3 Best Compact SUVs of 2021 According to TrueCar

Compact SUVs are a popular segment, and myriad models are available. Some of the better options include the usual suspects, including the Hyundai Tucson. But one of the most popular crossovers, the Toyota RAV4, is also a solid choice in one specific version. Here’s a look at the three best compact SUVs of 2021, according to TrueCar.

The 2021 Ford Escape provides plenty of value

TrueCar recently published a list of the 10 best compact SUVs right now, and many SUVs on the list weren’t unexpected. For example, the Volvo XC60, Kia Niro, Infiniti QX50, Ford Bronco Sport, Toyota RAV4, Tesla Model Y, and Nissan Rogue all made the top 10, but none was in the top three.

The third-best compact SUV of the year, according to TrueCar, was the Ford Escape. TrueCar liked the Escape because of how sporty it looked and how economical its powertrain options were. On top of that, the Escape had plenty of cabin and cargo capacity, and Ford gave the Escape a lot of smart features. 

However, while the Escape looks sporty, TrueCar wrote that it wasn’t that fun to drive, especially compared to its peers. Furthermore, while the Escape had plenty of cabin space, its cabin doesn’t use the best materials. Regardless, since the Escape starts at about $27,000, it’s an affordable compact SUV that provides a lot of value to families.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime ranks high for its powertrain

A red 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid compact SUV traveling on a road away from a city
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Though the regular RAV4 was in sixth place, the RAV4 Prime, the plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4, ended up in second place on TrueCar’s list. The main reason why the RAV4 Prime did so well was simple. The regular RAV4 is pretty good as is, but the Prime makes it even better. Not only does the RAV4 Prime get a PHEV powertrain, but it also gets all-wheel drive as standard.

The RAV4 Prime gets about 40 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on highways, according to TrueCar, and that makes it economical. Furthermore, because it’s a PHEV, it can also go about 42 miles in battery-only mode, and that’s a fine range for short commutes. That said, while the RAV4 Prime improves on the RAV4 in many ways, unfortunately, Toyota had to make some adjustments that hurt the PHEV. 

Obviously, it won’t be cheap, as the RAV4 Prime starts at about $39,000, about $12,000 more than the regular RAV4. Furthermore, to make room for the battery pack, the RAV4 Prime lost some cargo capacity when compared to the regular RAV4. 

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson tops them all

Although the Hyundai Tucson is in the 2022 model year, it’s been available in the U.S. since 2021. Regardless, it’s earned its spot at the top, mostly thanks to the fact that it’s the first model year of the fourth generation of the Tucson. According to TrueCar, one of the best things about the Tucson is its abundant cabin and cargo space. 

Not only that, but the 2022 Tucson’s interior also has a sophisticated style. Plus, Hyundai packed the Tucson with myriad standard safety features. TrueCar wrote that those safety features were “user-friendly.” However, the same can’t be said for the Tucson’s infotainment system. 

The Tucson isn’t a perfect compact SUV, and TrueCar said that it has “finicky touch-sensitive controls.” Furthermore, though it’s a comfortable and spacious SUV for any family, it’s not very sporty. That said, there are three economical powertrain options available. Furthermore, because the Tucson starts at about $26,000, it’s a compact SUV that many families can afford.

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