If ever there was a battlefield market, it’s the world of small SUVs. These SUVs may look small, but they all seat five passengers, enough luggage for at least a weekend on the road, and look good doing it. Crucially, all of these extra-small SUVs start at under $25,000 and are fuel-efficient to boot. What are Edmunds’ favorites in 2023?
SUVs fit the needs of many of us, and these five are some of the smallest you can buy. The EPA would call these subcompact SUVs, they are generally measured by fuel economy, practicality and style, not performance or off-road capability. edmunds is a site that rates and reviews new and used cars, and in this case, all of the small SUVs on the list are under $25,000.
No. 1: Volkswagen Taos
The VW Taos name is still new to many, but this SUV was all-new for 2021 and is the brand’s smallest SUV. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room behind his shrunken Atlas appearance. In fact, its 66 cubic feet of rear cargo space is among the best. It only has 158 horsepower on tap, and it can get overwhelmed with 4Motion all-wheel drive.
For 2023, it doesn’t get many new updates. The VW Taos starts at $24,155. However, the SE version includes many of the features we want, like remote start, wireless charging, and VW’s suite of driver aids called IQ.DRIVE for $28,925.
No. 2: Chevrolet Trailblazer
Like the Vee-Dub, the Trailblazer launched in 2021. Similarly, it sees no major changes for 2023. While it also won’t set any racetrack records with its 155-horsepower three-cylinder engine, it can win your heart with his clever touches. The rear seats fold flat, but so does the front passenger seat, so you can fit extra-long items like surfboards in the back. The exterior is designed to be modern, but the interior was designed to be functional with a well-designed cabin and top trim looks downright luxurious.
The Trailblazer starts at $22,100, which at just $400 more than a Trax, makes that small SUV seem redundant.
No. 3: Mazda CX-30
In the world of small SUVs, enthusiasts know the Mazda CX-30 for its friendly and agile handling. The CX-30 may not be for everyone, with a tougher ride and a potent 191 available horsepower. But this small SUV ticks a lot of the boxes buyers want, like a modern interior, premium materials, and even a 256-horsepower turbocharged version.
The Mazda CX-30 starts at $22,950. The turbocharged engine may be worth it, since you have to upgrade to the 2.5 Turbo Premium package, which starts at $33,800.
No. 4: Buick Encore GX
The Buick Encore is gone, but long is the Encore GX. Like the Trailblazer, which shares an engine (and a fold-down front seat), the Buick Encore GX isn’t a performance SUV. But it offers a lot of value in a luxury-adjacent package that looks great and gets great gas mileage. While it does a good job of approximating a luxury SUV, don’t mistake it for one.
Think of the Encore GX as a well-appointed, smoother-driving Trailblazer with more traditional styling. It starts at $25,900.
No. 5: Hyundai Kona
Many think the Hyundai Kona could have scored higher on Edmunds’ list. Like the Trailblazer, it has modern styling that sets it apart. However, the Kona comes standard with features that others make optional, like driver-assist software. However, the N-Line version does have advantages, such as a larger screen and a Harman/Kardon stereo, as well as an upgraded engine.
The base Kona has a 147-horsepower four-cylinder and starts at $21,990. The N-Line (and Limited) has a lively 195-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a snappy dual-clutch automatic transmission for $27,700.