Small SUVs may be more expensive than sedans and hatchbacks, but they offer more spacious cabin and cargo space and a better view of the road ahead.
The blend of visibility, rugged styling, and versatility make the compact and subcompact SUVs a favorite of many people.
There are dozens of models to consider, but which model offers the best features?
What Small SUV Has The Least Amount Of Problems?
The Toyota RAV and the Honda HR-V and CR-V are our top picks for reliable small SUVs but Mazda, Jeep, Subaru, and MINI all make very reliable compact SUVs. The “best” among them comes down to the other features you’re looking for.
Let’s dive into some of the other features of these small, problem-free SUVs.
This is a subcompact SUV engineered to offer excellent handling and quick acceleration for its class.
The SUV delivers impressive fuel economy given its quick acceleration.
Although you will feel a little cramped in the back seat if you are of a huge build, you still get more cabin room than you would with a sedan.
The 2018 model has a fuel economy of between 29 and 31 mpg combined and cargo space of about 44.5 cubic feet.
Inside, the CX-3 offers attractive and luxurious seating.
Models from 2015 or later feature an advanced suspension tuning that makes them comfortable on and off the road.
It is also a powerful model for its class, thanks to the 2.0L four-cylinder engine that pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Besides the high-reliability ratings, the SUV sports a host of technology features for convenience and safety.
Features such as head-up display, cruise control, Bluetooth, and app integration are standard in most CX3 vehicles, including models from five years ago.
The Countryman is MINI’s largest vehicle. It features a playful spirit and a roomy cabin and cargo area.
If you need a small SUV that is not only reliable but also offers fun and customizability, the Countryman has the features and the styling you need.
The 2018 and later models came with two new models; the John Cooper Works and the Countryman S E Plug-in Hybrid.
You get a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 228 horses and 258-pound feet of torque.
It is also available in a manual transmission.
If you go for the SE plug-in hybrid, you get a small SUV that combines the turbocharged three-cylinder engine with an electric motor, and it gives up to 12 miles of all-electric range.
If you want a sporty small SUV, the MINI Countryman has a wide range of standard features that allow you to customize the SUV for your driving experience.
You will have four trims to choose from, including Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper S E, and John Cooper Works.
The Countryman offers several standard features, including LED fog lights and headlights, front sport seats, and stability control choices.
There are also aerodynamic modifications, sport-tuned suspension, and bolstered front seats.
The HR-V is one of the best selling small SUVs, and you can see the reason why from its features and performance on and off the road.
Its fuel economy numbers and the roomy interior give the small SUV popularity. It offers between 28 and 31 mpg combined fuel economy and has innovative cargo configurations so that you can bring more cargo.
The cargo area can bring up to 58.8 cubic feet of cargo.
HR-V offers the Magic Seat, which allows you to lift up and flip the rear seats to accommodate taller items.
The engine pairs with a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission.
CVT is more efficient.
The only challenge with the HR-V is that its infotainment system demands more attention from you and its acceleration is lackluster.
Besides that, you will not experience any major problems with the HR-V.
You will accelerate to 60 mph in about 9.7 seconds, but once it gets to speed, the SUV drives swiftly.
The Crosstrek falls in between a hatchback and a crossover, more than most of the other subcompact SUVs in this list.
It comes as a five-door version of the Subaru Impreza, but with more ground clearance to make it better for off-road driving.
While most subcompact SUVs offer all-wheel drive as an option, the Crosstrek offers it in every model.
Like the Jeep Renegade, the Crosstrek offers off-road capability features that make it different from other subcompact SUVs.
On and off the road, the Crosstrek is without any major problems.
To drive better off the road, it comes with Subaru’s X-mode traction system that ensures it stays stable when driving through mud and through the snow.
here is also hill descent control for even better performance off the road.
The superior all-wheel-drive performance and Subaru’s low center of gravity make the car stable when you drive on rugged terrain.
The small SUV offers a fuel economy of between 25 and 29 mpg combined and can accommodate up to 55.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Renegade offers the strengths of other Jeep vehicles. It is different from other small SUVs in that it offers a four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing.
If you need a small SUV to take off the road, this and the Crosstrek above, are your best options.
The Renegade has small cargo space for its class and the legroom in the rear seat may feel squeezed, but it is a reliable vehicle to drive around town or off a beaten path.
Although the nine-speed automatic transmission doesn’t leave much to admire on the SUV’s fuel economy.
It offers between 22 and 26 mpg combined economy.
However, if what you need is an off-roader, the fuel economy will still be impressive for an SUV.
Jeep has had a number of unsuccessful small SUVs, such as the Patriot and Compass.
Thanks to the underwhelming performance of earlier small crossovers, most critics never thought the Renegade would perform as it does today.
However, the Renegade has proven us all wrong since it debuted for the 2015 year model.
For a vehicle that travels off the road, Jeep has fitted the Renegade with advanced suspension that soaks up potholes and bumps.
It also offers an intuitive infotainment system to keep you entertained as you venture off the road.
Although we cannot say that popular vehicles are the best, the Honda CR-V makes a good case after being one of the best selling compact SUVs for a long time.
The compact crossover offers a spacious interior for passengers and cargo. In 2017, Honda redesigned the vehicle to offer even better features and place the car at the top of the competition.
The CR-V has been on the market for more than 25 years and it continues to impress with each passing year.
Models from five years ago or later feature all standard technology features such as Bluetooth, cruise control, smartphone connectivity, and much more.
Behind the rear seats, you have up to 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Its turbocharged engine allows it to deliver thrift and zest.
The RAV4 has been a top performer for many years. It is not surprising that it makes it in this list of small SUVs.
The compact SUV comes with available all-wheel drive, but the front-wheel-drive will suffice in most conditions unless you want to take the car off the road or drive on rugged terrain.
Like the CR-V above, the RAV4 is also one of the longest-running compact SUVs and has proven its reliability over the many years it has been on the market.
Its 2017 model is available in a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that generates 176 horsepower and 172-pound feet of torque.
There are numerous trims to choose from, starting with the base LE to the most advanced Limited model.
We prefer the XLE, which offers advanced features, such as improved seat contours, dual-zone climate control, and an advanced Entune multimedia system.
It also has impressive 17-inch aluminum wheels.
How to Pick the Right Small SUV for You?
Should you go for a compact or subcompact SUV? The choice between these two should be dictated by your personal preferences and your budget.
Subcompacts are great when you are shopping for a small SUV on a budget, but they do not have the cabin and cargo space that compact SUVs offer.
With compact SUVs, you get improved ride quality, more legroom, more headroom, and more cargo space.
There are also expanded features even though the models cost more.
The dependability of a small SUV is dependent on development and manufacturing.
If an automaker doesn’t rush the development and manufacturing processes, and they use quality resources to create a small SUV, the SUV tends to last for long without any major problems.
Companies, such as Honda and Toyota, have ‘reliability over profits’ policies, and this is why their vehicles are ever in the bestselling lists each year.
Although the above small SUVs might be among the most reliable, the way you treat your vehicle determines how long it lasts.
You have to follow up on the vehicle’s maintenance schedule and drive conservatively.
Maintenance activities, such as tire rotation, oil changes, fluid flushes, and fuel system cleaning are essential in keeping your small SUV in good condition.
Again, check for the best years for the models you choose to buy to get value for your money.