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Check out these affordable compact SUVs if you’re looking for a new car. Compact four-door SUVs feature seating for five, have decent cargo capacity, and offer an alternative to a boring sedan. The best part is that two compact SUVs carry an MSRP under $25,000.

Front angle view of red 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, most reliable Subaru model and best small SUV, says Consumer Reports
2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The most affordable compact SUVs

Only two of the 20 entrants on TrueCar’s list of Cheapest Compact SUVs have MSRPs starting under $25,000, the 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer and the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek.

As expected, neither model offers segment-topping luxury, but they deliver economical transportation and even a few premium features for the price point. While the base model of either offering functions adequately, opting for higher trim levels or additional features adds comfort and convenience without breaking the bank.

The 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer punches above its weight

The review for the 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer mentions cargo space, rear-seat legroom, and the available Activ trim as points in the Trailblazer’s favor. On the other hand, competing compact SUVs offer smother handling and more robust powertrains. Ultimately, the $23,395 starting MSRP stands out from the crowd.

The base model 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer LS comes with front-wheel drive (FWD), but all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option on the LS trim. Meanwhile, The base 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder makes 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque and pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The standard drivetrain returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined city and highway. 

Upgrading to the range-topping Trailblazer RS with AWD raises the MSRP to $27,700. While it has the same 1.3-liter three-cylinder turbo, it provides 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque and comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, the increased power and AWD lower the EPA-estimated fuel economy to 28 mpg combined. 

Some notable standard base trim features include the following:

  • 7-inch touchscreen infotainment with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Automatic braking
  • Lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • Backup camera

Items that are either optional or included on higher trim levels include:

  • Powered, heated side mirrors
  • Panoramic Moonroof
  • Power eight-way adjustable driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Remote engine start
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Parking sensors
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Blind-spot system

2023 Subaru Crosstrek

TrueCar lists the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek’s “tough-looking exterior, “driving ease and practicality,” and AWD as pros. However, like the Trailblazer, the Crosstrek’s standard engine delivers subpar performance. Nevertheless, the Crosstrek’s $24,870 base MSRP makes it worth considering.

The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek comes in six grades plus a hybrid version. The base Crosstrek 2.0i features a six-speed manual transmission and a 152-hp 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder engine with 145 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5i variant comes in Sport and Limited trim levels and features an automatic CVT and a 182-hp 2.5-liter flat-four with 176 lb-ft of torque. 

EPA-estimated fuel economy ranges from 25 mpg combined in the 2.0i Manual to 30 mpg combined in the 2.0I CVT-equipped models and 29 mpg combined with the 2.5-liter engine.

The hybrid’s plug-in electric CVT drivetrain provides 148 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of torque and returns up to 17 miles of electric driving range, 35 mpg combined fuel economy, and 90 mpg-equivalent combined, according to EPA estimates. 

Base model equipment includes the following:

  • Power windows and locks with remote keyless entry
  • Automatic climate control
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Manual six-way driver and four-way passenger seat adjustments
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto

Upgrading to higher trim levels adds a larger touchscreen and active driver-assist safety features. You shell out around $30K at the top trim levels, and the hybrid comes closer to $40K.


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