The Top 3 Best New Small Off-Road SUVs

Off-road SUVs are more popular than ever before. What makes a great off-roading SUV? It turns out it has little to do with size. Here are the top three best new small off-road SUVs that are tearing up trails.

The 2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk small off-road SUV is a beast

A green Jeep Renegade Trailhawk small off-road SUV is off-roading on a trail.
A green Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is off-roading on a trail | Myung J. Chun/LA Times via Getty Images

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The 2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk small off-road SUV isn’t to be trifled with. Though it’s only about 14 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 5.5 feet high, this thing is trail-ready. Car and Driver calls it a highly capable off-road SUV.

The Jeep Renegade Trailhawk comes standard with two front hooks and skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case, front suspension, and transmission. It also comes standard with a terrain management system that includes Rock Mode for the trickiest bumpy terrain. The Renegade Trailhawk has 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The 2021 Jeep Renegade features standard Hill Start Assist, Electronic Stability Control, All Speed Traction Control, and Electronic Roll Mitigation. It’s got everything you need for an off-roading adventure for just $29,920.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands small off-road SUV is legendary

A yellow Ford Bronco small off-road SUV is off-roading.
The Ford Bronco | Ford

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The return of the legendary Ford Bronco small off-road SUV shocked the automotive world. Even folks who have never been off-roading have heard tales of the Bronco’s fantastic performance on tricky terrain. The 2021 model offers many of the same characteristics that made fans fall in love, coupled with some innovative new features.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands is the Bronco’s extreme off-roading trim. It is about 14.5 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 6 feet high. The Bronco Badlands features 33-inch all-terrain tires. It includes rock rails and bash plates to keep it safe. Its terrain management system features seven unique modes that adjust to all types of different terrain.

The Ford Bronco Badlands uses Bilstein position-sensitive monotube shocks for its suspension. It features front and rear locking differentials for better traction and a stabilizer bar disconnect. It gets a whopping 11.5 inches of ground clearance with the Sasquatch package. The Ford Bronco Badlands trim starts at $42,095.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport is made for trails

A yellow Subaru Crosstrek small off-road SUV is off-roading on a trail.
The Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

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Subaru has made its mark on the off-roading scene. The Subaru Crosstrek Sport small off-road SUV uses all the knowledge Subaru has gained from previous off-road models and packages it into a tiny SUV. The Subaru Crosstrek Sport is only about 15 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 5 feet high.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek gets 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The Crosstrek admittedly can’t handle terrain as rough as the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk of Ford Bronco Badlands, but for a tiny SUV, the Crosstrek does its thing. The Crosstrek Sport trim features Subaru’s X-Mode. X-Mode is a software system that helps the Crosstrek Sport’s reaction to difficult terrain.

The Subaru Crosstrek Sport comes with Hill Descent Control, Active Torque Vectoring, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a traction control system, and plenty of other Subaru features meant to give its vehicles the most traction possible in all types of terrain. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport starts at just $26,495.

Do small off-road SUVs actually perform well?

A yellow Ford Bronco small off-road SUV is driving down a mountainous hill.
The Ford Bronco | Ford

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Small off-road SUV models may not look as capable as hulking off-road trucks, but they can get the job done. If you’re looking for proof, look no further than models like the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. The great thing about small off-road SUVs is that they’re also affordable for the most part.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands is pricey for a small SUV, but it provides incredible value. These tiny SUVs prove that great things really do come in small packages.

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