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Looking for an affordable SUV that still comes well-equipped with features? These small SUVs from Mazda, Hyundai, and Nissan start at under $30,000 for 2023. Check out which vehicles below earned high marks for engine power, updated technology, and safety ratings. Whether you are looking for a base model compact SUV or more of a top-of-the-line option, these SUVs below have plenty of choices.

What small SUV has the best ratings?

This affordable small SUV is Mazda's CX-5 in white
A 2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The compact and small SUV segments are packed with good options, but the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is the best of the bunch. A base model CX-5 starts at $26,700, and the fully loaded 2023 CX-5 is $39,650 or so. The Mazda SUV has high ratings for its comfortable ride and high-end materials in the cabin.

U.S. News says there are three engine choices for the 2023 CX-5, starting with a 2.5L four-cylinder that gets 187 horsepower. A turbo option is available with 256 horsepower if you use premium gasoline. Otherwise, it gets 227 horsepower. Either is good, but the base option is fine for everyday driving and commuting.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2023 CX-5 with the Top Safety Pick Plus award. It performed well in all main crashworthiness tests, and the headlights provided good visibility. The affordable compact SUV also earned a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

Is there an affordable Hyundai small SUV?

Hyundai has another affordable small SUV in the 2023 Tucson
A 2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

The best small SUV from Hyundai for this year is the 2023 Tucson. It comes well-equipped, even in its base form, with a starting MSRP of $26,900. A fully-loaded 2023 Hyundai Tucson will cost you around $37,660, but this trim has almost everything you could need.

Inside, Hyundai made thoughtful design choices offering plenty of comfort and space. It is quiet in the cabin, and the engine isn’t too loud. The base model gets a 2.5L four-cylinder with 187 horsepower. It gets 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which isn’t base. All-wheel drive drops those estimates a few mpg.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made the 2023 Hyundai Tucson a Top Safety Pick Plus winner. Hyundai’s SUV earned high marks in all of the main crash tests. Additionally, the NHTSA gave this SUV a five-star safety rating when equipped with front-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive version only received a four-star score, which is worth noting.

One of the best compact SUVs comes from Nissan

For a small SUV that offers plenty of value, the 2023 Nissan Rogue earned high marks across the board. Even though it is small, there is plenty of space for passengers and cargo in the Rogue. The cabin is quiet and comes with Apple CarPlay, which often costs extra for most vehicles in this price range. A base model Rogue starts at $27,360, and a fully-loaded Rogue is around $38,640.

Nissan only offers one engine choice for the 2023 Rogue, but it is powerful enough to move the compact SUV around town. It gets 201 horsepower, 30 mpg in the city, and 37 mpg on the highway (with front-wheel drive). All-wheel drive drops that to 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

The IIHS gave the 2023 Nissan Rogue its Top Safety Pick award this year. Nissan’s small SUV scored high on most main crash tests. Headlights on all trim levels provided good visibility. The NHTSA awarded the vehicle with a five-star safety rating too.


1 of the Most Comfortable Small SUVs Offers Luxury for Under $27,000