6 of the Best Small SUV Models on the Market Today

SUVs offer great versatility in daily life, but not everyone needs a large machine. We've picked out six of the best small SUV models to help your search.


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All SUVs share similar features—they often have a higher ride height, fairly spacious rear seats, and more cargo room when compared with a sedan—but choosing the best small SUV models can be challenging. A small SUV is often the first step up from a more traditional car or sedan in terms of size, but because it isn't a massive departure, it still handles like a car. Because small SUVs aren't huge, they tend to come with front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive, and they're more often used for standard situations like daily driving and running errands than for off-roading, towing, or transporting a large family.

While the word "best" can be tough to pin down, we've considered a variety of factors, such as price point, reliability, and livability, in creating this list. We looked at vehicles' equipment and performance relative to their price, and for small SUVs in particular, determining which options are the "best" is largely dependent on how usable a vehicle is in daily life and the features it offers within its class.

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

  • Price: We selected a starting MSRP under $28,000 for conventional small SUVs and a starting MSRP under $45,000 for small luxury SUVs.
  • Reliability: We've checked out reviews from real owners where 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 small 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.

Now, let's look at a few of the best small SUV models on the market, arranged in no particular order.

Conventional Small SUVs


1. Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade is a great small SUV for anyone looking for legitimate off-road capability in a little package. It's cute and fun, it can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with all-wheel drive (AWD), and with a starting price around $27,000, it's also easy on the budget.

MINI Cooper

2. Mini Countryman

If you grew up a fan of small British hatches, you'll love the Mini Countryman. It's shockingly spacious for a small SUV, so your rear-seat passengers won't feel squished, and it retains all of the classic Mini character that's made the brand such an icon over the years. It also comes with an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain for anyone looking to maximize electric power. Its $30,000 starting price is a bit high to make it the very best small SUV, but it's perfect for small families that love a little personality.


3. Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is one of the more fuel-efficient and spacious small SUVs. It's rated at up to 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway, and it features a middle seat in the rear that folds down or up to create more space for awkwardly shaped items. With a starting price around $23,000, it's also one of the best small SUV models for families on a budget.

Luxury Small SUVs


4. Audi Q5

Now we move into our luxury options for the best small SUV models, which will come at a premium price, but often with the addition of luxe features that enhance the driving experience. Take the Audi Q5, for instance: It's a sleek-looking machine that's loaded with tons of tech, such as a large infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging, a digital gauge display, plenty of driver-assistance features, and a plug-in hybrid option, making it a great choice for almost anyone who wants to opt for a small SUV that will keep them connected. That extra tech comes with a starting price around $47,000.


5. BMW X2

The BMW X2 is a great small SUV for sporty drivers. It has a body that looks like it belongs on the race track, and its powerful 228-hp base engine will turn every road into just that. You can even opt for AWD and a 302-hp engine to turn things up a little if you're all about performance, but you'll have to be ready to spend at least $38,000 to do so.


6. Volvo XC60

If you want a small SUV that does it all, look no further than the Volvo XC60, which starts at around $44,000. It's a beautiful car inside and out, and it has three different powertrain options—a turbocharged engine, a turbo- and super-charged engine, and a plug-in hybrid. While you might not have a ton of room for luggage or groceries, your rear-seat passengers will likely love the ample legroom.

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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.