These days, automakers have to pack a lot into budget-friendly SUVs. However, one affordable small SUV might not be worth the money. Check out the two alternative sport utility vehicles below with more features in a similar price range. All three options from Ford, Kia, and Mitsubishi have scores from national safety groups listed.
You can skip the 2023 Ford Escape if you want an affordable small SUV
When Consumer Reports looked for affordable small SUVs, the 2023 Ford Escape had some positive attributes. Redesigned in 2020, the Escape looks less SUV-like these days and more like a raised sedan. It has a few engine and powertrain choices and enough technology inside to suit some buyers.
Ford equipped the 2023 Escape with systems like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot warning standard. It doesn’t have the longest history of reliability, which holds the Escape back this year.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made the 2023 Ford Escape a Top Safety Pick and gave it high scores on its tests. It also received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While it still has a lot to offer, the Ford SUV falls behind compared to the competition. Other sport utility vehicles have more features at a similar price point.
Base MSRP Range: $27,500 – $39,460
Kia’s new Sportage Hybrid is an affordable small SUV
Even though the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is compact, it has plenty of room for people and cargo space. Some creature comforts this affordable small SUV includes are dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and automatic high beams. Kia recently revamped the Sportage Hybrid, and now it gets better fuel economy than ever before.
As far as driver assistance features go, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking come standard. Systems like blind-spot warning and adaptive cruise control come on higher trim levels but not the base.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid a Top Safety Pick winner, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t rated it yet.
Base MSRP Range: $27,290 – $42,990
Don’t overlook the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander probably gets overlooked for more popular small SUVs regularly, but a recent redesign makes it worth a second look. Based on the Nissan Rogue, the Outlander has a third-row seat that sets it apart from other compact options.
Mitsubishi offers many standard safety systems like forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, and automatic emergency braking. Rear cross-traffic warning and lane-departure warning are also standard on the 2023 Outlander.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t rated the Outlander yet, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made it a Top Safety Pick Plus winner. A new IIHS automatic emergency braking test also returned superior results.
Base MSRP Range: $27,595 – $49,995
Just because you need an affordable small SUV doesn’t mean you don’t have good options. Kia and Mitsubishi have figured out the winning formula for packing high-end features into reasonably priced packages.