Compact SUVs are one of the most popular vehicle segments on the roads today. There are a handful of 2015 compact SUV models worth a serious look. Models tend to have similar features, passenger seating, and starting price, but some models offer less value than offers.
Determining the ‘Worst’
With more than a dozen 2015 compact SUV models to choose from, how do you narrow down the list? One factor that is important is resale value. This shows how well the vehicle was received by the marketplace, the demand, and buyers of these vehicles are likely to receive more for their vehicles when sold or traded in.
To narrow the field, we can rule out models with better than 50% resale value scores. Based on the IntelliChoice 5-Year Retained Value ratings for 2015 models, the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester all have good scores above 50%. All the other 2015 compact SUVs have a rating of 50% or less.
Other factors to consider that may also impact resale value: the number of years the current generation of the vehicle has been on the market. Models that have not been updated are more likely to have outdated features and worse fuel economy.
The Bottom Half
The 2015 compact models in this group include: the GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Hyundai Tucson. The Equinox and Terrain are sibling vehicles, as are the Tucson and Kia Sportage. Let’s take a closer look at these vehicles.
The Terrain’s current iteration debuted in 2010 and we nearly chose it as our pick for worst 2015 compact SUV. The model has the highest starting price of any compact SUV model, at $27,335, which doesn’t exactly conjure up value. On the bright side, the Terrain has several features going for it:
– A slightly above average IntelliChoice 5-Year Resale Value score of 50%.
– Built in Wi-Fi with 4G LTE connectivity.
– Available 3.6-liter 306 horsepower V-6, the most powerful in its class.
– Available Denali features premium content making it worth a look as a luxury compact crossover with a price to match.
Besides the Denali trim, the features above are also seen in the Equinox. But the Equinox has a starting price of nearly $2,000 less. The Terrain and the Equinox are categorized as midsize SUVs in some publications. However, there passenger and cargo space aren’t near the top of what are typically referred to as compact models.
There have been rumors for years that Mitsubishi would pull out of the U.S. marketplace but the Outlander did receive a makeover in 2014. The Outlander received minor updates for 2015. In 2014 the model scored a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. Along with the Nissan Rogue, the Outlander is the only model to offer a small third row seat and it also offers a V-6 engine option.
The Tucson has the least powerful base engine in the class with a 2.0-liter 164 horsepower four-cylinder engine. There is an optional 2.4-liter 182 horsepower engine available. Despite having the least powerful engine, the Tucson still has below average fuel economy of 23-mpg city and 29-mpg highway.
However, the Tucson does offer a Fuel Cell model, which is unique to the class, but the model is offered only in a limited basis in California. The Tucson Fuel Cell’s fuel economy is rated at 49/51 mpg-e.
The Tucson is built on the same platform as the Kia Sportage. But the Sportage comes standard with the most powerful 2.4-liter standard and it’s starting price is comparable to the Tucson. The Sportage, Tucson, and Outlander share a class leading five year/60,000 mile warranty.
Worst Compact SUV of 2015
Our pick for worst 2015 compact SUV is the Volkswagen Tiguan. The Tiguan is stylish and powerful for it’s class. So how did the Tiguan end up at the bottom? The Tiguan’s last significant refresh was in 2012 but it’s fuel economy is still worst in class.
Even with front-wheel drive, the Tiguan is rated at 21-mpg city and 26-mpg highway (18/26 with all-wheel drive). This is worse fuel economy than some midsize SUVs such as the Ford Edge.
The Tiguan is also sub-par on cargo space. While comparable to the Jeep Cherokee, the Tiguan offers only 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat and total cargo space of 56.1 cubic fee with the backseat folded.
On the bright side, the Tiguan offers:
– Most powerful base engine in the class with a 2.0-liter 200 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, the CR-V is only 10 horsepower less.
– All trims for 2015 have standard rearview camera, satellite radio with a touchscreen and roof rails
– An upscale R-Line trim, albeit with the same engine and a price of nearly $40,000.
Most buyers of Tiguan’s are likely to play close to $30,000 for their vehicle making it a less than ideal value proposition. But what really takes it for the Tiguan as the worst compact SUV in addition to poor fuel economy is the worst-in-class resale value. The Tiguan’s IntelliChoice 5-Year Retained value rating is a lowly 45%.