Every Compact Crossover SUV (Ranked From Worst to Best)
15 compact crossovers to devour all sedans and wagons ranked from worst to bestby Safet Satara, on LISTEN 16:46
With their unibody construction, technology sourced from compact cars, and small engines, the crossovers, or compact SUVs, have become the most popular choice for the car buyers of today. They offer exceptional convenience thanks to the sizeable cabin, ample luggage space, and a cabin moved to the front. Unlike body-on-frame trucks, the crossovers have far less weight to full, feature comprehensive active safety equipment, and represent a novel interpretation of cheap, but practical means of personal transportation. Thanks to their raised body, raised suspension, and, in some instances, a tricked out all-wheel-drive, the crossovers also evoke a particularly adventurous spirit, now fully adapted for average families and average drivers. Considering the successful marriage of off-road truck technologies, and nature with the classic unibody construction, compact SUVs/crossovers are the best "all-in-one" vehicles the car industry ever gave us.
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for 74 MPGe
- 66.6 cubic feet of cargo space
- Outlander PHEV can tow up to 1,500 pounds
- Available with a 2.4-liter, gasoline engine
Although based on the compact car GS platform developed by Daimler/Chrysler and Mitsubishi in the 2000s, the latest iteration of the Mitsubishi Outlander crossover takes the modernization to the extremes by employing high tensile steel in its construction, most recent active safety features such Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control, as well as a seven-seat layout.
The most critical reinterpretation of the Outlander ethos, however, comes in the shape of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
With a twin-electric 4WD system, a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, and a 12 kWh battery, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the most advanced Outlander ever conceived. Its hybrid system provides a Full EV mode, hybrid mode (ICE recharges the battery), and a parallel hybrid mode (ICE and electric motors power wheels).
|Fuel economy||74 mpge|
|0 - 60 mph||10.1 sec|
|Top speed||105.63 mph|
|Power||135 hp @ 4500 rpm.|
|Torque||155.63 pound-feet @ 4500 rpm.|
|Electric motors||82 hp + 95 hp|
|Electric motors torque||101.05 pound-feet and 143.82 pound-feet|
|Combined power output||135+82+95 hp|
|Battery capacity||13.8 kWh|
|All-electric range||27.96 mi|
Read our full review on the2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
- Available 360 degree surround view camera
- Comprehensive standard safety features
- Sliding second-row seats with backrest recline option
- Available ProPilot assist that controls acceleration, braking, and steering on the highway
As a compact crossover, the Nissan Rogue (known as the X-Trail in Europe) features a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine developing 170 horsepower. Fitted with a CVT transmission and intelligent AWD, Nissan promises that Rouge can return 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
While available in the hybrid guise for 2019, due to slow sales Nissan discontinued the Rouge hybrid for 2020.
Interestingly enough, the Nissan Rogue was available with a seven-seat option in 2016, but the latest versions of the car are not available as seven-seaters. Nevertheless, with up to 70 cubic feet of cargo room, the Nissan Rogue is pretty practical. As is the case with basically any crossover on this list, the Nissan Rogue comes with abundant safety tech and, more or less, all of the latest tech options. Yes, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay included. The AWD option is available on all trims.
|Fuel economy||27 US mpg|
|0 - 60 mph||9.6 sec (est)|
|Top speed||122 mph|
|Power||170 hp @ 6000 rpm.|
|Torque||174.8 pound-feet @ 4400 rpm.|
Read our full review on the 2020 Nissan Rogue.
- Eclipse Cross can accelerate to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds
- It will return up to 25 mpg combined
- In Europe available with a 2.2 diesel engine with 184 horsepower (it feels like a better choice)
- Lacks advanced active safety equipment in its base form
While it does carry the name of Mitsubishi’s sports car from better times, the Eclipse Cross is actually a mini-SUV. The Japanese carmaker based it on the same GS platform that forms the backbone of the Outlander.
As the newest vehicle in the lineup, the Eclipse employs a novel design, and the latest in terms of safety, internal combustion propulsion systems, convenience, and onboard tech.
