RYAN ZUMMALLEN: Like a lot of you, I have a ton to do today. Later on I'm going to leave work, pick up the kiddo, load up all of our camping gear, and then take the family out to our favorite spot where we might do some off roading before we set up. So, what's the best car for handling all that action?
Here at Edmunds, we think it's a compact SUV. They have enough size for trips, enough comfort for passengers, and good fuel economy for longer drives. If you're thinking about one but don't know where to start it's our top 10 best compact SUV rankings.
At Edmunds, we have rankings for every car, truck, and SUVs. That we test so head to edmunds.com if you're in the market for any vehicle. Also, hit like and subscribe so you'll be the first to see Edmunds videos when they come out. And go to edmunds.com/sellmycar to get a cash offer on the vehicle in your driveway right now.
So, what goes into the Edmunds rankings? First, our test team puts each vehicle through a rigorous workout. They log their capabilities, spaciousness, and efficiency. Then we score them in dozens of categories, add up all the points, and voila. A top 10 ranking.
Up first is the Ford Bronco Sport, also known by its other name the 2021-- no, not the big Bronco. Think a little smaller, not as tough. Yeah, that one. The Bronco Sport is a compact and boxy SUV with some impressive capability under its belt that makes it great for carving dirt trails or splashing through some mud. Unfortunately, competitors are more comfortable and more spacious. And both its steering and braking just aren't up to par. It's the equivalent of casting big budget stars in your movie and then totally botching the plot.
We still like the punchy 2 liter turbo, and there's plenty of personality on board. Just don't expect the real Bronco sized experience.
Next, we have the Ford Escape I know what you're thinking they still make the Ford Escape. First of all, yes they do. Rude. And second of all, even though the Bronco Sport and Escape are built on the same platform, the Escape is more refined. Unlike the Bronco Sport, the Escape is comfortable on the road and pretty deft at handling curves. The interior is also nicer place to be because of easy to use controls and plenty of space for passengers, even in the back where the Bronco Sport trips up.
Listen, we really don't have many complaints about the Escape other than it's just not that exciting. It's the Almond Joy of SUVs. No one gets mad at it but it's just Almond Joy.
How many people do with a Toyota RAV4? Exactly. This has been one of the most popular vehicles, not just SUVs, vehicles in the country for many years. When this version came out in 2019, we drove it across the country and didn't find many weak spots. The RAV4 is a well rounded SUV that you can find for an attractive price. And it isn't going to give you headaches when it comes to space, comfort, or efficiency.
Speaking of efficiency, we think the RAV4 Hybrid is actually a better buy if you can swing it. But on the standard RAV4, Toyota even sprinkles a little bit of extra capability with up to 8.6% inches of ground clearance. Not too shabby for the class at all.
Look, it may not be exceptional at any one thing. But for most people, that's OK. Plus, it looks really good when it's dirty. Matter of fact, I should take one of my camping trip right now.
Speaking of being exceptional at one thing, let's talk about the Jeep Wrangler shall we? Coming in at number 7 on our list, the Wrangler is one of the most recognizable vehicles you can buy today. Every part, every bolt, every measurement is tailored specifically for off roading. You can climb up hills, you can crunch over obstacles, and you can definitely rock crawl in a Wrangler. And I can't say that about any other SUV on this list.
What makes it so capable? Simple, it gives 0 [BEEP] about ride comfort, steering feel, or wind noise. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret. It actually does care about fuel economy. You can get a 2 liter Wrangler, a diesel Wrangler, and even a plug-in hybrid Wrangler. What a time to be alive, right?
OK. Now we're starting to put it all together. The Jeep Cherokee, our number six pick, is a smart crossover SUV. Why smart? Because on one hand it's rugged and has pretty serious off road chops. While on the other hand, it also feels good to drive on the road and is sophisticated enough for a night out.
First of all, it's a Jeep so you know it can hit a trail no problem. If you get the Trailhawk trim, it's a legit off roader. But for most of you, the important stuff is this comfortable interior, a responsive feeling behind the wheel, and a good combination of technology and upscale materials. This is a crossover with a little attitude.
