Crossover & Midsize

‘Under the Radar’ Popular Compact SUV Alternatives From Consumer Reports

Shopping for a new SUV gets stressful. In this Consumer Reports article, the publication suggests avoiding the Ford Escape for the Mazda CX-5 instead. In addition, CR suggests opting out of the Honda HR-V for the Subaru Crosstrek instead. But what are our other choices? According to the Consumer Reports recommendation, these compact SUVs fly a bit ‘under the radar.’ But they are still great choices if you are looking for a small crossover SUV.

2020 Ford Escape
2020 Ford Escape | Ford

Consumer Reports chooses a Hyundai and a Kia

A new Kia Sportage on display at an auto show demonstrates a consumer reports recommendation for a compact crossover SUV
A Kia Sportage on display | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

These two brands have probably been considered a little ‘under the radar’ for a while. However, in more recent years both Kia and Hyundai have emerged as prominent and popular brands. In fact, we are a bit surprised that Consumer Reports recommendation still considers these two popular compact SUV options ‘under the radar’ at all.

That said, it does make sense why the 2020 Hyundai Kona and the 2020 Kia Sportage are listed as wise alternatives to these other popular compact SUV examples. However, what is it that makes these two compact crossover SUVs so appealing? Here’s what Consumer Reports has to say about the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Sportage compact crossover SUV.

Hyundai Kona in neon green on display at Brussels Expo
The Hyundai Kona | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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2020 Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona compact crossover SUV isn’t as well known as a model like the Ford Escape because it’s new to the popular compact SUV segment. According to the Consumer Reports recommendation, the Kona sports a base 2.0-liter engine. The review says it is “adequate around town but can feel sluggish at times.”

In the Consumer Reports review, the all-wheel-drive 2020 Hyundai Kona returned 26 mpg. There is an engine option that’s considered a level up. This is a 1.6-liter turbo, but in spite of more power, the Consumer Reports recommendation is to stick with the base engine. This is due to the fact that it “is more powerful, but power delivery is neither as smooth nor as predictable.”

2020 Hyundai Kona compact crossover SUV Driving is a consumer reports recommendation
Hyundai Kona | Hyundai

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The 2020 Hyundai Kona crossover does boast “nimble handling” that corners and maneuvers well enough. However, it’s a bit stiff and loud in the cabin. Consumer Reports praises the user-friendly controls. In addition, the 2020 Hyundai Kona safety features such as forward collision warning and an optional blind-spot alert. The Kona retails for between $20,300 – $45,400 and earned a 5 out 5 for predicted reliability.

The 2020 Kia Sportage

The other Consumer Reports recommendation for ‘under the radar’ popular compact SUV alternatives is this small Kia SUV. The 2020 Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV that is a great option in its class, according to Consumer Reports. This popular compact SUV also boasts user-friendly controls. Plus, its base engine is a smooth 2.4-liter 4-cylinder mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.

2020 Kia Sportage on display in a showroom
2020 Kia Sportage on display | Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The 2020 Kia Sportage lends a bit of a firm ride quality to the driving experience. It also gets 23 mpg overall which is good but average among its class. The Consumer Reports recommendation notes that it rides “composed and handling is responsive.” Thick roof pillars impede visibility, which is the worst drawback. However, it’s got a long list of standard safety features and a price tag between $23,990 – $35,090. Overall it’s a good compact crossover SUV.