As the popularity of the crossover grows, automakers find new ways to get these high-profit models into buyers’ driveways. A recent move in this class was to create even smaller models, keep the ride height decent, offer all-wheel drive, and sell them even more cheaply. Enter in the subcompact crossover.
Though this segment is still growing, there are enough models in it to create a top-nine list. Once the Hyundai Kona finally hits showrooms here in the U.S., it’ll give us a full 10 subcompact crossovers to rate.
Like subcompact cars, subcompact crossovers are far more budget focused than anything else, so none of these crossovers are great vehicles. However, some are significantly better than others.
Continue reading to see where each subcompact crossover lands on our list.
Of course, one of the most popular vehicles in this growing segment is also top on our list — surprise, surprise.
This tiny people hauler has plenty going for it, including its slick seats that fold to expose up to 58 cubic feet of cargo room, sedan-rivaling fuel economy up to 34 mpg highway, easy-to-use controls on lower trims (we’ll get into the upper trims in a bit), and advanced safety equipment, like LaneWatch and blind-spot assist.
The HR-V isn’t void of flaws, as the touchscreen audio system on the upper trims will shave years off your life, its cabin looks and feels a little cheap, and the seats are not very supportive.
MSRP: $19,570 – $26,340
Hot on the HR-V’s tailpipes is the tiny Mazda CX-3. Being a Mazda means one of its highlights must be a zoomy personality, and the CX-3 delivers with precise handling for its class. In addition to that, it rides nice and low for easier ingress, its safety features are plentiful, and its available options are surprising in this class.
On the downside, the rear seat is pretty tight at 35 inches, its cabin is a bit noisy, and its pricing can get a little too close to its larger sibling, the CX-5.
MSRP: $19,960 – $26,240
The Subaru Crosstrek has come a long way in recent years, and it just recieved a healthy refresh that gave it a sleeker look.
Some of the highlights of the Crosstrek include its standard all-wheel drive, impressive-for-its-class capabilities, intuitive base infotainment system, comfortable front seats, and a more refined and surprisingly quiet cabin.
Some of the Crosstrek’s sore spots include its slow-poke performance, boring interior, and its higher ride height really hampers its handling.
MSRP: $21,795 – $26,295
The Trax recently got a new look, but that’s definitely not one of its strong points. But what is good on our No. 4 crossover is its OK rear-seat room, its up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo room, its NHTSA crash-safety ratings, and its available all-wheel drive on all trims.
What we’re not too fond of on the Trax are its very vanilla looks in an otherwise creative-looking segment, lackluster acceleration, spartan base model, below average fuel economy, and limited visibility.
MSRP: $21,000 – $27,600
Jeep turned its nose up to traditionalists and released its tiny Renegade, but now enthusiasts are coming around to it. This was especially true when the off-road-ready Trailhawk version debuted. Some other highlights of the Renegade include its upscale options, creative look that retains the Jeep attitude, solid build quality, and available manual transmission.
On the downside, its limited seating, stiff ride, obstructed visibility, uncomfortable front seats, slow acceleration, and subpar 26 mpg combined all drag it down a bit.
No. 6 on our list actually shares its underpinnings with the No. 5 model. I am, of course, talking about the Fiat 500X and its close relationship to the Jeep Renegade. As corporate siblings many of the greasy bits are the same, but they are different where it counts.
Some of the highlights for the 500X include its funky styling, tight turning radius, manual transmission option, above-average handling, and tons of character.
On the other side of the coin, the 500X falls short with its touchy automatic transmission, limited off-road capabilities, tiny cargo area, unsatisfying fuel economy, noisy cabin, and touchy brakes.
MSRP: $19,995 – $27,050
Nissan Rogue Sport
The new-for-2017 Rogue Sport gave Nissan fans a new compact crossover with a very familiar name. This subcompact crossover is a full foot shorter than its Rogue big brother, but retains most of its styling. Some of the Rogue Sport’s shining spots include its stylish looks, good-for-its class interior, premium standard safety features, and tons of optional safety equipment.
On the downside, the “Sport” badge is very deceiving, its rear seats are a little tight, and its all-black cabin feels like its collapsing on you on long drives.
MSRP: $21,420 – $27,420
Probably the funkiest member of the class, the Juke has tons to offer buyers, but it also doesn’t lack shortcomings. Some of its achievements include its potent turbocharged engine that delivers above average performance, tight and responsive steering, excellent visibility, and fun appearance.
That said, its interior is cramped, cargo room is very limited, and its gas mileage is meh at 26 to 29 mpg combined.
MSRP: $20,250 – $30,020
The EcoSport is a relative newbie, so there isn’t much on it just yet. What we do know is that its strong points include slick styling, neatly designed cabin, powertrain options, and side-opening rear hatch.
We could also see that side-opening tailgate presenting some issues here and there, plus its lack of available all-wheel drive with the three-cylinder engine is frustrating.
MSRP: $19,995 – $26,740