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During a recent comparison test, some of the best small SUVs on the market for 2023 went head to head. One surprising compact SUV from Nissan beat the best-sellers from Toyota, Honda, and even Subaru. Check out the small sport utility vehicle rankings below.

This surprising compact SUV winner isn’t a best-seller

MotorTrend recently compared some of the best options on the market. All the heavy hitters are represented: the 2023 Honda CR-V, 2022 Toyota RAV4, 2023 Subaru Forester, 2023 Kia Sportage, 2022 Hyundai Tucson, 2023 Nissan Rogue, and the 2023 Mazda CX-5. While this segment has many options, that makes it harder to choose.

The best-selling option on the list is the 2023 Toyota RAV4. It has a long history of reliability and plenty of features to make it a first choice for many shoppers. However, the Honda CR-V is a close second. This compact SUV has a few powertrain options but isn’t as well equipped as possible.

For the Nissan Rogue, a recent update to the 1.5L three-cylinder engine gives more power and uses less fuel. The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tuscon are similar and offer plenty of value for shoppers. Comparatively, the Mazda CX-5 is always pegged as a “fun-to-drive” option, but it needs an update to be more competitive. Finally, the Subaru Forester holds its own as the off-road-ish option with a quiet ride.

The Nissan Rogue is the surprising compact SUV that impressed the experts

This surprising compact SUV is a Nissan Rogue in silver
A Nissan Rogue | Nissan

After thorough testing, the ranks were as follows. The Nissan Rogue is the surprisingly compact SUV that beats all the options in the lineup. Nissan’s new high-tech turbo three-cylinder engine and premium cabin sealed the deal. It had a spacious interior and offered great value for the money.

RankMake and Model
1.Nissan Rogue
2.Honda CR-V
3.Kia Sportage
4.Mazda CX-5
5.Subaru Forester
6.Toyota RAV4
7.Hyundai Tucson

Honda’s CR-V offers a high-quality ride, good handling, and many features. For the price, it still didn’t have as many features as some of the competition. Kia’s Sportage was in third place thanks to its recent redesign and safety technology. In fourth place was the Mazda CX-5, still a fun ride but lacking in technology and space.

For a reliable but not always exciting option, the Subaru Forester is a safe choice. The Toyota RAV4 came in at a surprising six, thanks to a rough ride and a lack of advanced technology. The Hyundai Tucson is a good value but has the worst powertrain. MotorTrend suggests this might be a suitable option if you don’t live driving.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety agrees about the Nissan Rogue

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2023 Nissan Rogue, it awarded the SUV the Top Safety Pick. This compact SUV performed well on most of its crashworthiness and new crash mitigation tests. While the Rogue might not be the best option for every driver, it outperformed the other sport utility vehicles in the segment.

During testing, Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system was the best in the bunch. It maintained lanes on the highway and kept the Rogue a safe distance away from other vehicles. Overall, the Nissan Rogue had more checks in the positives row than the negatives.


All of the Safest Small SUVs With Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Awards