Best Subcompact SUVs [Top Ranked Models for 2022]

Best Subcompact SUV

Where subcompact SUVs years ago were all about a low price tag and few frills, every automaker thrives to put as much content as possible into these low-cost models.

At the same time, these vehicles are among the most fuel-friendly on the market, making them popular for all sorts of buyers.

To help ease that headache, we have put together a list of the five best subcompact SUVs on sale today, ranging from the most affordable option to a premium luxury model.

Check out all our picks for the best vehicles >>

Read about how we rank our vehicles >>

Best Subcompact SUV Comparison

Base PriceBase EngineStandard HorsepowerMiles Per Gallon (Cty/Hwy)Headroom (Front/Rear)Legroom (Front/Rear)Cargo Space
Mazda
CX-30
$23,275
2.5L
186 HP
25/33 MPG
38.1/38.3 in
41.7/36.3 in
20.2 cu. ft.
Audi Q3
$37,595
Turbo 2.0L
184 HP
23/30 MPG
39.6/37.6 in
40.0/36.1 in
23.7 cu. ft.
Hyundai Venue
$20,125
1.6L
121 HP
29/33 MPG
39.4/38.6 in
41.3/34.3 in
18.7 cu. ft.
Honda HR-V
$23,095
1.8L
141 HP
28/34 MPG
39.5/38.3 in
41.2/39.3 in
24.3 cu. ft.
Subaru Crosstrek
$23,620
2.0L
152 HP
28/32 MPG
39.8/38.0 in
43.1/36.5 in
20.8 cu. ft.

1. Mazda CX-30

Mazda-CX-30-Best-Subcompact-SUVIf you are looking for a subcompact SUV that offers spirited driving dynamics, the Mazda CX-30 is a great option. The standard 2.5-liter engine offers 186 horsepower – more than any other model on our list – but there is also an optional turbocharged engine that delivers 250 horsepower. That makes it the most powerful vehicle on our list overall and few vehicles in the segment offer comparable power.

Every new Mazda CX-30 comes with an impressive spread of technology, including a standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen with steering wheel controls. It is also one of the roomiest, ranking towards the top of our list in terms of front and rear headroom, while ranking first in front legroom, but it has one of the lower cargo capacities on our list.

The Mazda CX-30 offers big power for the segment, great standard technology, and lots of interior space, but it does so at a reasonable price point. The CX-30 starts at $23,275 for the base front-wheel-drive model while the base all-wheel-drive model starts at $24,675.

The Takeaway: The Mazda CX-30 is the easy choice for anyone who wants excellent driving dynamics and power with a mix of interior space and technology, all for a price starting around $23,000.

Current Mazda CX-30 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022MazdaCX-302.49%$229/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing10/3/2022

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Mazda deals and average prices paid.

2. Audi Q3

Audi-Q3-Best-Subcompact-SUVIf you're looking for a whole lot more of a luxurious feel in your new subcompact SUV without spending a fortune, the Audi Q3 is a great option. The Q3 comes standard with leather seats with heat and power controls, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, a panoramic sunroof, and much more, making it the most heavily appointed “base” vehicle on our list. Of course, the finishes throughout the cabin are what you would expect from a European luxury brand, so there is a far more upscale feel than you will get with the other options on our list.

The Audi Q3 standard powerplant consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive, delivering 184 horsepower. Next to the Mazda CX-30, the Q3 is the most powerful vehicle on our list with both the standard and optional engines, but due to the standard all-wheel-drive, it is also the least fuel-friendly. The base engine offers 23 mpg around town and 30 mpg on the highway, so the numbers aren't terrible – they are just lower than our other choices.

In terms of interior space, the Audi Q3 has some upsides and downsides compared to the others on our list. With 39.6 inches of front headroom, it is second-best here, but the rear headroom, legroom, and cargo space numbers put it at the bottom of our list.

The only downside with the Q3 is pricing, as with a starting price of $37,595, the base Audi costs more than the other vehicles on our list when loaded with every option.

The Takeaway: If you want a lot of luxury without a gigantic price tag, the Audi Q3 is a great option. It is also the best choice for anyone who wants turbocharged power, standard all-wheel-drive, and a nearly loaded standard interior.

Current Audi Q3 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022AudiQ33.99%$579/month for 36 months, $4,369 due at signing10/3/2022
2023AudiQ34.99%10/3/2022

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Audi deals and average prices paid.

3. Honda HR-V

Honda-HR-V-Best-Subcompact-SUVThe Honda HR-V is one of the newer entries in the subcompact SUV segment, but thanks to the brand’s reputation for quality, efficiency, and overall value, it quickly became one of the most popular options in the group.

