List of Small SUVs

By Penelope Lane

  • Overview

    List of Small SUVs
    List of Small SUVs
    Sports utility vehicles, also known as SUVs, are widely-popular in the United States for their sleek designs, comfortable and spacious interiors, rugged styling and versatile function. With escalating gas prices a universal concern, small SUVs are a smart alternative to the larger, heavier, gas-guzzling counterparts. Compact SUV models are available from every major automobile manufacturer; therefore, it can be confusing for a consumer to determine the right fit. Proper research on the compact SUVs available can help alleviate the anxiety of a new car purchase and solidify the right vehicle choice that will be enjoyed for years to come.
  • Benefits

    Compact SUVs have many benefits over full and mid-size sports utility vehicles. They are less expensive to purchase, with many new models starting below $20,000, and have plenty of convenience and luxury features. Fuel tends to be less costly because compact SUVs are smaller and lighter than larger styles, according to Edmunds. Four-wheel Drive systems (if offered) are generally less complicated on smaller SUV models, reducing maintenance fees for owners. Additionally, compact SUVs provide more cargo and passenger room than sedans, have towing capacity, offer a higher road viewing perspective and come in a variety of styles.
  • Identification

    The small SUV is a class of sports utility vehicles often called "mini" or "compact" interchangeably. However, some use the term "mini" SUV for even smaller models, such as the Jeep Wrangler. A compact SUV is known to have the same rugged styling, off-road capacity, city-driving convenience and luxury options as larger models. However, they generally have less power, passanger/cargo space and towing capacity.


  • Considerations

    Consider safety features and crash testing ratings with small SUV research. A common belief is that SUVs are safer than sedans. However, this is not necessarily true--consider the possibility of SUV rollovers during an impact. Keith Bradsher from "The New York Times" recently said that SUVs are "dangerous" because of their potential (and frequency) of roll-overs, increasing the chances of crushing other vehicles, passenger critical injury and even fatality. Question automobile manufacterer marketing campaigns and don't assume that small SUV safety is a given. Always drive an SUV safely to avoid rollover potential and increase vehicle control. In addition to safety, the purchase of a small SUV warrants additional considerations: environmental impact (some SUVs pollute more than others and have hybrid options), reliability, size, initial cost and true value, performance, insurance fees and maintenance costs.
  • Types

    There are many types of small SUVs. The best selling compact SUV, according to a recent "U.S. News and World Report," is the Honda CRV. Often compared with the high-ranking Toyota RAV4, these two models have long dominated the small SUV market. Other popular small SUV models include the Ford Escape, Kia Sorento, Honda Element, Hyundai Tucson, Saturn VUE, Volkswagen Tiguan, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Jeep Cherokee, BMW X3, Land Rover LR2 and Nissan XTerra. Features vary on models as well, including four-wheel drive capability, luxury and convenience features, interior space, passenger and cargo capacity, towing packages, engine power, fuel efficiency (and hybrid options) and steering handling.
  • Expert Insight

    For parties interested in purchasing a new or used compact SUV, read in-depth model reviews on websites, such as Consumer Reports, Edmunds, Motor Trend, Car and Driver and Cars. Study extensive comparison road tests on small SUV models. For used cars, always ask the dealer or seller for a car fax report to learn about the small SUV's history. Test drive many models and follow car buying advice from credible resources.
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