Best Small SUVs of 2020

The small SUV market has grown rapidly over the last couple of years. Compared with its sedan counterpart, the compact crossover provides an elevated view of the road, a bit more off-road ability thanks to the availability of all-wheel-drive combined with a raised ride height, and a generally larger cargo area. Plus, there’s lots of curbside appeal to be had in this segment. As you likely already know, there’s an abundance of choice when shopping around for new small SUVs.

Our reviews of the best compact SUVs cover everything from styling to technology, comfort, performance, and interior ergonomics. Our thorough assessments allow us to confidently recommend the top-rated small SUV models of 2020 that stand out from the rest. Before that smooth-talking salesman beguiles you into getting something that may not be the best fit for you, peruse our list of the best mini SUVs on sale to ensure that your final decision is an informed one.

Top-ranked Compact SUVs

Few markets are as saturated as this one. To help you figure out which are really worth your consideration, we’ve tallied the points and come up with a ranking of small SUVs.

The Tesla Model Y steals the top spot in this segment. This high-tech electric vehicle has access to more than 449 horsepower (depending on variant) and achieves remarkable mileage figures of 129/112/121 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. It also gets a vast array of standard features to justify the hefty $52,990 starting figure.

Another electric automobile, the Ford Mustang Mach-E slides into the second position. Bearing a similarly high price tag of around $48,000, the Mustang has a 332-hp powertrain with a maximum range of 300 miles. Occupant space is well-appointed and roomy, with a 23-cubic-foot trunk behind the rear seats.

With more traditional crossover styling, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 hybrids share the last spot on the podium. With similar outputs of 212 and 219 hp respectively, it’s the RAV4 that gets the better fuel economy of 41/38/40 mpg. While neither vehicle is a true 4x4, they are each moderately capable off-roaders when equipped with all-wheel-drive.

Most reliable compact SUV

In terms of pure reliability and consumer confidence, the Honda CR-V is one of our top picks. With a pretty cheap starting MSRP of $25,050, or $27,750 for a hybrid, the crossover receives excellent safety ratings and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. It gets a more than capable turbocharged engine and plenty of tech right off the factory line. Add to this a comfortable and cavernous cabin, as well as an enormous 39.2-cubic-foot trunk, and it quickly becomes clear why so many people love this machine.

What to consider before buying

Pros

  • Superior practicality: With the benefits of a ute, these types of vehicles can still carry cargo and passengers comfortably.
  • High maneuverability: Thanks to their petite frame, tight parking spots and traffic-jammed streets are no problem, making the urban commute hassle-free.
  • Decent fuel economy: There’s less bulk to lug around in this configuration, so less gas is consumed than in a full-sized variant.
  • Generally good ride comfort: Another benefit of having sports utility DNA is the pleasant ride quality, with attention given to suspension and interior insulation, too.
  • A certain degree of off-road ability: Some options come equipped with all-wheel-drive to make even rougher terrain accessible.
  • The majority of models are highly affordable: Lower production expenses and less emphasis on opulence means these types of autos are much more modestly charged.

Cons

  • Not as thrifty as similarly powered sedans: In comparison to lighter vehicles, overall running costs may be slightly elevated, so budget accordingly.
  • Big SUVs are even more practical and comfortable: Loading sizeable objects, or transporting more than four or five individuals is the domain of the midsize and large SUV.
  • Few boast impressive towing capabilities: Less muscle means less hauling capacity, which is expected of these diminutive machines.

FAQs about small crossovers

What is the best compact SUV?

Looking only at the points, the Tesla Model Y is the clear winner in this segment. But its high invoice tally and polarizing styling don’t win it a lot of favor from buyers that expect their small SUVs to be more affordable. For these people, we recommend taking a look at more mainstream brands like Honda or Toyota.

What is the cheapest Small SUV?

While it may sit pretty low in our rankings, the Jeep Compass still has some appeal. Apart from a very low starting tariff of $22,280, the Compass is one of the more rugged automobiles in the segment. It boasts some legitimate off-roading abilities and a relatively spacious inside area. It does lack cargo capacity, though, and the powertrain is uninspired. Alternatively, you could look at the used car market. Some of these machines are quite far along in their life cycles, with models dating back to 2017, 2016, or even 2015. You could also keep an eye out for a sale of old stock from 2019 or 2018.
BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
9.3
BuzzScore
9
Design
10
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#2
2020 Tesla Model Y
9.3
BuzzScore
7
Design
10
Performance
10
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#3
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
9.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#4
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
9.1
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
10
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#5
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid
8.9
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
10
Interior
7
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#6
2020 Mazda MX-30
8.9
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
10
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#7
2020 Volvo XC60
8.9
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#8
2020 Volvo XC60 Hybrid
8.9
BuzzScore
10
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#9
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#10
2020 BMW X3
#10
BMW X3
8.8
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#11
2020 BMW X3 Hybrid
8.8
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
9
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#12
2020 BMW X4
#12
BMW X4
8.8
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#13
2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
8.8
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
10
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#14
2020 Subaru Forester
8.6
BuzzScore
7
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#15
2020 Honda CR-V
8.6
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
7
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#16
2020 Mazda CX-5
8.6
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
7
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#17
2020 Toyota RAV4
8.6
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#18
2020 Lincoln Corsair
8.5
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#19
2020 Porsche Macan
8.5
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
6
MPG
8
Interior
10
Infotainment
10
Reliability
9
Safety
7
Value
#20
2020 Jaguar I-Pace
8.5
BuzzScore
10
Design
10
Performance
10
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
6
Value