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Crossover SUVs are the hottest segment. Fuel-efficient crossovers are even more desirable in the current market. During the peak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the ADM (additional dealer markup) was $10k-$15k for most hybrids and, occasionally, even more than that for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) crossovers. On top of higher markups than their sedan counterparts, crossovers tend to be more expensive right out of the gate. These five crossovers on iSeeCars’ list of the most affordable crossovers happen to be efficient and very cheap. The most expensive car on this list only comes at $21,990. 

The Hyundai Venue is the cheapest 

A gray 2023 Hyundai Venue subcompact SUV model on the top of a parking structure
2023 Hyundai Venue | Hyundai Motor Company

The Hyundai Venue is slow as molasses. It isn’t particularly luxurious even in its top trim, but it’s cheap, spacious for its class, and quite efficient. Despite prices coming back down, new cars are still absolutely bonkers expensive. The Venue starts at only $19,500. It isn’t the cheapest vehicle on the market but it is the most affordable crossover money can buy, reports iSeeCars. Even the fully loaded “Limited” trim starts at $22,750 before destination and fees.

For your money, you get a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that makes a measly 121 horsepower, a continuously variable transmission, and front-wheel drive. Unfortunately, FWD is your only option, so if you happen to live in Denver, you may want to opt for one of the other vehicles on this list. That said, you get a very spacious interior and 18.7 cu ft of cargo space. The little engine isn’t powerful, but it does return 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most efficient cars on the list.

The Nissan Kicks has the most cargo space

The Nissan Kicks’ party piece is its 25.3 cu ft of cargo space. For a tiny crossover, the Kicks provides a ton of room for your belongings and beats out the next biggest by nearly 4 cu. ft. However, unsurprisingly, like the Venue, the Kicks is slow and underpowered.

Each trim is only available with a 1.6L four-cylinder making—wait for it—1 more horsepower than the Venue with 122 hp, reports Car and Driver. That power is sent only to the front wheels through a CVT. It’s worth noting that these cars are not intended to be powerful but cheap and efficient. The Kicks certainly fulfills those criteria as it’s the most efficient vehicle on the list, with an EPA rating of 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Kicks also comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, even on its base trim.

The Chevrolet Trax is a bit basic

First and foremost, the Chevy Trax is affordable. The base LT trim starts at $22,895, and the top LS trim is at $24,695. Unfortunately, the base trim does not come with some features that should be standard. Cruise control is the main feature missing from the base trim, which in 2023 is pretty unacceptable. Thankfully, the Trax does come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration.

With respect to powertrain, the Trax has a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine making a healthy 155 hp and sending power through a six-speed automatic transmission. Regarding fuel efficiency, the Trax lags behind the pack with 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with AWD, and 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with FWD, reports Car and Driver. Car and Driver also finds that the Trax offers less in the way of standard features than its rivals.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is an old crossover

Although affordable at $22,995, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has languished on the market since 2011. Sure, it was facelifted for the 2020 model year, but the powertrain and tech are behind the times. The Outlander Sport, unlike the previous entries, has two engine options. A 2.0L four-cylinder makes 148 hp, and a 2.4L makes 168 hp, reports Car and Driver. Despite the healthy power numbers, the Mitsubishi only manages 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for the 2.0L, and 23 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway for the optional 2.4L—not great for those looking for efficiency.

Where the Outlander Sport shines is with its standard all-wheel drive. Most crossover shoppers are looking for AWD, so seeing it as standard is nice. Despite the lackluster interior and aging platform, the Outlander Sport is cheap and reliable. It’s just hard to compete with some of the other entries on this list.

The Hyundai Kona is a great all-around option

Are you looking for cheap and efficient? The Hyundai Kona starts at only $22,140 for the well-equipped SE trim and manages 30 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway for FWD models. That said, AWD is available for an additional $1500 and only carries a 2 mpg penalty for city and highway driving. Additionally, the Kona comes with a great selection of standard features, including smartphone connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, and a forward collision detection system.

The Kona’s base engine is a 147 hp 2.0L four-cylinder, but the N-Line and Limited trims come with a potent 1.6L turbocharged option that makes an impressive 195 hp and only drops 1 mpg in the city compared with the base engine. The Kona is a solid car and, like the Venue, comes with Hyundai’s excellent powertrain warranty. 

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