People are constantly asking me for car buying advice. But then they don't always take it. That's a shame because I give great advice.
Anyhoo, one of the cars that actually does make their ears perk up is the Subaru Forester. You can always tell when someone is a Forester person from a mile away. They like being different from the norm. They don't mind getting a little dirty. They have anywhere from 1 to 17 dogs. You know, Subaru stuff.
The Forester comes with standard all wheel drive. But the thing that a lot of people don't know is the advanced safety system called eyesight is one of the best that we've tested. All my friends with Foresters love them. And I know this for a fact because Subaru owners are contractually obligated to talk your ear off about their Subaru.
The redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson looks like it could get the kids to school in the morning and great a 100 pound block of parmesan at night. I mean there is a lot going on with this design. But once you open the doors, you'll see why this new SUV has shot to the top of our rankings.
The Tucson is extremely well appointed with excellent seats, soft materials all over the place, and an a-plus smooth ride on the road. We like it. We just don't like its engine very much. It took more than 10 seconds for this four cylinder to get the Tucson from 0 to 60 miles an hour. Yikes.
But, I have a solution for that. Its hybrid version. It's the quickest hybrid SUV in the class and keeps all of the comfort of the gas version just obviously with better fuel economy. Just keep it away from your cheese.
Next up is the Nissan Rogue, which you might be surprised to see here. After all, the Rogue hasn't been one of our highest rated compact SUVs in the past. But something crazy must have happened over at Nissan HQ because we were left impressed with this redesigned 2021 model.
It's got a blocky new design, it's actually pretty fun to drive, and the interior on top trim levels is surprisingly plush. The biggest thing however, is that it's supremely easy to use. Nissan designed the Rogue to be your helpful pal and it fills that role nicely. There are all kinds of spacious areas to store your stuff. And the rear cargo area is among the largest in the class. Even better, the divide and hide cargo management system can be configured to keep items in place or create maximum storage space or hide your stuff from outsiders. Nifty thinking, Nissan.
Earlier I told you that people only really take my car advice on two vehicles, the Subaru Forester and this one. The Mazda CX-5. Why I mean just look at it when have you ever seen a compact SUV that made you stop and say, dang.
It looks sleek, it looks sporty, it looks-- I hate this word-- but it looks dynamic. And it drives exactly how it looks. CX-5 is really sharp on the road. I mean it's a Mazda, it's what they do. But beyond that the five also has a gorgeous interior. Even on bass levels the styling is just first class. And its highest trim called the signature is legit luxurious.
I like it so much I have a 2020 CX-5 at home. Turns out I give pretty good advice. People should listen to me more.
Finally, we're up to number one on our list. And if you've ever attended a PTA meeting, this will come as no surprise. It's the Honda CRV. The CRV is a smart choice. Sure, it has powerful engines, quiet ride, and nice seats. And there's great cargo capacity. I mean like exceptional cargo capacity. But most of all, the CRV just doesn't really have weaknesses.
It can be the smooth daily commuter, it can be the mountain bike hauler, it can be the winter ski vehicle with an all wheel drive system that pulls you out of the snow when you accidentally drive into a drift. Don't ask me how I know. Most of all, the CRV nails the basics. And adds a lot of value into every trim level on top of that. You may have to pay a little more than some rivals for the privilege. but in our estimation, the CRV experience is worth it.
Hey, that was fun. Compact SUV can be fun. You know, these aren't the most exciting vehicles on the road. But with a little imagination there's all kinds of things you can do with them. Whether you decide to go with an Escape or a CX-5 or anything else on this list, it can all carry lots of stuff and keep you and your passengers comfortable on the road for a long time. So if you really want a compact SUV that makes you happy, you should do one thing. Go outside and enjoy it.
Don't forget to hit like and subscribe so you'll be the first to see Edmunds videos when they come out. And if you're in the market to sell your car, go to edmunds.com/sellmycar to get a cash offer on the vehicle in your driveway right now.