While it does come with a somewhat sporty design, the crossover uses a rather small 1.5-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine with 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. While it does not offer ample space as some entries on the list (48.9 cubic feet of cargo space), the Eclipse Cross is well-equipped and safe.
|Fuel economy||33.6 US mpg|
|0 - 60 mph||8.6 sec|
|Top speed||124 mph|
|Power||163 hp @ 5500 rpm.|
|Torque||184 pound-feet @ 1800-4500 rpm.|
Read our full review on the 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Sport.
- Up to 30 mpg
- Nine-speed automatic transmission
- Available Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 with 20:1 crawl ratio
- Up to 2,000 pounds of towing capacity
- Almost 63 cubic feet of cargo capacity with folded rear seatsthree transmission options
Based on the somewhat re-engineered platform utilized for the Renegade, the Jeep Compass is a compact crossover that sits right between the Renegade and Cherokee in the Jeep lineup.
Unibody construction, cheapish interior materials, and engines from the lower spectrum of the FCA kingdom made the Jeep Compass one of the most affordable Jeeps on the market.
Its closest competitor may be the Eclipse Cross, but the Compass does evoke an added sense of adventure, a trait inherited from the rest of the Jeep lineup. AWD system is available on all trim levels (Sport, Latitude, Limited), with the Trailhawk getting the tech as standard. Unlike most crossovers on this list, the Jeep Compass offers a class-leading AWD system that can send up to 100 percent of all power to any wheel. Jeep prepared five different engines for the Compass, with the 2.4-liter Tigershark 180-horsepower unit as the only available on the US market.
|Fuel economy||27 US mpg|
Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Compass.
- Available AWD (FWD as standard)
- 200 pounds lighter compared to the previous generation car
- Standard eight-speed automatic transmission
- Available as a 198 hp hybrid and 209 hp plug-in hybrid
As one of the latest entries on the compact crossover market, the 2020 Ford Escape is available with a 1.5-liter, turbocharged engine with 180 horsepower. The next option is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid version. Focused on improving efficiency, Ford dramatically cut the Escape’s weight thanks to the use of high strength steel. Furthermore, the new model is considerably more aerodynamic compared to its predecessor.
This, in part, allows plug-in hybrid variants to cover up to 30 miles only using electricity.
Unlike the standard hybrid that has a 1.1 kWh battery, the plug-in hybrid relies on a 14.4 kWh battery pack.
Even the least powerful Ford Escape can tow up to 2,000 pounds. The crossover comes with the latest active safety features and advanced onboard tech that includes HD Radio and a Bang&Olufsen premium audio system as an option.
|Engine||2.5-liter, Atkinson Cycle|
|Combined power output||209 hp|
|Battery capacity||14.4 kWh|
|All-electric range||30 miles|
Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Escape.
- First crossover with the nine-speed transmission
- First Chrysler with the new 3.2-liter, V-6 engine
- Some versions are 45 percent more efficient compared to Cherokee predecessor
- One of the first hacked vehicles – this problem yielded a recall of 1.4 million units
Converted into a crossover, the fifth generation of the Jeep Cherokee eluded its hardcore past and got transformed into a generic compact SUV. FCA created it for a new breed of buyer – the one that wants the utility of a truck, but the comfort of a city car. Introduced in 2014 in its current iteration and redesigned in 2019, the Jeep Cherokee bridges the gap between the Compass and the Grand Cherokee. It simultaneously keeps the famed name alive.
Available in eight different guises (Latitude, Latitude Plus, Altitude, Upland, Trailhawk, Limited, High Altitude, Overland), the Cherokee offers plenty of personalization options and high-end tech onboard.
Couple this with sliding rear seats, a maximum luggage capacity of 45 cubic feet, and the fact that the Cherokee has more luggage space as standard compared to almost any sedan, and you can see how it can become an excellent family vehicle. In its Trailhawk configuration, however, it is a worthy off-roader with more clearance, capable AWD, and that classic Jeep character.
|Fuel economy||24 mpg (greencarreports tested)|
|Power||180 hp @ 6400 rpm.|
|Torque||171 pound-feet @ 4600 rpm.|
Read our full review on the2019 Jeep Cherokee.
- AWD system can completely shut the drive to one axle thus reducing consumption
- Traction Select system offers a few different driving modes
- Safety features include new surround vision, Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Safety Alert Seat
Produced in Mexico, the GMC Terrain is a compact crossover utility vehicle that runs on the same platform as the Chevy Equinox. Utilizing either a 1.5-liter or a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, gasoline engine, the Terrain entered a new age of energy-efficient, but competent crossover SUVs.
