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Best Subcompact SUVs for 2022

The best used and new subcompact SUVs based on a data-driven analysis of each vehicle's reliability, resale value and safety.

Why Should I Buy a Subcompact SUV?

Subcompact SUVs are a relatively new vehicle segment that didn’t gain traction in the United States until the mid-2010s. Subcompact SUVs are the smallest and most affordable SUVs on the market, and they offer consumers both value and practicality. These small but capable SUVs appeal to buyers who either want to enter the SUV segment or want to downsize to a more efficient vehicle. As sedans continue to drop from automakers’ lineups, many consumers have embraced subcompact crossover SUVs because they provide the value and fuel economy of a small car while having the cargo space and performance of an SUV. 

What are the Best Subcompact SUVs?

In 2011, the Nissan Juke and the Mini Countryman were the only subcompact SUVs in the United States. By 2022, there are now subcompact SUVs from nearly every major automaker. Because these subcompact SUVs don’t have the storied history of their larger counterparts, it can be hard to decide which is best.

While these vehicles share the subcompact SUV distinction, they vary in terms of function and practicality. Many of these small SUVs come standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available. Some exceptions exist, as some models like the Subaru Crosstrek and Kia Seltos come with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). 

Buyers who want an emphasis on performance may choose the Mazda CX-3, which is known for its driving dynamics thanks to its punchy 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It also comes standard with a suite of safety features not commonly included in the base price for this vehicle class. With performance comes a sacrifice of cargo room, as the CX-3 has one of the smallest cargo holds in its class. The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the most well-rounded vehicles in the class, offering standard AWD, a spacious cargo hold, and impressive safety scores. It comes with a 2.0-liter base engine, while a more responsive 2.5-liter is available.

Another standout is the new for 2021 Kia Seltos, which leads the class in cargo capacity and comes standard with AWD. Along with outstanding cargo and legroom, it is among one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class, with an EPA estimated  29 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The Seltos also has a long list of standard safety features as well as an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system. If value is your top priority, consider the Hyundai Kona, which has one of the lowest new car starting prices in the subcompact SUV class. It also comes with Hyundai’s class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. While the Kona has outstanding fuel economy and an array of standard features, it has a smaller-than-average cargo area. Lastly, if you want an off-road capable SUV, consider the Jeep Renegade with four-wheel drive, or the Renegade Trailhawk trim, which adds more ground clearance and off-road-specific traction control.

What Other Vehicles Should I Consider?

This list only includes the best subcompact SUVs by mainstream automakers. If you want a luxury SUV, check out our list of the Best Luxury Subcompact SUVs. Or, if you want something even more efficient like a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric SUV, check out our Best Hybrid SUVs and Best Electric SUVs lists. 

If you want a more roomy small crossover, check out our list of the Best Small and Compact SUVs

See more

Why Should I Buy a Subcompact SUV?

Subcompact SUVs are a relatively new vehicle segment that didn’t gain traction in the United States until the mid-2010s. Subcompact SUVs are the smallest and most affordable SUVs on the market, and they offer consumers both value and practicality. These small but capable SUVs appeal to buyers who either want to enter the SUV segment or want to downsize to a more efficient vehicle. As sedans continue to drop from automakers’ lineups, many consumers have embraced subcompact crossover SUVs because they provide the value and fuel economy of a small car while having the cargo space and performance of an SUV. 

What are the Best Subcompact SUVs?

In 2011, the Nissan Juke and the Mini Countryman were the only subcompact SUVs in the United States. By 2022, there are now subcompact SUVs from nearly every major automaker. Because these subcompact SUVs don’t have the storied history of their larger counterparts, it can be hard to decide which is best.

While these vehicles share the subcompact SUV distinction, they vary in terms of function and practicality. Many of these small SUVs come standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available. Some exceptions exist, as some models like the Subaru Crosstrek and Kia Seltos come with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). 

Buyers who want an emphasis on performance may choose the Mazda CX-3, which is known for its driving dynamics thanks to its punchy 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It also comes standard with a suite of safety features not commonly included in the base price for this vehicle class. With performance comes a sacrifice of cargo room, as the CX-3 has one of the smallest cargo holds in its class. The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the most well-rounded vehicles in the class, offering standard AWD, a spacious cargo hold, and impressive safety scores. It comes with a 2.0-liter base engine, while a more responsive 2.5-liter is available.

Another standout is the new for 2021 Kia Seltos, which leads the class in cargo capacity and comes standard with AWD. Along with outstanding cargo and legroom, it is among one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class, with an EPA estimated  29 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The Seltos also has a long list of standard safety features as well as an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system. If value is your top priority, consider the Hyundai Kona, which has one of the lowest new car starting prices in the subcompact SUV class. It also comes with Hyundai’s class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. While the Kona has outstanding fuel economy and an array of standard features, it has a smaller-than-average cargo area. Lastly, if you want an off-road capable SUV, consider the Jeep Renegade with four-wheel drive, or the Renegade Trailhawk trim, which adds more ground clearance and off-road-specific traction control.

What Other Vehicles Should I Consider?

This list only includes the best subcompact SUVs by mainstream automakers. If you want a luxury SUV, check out our list of the Best Luxury Subcompact SUVs. Or, if you want something even more efficient like a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric SUV, check out our Best Hybrid SUVs and Best Electric SUVs lists. 

If you want a more roomy small crossover, check out our list of the Best Small and Compact SUVs

See more
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.2 / 10
  • Reliability 6.1 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.4 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.1 / 10
  • Reliability 5.6 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.7 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.1 / 10
  • Reliability 5.6 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.5 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.8 / 10
  • Reliability 6.1 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.4 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.6 / 10
  • Reliability 7.3 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.6 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.6 / 10
  • Reliability 7.2 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.7 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.6 / 10
  • Reliability 7.1 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.1 / 10
  • Safety Not Available
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.5 / 10
  • Reliability 6.0 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.5 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.5 / 10
  • Reliability 5.9 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.6 / 10
  • Safety 9.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.1 / 10
  • Reliability 5.8 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.4 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.1 / 10
  • Reliability 5.7 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.4 / 10
  • Safety 8.3 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
6.8 / 10
  • Reliability 6.9 / 10
  • Value Retention 6.6 / 10
  • Safety Not Available
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 8.7 / 10
  • Safety 9.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 8.1 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.7 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.6 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.6 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.4 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10

How We Rank These Cars

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on the latest research by our data science team and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

We analyze data from over 12 million new and used vehicles in our Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies, combined with the NHTSA's Safety Ratings to give you an unbiased guide to the best vehicles in each segment.

After being evaluated, vehicles with the highest average scores earn a spot in the iSeeCars Best Car Rankings. (No final score is given to vehicles missing a score in any of the categories, but scores for other categories are still shown.)

Vehicles are scored in three categories:

Reliability | 33.3%

The reliability score represents an analysis of iSeeCars' proprietary research on the longest-lasting vehicles.

Value Retention | 33.3%

The value retention score is based on our data science team's statistical analysis and prediction of 5-year depreciation from MSRP to determine which cars hold their value best, using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to adjust for inflation.

Safety | 33.3%

The safety score is calculated based on the last five years of crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and incorporates the latest Top Safety Pick information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).