The Best Subcompact SUVs Under $30,000

If you’re in the market for a subcompact SUV, you have a lot of options. These three SUVs have great road-test ratings, safety features, and predicted reliability. Let’s take a look at why these SUVs are recommended by Consumer Reports, and what makes it a great pick for you.

A white 2021 Subaru Forester driving down a tree-lined road.
2021 Subaru Forester | Subaru

Road test scores and safety features are important factors

Consumer Reports tests vehicles at its enormous Connecticut facility. They purchase the cars so that there’s no question about bias or whether car manufacturers are giving them sound vehicles that don’t represent the model as a whole. Consumer Reports conducts tests such as emergency handling, braking, and comfort. (also acceleration, transmission)

Consumer Reports also considers comfort. It takes into account the ride, noise, and front and rear seat comfort. The interior fit and finish as well as trunk/cargo area are also factors.

Consumer Reports recommends a bunch of safety features it considers important. These include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking at city and highway speeds, lane-keeping assistance, and lane departure warning. Consumer Reports also says that pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and daytime running lights are also important features. A backup camera is also standard in all new cars.

To determine the reliability of a vehicle, Consumer Reports sends out surveys to people who have bought previous versions of the vehicle. They then combine this survey data with what they know about the current model. They say that with these two pieces of information, they can “expertly predict the reliability of new and redesigned models.”

The 2021 Subaru Forester has an excellent road-test score

The 2021 Subaru Forester is the number one subcompact SUV, according to Consumer Reports. With its road test score of 90/100, a reliability rating of 4/5, and a predicted owner satisfaction score of 4/5, the Subaru Forester is a top pick for anyone looking for a small SUV. 

The Forester also comes with almost all of the safety features recommended by Consumer Reports. The only exceptions are blindspot warning and rear cross-traffic warning, which are optional. 

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 comes with all of the safety features

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 comes in second in Consumer Reports rankings. It’s got an overall score of 83, a road test score of 78, and a perfect reliability rating of 5/5. Its owner satisfaction score is an impressive 4/5. As far as safety is concerned, the Mazda CX-5 has all of the Consumer Reports recommended safety features.

The 2021 Honda CR-V has great reliability

The 2021 Honda CR-V is third in Consumer Reports rankings. It has an overall score of 82. Its road test score is an 82, and its predicted reliability rating is a 4/5. The predicted owner satisfaction score is just a 3/5.

Like the Forester, the CR-V also comes with all of the safety features Consumer Reports recommends except for blindspot warning and rear cross traffic warning, which are optional. 

You really can’t go wrong with any of these Consumer Reports-recommended SUVs. They’re among the best subcompact SUVs out there. With their excellent ratings and abundance of safety features, the Forester, CX-5, and CR-V are all great buys. 

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