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Over the past several decades, SUVs have grown in popularity, surpassing sedans and larger automobiles. The versatility, fuel economy, and cargo-carrying capacity appeal to many consumers, making the SUV market one of the most competitive segments in the automotive industry.

There are plenty of options for SUVs, ranging from compact crossovers to luxury midsize models. While Toyota and Honda have consistently led the pack in SUV sales, there is one particular SUV segment where the two automakers need to improve.

A light blue Honda HR-V drives down the road in a small town.
2023 Honda HR-V EX-L | Honda

How the best small SUVs of 2023 and 2024 were determined 

Edmunds recently conducted extensive real-world testing to find the best small SUVs of 2023 and 2024. They drove the contenders on a test track and along a 115-mile loop of winding canyons, freeways, and city streets.

The expert automotive testers also kept the vehicles for approximately two weeks to see how the SUVs performed in a variety of routine tasks, including commuting and traversing difficult terrain.

Edmunds tested each SUV model based on its performance, interior, technology, comfort, value, and utility. Each vehicle then received an overall score based on a 10-point scale, which reflected the exhaustive evaluation of the SUV.

Surprisingly, in the extra-small SUV segment, no Toyota or Honda models made it into the top five on the competitive list.

The top 5 extra small SUVS of 2023 and 2024

In 2022, Volkswagen ended sales of the beloved Golf hatchback in the United States, replacing it with the new Volkswagen Taos. The extra small SUV is off to a running start, earning the number one spot on the Edmunds list, receiving an overall score of 8.1 out of 10. With an MSRP between $24,155 and $34,535, the Taos SUV gets a phenomenal fuel economy of 40 mpg, equipped with a standard inline-four turbocharged engine that generates 158 hp.

Edmunds claims, “The all-new Taos packs in plenty of modern tech and safety features into a tidy but spacious package. It’s one of the most well-rounded and family-friendly offerings in the class.”

The Chevy Trailblazer earned the number two spot, receiving an overall score of 8 out of 10. Introduced in 2021, the extra small SUV proves a worthy competitor in a crowded class, offering 25 cu-ft of cargo space. The turbocharged three-cylinder engine paired with a nine-speed transmission puts out 155 hp, achieving an EPA estimated fuel economy of 31/29/33 mpg.

The Mazda CX-30 sits at number three on the list, with an overall score of 7.9 out of 10. The extra small SUV stands out in its class for offering plenty of standard features, exterior styling, and interior comfort. With an MSRP of $22,950 to $35,400, the Mazda CX-30 proves to be a sporty and sophisticated SUV, worthy of its placement among the top five contenders on the Edmunds list.

At the number four spot is the Buick Encore GX, followed by the Hyundai Kona, which secured the number five spot. Both extra small SUV models earned an overall score of 7.9 with impressive comfort, standard features, and stylish design.

The Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross need to step it up

Neither Honda nor Toyota had an extra small SUV model that made it into the top five. 

The redesigned 2023 Honda HR-V landed at no.9, with an overall score of 7.5 out of 10. Edmunds said, “the extra-small SUV segment has gained some impressive offerings of late, and we’re afraid the new HR-V hasn’t evolved enough to compete with the best.”

The Toyota Corolla Cross placed at no.10 on the list, receiving an overall score of 7.4 out of 10. With an MSRP of $23,060 to $28,465, the SUV gets recognition for its comfort, practicality, and standard feature availability. Edmunds claims, however, “There are better options available if you’re looking for something fun and interesting to drive.”


5 of the Best Small SUVs for 2023