5 Best Subcompact SUVs

A great subcompact SUV should make the most out of its small size. Here are some of the best subcompact SUVs on the market.


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SUVs usually share similar features—they often have a higher ride height, fairly spacious rear seats, and more cargo room when compared to a sedan—but most of the best subcompact SUVs are unique.

Subcompact SUVs are a step up size-wise from a subcompact sedan, but because it isn't a massive departure, the subcompact SUV handles like a car. Since subcompact SUVs aren't huge, they often only come with front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive. They're frequently used for more standard situations like daily driving and running errands than for off-roading, towing, or transporting a large family.

We've compiled a list of some of the best subcompact SUVs available by taking into consideration a variety of factors, including price point, reliability, and livability. In the case of an SUV, we evaluate quality by how well the vehicle can be used in daily life, as well as the features it offers within its class.

To choose these vehicles, we analyzed a few specific metrics:

  • Price: We selected a starting MSRP under $25,000 for conventional subcompact SUVs and a starting MSRP under $37,000 for luxury subcompact SUVs.
  • Reliability: We've checked out reviews from real owners when possible to understand how these crossovers have served people in their everyday lives. We've consulted dealer reviews, recalls from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and crash test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • Diversity: Not every great vehicle will work for everyone. Therefore, each subcompact SUV highlights a specific element that will set it above the rest for some consumers, including sporty driving dynamics, off-road capability, storage space, and trim versatility.

Here's a look at five of the best subcompact SUVs on the market.

Mazda CX-30

Mazda has distinguished itself as an extremely competent SUV manufacturer in recent years, and the subcompact CX-30 is no exception. Like a modern hotel on wheels, the CX-30 offers sleek luxury, taut driving dynamics, and a lower price (around $23,000). Even if you think you care minimally about things like horsepower or turbo engines, the CX-30 can show you what you may be missing.


Kia Seltos

The rugged-looking Kia Seltos is incredibly comfortable for a subcompact SUV starting at around $24,000. The tall ride height and roomy cabin are great inclusions for anyone who needs to drive around four adults, and you get a surprisingly large amount of tech for the price.



The $36,000 BMW X1 may not appear to be the kind of subcompact SUV that commands attention, but inside you'll find plenty of room for four adults and copious amounts of luggage. For luxury with a sporty pep, the X1 is a great choice.


Audi Q3

Style and spunky driving meet with the $37,000 Audi Q3. With standard all-wheel drive, you'll find plenty of power in a small package along with tons of tech and eye-catching interior colors. This is a great option for drivers who are taking their first steps toward handling a more spacious SUV.


Cadillac XT4

The Cadillac XT4 is one of the most popular subcompact SUVs on the market. Inside, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were behind the wheel of a much larger SUV, but the sharp driving dynamics may remind you just how small the XT4 is. It's one of the best and least expensive luxury subcompacts with its starting price of about $37,000.

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Elizabeth Blackstock
I’m Elizabeth Blackstock, and after growing up around the Detroit automotive industry, I’ve made it my life’s mission to make information about vehicles accessible for the average consumer. Whether you’re a hardcore auto enthusiast or someone looking for a practical machine for the daily commute, I’m here to help you make your most informed decision.