Skip to main content

The highly popular compact SUV segment is intensely fierce, with many models vying for the top spot. There is no shortage of good options in the segment. However, some stand out more than the rest. According to Car and Driver, the three best new compact SUVs to buy in 2023 are the 2023 Honda CR-V, the 2023 Mazda CX-50, and the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan.

2023 Honda CR-V is the best new 2023 compact SUV, says Car and Driver

Front angle view of gray 2023 Honda CR-V, best new SUV to buy in 2023, says Car and Driver
2023 Honda CR-V | Honda

According to Car and Driver, the 2023 Honda CR-V is the best new compact SUV in 2023. Last year, the CR-V was lower in the rankings. However, in 2023, it vaults to the top with an outstanding redesign. It’s much improved for the new model year. Along with achieving the title of the best new compact SUV, the CR-V earned a Car and Driver “10Best Trucks and SUVs” award.

The attractive new exterior design of the next-generation CR-V nicely combines sophistication with ruggedness. Prominent exterior styling elements include a large upright grille, a long hood, and a sleek roofline. Inside the compact SUV, the cabin is more modernistic with an upscale look and feel. Plus, it’s more spacious — due to the overall size increase for the new model year. 

Furthermore, the 2023 CR-V offers an efficient new hybrid system, which gets an estimated gas mileage of up to 43 city/36 highway mpg. Also, it has improved driving dynamics with better handling. And with the new body-stabilizing front seats, the CR-V provides a more comfortable ride.

2023 Mazda CX-50 is another excellent choice

Front view of green 2023 Mazda CX-50, second-best new SUV to buy in 2023, says Car and Driver
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

The second-best new 2023 compact SUV on the Car and Driver list is the first-ever 2023 Mazda CX-50. It’s slightly larger than the CX-5 — and has a more rugged design and greater off-road capabilities. While the CX-50 features rugged exterior styling, its interior is refined and upscale. It has a premium look and feel that one might not expect to see in a mainstream compact SUV.

Also, the CX-50 delivers excellent performance. This is especially the case for its available turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which doles out 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, it provides athletic handling. Plus, the CX-50 comes standard with many desirable features, such as a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

2023 VW Tiguan is a surprising pick 

Rear angle view of white 2023 VW Tiguan
2023 VW Tiguan | Volkswagen

Car and Driver’s third-best compact SUV to get in 2023 is the 2023 VW Tiguan. This is a somewhat surprising pick. While the Tiguan is the best-selling Volkswagen model in America, it’s often overshadowed by other compact SUVs, such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, and Hyundai Tucson. 

However, as detailed by Car and Driver, the Tiguan is the only mainstream compact SUV that offers “distinctly European flavor, with crisp handling and elegantly tailored styling.” Plus, it’s “sporty and fun-to-drive” — and has a “smooth” turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Furthermore, the Tiguan comes standard with many technology features, including a user-friendly infotainment system, a digital gauge display, and an array of driving assistance technologies. 

Other vehicles on the Car and Driver best new 2023 compact SUV list

The 2023 Honda CR-V is the best new compact SUV to buy in 2023, according to Car and Driver, followed by the 2023 Mazda CX-50 and the 2023 VW Tiguan. Also, the automotive site highlights some other vehicles.

Here are the eight best new 2023 compact SUVs, according to Car and Driver:

  1. 2023 Honda CR-V
  2. 2023 Mazda CX-50
  3. 2023 VW Tiguan
  4. 2023 Mazda CX-5
  5. 2023 Kia Sportage
  6. 2023 Hyundai Tucson
  7. 2023 Ford Bronco Sport
  8. 2023 Toyota RAV4

The aforementioned 2023 Mazda CX-5 takes the fourth spot, followed by the mechanically similar 2023 Kia Sportage and 2023 Hyundai Tucson. At seventh is the off-road capable 2023 Ford Bronco Sport. And the list is rounded out by the 2023 Toyota RAV4, the world’s best-selling SUV.


2023 Honda CR-V: Price, Specs, & Features — All-New Design!