The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the best-selling SUVs on the market today because it checks a lot of the right boxes. Compared to others in its class, it has a powerful engine, lots of room, good gas mileage, and a low MSRP of just $23,645. But, there are a number of small SUVs that are aiming to steal some of its thunder from Honda, Toyota, Kia, Chevy, and VW for less than $25,000.
The Subaru Crosstrek is Subaru’s best-selling small SUV
Subaru sells more Crosstrek SUVs than any other small SUV. Even in base trim, it comes well equipped with a 6.5-inch multimedia system, automatic climate control, and, huzzah, an optional six-speed manual transmission. The Crosstrek seats five, has all-wheel drive standard, and several driver safety aids, too. Stepping up to the $24,795 Premium version adds heated seats, a cargo cover, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more. In base trim, and Premium trim levels it gets 35 mpg combined and holds 55.3 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded.
However, the Crosstrek was last updated for 2017, while the others on this list are either new or more recently updated. We are expecting a new or refreshed Crosstrek for 2024.
The Honda HR-V is a brand new Subaru Crosstrek alternative
The HR-V LX starts at $23,650 for a basic version of the small Honda. However, with the Honda key options like the $1,500 all-wheel drive, can push it beyond $25,000 quickly. Yes, it’s slow, but it’s also efficient and gets a combined 30 mpg. The HR-V is all-new for 2023 and does have styling that will keep it fresh for several years as well as tech like Honda’s collision mitigation braking system and adaptive cruise with the clever low-speed follow function.
If you can stretch your budget a bit, the Sport version at $25,650 offers heated front seats, a blind spot information system, and slick black trim and wheels.With the rear seats folded, it holds 55.1 cubic feet of cargo.
Toyota’s Corolla Cross is filling a niche
Toyota launched the Corolla Cross in 2021 as an SUV to slot between the small C-HR and the RAV4. It packs in a lot of value and a 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross starts at $22,445. However, the upgraded LE with more tech can be had for $24,795. In LE trim, you get wireless charging, an upgraded stereo, and some new tech like the blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. The Corolla Cross has a slightly more powerful engine than, say, the HR-V, and all-wheel drive is an $875 option.
The Corolla Cross is also larger than it seems, with 65.5 cubic feet of storage when the seats are folded. At J.D. Power, it gets a higher-than-average score.
The Kia Seltos is a more traditional SUV Crosstrek alternative
For 2023, the Kia Seltos is a carryover model, but it does add some new advanced driver aids, such as blindspot collision avoidance and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance. For less than $25,000 you can move beyond the base S and LX versions and step up to the S all-wheel drive trim for $24,390. It has a small, efficient (29 mpg combined) 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and manages a good reliability score. The Seltos was all-new in 2021 and offers one clever trick that other SUVs in this class don’t: reclining rear seats are standard on all trims.
It offers 62.8 cubic feet of space with the seats folded. The Hyundai Kona is nearly the same vehicle and has similar dimensions. The Kona, however, has styling that’s a bit more car-like while the Seltos is more of a traditional two-box SUV.
The Chevy Trailblazer is the American Crosstrek alternative
The Chevy Trailblazer has a cute off-road look to it with lots of interior space, and starts at $22,995 in base LS trim. It starts at a low price, but to match the Crosstrek, you’ll have to add several options, such as all-wheel drive for $2,000, and the driver confidence package, which includes cruise control and rear cross traffic alert, for $495, while Chevy Safety Assist is free. Like the others on this list, it comes with a small efficient engine, but in the Trailblazer’s case, Chevy went with a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that has 137 horsepower in the base models. The Chevy Trailblazer has 54.4 cubic feet of rear cargo space.
VW Taos S gives an upscale vibe
The new VW Taos barely skates under our $25,000 limit, with a starting price of $24,155. But, the Vee-dub has an upscale look to it, like a baby Atlas, with a stylish interior that includes a standard leatherette-wrapped steering wheel. While you must step up to the next trim level to get some nicer features, the S model comes nicely equipped with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster. Its engine is more powerful than many of the others on this list, with 158 horsepower, yet it can still achieve a combined 31 mpg.
The VW Taos is also a bit larger and can hold 65.9 cubic feet of stuff with the seats down. The Crosstrek is tough to beat, but there are several options on the market that match its features and low price.