The Honda HR-V is powered by a standard 1.8-liter engine with 141 horsepower, which puts this model towards the bottom of the list for power in the segment. However, with the ability to achieve 28 miles per gallon around town and 34 miles per gallon on the highway, it is the most fuel-friendly vehicle on our list. Those fuel economy numbers apply to the standard front-drive layout, but all-wheel-drive is available as well.

The Honda HR-V in its base LX trim comes with a 5-inch infotainment screen, but all other models come with a larger 7-inch touchscreen. Cloth seats are standard in all trim levels aside from the range-topping EX-L. The HR-V is on the upper end of the scale in terms of interior space, offering some of the largest numbers for headroom, legroom, and cargo space.

In terms of pricing, the Honda HR-V is towards the bottom of the segment, with a price starting at $23,095 for the front-drive model and a base all-wheel-drive price of $24,595. The top-of-the-line HR-V EX-L with all-wheel-drive with leather starts at $29,395.

The Takeaway: The Honda HR-V has the best brand reputation on our list with low base and premium price tags, but that comes with some compromise in power and technology. Luckily, it has lots of interior space, making it a great option for a family looking for a low priced people mover.

Current Honda HR-V Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022HondaHR-V
2023HondaHR-V3.90%$249/month for 36 months, $4,399 due at signing10/31/2022

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Honda deals and average prices paid.

4. Hyundai Venue

Hyundai-Venue-Best-Subcompact-SUVThe Hyundai Venue is the lowest-priced vehicle on our list, starting at just $20,125. It also has the lowest premium trim pricing, but that is because it is only offered in front-drive form. There is no all-wheel-drive option and there is only one engine option, a 1.6-liter mill with 121 horsepower. That makes it the least powerful vehicle on our list, but that small engine leads to big fuel economy numbers. With a rating of 29 mpg, it is the most fuel-efficient vehicle on our list for city driving while the 33 mpg figure makes it second-best on the list for highway economy.

The Hyundai Venue looks small from the outside, but it ranks right up there with the other vehicles on our list in terms of interior space. It is on the upper end of the segment scale in terms of front headroom and legroom, while leading our group in rear headroom.

In terms of interior technology, the Venue comes with a standard 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless smartphone connectivity, but leather seats are not standard on any model. You can order leather on the range-topping Limited model, but overall, the Venue offers a less luxury feel than the others on the list.

The Takeaway: If you are looking for a roomy, efficient subcompact SUV with the smallest price point possible, the Hyundai Venue is the best choice.

Current Hyundai Venue Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022HyundaiVenue$5003.49%$169/month for 36 months, $3,199 due at signing10/3/2022

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Hyundai deals and average prices paid.

5. Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru-Crosstrek-Best-Subcompact-SUVFinally, the Subaru Crosstrek is a great option if you want the interior space of a subcompact SUV with the overall dimensions and driving dynamics of a car. They have a greater ride height and a stiffer ride than a similarly sized sedan, but the Subaru Crosstrek rides and drives a great deal like the closely related Impreza.

The Subaru Crosstrek’s standard powerplant is a 2.0-liter Boxer 4-cylinder with 152 horsepower, making it one of the more powerful models on our list. All-wheel-drive is standard, just like it is on all Subaru models, but buyers can pick between a 6-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

While the Crosstrek has the stature of a smaller sedan, it offers the most front headroom and the most front legroom of the vehicles on our list. In the rear seat, the headroom is a bit tight, but there is lots of legroom, making the rear seat more functional than in some other vehicles of this size. On the technology side, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen is standard on lower-priced models while premium models come with an 8-inch screen. Cloth seats are standard on most models, but range-topping Limited models come with leather seats and trim.

The Subaru Crosstrek starts at $23,620 with the manual transmission and $24,970 with the CVT. The Limited model with all of the niceties starts at $29,470 with the standard CVT and the stronger engine.

The Takeaway: The Subaru Outback doesn’t look like a subcompact SUV, but it provides the interior space and capabilities of one while offering the driving feel of a sedan.

Current Subaru Crosstrek Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022SubaruCrosstrek2.90%$255/month for 36 months, $2,955 due at signing9/30/2022
2023SubaruCrosstrek2.90%$275/month for 36 months, $2,575 due at signing9/30/2022

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Subaru deals and average prices paid.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid subcompact SUV on the market today?

The Nissan Kicks with front-wheel-drive offers 31 miles-per-gallon around town and 36 miles-per-gallon on the highway.

What is the bestselling subcompact SUV in the United States?

The Honda HR-V was the bestselling subcompact SUV in the United States in 2021 with 137,090 units sold.

What is the most powerful subcompact SUV in the United States?

The Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 offers 382 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, but it has a starting price of $54,500, making it considerably more expensive than the average subcompact SUV.