Subcompact SUVs Ranked By The Rear Seat Room

If you are in the business of finding the best subcompact SUV, I am quite sure that you have at least peaked at the rear seats trying to figure out how much use you could get from them. Well, I’ve compiled a list of 13 subcompact SUVs, crossovers, or whatever you call them, and ranked them by the rear seat room. Sure, this is not the most important measurement to find out which one is the best subcompact SUV, but it is an important factor for sure.

Power, consumption, or the cargo room in the boot are as important. And yes, I included that too. So, without further ado, let’s see what 13 of the most important subcompact SUVs bring to the table in the U.S.

Honda HR-V

2016 - 2017 Honda HR-V High Resolution Exterior
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With the latest redesign, the 2019 Honda HR-V did lose the option for a manual transmission, but that seems to be a rather small trade-off if we take into account that the latest model comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Plus, the Honda Sensing safety suit is standard gear too. This one brings forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure, and road departure assist systems.

Obviously, this is a modern car and journalists assessed that it drives fun but needs a bit more spirited engine.
Passenger space: 100.1 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 24.3 cu. ft./58.8 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 39.3 in
AWD option: AWD Option available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 28/34/30 mpg
Price (MSRP): $20,520
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 170.4/69.8/63.2
Power range: 141 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Weight (entry level version): 3,066 lbs - 3,150 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda HR-V

Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul
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With its boxy design, I am not even sure if the Soul qualifies for an SUV or crossover designation. It is more of an MPV, and it shows just that with its spacious cabin, nice cargo room, and a lot of room for rear seat passengers. Produced since 2014, the second generation Kia Soul moves the bar in its segment with a double clutch transmission, an advanced infotainment system, and features like Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Of course, these technologies are available on higher grade models.

In the sea of small subcompact crossovers, the Soul feels to be hindered by the lack of an AWD option. It is only an FWD car.
Passenger space: 101 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 24.2 cu. ft./61.3 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 39.1 in
4WD option: No
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 24/30/27 mpg
Price (MSRP): $16,490
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 163/70.9/63.5
Power range: 130-201 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Weight (entry level version): 2,884 lbs

Read our full review on the 2020 Kia Soul

Kia Niro

Top 13 Subcompact SUVs Ranked from Best to Worst High Resolution Exterior
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With standard technology like the Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning system, Lane Keep Assist system, and adaptive cruise control, the latest Kia Niro feels like a competent subcompact SUV. Especially after you find out that it is only available as a rather efficient plug-in hybrid.

For now, it is only a FWD car, but Kia is actually thinking about making an AWD version as well.

Bear in mind that the Niro isn’t as cheap as some of the cars on this list. However, I find the Niro intriguing as it doesn’t look generic, it offers decent comfort inside, and it is one of the quickest cars on the list here. After all, its hybrid system churns out 139 horsepower. More importantly, the front wheels actually spin up with the force of 109 pound-feet of torque from the ICE and 125 pound-feet of torque from the e motor.

Passenger space: 100.9 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 19.4 cu. ft./54.5 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 37.4 in
4WD option: No, but Kia is working on it
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 52/49/50 mpg
Price: $23,490
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 171.5/71.1/60.4
Power range: 104 horsepower + 43 horsepower of the electric motor
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
Top Speed: 101 mph
Weight (entry level version): 3,106 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Niro

Ford EcoSport

2018 Ford EcoSport High Resolution Exterior
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With its quirky design, diminutive dimensions, but courageously equipped cabin, the EcoSport feels like a contradiction in itself. The car offers fine interior, especially for the high-grade models, but it also comes with an AWD option - not exactly something one can expect on a subcompact SUV sized as the EcoSport.

Nevertheless, everyone who drove it, interestingly, seem to be disappointed with the EcoBoost engine.

Everyone claims that it could offer up a bit more power.
With the SYNC 3 infotainment system and rich personalization options, the EcoSport feels fresh, but you have to be aware that it appeared in 2013. Whichever way you slice it, it is ready for a replacement.

Passenger space: 91.1 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 20.9 cu. ft./50 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 36.7 in
AWD option: AWD Option available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 27/29/28 mpg
Price (MSRP): $19,995
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 161.3/69.5/64.8
Power range: 123 - 166 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 11.7 seconds
Top Speed: 108 mph
Weight (entry level version): 3,060 lbs - 3,327 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford EcoSport

Subaru Crosstrek

2018 Subaru XV Crosstrek High Resolution Exterior
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With standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the Crosstrek most certainly pretends to be the most off-road worthy car on this list. Sure, it is practically just a lifted hatchback based on top of the Impreza architecture, but with a fine set of new technologies, nice clearance, and generous size, the Crosstrek may be one of the best options.

The problem is it has dated technology, rather lackluster performance, and an interior that somehow lacks the sophistication of newer vehicles.

Despite all of that, the Crosstrek is a practical vehicle. And did I even mention standard AWD across the lineup?

