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SUVs have been rising in popularity since the early to mid-2010s, with the car segment now significantly outselling sedans and other smaller cars. Manufacturers are even jumping on the bandwagon and phasing out their sedan models in favor of SUVs. Naturally, more people are also gravitating toward subcompact SUVs since they provide most of the benefits of their larger counterparts while still being reasonably affordable. Here are the three top options MotorTrend recommends you get.

1. 2023 Subaru Crosstrek is one of the best subcompact SUVs to buy

The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek makes it to the top of the list mainly because of the value for money. MotorTrend describes it as a practical, rugged, and comfortable subcompact SUV and it’s easy to see why. Regarding practicality, it has 21 cu-ft of storage space behind the rear seats. While this isn’t much, it’s expandable to 55 cu-ft, which should be enough for most use cases.

As for the ruggedness, the car is built with off-roading in mind with standard all-wheel drive, optional manual transmission, and trail-ready suspension. The 8.7 inches of ground clearance allows it to tackle most trails easily. Also, depending on the trim, you could even get hill descent control as one of the extras.

Comfort is another high point for the small SUV. Kelley Blue Book even describes the vehicle as pleasant to drive, thanks to a smooth ride, comfortable seats, and a relatively quiet cabin.

2. 2023 Hyundai Kona

The 2023 Hyundai Kona gets a 9.1 out of 10 on MotorTrend’s rating system, making it the second-highest-rated subcompact SUV. For context, the Subaru Crosstrek gets a 9.2 out of 10. One of the reasons for its high rating is the available turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes it a quick, agile, and slightly sporty vehicle.

According to Car and Driver, the Kona handles pretty well on corners and is surprisingly fun to drive. Also, unlike most cars with excellent handling, the Hyundai SUV keeps most road imperfections and bumps out of the cabin.

Overall, the car provides incredible value for money and impressive fuel economy for an SUV. After all, its gas mileage is 30 mpg in the city and 35 mpg for highway driving.

The only notable downsides include the small cargo space and rear seats.

3. 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is another of the best subcompact SUVs to buy

A green 2022 Ford Bronco, which is one of the best subcompact SUVs to buy.
2022 Ford Bronco | Ford Media Center

The Best SUVs Made in America for 2022 Under $100,000 (Mostly)

The 2022 Bronco Sport has received tons of praise from most critics, with MotorTrend giving it a 9 out of 10 on its rating system. It should be one of your go-to options if you’re looking for an off-road capable subcompact SUV.

Engine options include a turbocharged three-cylinder base engine producing 181 hp and a 250 hp-rated turbocharged four-cylinder. They also produce 190 lb-ft and 277 lb-ft of torque, respectively.

Fuel efficiency isn’t the Bronco Sport’s strong suit as an off-road vehicle. It gets 25 mpg in the city and can get up to 28 mpg on the highway. Also, the interior trim is made up mostly of plastic components, which might not be to everyone’s liking. However, it makes up for it in the performance and tech included. It also drives surprisingly well on the tarmac with decent handling and a quiet cabin.

Any of these three will do if you’re looking for a top-quality subcompact SUV. However, the best choice may depend on how you intend to use it. The Ford Bronco Sport is the SUV to buy if you’re looking for an adventuring vehicle.

If you want a hybrid daily driver/adventuring capable subcompact SUV, the Subaru Crosstrek fits the bill. If it’s a daily driver you’re looking for, the Hyundai Kona seems excellent for the job.