Advertisement

The Best Subcompact SUVs for 2024 & 2025

2024 chevrolet trax activ
The Best Subcompact SUVs for 2024 & 2025Chevrolet

A decade ago, most of these subcompact SUVs would have been marketed as hatchbacks. Now, though, the crossover is king and even most entry-level shoppers are seeking tall seating positions, optional all-wheel drive, and extra cargo space. Because of their low price points, not all of these subcompact SUVs offer AWD, but they are all practical choices that will satisfy the needs of SUV shoppers on a budget. Ranked in order from best to worst, these are the small SUVs that get it right.

2024 Mazda CX-30

Base Price: $26,370

Mazda established its name in the U.S. with affordable performance cars like the MX-5 Miata, and while it still builds that fun-to-drive roadster, it has now firmly shifted its focus to the world of crossovers. The CX-30, the smallest of the lineup, may be more humble than the delightful CX-50, but it brings the engaging charm we expect from a Mazda to a smaller footprint. Although it's a bit more expensive than the other models here due to its standard all-wheel drive, the CX-30 remains one of the best offerings in its class.

2024 mazda cx 30
Mazda

2025 Chevrolet Trax

Base Price: $21,495

The Trax's most attractive element is its low base price, but there are other appealing factors as well. It's far more spacious than the previous-generation Trax, and it's pleasant to drive. The only engine option is a turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-three, and the transmission is a six-speed automatic, meaning it avoids the droning sensation found in many of the other models here that come with CVTs. The only real downside of the Trax is that it doesn't offer all-wheel drive.

front 34 view of 2024 chevrolet trax lt in cayenne orange metallic parked on a gravel road in front of trees
Chevrolet

2024 Hyundai Kona

Base Price: $25,625

Hyundai makes two small SUVs, and the Kona is the larger of the two. Redesigned for 2024, the Kona is a strong offering in any form, but it is at its best with the more powerful turbo engine offered in the more expensive N-Line and Limited trim levels. The driver-focused Kona N from the previous generation has been discontinued, but we're hoping it makes its return soon.

2024 hyundai kona
Hyundai

2024 Subaru Crosstrek

Base Price: $26,540

The Crosstrek is a megahit, as it's now one of the bestselling Subaru models. It takes the Impreza hatchback one step further thanks to its extra ground clearance that provides just enough capability to get Subaru's owners to the start of their outdoor adventures. It may lack some of the charm of the outgoing model, but Subaru's latest should be a winner with buyers.

Quiet, comfortable, and ready to explore

2024 subaru crosstrek premium
Lucas Bell

2024 Kia Niro Hybrid

Base Price: $28,315

Kia's second-generation Niro brings a bold new design detail: a contrasting side blade reminiscent of the first-generation Smart ForTwo. The hybrid version is the cheapest of the bunch, but there's also a plug-in-hybrid model and even a fully-electric variant, both of which are available at a significant price premium.

2024 kia niro
Kia

2024 Hyundai Venue

Base Price: $21,275

The Hyundai Venue may not be as complete an offering as its Kona stablemate, but it provides exceptional value. At just over $21,000, it is one of the best deals in any market and provides a low entry point into Hyundai's lineup. The main sacrifice you'll make is in the powertrain department, as the tiny 1.6-liter inline-four doesn't provide much power, and front-wheel drive is the only drivetrain choice.

2022 hyundai venue
David Dewhurst

2024 Kia Soul

Base Price: $21,565

Decades ago, "box" cars like the Scion xB and Honda Element seemed like an emerging trend. Now, only the Kia Soul survives. Beyond the straightforward proportions and the memorable hamster ads, the Soul stands out with its small and maneuverable size and low entry price. Front-wheel drive is the only setup available, but it's surprisingly refined to drive for the segment.

2024 kia soul
Kia

2024 Kia Seltos

Base Price: $26,465

If you're not satisfied by either of Kia's other offerings in this segment, the Soul and the Niro, perhaps the slightly larger Seltos will have what you're looking for. It provides more space inside than either of those, an optional turbocharged engine, and available all-wheel drive. However, you'll pay considerably extra for these benefits, as the Seltos sits at a higher price point both on the base level and when you start adding options.

2024 kia seltos
Kia

2024 Volkswagen Taos

Base Price: $25,420

Unlike some of the other cars on this list, the Taos looks like a real SUV. It has a handsome squared-off look and has plenty of space inside, while also offering optional all-wheel drive. Although the VW Jetta compact sedan remains VW's entry-level model, the Taos effectively replaces the old Golf hatchback on dealer lots, as that model is now offered in the U.S. only in performance-oriented Golf GTI and Golf R configurations.

2022 volkswagen taos
Volkswagen

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross

Base Price: $25,210

The Corolla Cross is one of seven distinct SUVs made by Toyota, but it is the only one that sits at an entry-level price point. The base powertrain is a lackluster 2.0-liter inline-four, but it does offer all-wheel drive. Even the optional hybrid model starts at $29,570, offering considerably better fuel economy and better acceleration but still squeaking in under the $30,000 mark.

2022 toyota corolla cross
toyota

You Might Also Like