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These small SUVs can haul, and really haul, compared to their competitors. Not too long ago, we were happy when our SUVs had 150 or even 200 horsepower. But these five small SUVs for less than $40,000 are making the case that while we may want a good runabout SUV, we don’t want to be left behind when the light turns green.

The RAV4 Prime is the hotrod of the group

A red 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime makes 302 horsepower for slightly less than $40,000.
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

The RAV4 Prime combines the best of a lot or Toyota technology to make a stunning 302 horsepower. The Prime version of the RAV4 is a plug-in hybrid, and that means that it combines both electric and gas power to sprint to 60 in 5.7 seconds according to Toyota, (or 5.5 if you’re Motor Trend). That electric motor provides extra juice to the rear wheels, meaning it’s all-wheel drive, too. The 2022 RAV4 Prime SE barely sneaks under the $40,000 limit, with a starting price of $39,800.

The Jeep Cherokee has two ways to make 270 horsepower

A 2022 Jeep Cherokee explores a watery road.
Jeep Cherokee | Jeep Media

The Jeep Cherokee offers two engines with either 270 horsepower or 272 horsepower. The big difference is in how the two work, because it offers the standard V6 Pentastar or a new 2.0-liter direct injected turbocharged four cylinder. The Cherokee does more than move, though, it can tackle off road trails with aplomb and it’s comfortable. The Cherokee, though, was last designed in 2017 and its design is starting to look dated compared to others on this list, like the newer Ford Bronco Sport. The Cherokee starts at $34,895.

Forget the ST, the regular Escape makes 250 horsepower

The Ford Edge was recently redesigned and it gets a powerful 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 250 horsepower. The Edge brings a lot of tech and lot utility for $37,945, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as ford’s easy-to-use SYNC 4A system. It also has a large 12-inch screen, good on road manners, and a large cago hold. Of course if 250 isn’t enough, you can get the ST with 335 horsepower, but that SUV is $45,000.

CX-5 256 has a sporty feel

Side view of red 2023 Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV, highlighting how much a fully loaded one costs
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

Mazda offers two engine options in the CX-5, but when you’re looking for power, look the two 2.5 Turbo versions. The 2.5 Turbo and Turbo Signature have 256 horsepower, but these are also the premium versions of the CX-5 that have leather, wireless charging, wood trim and more. The CX-5 also has a reputation for sporty handling, and a competent all-wheel drive system. The 2.5 Turbo starts at $36,850.

Bronco Sport 250 Badlands brings it

2022 Ford Bronco Sport off-roading
2022 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

All Bronco Sports have all-wheel drive standard and plenty of ground clearance for soft-roading. But step up to the top trim, the Badlands, and you get a full suite of off-road goodies. The Badlands comes with metal skid plates, all-terrain tires, selectable terrain modes, and an off-road suspension package. But most importantly, it comes with the 250-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and a different four-wheel-drive system that includes a rear differential lock. It starts at $36,590.


What are the Differences Between the CX-5 vs. CX-50? They’re Not the Same SUV