Passenger space: 100.9 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 20.8 cu. ft./55.3 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 36.5 in
AWD option: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) standard
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 23/29/25 mpg
Price (MSRP): $21,795
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 175.8/91/63.6
Power range: 152 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 9 seconds
Top Speed: N/A
Weight (entry level version): 3,113 lbs - 3,239 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

Buick Encore

2017 Buick Encore
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This one isn’t as cheap as some on this list. Heck, start checking the boxes on the rather rich options list and you will get to $30k without much of a problem. The Encore seems to be a pseudo-premium offering in this strange battlefield of subcompact SUVs. Yet, deep beneath the skin, it is basically the same as the Chevy Trax, the Opel Mokka, and the Holden Trax. After all, all of them share the same structure. Buick, however, seems to be mostly interested in the posh stuff.

The Encore is a tad nicer, a tad more exclusive, and a tad more imaginative than the Chevy Trax.

No wonder it carries a $2,000 premium over it. As far as its utilitarian nature goes, it offers much the same cabin amenities as the Trax and this is quite impressive for an SUV of this size.

Passenger space: 92.8 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 18.8 cu. ft./48.4 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 35.7 in
AWD option: AWD Option available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 25/33/29 mpg
Price (MSRP): $23,200
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 168.4/69.9/65.2
Power range: 138 - 153 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 9 seconds
Top Speed: 120 mph
Weight (entry level version): 3,236 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Buick Encore

Chevrolet Trax

2017 Chevrolet Trax High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Yup, the Trax is the next one. It is less expensive compared with the Encore, but comparing it with the rest of the SUVs on this list, I find it to be just an average offering. However, some of its merits are features like the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. This is standard gear even in the entry-level model. Go up a notch, to the LT or the Premier, and the Trax becomes something some would call the best subcompact SUV - all with 18-inch wheels, cruise control, a Bose sound system, and even keyless entry.

And let me tell you. It would, of course, be cheaper compared with the similarly equipped Encore.
Passenger space: 92.8 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 18.7 cu. ft./48.4 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 35.7 in
AWD option: AWD Option available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 25/33/29 mpg
Price (MSRP): $21,200
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 167.6/69.9/64.8
Power range: 138 horsepower
Performance
0-60 mph: N/A (but, I’ll guess the same as on the Encore)
Top Speed: N/A (but, I’ll guess the same as on the Encore)
Weight (entry level version): 3,124 lbs - 3,344 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Trax

Jeep Renegade

2015 Jeep Renegade High Resolution Exterior
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The smallest Jeep has never been “approved” by Jeep enthusiasts. However, it did sell in numbers large enough to enchant the market with its quirky styling and a rather cool interior. Now, with the redesigned one released in the U.S., the Renegade comes with a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine and quite a fascinating set of equipment, which can - with an optional Technology package - include Adaptive cruise control, ParkSense, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist Plus, and parking sensors up front. Obviously, it is even better suited for the driver needs of today.

With the latest redesign, the Jeep Renegade definitely seems to be one of a few all-new entries on the market. F

YI, despite its size, if you go far enough, you can get 19-inch wheels on it.

Passenger space: 118.6 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 18.5 cu. ft./50.8 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 35.1 in
AWD option: AWD Option available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 22/31/25 mpg
Price (MSRP): $18,445 (entry level price for the MY2018)
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 166.6/74.2/66.5
Power range: 177 - 180 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 9 seconds
Top Speed: N/A
Weight (entry level version): 3,166 lbs - 3,532 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Renegade

Mazda CX-3

2019 Mazda CX-3
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Obviously, the Mazda CX-3 is easily one of the most attractive entries on this list.

I cannot call it the best subcompact SUV right away, but considering how fun and sophisticated it looks, and how fun it should drive, one may forgive its small rear seat room or lack of a more powerful engine. I’d like to see the Mazda CX-3 with something turbocharged developing in excess of 200 horsepower. I know I am asking for a lot, but after driving that car, I actually feel it deserves much more power than 148 horsepower its engine develops. Nevertheless, along with the cool new Toyota C-HR, the Mazda CX-3 seems to be closest to something one would silently consider premium. It is a lovable car with the X-factor that many contenders on this list actually lack. It is definitely more than the sum of its parts. But then, if you were to assess its part, you’ll find it is safe, rather fuel efficient and full of gizmos in its higher trims such as keyless entry/start, blind spot warning, a head-up display, and a Bose premium audio system.

Passenger space: 88 cu. ft. (+16 cu. ft. for luggage)
Cargo room: 12.4 cu. ft. (up to tonneau)/44.5 cu.ft. (to the roof)
Rear seat room: 35 in
4WD option: AWD available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 29/34/32 mpg
Price: $20,390
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 168.3/68.1/60.7
Power range: 148 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: N/A
Top Speed: 119 mph
Weight (entry level version): 2,809 lbs - 2,952 lbs

Read our full review on the 2019 Mazda CX-3

Hyundai Kona

2018 Hyundai Kona Exterior High Resolution
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I was just writing about the X-factor of the Mazda CX-3, and you know what? The Hyundai Kona has it too. Its designers definitely sacrificed a bit of its practicality in trying to make a car as alluring and as attractive as possible.

