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One of the best SUVs, a silver 2020 Jeep Cherokee, is shown from the front driving through a pond.

The 7 Best Compact SUVs to Consider

A compact SUV is a fantastic option if you’re looking for the functionality and style of an SUV without having a large model that takes over your entire life. With a compact in mind, the best SUVs to buy are those that still give you excellent performance with as much interior space as possible. There are many options that fit into this category, though, so today we are going to rank the seven best compact SUVs that you should consider buying. Let’s get cracking!

#7 – Jeep Cherokee

The 2020 Jeep Cherokee is a great option with a lot to offer, which you can consider either a small or compact model. To be completely honest, I’m going to include some “small” options here because ignoring them would be a disservice to you. If you’re looking for a compact SUV with a lot of functionality and options, then the Cherokee is a solid choice. For one thing, it’s probably your best overall option if you’re interested in doing a lot of driving off-road.

If you plan on sticking to the city, or at least the paved road, then the Cherokee is still a great choice, but it loses a bit of its magic when you don’t take it on some rough terrain. There are a lot of trims to choose from with the Cherokee, which can be a good thing, but it also means it’s easy to miss out on features you want if you don’t opt for a higher trim. It also has three different engines for you to choose from; again, more options can be good, but that also means you might have to spring for a higher trim to get the kind of performance you want.

#6 – Kia Sportage

Another small SUV with a lot going on, the 2020 Kia Sportage is definitely one of the best choices available to you when shopping for an SUV. The interior of the Sportage is among its standout features, with a combination of sophistication and comfort that really makes you feel at home as a driver. The Kia Drive Wise standard safety features are also among the best in the industry and keep you safe no matter what other options you might want.

There are four different trims here, with two engines for you to choose from, so you do get some freedom in configuring the Sportage exactly how you want it. The powerful Turbo engine is standard on the SX Turbo trim, which is the highest option. This trim is a great choice for power and sophistication, but even if you don’t want the Turbo engine, you can still get plenty of other fantastic features without the higher price tag of the high-performance option.

One of the best SUVs, a red 2020 Ford Escape, is parked next to a pond and people about to kayak.

#5 – Ford Escape

The Ford Escape has been quite popular in the past, but the all-new 2020 model is the start of a new generation and features a complete redesign. This is one of the more exciting compact SUVs out there, in large part because it has been so refreshed and renewed by this new look. The interior of the Escape is particularly inviting, and there are plenty of trim levels for you to choose from to get just what you want.

One of the best things about the 2020 Ford Escape is just how many engine options there are. Sometimes a lot of options can feel pointless or like it’s creating the illusion of choice, but with the Escape, they all feel justified. There’s a standard engine, a more powerful option, a gas-electric hybrid, and even a plug-in hybrid for you to choose from. So no matter what you’re looking for, you can find it here.

#4 – Chevy Equinox

While similar, I’ve chosen to list the 2020 Chevy Equinox over the GMC Terrain primarily as a matter of preference. While the luxury and sophistication of the GMC model suit a lot of people’s needs, the Equinox is a better option. For one thing, it’s mechanically identical to the GMC Terrain in most respects, but it will cost you less while still giving you a fantastic ride.

There are two engines to choose from with the Equinox, just like the GMC Terrain, and the more powerful engine is definitely the way to go. Since the Equinox will run you less than the Terrain, you can more easily spring for the upgraded engine without breaking the bank. Overall, this is a fantastic compact SUV that is a lot of fun to drive and really gives you everything you need.

#3 – Toyota RAV4

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 is a bold and impressive entry in Toyota’s long-running series of compact models. And for one thing, Toyota has really nailed the “plenty of options, but not too many” sweet spot with the RAV4 this year. You have a few different trims to choose from, and each one has its own personality, so you really feel like you have meaningful options available to you.

In addition to this, you have a few different engines you can pick from, including a hybrid and plug-in hybrid with an excellent all-electric range. There’s even a dedicated off-road trim available on the RAV4 that gives you better tires for hitting the trail and an enhanced suspension to tackle some rough terrain. If you’re not sure what you need, then the Toyota RAV4 is a great place to start to see if it will work for you.

One of the best SUVs, a silver 2020 Toyota Rav4, is parked in front of a lake and mountain.

#2 – Honda CR-V

The top spot really could’ve gone to either this model or the Mazda, but the CX-5 just slightly pushed past it for me. That being said, the Honda CR-V is a fantastic compact SUV that is going to be the top choice for a lot of other people. This is simply a well-rounded vehicle that gives you pretty much everything you could want all in an excellent package that is a lot of fun to drive.

One particular note for the 2020 model is that Honda has made the turbocharged engine that was available in previous years, the new standard engine. So choosing a 2020 CR-V over one from last year is actually a great choice that means you’ll more easily have an optimal driving experience. The addition of a hybrid version takes things even further and makes for a fantastic option that you should strongly consider.

#1 – Mazda CX-5

As great as these other models are, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is the number one choice for the best compact SUV on the road. The interior is gorgeous and incredibly comfortable, with tons of great options that really fill the inside with excellent luxury features. It also comes with a standard set of active safety features that are among the best out there to keep you and your loved ones safe when you’re behind the wheel.

Speaking of being behind the wheel, the CX-5 is well known for being incredibly responsive and giving you a terrific amount of power for a compact model. There are just enough trim levels and options available here to let you get the right combination of what you’re looking for, without going overboard or making you feel like you’re ever missing out. When all is said and done, the CX-5 brings it all together for the perfect pick.