The trials of adult life may lead fervent drivers to trade their two-door performance vehicles for something more pragmatic. It’s typically tough to fit car seats in small convertibles, especially when grocery bags fill the rest. While such was a dreadful experience in the past, the compact SUV market seeks to deliver relief in 2022.
Fortunately, U.S. News & World Report gathered a list of compact SUVs to make the decision easier. Each provides levels of performance measured in power, braking, and handling without sacrificing everyday usability. Check out some of our favorites from U.S. News’ list below:
The 2022 Mazda CX-5 is the sportiest compact SUV on the list
While the base CX-5 is fitted with a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, AWD is standard. Nevertheless, buyers can select the turbocharged variant producing 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. The powerful engine, which makes those numbers on premium fuel, is backed by athletic handling in the driver-focused compact SUV. Yet, the Mazda SUV remains a practical, family-friendly vehicle that begins with a price tag of $25,900.
The 2022 Honda CR-V is a sporty compact SUV under $30,000
The CR-V continues to be one of the best choices for entry into the compact SUV segment. Its turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder puts down 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque to either front-wheel-drive or optional all-wheel drive (AWD). U.S. News claims that Honda’s continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is one of the better units fitted to compact SUVs. Therefore, smooth acceleration will complement its refined handling and suspension, starting at $26,800.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is an affordable sporty SUV
After a dramatic all-around revamp, the Tucson compact SUV is quickly becoming the premier luxury option in the segment for under $30,000. New tech and safety features wrapped in striking style make the Hyundai a comfortable yet rakish model. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes only 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, so highway acceleration isn’t exciting, but it’s eager around town. Prices for the FWD models begin at $25,800, but AWD is an optional extra.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport can be had with a turbocharged engine
The Bronco Sport isn’t a baby Bronco as it’s mechanically similar to the Ford Escape, sharing powertrains and safety features. The base 1.3-liter three-cylinder has a surprising amount of grunt, putting out 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. An optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sends horsepower up to 250, but four-wheel-drive comes standard in any trim level. The Bronco Sport compact SUV may not have the off-road competency as the larger Bronco but provides enough for just $28,815.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is a unique pick among its segment
With love-it-or-hate-it styling, the Outlander is a unique choice in the compact SUV segment. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder gives an average yet ample 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque but is mated to a less than stellar, drone-inducing CVT. Regardless, the Mitsubishi rides and drives like a vehicle larger than its segment and has decent seating for seven. Often overlooked, the Outlander is a distinct choice, and prices start at $26,995, but only for FWD models.
The 2022 Nissan Rogue is a sporty SUV with a ton of features
A more powerful drivetrain and a slew of additional standard features came with a complete redesign. The 2022 Rogue’s peppy 1.5-liter three-cylinder gives an eager 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. Nonetheless, U.S. News says that Nissan’s CVT seems unable to cope with the power during hard acceleration. However, its comfort and confident handling make up for it, meaning a price of $26,850 is more than worth it.
The 2022 Subaru Forester is a sporty compact SUV with all-wheel drive
Like rally-bred Subarus of old, the Forester is only available in AWD. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder provides 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, meeting the road smoothly with a standard CVT. U.S. News was pleased by the Forester’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance, making it an excellent choice to take camping. Moreover, selecting the Wilderness trim package gives budding off-road enthusiasts an extra half-inch of clearance to play with. All this capability won’t break the bank either, as it starts at a reasonable $25,895.
Which is the best compact SUV on the list?
The compact SUV segment has something to give to everyone. For the driving enthusiasts, the Mazda CX-5 will provide sporty excitement on the road without giving up the practicality one needs for family outings. For those who want luxury on a budget, the Hyundai Tucson will ruffle the feathers of anyone wearing silk underpants. The Subaru Forester will provide automotive pleasure for the outdoors-inclined looking for something to park in a picturesque field.