The styling seems to be perfectly suited for the lovers of subcompact SUVs as the Kona actually focuses on personality more than on practicality.

And if you are thinking to buy a car from this segment, I have a hunch you aren’t all about practicality. Hyundai knows it too, so it equipped the Kona with body claddings that resemble those on that mad Citroen C3 Cactus and offered the car with an AWD and a 175 horsepower engine. Of course, when choosing the options for a car like this, go all in. Then you will get a Kona with a locking central diff, a brake-based torque vectoring system, and even a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Heck, Hyundai did the unthinkable and made the Kona even more appealing than the Mazda CX-3. This thing is fun. Forget about practicality. It does not matter. At all.

Passenger space: 94.1 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 19.2 cu. ft./45.8 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 34.6 in
AWD option: AWD Available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 27/33/30 mpg (entry level version)
Price: $19,990
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 164/70.9/61
Power range: 147-175 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 10 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph
Weight (entry level version): 2,890 - 3,259 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona

Nissan Rogue Sport

Top 13 Subcompact SUVs Ranked from Best to Worst High Resolution Exterior
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The Rogue Sport is a tad bigger than your average subcompact SUV. However, that is exactly what made it one of the best selling cars on the planet. See, the Rogue Sport is actually known as the Qashqai in the rest of the world. Even in Canada. For us, it gained a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated engine with 141 horsepower. Not really much fun there.

But the Rogue Sport isn’t about fun. It is about the value, and I may even say about family values.

See, the Rogue Sport is far more practical than the Juke but less expensive than the larger Rogue. Nissan included a lot of standard gear with the Rogue Sport too. I am talking about LED daytime running lights, five-inch color display and powered mirrors. All of this before even getting to the safety equipment that comes as standard - Automatic emergency braking, Blind spot warning, Rear cross traffic alert, Advanced Drive-Assist Display, Rearview monitor, Siri Eyes Free, Hands-free text messaging assistant and Bluetooth.

Passenger space: 118.9 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 22.9 cu. ft./61.1 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 33.4 in
AWD option: AWD Option available
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 24/30/27 mpg
Price (MSRP): $22,110
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 172.4/72.3/62.5
Power range: 141 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 10 seconds
Top Speed: 112 mph
Weight (entry level version): 3,309 lbs - 3,424 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport

Nissan Kicks

2017 Nissan Kicks High Resolution Exterior
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Another Nissan on the list is the Kicks.

While some did say it will replace the Juke, the Kicks seems to be too conservative and, simply put, a bit dull.

However, while some may criticize it on its looks, the thing is that the Kicks is well equipped, fuel efficient and light. Even the entry-level version offers gear that some of the competitors can only dream of. Stuff like Automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, automatic headlights, three USB ports, keyless entry, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, all come bundled up for the entry-version. It is a generous car. Not with power, though. With a 125 horsepower Versa engine, no one will consider it a runner.

Passenger space: 119.2 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 25.3 cu. ft./53.1 cu. ft.
Rear seat room: 33.2 in
4WD Option: No
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 31/36/33 mpg
Price: $17,990
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 169.1/69.3/62.4
Power range: 125 horsepower
Performance (of the least powerful model)
0-60 mph: 9.7 seconds
Top Speed: 107 mph
Weight (entry level version): 2,639 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Kicks

Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR High Resolution Exterior
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This car may be last on our list, but had styling, image, and technology been the main deciding factors, it might have been the first.

The C-HR isn’t about practicality, rear seat room, or cup holders. It is the millennial dream, an effort by Toyota to capture the imagination only the CX-3 and the Kona can come close to.

And it did so. I am even pressed to say that the fantastic looking, and dynamically pleasing C-HR is close to premium. I can see people actually walking out of Audi saloons and away from the Q3 and buying this thing instead. It has a magnetic personality. And a lot of gear onboard - standard dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen audio system, a whole suite of safety gear and an advanced infotainment system.

If you did not know the name C-HR actually stands for “Coupe, High Riding”. Now, the C-HR has some problems - it should be more powerful and it should have an AWD option. The latter is a possibility as it does have an AWD option in Europe.

Passenger space: 102.8 cu. ft.
Cargo room: 19 cu. ft./36.4 cu.ft.
Rear seat room: 31.7 in
AWD option: No
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 27/31/29 mpg
Price (MSRP): $20,945
Dimensions (length/width/height, in): 171.2/70.7/61.6
Power range: 144 horsepower
Performance
0-60 mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Weight (entry level version): 3,300 lbs

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota C-HR

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