10 of Our Absolute Favorite Crossovers and Compact SUVs

Crossover Compact Suv
Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

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

A side view of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson; notice the muscular look to the side panels, which pop out over the wheel wells. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Hyundai Tucson

The 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.

Read the full review here

The Ford Bronco Sport Is One Of Our Favorite Small Suvs

The Ford Bronco Sport is one of our favorite small SUVs

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.

Read the full review here

Mazda Cx-5 Compact Suv

The Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD Turbo is the peppy, capable compact SUV you need in your life. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

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.

Read the full review here

2021 Nissan Rogue

I drove a 2018 Nissan Rogue, and I like driving the 2021 model much better. It’s much easier to drive and park. ? Jill Robbins

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.

Read the full review here

Toyota Rav4 Prime

The Toyota RAV4 Prime. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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!

Read the full review here

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Mitsubishi Eclipse’s head lights are stacked with the fog lights for a new look. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

Read the full review here

A Girls Guide To Cars | 10 Of Our Absolute Favorite Crossovers And Compact Suvs - A Side View Of The 2022 Lexus NxLexus NX

This is one to drool over: The Lexus NX, a smaller version of the luxury brand’s flagship RX SUV, just got a huge makeover. And hit the high note on every point. It starts with a refined and evolved exterior; the new front end and rear lift gate designs are subtle, but look closely and you’ll notice a new grille and on the rear, a light bar that spans the rear with the Lexus name spelled out across the back. But the big changes are inside. Lexus introduced a new multimedia system with a voice activated assistant; just say “Hey Lexus” and it comes to life, ready for your next command. There is also a smart navigation system (which requires a subscription) and lots of new functions. What you won’t find is a track pad to run the system; that’s been eliminated. Instead, the system operates on a wide 12″ touch screen. So, tap the screen or ask for what you want. Added to all this smart tech is the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) from Lexus; the NX 450h sports an electric motor that can run 37 miles on a charge before the hybrid engine takes over (getting about 36 MPG). With a starting price of about $37,000, (about $55,000 for the 450h PHEV) the NX is approachable luxury, too.

Read the full review here

2021 Buick Encore Gx Essence

The Buick Encore GX has all the features you love in the Encore with slightly more cargo and passenger space. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

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.

Read the full review here

A Girls Guide To Cars | 10 Of Our Absolute Favorite Crossovers And Compact Suvs - The Front End Of The 2023 Kia SportageKia Sportage

We’ve loved the Kia Sportage since its early days. This little cutie offered SUV space and capability in a small package with a small price tag, something we can get behind. In the years since, it’s grown into a smart and attractive contender for shoppers who want something reliable and efficient but still want SUV space and all wheel drive. But with the 2023 model, the Sportage really takes it all up a notch. Filled with even more premium materials, from a wide single panel media screen to leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof, and luxury details like a wireless phone charger, a smart key and premium sound even at the lower trim lines, the Sportage is  impressive. But then look at its off road capabilities and a new design that implements some favorite features from the Kia Telluride, and it’s a winner; pricing starts at $25,990 and tops out at about $37,000.

Read the full review here

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Crossover

Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

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.

Read the full story here


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I'm Elizabeth Blackstock, managing editor of AGGTC, blogger, journalist, novelist, editor, MA/MFA graduate student, wife, motorsport fanatic, and bearer... More about Elizabeth Blackstock