While the performance isn't the first that comes to mind with the GMC branded SUV, the convenience and onboard tech is.
In that regard, the pseudo-premium GM brand infused the Terrain with the latest infotainment system (with 7 or 8-inch display) and a standard OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The SUV itself looks quite modern thanks to rather lovely LED lights and a powerful stance achieved with the high beltline and rich chrome accents. The Denali version especially feels premium –inside out. The crossover offers 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space and it comes with the nine-speed transmission specially adapted for highway cruise and fuel efficiency.
|Fuel economy||28 mpg|
Read our full review on the 2019 GMC Terrain.
- 4Motion available with a 26-degree approach angle and 23-degree departure angle
- Produced in Germany, India, Algeria, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia
- 10.6 inches longer compared to previous generation crossover
- Standard roof rails
- It can Tow up to 1,500 pounds
Completely redesigned for its second generation, the Volkswagen Tiguan offers the latest in terms of onboard technology, safety features, and efficiency.
Although available only with a 2.0-liter TSI engine, the Tiguan does feel like a proper family crossover with some sporty genes.
Just look at it with the R-line package. It is a crossover that looks darn close to the Golf GTI. Sure, its 184-horsepower engine and 8-speed automatic transmission can not provide desired GTI-like performance. Yet, the third-row option and the 73 cubic feet of luggage capacity, plus the LWB version called the Tiguan AllSpace will put a smile on all of your children faces. Considering its MQB platform origins, the latest Tiguan does have technology sourced from basically all other Volkswagen vehicles - including the infotainment system and an option for a diesel version on markets outside the US.
|Fuel economy||37 mpg|
|Top Speed||129 mph|
Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.
- Advanced safety equipment
- Available with a 9-speed automatic
- Surround-view camera
Showing much of the same talents as the GMC Terrain, the third-generation Chevy Equinox comes with a slightly cheaper-looking interior, less sophisticated exterior, and a tad more affordable pricing. All the important stuff under the makeup remain pretty much the same, however. The Equinox can be had with either a 1.5-liter or a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that develop 170 horsepower and 252 horsepower, respectively.
The engineering effort focused on increasing fuel efficiency and convenience affected every single piece of the Equinox.
That is why its AWD system from GKN Driveline can completely disengage power to the rear axle to lower the consumption. The crossover is also available with the 1.6-liter diesel engine good for 136 horsepower. While initially available with an all-wheel-drive setup, GM discontinued the Equinox diesel AWD for 2019 model year. Much more important, I guess, is the fact that the Equinox has air-con vents for the rear seats, a lot of cupholders, USB ports, and a power liftgate.
Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox.
- Three different AWD versions available
- 8.7 inches of ground clearance
- Lineartronic CVT is the only transmission option
- Available as the Subaru E-Boxer hybrid in Europe
Introduced in its fifth generation in 2018, the latest Subaru Forester rides on the chassis engineered on the Subaru Global Platform.
Available with an AWD system as standard, the Subaru Forester is the only crossover on this list that could, at least on paper, fight with the likes of the Jeep Cherokee.
Nevertheless, it is available only with a 2.5-liter boxer engine that develops 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. Despite the standard AWD system, it will return up to 33 mpg. And you’ll feel comfortable inside while it does so. The Subaru Forester offers more than 56 cubic feet of luggage capacity while the comprehensive safety suite, smart infotainment system, and connectivity features come as standard.
|Fuel economy||33 mpg|
Read our full review on the 2019 Subaru Forester.
- second-row USB ports
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration
- standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
- Hyundai works on an N branded Tucson with at least 340 horsepower
Designed to attract younger buyers to the brand, the latest generation Hyundai Tucson evokes clear European values with the proven and well-defined Hyundai-Kia engineering. While it is available in many different guises around the world (even with a 1.7-liter, 115-horsepower diesel engine in Europe), the Hyundai ix35’s successor is a two-engine job for the U.S.
