Top 5 Small SUVs of 2019
The demand for SUVs has continued to escalate despite more road congestion, less parking spots, and higher gas prices. The solution? Smaller SUVs of course! That is why we are here to show you the top 5 small SUVs out right now.
The Top 5 small SUVs of 2019:
- Mazda CX-5
- Audi Q3
- BMW X1
- Honda CR-V
- Volvo XC40
In true AutoPaladin fashion, I am only presenting what I believe is the best in this very obscure class of vehicles that people want for some reason.
What is a small SUV?
This is a question I found myself asking while doing research here. These days there are like 97 classes. Back when I was a kid you had: car, truck, and van.
But here we are. It’s 2019 and now we have all sorts of ridiculous classes like luxury sub-compact hybrid, a compact crossover, FWD mid-size entry-level luxury sedans, and whatever else.
For this reason I’ve made sure to level the playing field for those doing serious research before they buy and came up with a set of standards that I followed for this segment:
Small SUV or compact SUV Dimensions:
- Length: 174 – 181 inches
- Width: 72 – 74 inches
- Height: 63-66 inches
The reason I chose these dimensions is that any larger and manufacturers start double-dipping. They start calling one model both a compact SUV and a subcompact SUV, whatever the hell that means.
- Pricing: starts at ~$25,000
- Dimensions: 179″ L x 65″ H x 73″ W
- The good 😃: Looks great, feels more luxurious than the price suggests and is surprisingly fun to drive.
- The bad 😣: Could use more power and has low towing capacity.
The Mazda CX-5 remains one of the top compact SUVs for 2019. A combination of good looks and fun driving dynamics make the CX-5 a great easy-to-live-with and practical.
There are five trim levels available: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and new for 2019 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature.
The Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring all come with 2.5-Liter 4-Cylinder good for 187-hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. A new turbocharged 2.5-Liter 4-cylinder comes standard in the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature that puts down 250-hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.
Sport, Touring and Grand Touring come standard with FWD or optional AWD while the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature come standard with AWD.
All trims come with a handsome interior that is made of high-quality materials considering the price point.
If you’re looking for more high towing capacity and more cabin space this might not be the SUV for you, but if you’re looking for a high quality driving experience at an affordable price point the Mazda CX-5 is hard to beat.
- Pricing: starts at ~$34,000
- Dimensions: 176.5″ L x 63″ H x 73″ W
- The good 😃: Sharp styling, sophisticated interior, Quattro AWD is standard.
- The bad 😣: Not much backseat room, light handling, and lack of US options available.
When I first saw the new 2019 Audi Q3 I almost couldn’t believe it was the Audi Q3. In fact, I hate the previous generation Q3 and think it’s a pile of shit. Its cabin is more boring than a bowl of plain grits and driving it is as exciting as eating a bowl of plain grits.
The interior of the new Q3 is beautiful and better equipped than any other vehicle in the segment by far. The US version will come standard with Quattro AWD and a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder good for up to 228-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, the US will not receive the dual-clutch seven-speed transmission of the European market. Other options that are not available in the US will be the Sport and adaptive-damper suspension packages.
- Pricing: starts at ~$36,000
- Dimensions: 175″ L x 63″ H x 72″ W
- The good 😃: Feels sporty and has plenty of utility.
- The bad 😣: Not as luxurious as the price and brand suggest.
In terms of luxury auto-makers BMW seems to be regarded as one of the best despite a choppy history of quality and price inflation. I’ve never been a big fan of BMW, but I don’t let that get in the way when presenting information.
Here, we have the BMW X1 which is equipped with a 228-hp turbocharged inline 4-cylinder and comes with optional AWD. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission option.
The BMW X1 has a sporty, firm setup that feels fun to drive and conveys a lot of confidence in the corners. The interior has a mash-up of cheap and expensive materials with the standard seats being a little lackluster.
Overall, it’s a fun little SUV that looks good and lets people know you’re on the up-and-up.
- Pricing: starts at ~$25,000
- Dimensions: 181″ L x 66″ H x 73″ W
- The good 😃: Comfortable and spacious interior and good fuel economy.
- The bad 😣: Feels boring to drive and has low towing capacity.
It’s not often a Honda makes my list of any recommended cars, but I have to concede here. At this price point, there is a lot to be desired in the CR-V. It boasts great standard technology and ample storage space.
It comes with a Turbocharged 2.4-Liter 4-cylinder that puts out 190-hp and is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is standard across all four trim levels.
I don’t care what Car and Driver say, the CVT is a shit transmission. That being said the CR-V does a good job deploying it. FWD is standard with AWD as an option.
This is the budget SUV for someone who needs more interior space than they do utility. While the CR-V might drive well enough it’s basically a minivan shaped like an SUV to make people more comfortable with buying it.
- Pricing: starts at ~$35,000
- Dimensions: 174″ L x 65″ H x 73″ W
- The good 😃: Beautiful inside and out, great driving dynamics, great value.
- The bad 😣: Fuel economy lags and infotainment system can seem slow at times.
Those crazy Swedes did it again! When they aren’t building compact furniture they are making cool cars and the Volvo XC40 is no exception. It’s pretty inside and out, comes loaded with tech, and is my personal favorite on this list.
Three trim options are available: Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. Pricing starts at $34K, $37K, and $39K respectively. Two engines are available, the T4 and T5, both of which are turbocharged 4-cylinders that put down 184 and 248-hp respectively.
An eight-speed automatic is standard and a massive 3,500 pound maximum towing capacity ensures that this little compact SUV can carry almost anything you need.
This might be the best this class has to offer. The big brother to the XC40, the XC60, made our list of best crossovers as well.
Top 5 Small SUVs – Wrap Up
Compact SUVs, by their very nature, make little sense. Despite the fact that compact SUVs are totally unnecessary American consumers eat them up.
I have said it before and I will say it again – the insatiable demand for SUVs in America is insanity at it’s best. We want better gas mileage, easier driving, safer cars, but we demand they be an SUV.
SUVs got huge in response to consumer demand for “bigger” cars and now consumers want “bigger” cars, but only “smaller”. The reality is that compact SUVs are the worst of two worlds – not as practical as a sedan and not as much utility as a full-size SUV.
However, if you find yourself ready to buy, be sure to read up on the various CPO warranties each of these manufacturers offer. This will help you get the best possible deal for your money.