When a sedan won’t do but a full-size SUV is just too big, it’s time to look at the crossover.
Crossovers and compact SUVs make up that strange, in-between zone of the automotive market, where you have a smaller frame vehicle but still keep most of the space you need for storage. You might hear some people make distinctions between crossovers and compact SUVs, but you, the consumer, really only need to know that both types of vehicle serve the same purposes. You have a higher ride (and hip) height than a sedan. You have more leg room for the kids in back. You have more trunk space for storage. And you don’t have to feel like you’re driving a yacht around.
These smaller SUVs are perfect for young, adventurous couples or smaller families — especially those that live in more urban areas and appreciate a vehicle that’s easy to maneuver and park. You’ll have the space you need to be practical, but you won’t have to deal with the pain of having way too much car.
To celebrate these handy machines, we’ve put together a list of our 9 favorite all-new crossovers and compact SUVs. These are all cars that we’ve reviewed and can vouch for, and they’re all either on the market now or will be hitting it soon.
2022 Hyundai Tucson
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson emerged from the pandemic with a sculpted new body, incredible tech features, and a price you can’t turn down — $25,000 for the base model to about $37,000 on higher trims loaded with all the extra goodies you know and love. Scotty Reiss had a chance to test drive this car, and she loved the understated interior with recessed screens and a light, elegant look courtesy of the creamy interior. If you’re looking to give your driving experience a makeover, look no further than the refreshing Tucson. It even comes with hybrid or conventional gasoline options.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
The much-hyped Ford Bronco takes advantage of a legacy of off-roading crossovers to create one of the most sought after vehicles of this year. For those who don’t want the full bucking Bronco experience, there’s the “Baby” Bronco, the Ford Bronco Sport. With a base model that starts at about $27,000 and topping out at under $40K, the Sport line is more for on road driving than off road, but have good capability for sandy lanes, snowy parkways and muddy fields. Built on the Ford Escape platform but with higher ground clearance and lots of Bronco details, this 2 row 5 passenger SUV lets you in on the Bronco life without the off-road readiness or the heftier price tag.
2021 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 is a little bit luxury sports car packed into a crossover body that starts at $25,270 and can run as high as $39,125 for the Signature trim that comes with the turbo engine — which I highly recommend. That extra money goes toward a lush, Nappa leather interior packed with modern tech features and a sporty engine that won’t overwhelm you but will let you let loose and have a little fun on the highway. I was able to use the CX-5 for daily driving, which included a few stops at the auto parts store to pick up hydraulic jack stands and truck tires, and it handled the job beautifully, even as it drove like a much smaller, lighter vehicle.
2021 Nissan Rogue
Jill Robbins was pleasantly surprised by the 2021 Nissan Rogue; she’d driven a previous version and found the new one to be an almost entirely new vehicle. She says it “has a premium feel that’s classy but sturdy enough to handle kids and all their stuff getting in and out on a regular basis,” which is a must for any family. At the same time, she felt great about having an adult in the rear seat and enjoyed the smooth, attentive drive that comes with Nissan’s suite of driver assistance features. And it all comes in at an exceptional price. The base model starts at $25,750, but even the fully-loaded top-tier trim is a reasonable $36,930.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
If you want incredible fuel economy from your crossover, you want the Toyota RAV4 Prime. Scotty took this car on a long road trip and was impressed by her fuel mileage (33.9 mpg, even through heavy rain storms) and its driver assistance features that detect when you’re getting fatigued and remind you that it’s time to take a break. With a panoramic sunroof, lumbar support, an intuitive navigation system, and the option to choose either the hybrid Prime version or a conventional gasoline engine. The high-trim version Scotty drove clocked in at just under $40,000, which isn’t a bad price considering all your savings at the gas tank!
2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
You might know Mitsubishi as the brand that just won’t quit, despite the fact that its cars are incredibly cost-effective. But the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is here to up the luxury game, all while preserving the things you love most about its cars. It features all-wheel drive and seating for five on its base $24,500 model. Up the cost to $34,000, and you’ll have a panoramic sunroof, leather seats, a turbo engine, and a head-up display. It’s a great entry point into the crossover and compact SUV market, especially for anyone looking to nab a little luxury on a budget.
2021 Lexus UX 250h
If you want the full luxury experience, need your space, and live in the city, you’re in luck: the Lexus UX 250h is designed just for you. This is Lexus’ smallest SUV, but it still comes loaded with the lush features you love: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, wireless charging, a gorgeously sporty interior, unique and easy-to-use climate controls, and a moonroof. Plus, that hybrid powertrain earns you 42 miles per gallon! Because it’s a luxury car, the base model starts at $35,200 while the premium trim costs $39,800. That’s still a fairly low price for the luxury market.
2021 Buick Encore GX
The Buick Encore GX will singlehandedly change your perceptions of Buick; no longer is this a brand made for your grandparents. My younger sister, who’s shopping for her first car, fell in love with its perfect blend of comfort, space, and pep; she’d have space in the Buick, but she’d also have plenty of (responsible) fun. The GX starts at $25,395, but the tricked-out version we drove cost $34,215. We loved the rear seat household plug, the sporty Ecotec engine, and the modern look of the cream-and-chrome interior.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Looking for a little off-road fun that you can do without disturbing the world around you? The Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid can do just that. This capable off-roader has 19 miles of all-electric range that you can save for the trail, which means you can drive in near silence and without making much of an impact on the environment. It’s a little eco-friendly touch to an already capable and rugged fan favorite, and it comes with tons of cool options. You can schedule when you charge your Jeep Wrangler 4xe, so you can plug it in when you get home but won’t have to worry about it charging until it’s off-peak hours. You can select your speed for descents or ascents. You can run on gasoline, hybrid, or all-electric mode — and you can postpone your electric battery usage until you get where you want to go. Not bad for a machine that starts at $47,885.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
Even if you’ve never owned one, there’s a good chance you trust the Toyota Corolla name. Now, that iconic model comes in a crossover model, which means it has plenty of rear trunk and seat space and a much nicer hip height for anyone with kids. This is still a brand-new model, so official pricing hasn’t been released, but you can expect it to start somewhere between $22,000 to $27,000, with an option for an electrified version in the near future.