The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine comes with 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
The peppier version comes with a 2.4-liter, direct-injected, four-cylinder engine with an estimated 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. One way or another, you’ll have to pick the six-speed automatic transmission.
|Fuel economy||23 mpg|
Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Tucson.
- Available AWD
- Available smartphone wireless charging tray
- Available with a full complement of driver-assist features
Riding on the same architecture as its Hyundai brethren, the Kia Sportage looks to offer even more European styling sophistication. Only, for Kia, the Euro-style feels to be smartly intertwined with the more powerful engine option.
The latest Sportage is available with a 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated engine with 181 horsepower on tap.
The one that should interest you, however, comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, direct-injection engine with close to 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This easily positions the Sportage among more engaging entries in the crossover segment. Despite the somewhat sporty appearance, the Kia Sportage still offers more than 60 cubic feet of luggage space, and a full complement of family-friendly and pet-friendly equipment if desired.
|Fuel economy||27 mpg|
|Top Speed||115 mph|
Read our full review on the 2020 Kia Sportage.
- Entry-level Toyota RAV4 comes with a 2.5-liter, 203 horsepower engine
- Available in the TDR Off-Road guise with 8.6-inch clearance
- Features 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission as standard
Completely redesigned and bigger than ever, the new Toyota RAV4 introduced us to a brilliant new way of thinking about crossovers. The RAV4 boldly utilizes a sturdy design that mixes with hybrid technology deeply rooted within Toyota. With a class-leading set of standard safety equipment, new RAV4 did come with a whole new hybrid system based around the 2.5-liter, gasoline engine. In its most potent form, it develops 219 horsepower (10 more compared to Ford Escape PHEV).
The big deal about the new Toyota RAV4 is the integration of a rather smart AWD system.
This is what Toyota has to say about it: "The Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect can send 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, plus distribute it to the left or right rear wheel for improved handling. When AWD isn’t required (on long stretches of highway, for example), RAV4 can achieve better fuel economy thanks to the Rear Driveline Disconnect system."
Despite dramatic improvement compared to the previous car, and slight steer toward the sporty side of things, the new Toyota RAV4 still has class-leading comfort. With almost 70 cubic feet of space for luggage with the rear seats folded down and generous room for extremities, the RAV4 feels better than ever.
|Engine||2.5-liter and electric motor|
|Fuel economy||51 mpg|
|Power||177 horsepower + electric motor|
|Torque||163 pound-feet + electric motor|
|Combined power output||222 horsepower|
|Top Speed||112 mph|
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota RAV4.
- Adaptive Cruise control, Collision Mitigation Braking, and Lane Keeping Assist available
- Power lift-gate
- An active grille shutter system
- 1.6-liter diesel available on specific markets
Introduced in 2016, the fifth generation of the Honda CR-V continues to attract its customers with quirky styling and an exceptional family-friendly ambiance inside the cabin.
Honda introduced the CR-V to Americans with a 2.4-liter, naturally-aspirated engine and a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine developing 184 horsepower and 190 pound feet of toque.
The broader torque curve made the smaller 1.5-liter turbocharged engine more desirable. Regardless of the engine you go for, the Honda CR-V makes do with a comprehensive set of modern technologies that will make your stay in this crossover more than pleasant. Moreover, you will get 59 cubic feet of space if you decide to fold the rear seats too.
|Fuel economy||27 mpg|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
Read our full review on the 2019 Honda CR-V.
- AWD available
- It has some premium qualities all other cars on this list lack
- Comes only with a 6-speed automatic
Usually marketed as one of the sportiest crossovers on the market, the latest Mazda CX-5 manage to attract buyers with conspicuous but well-defined looks. The commanding presence and premium-like ambiance in the cabin differentiate it from the rest of the lineup.
On the other hand, however, the Mazda CX-5 does not follow the hybridization trend that Ford and Toyota are looking to start with the Escape and the RAV4.
Instead, the Mazda 5 is available with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a Skyactive-G 2.5-liter turbocharged engine developing 250 horsepower. The engine churns out 227 horsepower on 87-octane gas and 250 horsepower on 93-octane gas.
Regardless of its sporty appearance, the Mazda CX-5 offers up to 59.6 cubic feet of luggage space if you fold down the rear seats.
|Fuel economy||31 mpg|
Read our full review on the 2019 Mazda CX-5.