For most of us, the space and utility of a small SUV is enough. SUVs in this class are easy to live in, efficient, and have enough space to be comfortable. But not all are created equal. What do Edmunds reviewers say are the best small SUVs for 2023?
What is a small SUV?
Small SUVs fit the needs of many of us. They have enough space to fit five comfortably, but they are not the giants that you can’t park. Most have enough interior space to stow enough luggage for a week-long road trip and gas mileage that doesn’t hurt at the pump. 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 $32,000. Interestingly, the best-selling, but aging, Toyota RAV4 isn’t on the list.
No. 1: Mazda CX-50
What happens if you take the popular Mazda CX-5 and give it an off-road upgrade? You get the new for 2023 CX-50. That means you get the space and playful handling of the CX-5, plus the utility of a four-wheel-drive SUV that’s not afraid to tackle some muddy mountain trails. Mazda introduced the CX-50 for 2023.
The base version of the CX-50 starts at $27,550. However, the hot turbocharged version, with 256 horsepower, will put a bigger smile on your face for $27,150.
No. 2: Honda CR-V
Honda completely redesigned the CR-V for 2023 and it now has a more traditional SUV look, as well as a significantly updated interior. The new 2023 Honda CR-V is in the sweet spot for many buyers and a bestseller, so Honda handled the redesign with care. It’s bigger and more practical than the previous version, and it comes standard with the tech most people want, like Apple Car Play and Android Auto, plus a large touchscreen.
The 190-horsepower CR-V starts at $31,610, however the $33,000 Sport Hybrid adds a two-motor hybrid powertrain that gets better mileage but has 204 horsepower.
No. 3: Mazda CX-5
If the CX-50 is on the list, why not the CX-5? The CX-5 combines all the goodness of the CX-50, but in a package designed to tackle the streets. It comes standard with all-wheel drive and a fun, upbeat ride. For 2023, the CX-5 starts at $26,700. Although the faster turbocharged version is very easy to drive, many buyers decide that the $36,850 entry price is too much.
No. 4: Subaru Forester
The Forester is starting to get a bit long, but it still offers a lot of value in the segment. Although it offers a lot for 2023, it gets a complete redesign for 2024, and that may mean the 2023 will be a bargain at your local dealer. Subaru All Subaru’s come with four-wheel drive and solid mechanics that, while not fast, provide a solid driving experience. The Forester is one of the best-selling small SUVs due to its good looks, large interior volume, and clean, truck-like profile.
For 2023, the Forester starts at $26,395.
No. 5: Kia Sportage
If you need some space in your small SUV, the Sportage offers more room in the rear. The new styling of the Sportage also sets it apart from others in the segment with its bold and unconventional front end and grille. Although the base 187-horsepower engine won’t stir your soul, Kia offers a 261-horsepower plug-in hybrid version that has an EV range of 34 miles. Inside, it comes with more technology and style than you’d expect, including two optional widescreens.
The Sportage starts at $26,290. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions start at $27,490 and $38,690, respectively.