The compact SUV class is one of the most competitive classes in the segment. Consumers have more than a dozen new models to choose from some base prices starting below $20,000. Many SUVs in the compact class are no longer small in size. Like many other parts of American life, sizes have grown to the point where what is classified a compact SUV can actually be a rather spacious vehicle.
New SUV models in the compact class include the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mercury Mariner, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV-4, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara, and Volkswagen Tiguan. The Pontiac Torrent and Saturn Vue were new for 2010 but General Motors has announced plans to discontinue selling the Pontiac and Saturn brands by the end of 2010. This may create good buying opportunities for these vehicles.
It can be difficult to classify some models as the lines between compact or midsize are often blurred. Generally compact SUVs do not offer third row seating, however some do such as the Toyota RAV-4. Some car-based vehicles such as the Chrysler HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser are also classified as compact SUVs.
There are several other vehicles worth considering that are not always included in this class. The Mini Countryman, which is Mini’s version of an SUV, has received good initial reviews. There is also the two-door Jeep Wrangler, which is a rugged, off-road style SUV that is compact in size.
Compact SUVs are typically powered by four cylinder engines but many makes offer a V-6 option such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Mercury Mariner and Toyota RAV-4. Safety, fuel economy, and resale value should all be factors considered when purchasing a new compact SUV.