Best Small SUVs – The best vehicles on the road, ranked by our experts:
#1 – Mazda CX-50
I test drove a Preferred Plus CX-50, but did not buy despite a $2,750 discount from MSRP. The seats are too uncomfortable. They’re okay, but not comfy, for a 20 minute drive, but I’d hate to sit in them for 2 hours. I simply sat in a Premium Plus model and it’s not that different in seat comfort. I drove SUVs from Mazda, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Mazda is, by far, the most willing to give you a good deal.
I’m chocked by how Bad is the space in the back of this vehicle, just about the Worst I ever got into. I’m looking for an SUV to buy, and because of shortage and dealers abusing and overcharging by a lot, I have checked almost all 2023’s trying to find one at the right price and that we like it, it’s comfortable for a family, , good on gas, etc… so, I checked the Lexus UXh-250, Kona, Seltos, Tucson HEV, Sportage HEV, Eclipse Cross, Outlander PHEV, Rogue Sport/Qashqai, Rogue, Kicks, Rav4, Scape PHEV, Equinox, Buick Encore, Envision, Trailblazer, Equinox, Tiguan, Taos… By far the CX-50 is the Worst SUV out there for a family. It will be great if it is only for two people, front seat is great, great material, finishing, technology, name it, but, if you try to fit anyone in the back, unless is a small child, this vehicle is Useless, just about a nightmare. I’m only 5.5′, my wife is even smaller, 4.9’and she complained about the space. I got in, to get out, I have do to side ways, couldn’t get my feet out, it is so tight that my feet was kind of stuck under the front seat. I try to get in the middle, impossible, too small, couldn’t get in the middle. Did they fired the Engineers for conceive this Horrible SUV? If they haven’t yet, they should, this car is by fart the Worst for space in the second row, worst even the small cars, I have a Corolla and has plenty of space in the back, and if a small guys like me can’t seat comfortably in the back, no one in North America can, since for a North America standards I’m very small. SUVs are meant to be a family vehicle and if you can fit anyone in the back, then this vehicle is Uselless.
#2 – Honda CR-V
I had a 2017 Honda CRV-EX that was totaled and needed to be replaced. Since the original held its value with my insurance payout ( $6,500 less than I paid for it in late 2016), it was a no-brainer to buy another! The 2024 CRV doesn’t have the difficult to reach gas cover release inside the car, it’s a tap and open cover. They also improved the center console/arm rest. It’s much bigger and doesn’t have any moving parts. There is more room in the front seat area, so my 6’4” husband finds it more comfortable! Most other things about the two CRVs are similar. I don’t like that the 2024 CRV EX doesn’t come with a radio with Sirius XM!!! You have to use Car Play and your phone to access it. I also hate the Auto Idle Stop (AIS) system that must be turned of manually every time you drive the car. The price of the car went up $11,000 since my last purchase. While I expected an increase, $11,000 was much more than I expected! All things factored, I am happy with my purchase. I love how Hondas are so reliable and retain their value!!!
#3 – Mazda CX-5
I have own my 2023 CX5 Carbon Edition for three months. With just a little over 3k miles making three long highway trips I can say the car ride exceptional. Averaged 31.5 miles to a gallon at 75 mph. The interior is as good as am upscale luxury brand. Love the black leather with red trim. The black wheels with dark tinted windows makes it a true sporty suv. It handles like a sports car only complaint is the low acceleration. Figured with a 2.5 4 cylinder with six speed transmission would have more power. Overall for a 31k suv it well worth the money spent and will last a long time with Mazda reputation for building quality vehicles.
Considered Mazda and Honda based on ratings and owners remarks. Researched and sent request to several dealers in a 25 mile radius with my requirements. One dealer responded with a deal to meet all my requirements. delighted with the vehicle in inventory, priced within specified budget and received trade in at blue book praised value. The salesman had two cars to view, was patient and well informed about the product, did an excellent job of presenting all the features of the car and the experiencing the road test. Met every requirement. Exceptional compared to other dealers…did not know their inventory, offered vehicles above stipulated amounts…slow to respond, passed off to another agent…cars are selling themselves because some sales people are below mediocre. We got the deal we wanted and are delighted!
#4 – Subaru Forester
I think I did a fair amount of research before buying. And I actually physically looked at the competition in the category. No Buyers remorse here! The Forester feels so much bigger than all the rest with a more open cabin feel instead of “cock-pit” feel. The back seat is super roomy with loads of leg room even with the front seats fully in the back position and is positioned so that you have a full view thru the windows since the seat is set higher. With wider doors on both the front and back, entry into the vehicle is much easier. And the finish details on our Touring model far outstripped others. It has a more elegant feel and is real leather compared to synthetic materials. Packed with technology and great stability it has been a delight to drive. Needed a car and have done my usual extensive research. Dropped EV as none fit my requirements of having a spacious cargo, comfortable ride, luxurious ride, not too big or too small a vehicle, super safe with all the safety bells and whistles and super reliable. And must fit my budget. Very basic requirements, you say, eh. what do you know. 2023 Forester Limited fit all of those criteria perfectly well. As for gas mileage, I am seeing sometimes 36 or 37 on highways and 26 to 27 local driving. Pretty darn good. As for performance, suffice to say I didn’t buy this to participate in a race. Forester is a very well optimized car. BTW, I also looked into CR-V, RAV4, CX-50 but overall Forester won.
#5 – Kia Sportage
Almost did not buy the 2023 sportage because of negative reviews, but am super happy I did not walk away. Nice quiet, smooth ride. Excellent gas milage when using cruise control. Got 40 mpg on a 150 mile trip driving route 1 and 95 in Delaware. All the bells and whistles work great. Now have 1000 miles on the car with no complaints. The acceleration is fine, I don’t want a sports car. The cargo space is large and the car feels roomy and spacious for a small SUV. The passenger seat sits low and does not raise on the model I have. Would be nice to be able to raise the seat.
Really enjoying my purchase of the Kia Sportage Pemier. Nice ride. Beautiful interior and exterior. Technology package is nice. Only complaint is that Apple Car Play will connect and then disconnect spontaneously several minutes later. If you do a google search, this is not uncommon. If I knew this was an issue, I probably would have chosen a different vehicle.