargo space, and still others safety and technology. It’s hard to decide!
Click through the slideshow to see the best 2017 compact SUVs, and what makes them shine. Maybe you’ll find a compact SUV that is the perfect fit for your lifestyle and budget.
8) (Tie) 2017 Nissan Rogue
MSRP: $23,820 - $31,310 (Details Below)
The 2017 Rogue offers a luxurious interior and class-leading fuel economy. The Rogue is praised for its roomy interior, large cargo area, and smooth ride. However, it doesn’t stack up to the competition in agility or acceleration.
2017 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue offers a third-row that is only suitable for small children. Nissan’s Divide-N-Hide cargo system provides multiple configurations to facilitate your cargo needs. The interior is upscale and boasts intuitive features, including the available NissanConnect infotainment system. Reliability is average and safety scores are very good.
8 (Tie) 2017 Chevrolet Equinox
MSRP: $23,100 - $31,790 (Details Below)
The Equinox has spacious seats and a smooth, comfortable ride quality. But doesn’t impress when it comes to performance, and figures for cargo space and fuel economy fall short of the competition.
2017 Chevrolet Equinox
The base engine makes 182 horsepower and is underwhelming. Even the 301-horsepower V6 engine fails to impress. Fuel economy tops out at 21 mpg in the city, but only with the anemic four-cylinder engine. Fold down the rear seats, and cargo space tops out at 63.7 cubic feet – well below the leaders in the pack.
7) 2017 Subaru Forester
MSRP: $22,595 - $34,295 (Details Below)
The 2017 Forester is one of few compact SUVs that comes with standard all-wheel drive. It also tops most competitors when comparing cargo space and available safety features. Fuel economy is not as good as many rivals’ models. Critics said that the interior is practical, but lacks style.
2017 Subaru Forester
Forward automatic emergency braking is optional, and the Forester stands out among the competition due to the additional option of reverse automatic emergency braking.
Roomy rear seats and a quiet cabin are also key selling points for the Forester. An available turbocharged engine makes for confident highway driving and command in hilly conditions. Reliability scores are not yet available.
6) 2017 GMC Terrain
MSRP: $24,070 - $36,025 (Details Below)
The Terrain is one of the more expensive SUVs in the class, and has an interior that shows it. The base trim has limited standard features, but upper trims are competitively appointed. The high-end Denali trim includes almost every feature available, but will cost you about $40,000.
2017 GMC Terrain
The Terrain is not known for its athletic handling, and the base engine lacks power. However, critics were happy with the powerful V6 option. Seats are spacious and comfortable, but cargo space is low for the class.
The 2017 model earns 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power for predicted reliability, meaning it is nearly Among the Best when it comes to reliability.
5) 2017 Ford Escape
MSRP: $23,750 - $31,000 (Details Below)
The 2017 Escape falls from second to fifth, but still comes with potent turbocharged engine options, advanced driver assistance technologies, and up-to-date infotainment and technology features. Safety scores are near the top of the class, and the Escape ranks About Average in J.D. Power’s Predicted Reliability study.
2017 Ford Escape
The uninspiring base engine returns below average fuel economy, but two turbocharged engine options are sure to impress. The 2.0-liter turbo can tow 3,500 pounds and is nearly as efficient as the base engine. The Escape offers better handling and muscle than most in the class.
Passenger and cargo capacity is excellent for the class, and a low cargo floor makes for easier loading. Interior materials are more upscale than previous models. Technology is better than most, with cool options and cutting-edge features.
4) 2017 Kia Sportage
MSRP: $23,200 - $34,200 (Details Below)
The completely redesigned 2017 Sportage does a stellar job of balancing ride comfort and agile handling. It has an elegant interior full of innovative features. Seats are spacious, but the Sportage lacks cargo space. It earned a 3.5 out of five in reliability, and Kia offers one of the longest warranties in the industry.
2017 Kia Sportage
The Sportage ranks below many others in the segment for fuel efficiency. The base engine is underpowered, especially for highway driving. The more-powerful 240-horsepower turbocharged option does a better job, however, critics said that the heavy weight of the Sportage makes its acceleration feel unimpressive.
2) (Tie) 2017 Mazda CX-5
MSRP: $24,045 - $30,695 (Details Below)
The 2017 CX-5 offers one of the most exhilarating driving experiences in any affordable compact SUV. It will surprise you with its agility and nimble handling. The CX-5 tackles corners and winding roads like a sports car. Critics consider the 187-horsepower engine to have only average acceleration – and it’s the only powerplant option.
2017 Mazda CX-5
The CX-5 is has been completely redesigned for 2017, and the price has jumped more than $2,000. There is no longer an available manual transmission, but it features an upscale interior with user-friendly technology. It is too early to render a safety score, but reliability is unfortunately About Average.
2) (Tie) 2017 Hyundai Tucson
MSRP: $22,700 - $31,175 (Details Below)
The 2017 Tucson offers a lengthy list of standard and optional features. The cabin is spacious and quiet. Critics praise the Tucson’s confident handling, class-leading comfort, and high safety scores. Interior technology is user-friendly and plentiful. However, cabin materials can’t match up to those found in some competitors.
2017 Hyundai Tucson
Like the Sportage, the Tucson provides a good blend of smooth suspension and sporty handling. The base engine is less powerful than most of the competition. Its turbocharged engine option is quiet and refined, but still lacks muscle. J.D. Power’s Predicted Reliability survey places the Tucson as Better than Most.
1) 2017 Honda CR-V
MSRP: $24,045 - $33,695 (Details Below)
The 2017 CR-V, winner of our 2017 Best Compact SUV for Families award and 2017 Best Compact SUV for the Money award, returns outstanding fuel economy and has nearly unmatched cargo capacity. It has been completely redesigned for 2017, and has added even more cargo space. Safety scores and predicted reliability are both near the top of the class.
2017 Honda CR-V
The CR-V comes with two engine options, and while power in both is sufficient, it isn’t as sporty or athletic as some competitors. The interior is attractive and well-made, although competitors offer more luxurious materials. Standard and optional technology features are abundant and user-friendly.
More Shopping Tools From U.S. News & World Report
These are just a few of the great compact SUVs on the market. See how these compare to others by visiting our compact SUV rankings. And when it comes time to buy, use our Best Price Program, where shoppers save an average of $3,279 off their new car purchase.