Trucks & SUVs

What Are the Fastest Small SUVs?

Who says you can’t have a family of thrill-seekers? In addition to making things more fun for the driver, older kids may appreciate an SUV with an extra power boost. As long as the drive is smooth, there’s no reason you should assume a speedy SUV just isn’t an option.

You can usually determine a car’s agility by its engine size. Fortunately, Edmunds has compiled a list of the quickest SUVs you can buy new in 2020.

2020 Hyundai Kona

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The Kona is a subcompact SUV with an upscale interior and an ample amount of cargo space. The cabin is accommodating enough for taller drivers, but the backseat is best suited for children or furry companions. Still, each seat offers a good amount of comfort and the infotainment system works excellently.

Out of its two powertrain options, the 1.6-liter turbo-four will provide drivers with the best performance. It’s capable of 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It can also reach 0-60 mph in a little over seven seconds. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission functions well, but Edmunds warns that it’s occasionally slow to shift on startup. It also features a manual shift mode.

According to Consumer Reports, the 1.6-liter motor delivers smooth power. Testers noted that it has very little body roll or engine noise, and they were particularly impressed with the brakes. The only downside they reported was the suspension, which doesn’t hold up after repeated hard bumps.

2020 Mazda CX-5

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The CX-5 is a little more expensive than its peers, starting at around $36,000 with the preferred engine. Its 2.5-liter turbo-four is capable of up to 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Just like most Mazda models, the CX-5 is incredibly fun and engaging to drive. It tackles corners with ease and the brakes are great. It also doesn’t fail to deliver in terms of speed, with an average 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds.

Testers at Edmunds reported that the ride quality is a little firm, but at least the seats exhibit luxury-level quality. There’s plenty of space in both rows, plus large door openings that make it easier to enter the car. Cargo space is a little below average, but it does have a flat floor for hassle-free loading.

The Mazda CX-5 is also incredibly safe, another huge plus for families. The 2020 model received a new standard safety suite, which includes pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic emergency braking.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

The Equinox is the fastest small SUV on Edmunds’s list, able to rocket from 0-60 in just 6.4 seconds. It achieves this with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine capable of 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It supplies plenty of power for highway driving and the nine-speed automatic transmission provides drivers with precise shifts. 

With this engine, the Chevy Equinox can also tow up to 3,200 pounds, which is impressive for a small SUV. Overall, Edmunds found that the Equinox has good handling, but it stumbles around corners thanks to its wide turning radius. However, its brakes respond quickly in an emergency situation.

Another annoying thing about the Equinox is its lackluster interior, which is disappointing when you consider its above-average price tag. Still, if speed is your main priority, no small SUV does it better than the Chevy Equinox.