The 2016 model year continues to show the growth of the subcompact SUV category. These minute crossovers deliver a higher ride height, excellent fuel economy, and all-wheel drive capability with more room than subcompact, or even some compact cars.
While five years ago this vehicle segment didn’t really exist, we tally more than a dozen 2016 subcompact SUV models. There are new models, six luxury line models and models that obtain near 35-mpg with a gas engine. The average fuel economy for vehicles in this segment is about 30-mpg.
Sharing the same platform as the Buick Encore, the Trax is an all-new model for Chevy for 2015. The Encore and Trax each only offer one engine, a 1.4-liter 138 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Trax is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. in early 2015. With a starting price of about $19,000, the Trax is a budget conscious choice, costing at least $6,000 less than the upscale Encore.
The all-new Honda HR-V is Honda’s entry into this rapidly growing segment. The subcompact crossover is based off the Honda Fit, which is a spacious four-door subcompact. The NV can get up to 40-mpg highway with its 1.5-liter 130 horsepower engine.
No SUV category is complete without a Jeep right? Jeep is aiming for the more premium end of the segment with its all-new Renegade, which is a Fiat-based model. The Renegade will come standard with a 1.4-liter 160 horsepower engine, also seen in the Fiat 500 Abarth, and an optional 2.4-liter 184 horsepower option, seen in the Dodge Dart.
With a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Renegade will be the most fuel efficient Jeep yet with highway fuel economy expected to reach 32-mpg. The Renegade is expected to start at about $17,000. If you like going offroad, the Renegade Trailhawk has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, an extra 0.8 inches of lift over standard models.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The biggest changes for the 2015 Outlander Sport is that it has a new optional Continuously Variable Transmission which increase fuel economy by 1-mpg in city and highway fuel economy. A front-wheel drive model is rated at 24-mpg city and 32-mpg highwayOther more minor changes are LED runinigh lights, thicker front door glass added sound insulation and a new electric power steering system
The Juke was an early entry in the subcompact crossover category debuting in the 2011 model year. This distinctive, small crossover is a spirited performer with a 0-60 time of about 7 seconds. It’s also affordable with a starting price of about $20,500. With a 1.6-liter turbocharged 188 horsepower base engine, Nissan also offers Juke Nismo and Nismo RS models with horsepower ranging from 197 to 215.
This subcompact SUV debuted for the 2013 model year and hasn’t changed since them. The Crosstrek is currently the only subcompact crossover to offer a hybrid engine. It’s 2.0-liter 160 horsepower hybrid engine achieves 29-mpg city and 33-mpg highway, with combined economy lower nearly equivalent to some of its gas-engine powered competitors.
The base Crosstrek with a 2.0-liter 148 horsepower engine is rated at 23-mpg city and 30-mpg highway can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
While there are only about a dozen subcompact models to choose from in 2016, expect the choices to grow considerably in the coming years. The performance of the 2016 models will play a big role in determining how many more subcompact models we see on the roads.
You can learn about luxury subcompact SUV models here.