Lightest 2020 SUVs


We recently covered the heaviest 2020 SUVs so we thought it would be only fair to look at models on the lighter side.

To qualify as a lightest SUV, the model had to be subcompact and weigh below 3,000 pounds. Surprisingly the MINI Cooper Countryman didn’t make the list. The model, which competes in the entry-level luxury subcompact crossover class, has heavier materials than its more economical competitors. It comes in with a curb weight of 3,422 pounds.

So how many models made the list? Here are the ones that are the lightest 2020 SUV models.

Hyundai Venue – 2,557 pound curb weight

The Venue is an all-new model from Hyundai and the company’s smallest and most affordable SUV yet. It has a starting price of about $17,500 and is offered with front-wheel drive only.

Despite its subcompact size, the Venue has plenty of head and legroom up front. It also has good handling, modern safety features, and an easy-to-use infotainment system. The Venue comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan Kicks – 2,691 pound curb weight

The Kicks is a newer model with excellent fuel economy of 31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. It handles well and has good cargo space for its class. The Kicks was our top pick for small SUV for tall drivers.

Kia Soul – 2,802 pound curb weight

The Soul is a top-ranked subcompact crossover without the option of all-wheel drive. The Soul has spacious seating, ample cargo room, and a long warranty. In 2020, the Soul’s horsepower was boosted by 17 to 147 while fuel economy improved to 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

The Soul also has an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged 201 horsepower engine if you want more weight and power. But all-wheel drive is again not available.

Like models in its sister company Hyundai, the Soul comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Kona – 2,890 pound curb weight

The Kona ranks near the top of the subcompact SUV class. It is similar to the Soul engine-wise but with distinctive styling, a more polished interior, and less space.

There is also the separate Kona Electric model, which is a smart yet heavier electric vehicle choice.

Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek – 3,117 pound curb weight

So why is a model weight over 3000 pounds on this lightest SUV list? Well, if you want all-wheel drive in a light SUV, the Crosstrek is a good pick. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a feature that adds several hundred pounds of weight.

Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V – 2,906 pound curb weight

The HR-V has a spacious interior for its class with good legroom, including the 2nd row, and excellent fuel economy. It’s rated at 28-mpg city and 34- mpg highway. The HR-V also has solid handling and a comfortable ride.

The HR-V is available with an all-wheel drive option.

Kia Seltos

Kia Seltos – 2,948 pound curb weight

The Seltos is a new model that came out early for the 2021 model year. It’s similar to the Kona but is built on a different platform. The Seltos has good cargo volume for its class with ample rear passenger space.

The Seltos nice interior quality but its engine lacks punch. The model is offered with an optional 175-horsepower turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive is also an option.

mazda cx-3

Mazda CX-3 – 2,952 pound curb weight

The CX-3 offers lively handling, decent acceleration, and good fuel economy. It has a long list of standard features for 2020 including standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and i-Activsense driver assistance.

The CX-3 gets top marks for safety. It’s one of the safest small SUVs on the market. Currently, it’s the only 2020 subcompact SUV model to be awarded a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

On the downside, the CX-3 has a cramped rear seat and below-average cargo space for its class. The CX-3 has sport and manual-shift modes and all-wheel drive is an option.

For a slightly larger, more powerful and heavier Mazda, consider the CX-30.

Light SUVs Over the Years

We did an article on the lightest SUVs model in 2017, and the only model to be on that list that still holds up in 2020 is the HR-V. All of the other models on that list: the Ford EcoSport, Fiat 500X, and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport have all gained weight. The Nissan Juke is no longer in production and made way for the Kicks.

To review, the models on our lightest SUVs of 2020 list had the following curb weights in base trim:

  • Hyundai Venue – 2,557 pounds
  • Nissan Kicks – 2,691 pounds
  • Kia Soul – 2,802 pounds
  • Hyundai Kona – 2,890 pounds
  • Subaru Crosstrek – 3,117 pounds with all-wheel drive
  • Honda HR-V – 2,906 pounds
  • Kia Seltos – 2,948 pounds
  • Mazda CX-3 – 2,952 pounds

All of the above models on our lightest SUV list have starting prices of less than $25,000 and less than 155 horsepower. So if you’re looking for brisk acceleration, look elsewhere. But if you like light weight, good fuel economy, and practicality on a budget, the above models should be a good fit.

Hyundai Kona Electric

One type of vehicle missing from this list is electric or hybrid crossover models. While more efficient, battery packs are weighty and electric vehicles are heavier than their internal combustion engine counterparts.

What's your favorite light 2020 SUV on our list?

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