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For most of us, the space and utility of a small SUV is enough. SUVs in this class are easy to live with, efficient, and have enough space to be comfortable. But they’re not all created equal. Which do the reviewers at Edmunds say are the best small SUVs for 2023?

What qualifies as the best small SUV for 2023?

Small SUVs fit the needs of many of us. They have enough space to seat five comfortably, but they’re not the behemoths that you can’t park. Most have enough interior space to hold enough luggage for a week-long road trip and gas mileage that doesn’t hurt at the pump. Edmunds is a site that rates and reviews new and used cars; in this case, all of the small SUVs on the list cost less than $32,000. Interestingly, the best-selling but aging Toyota RAV4 did not make the list.

No. 1: The Mazda CX-50 is new but already one of the best small SUVs for 2023

A view of the 2023 Mazda CX-50, one of the best small SUVs for 2023, and its cabin interior front seating and dashboard
2023 Mazda CX-50 interior | Mazda

What happens if you take the popular Mazda CX-5 and give it an off-road update? You get the new for 2023 CX-50. That means you get the space and fun handling of the CX-5 plus the utility of an all-wheel drive SUV that isn’t afraid to tackle mountain trails and mud. Mazda introduced the CX-50 in 2023.

The base version of the CX-50 starts at $27,550. The hot turbocharged version, however, with 256 hp, will put a bigger grin on your face for $27,150.

No. 2: The classic Honda CR-V

Honda completely redesigned the CR-V for 2023, and it now has more traditional SUV looks, as well as a significantly updated interior. The new 2023 Honda CR-V, like the RAV4, is in the sweet spot for many buyers, and it’s a best seller, so Honda handled the redesign with care. It’s larger and more practical than the previous version and comes standard with the tech most people want, like Apple Car Play and Android Auto, as well as a large touchscreen.

The 190-hp CR-V starts at $31,610; however, the $33,000 Sport Hybrid adds a two-motor hybrid powertrain that gets better mileage with 204 hp.

No. 3: The Mazda CX-5

The best used SUVs under $30,000 include the Mazda CX-5
A 2019 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

If the Mazda CX-50 is on the list, why not the CX-5? The CX-5 combines all of the goodness of the CX-50 but in a package that’s designed to tackle streets. It comes with all-wheel drive and perky fun handling as standard. For 2023 the CX-5 starts at a low $26,700. Although the faster turbocharged version is a hoot to drive, many buyers decide the $36,850 entry price is a tad too much.

No. 4: The all-purpose Subaru Forester

Green 2023 Subaru Forester, one of the best small SUVs for 2023, parked on a snowy road
2023 Subaru Forester | Subaru

The Subaru Forester is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, but it still offers a ton of value in the segment. Though it offers a lot for 2023, it gets a full redesign for 2024, and that may mean that 2023s will be bargains at your local dealer. All Subarus come with all-wheel drive and solid mechanicals that, while not quick, provide a solid driving experience. The Forester is one of the best-selling small SUVs because of its good looks, large interior volume, and unassuming wagon-like profile.

For 2023, the Forester starts at $26,395.

No. 5: Kia Sportage

If you need some space in your small SUV, the Kia Sportage offers the most room in the back. The Sportage’s new styling also sets it apart from others in the segment with its unconventional, bold front end and grille. Though the 187-hp base engine won’t stir your soul, Kia offers a 261-hp plug-in hybrid version with an EV range of 34 miles. Inside, it comes with more tech and panache than you may expect, including two optional panoramic displays.

The Sportage starts at $26,290. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions start at $27,490 and $38,690, respectively.

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