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Home » The Evolution of Compact SUVs: A Comprehensive Comparison

The Evolution of Compact SUVs: A Comprehensive Comparison

In recent years, the quintessential family car has undergone a significant transformation. No longer dominated by traditional sedans, the family vehicle of choice for many is now the compact SUV. These versatile and practical vehicles have captured the hearts of more and more buyers, and today, we will delve into a comprehensive comparison of 11 such vehicles to determine the best overall choice in the compact SUV segment.

This 2022 Auto Guide Compact SUV Comparison is brought to you by NRS Brakes, but before we get into the top three finishers, let’s take a moment to discuss the eight vehicles that didn’t quite make the podium.

Honda CR-V: Aging Gracefully

The 2022 Honda CR-V, a long-time favorite in the compact SUV category, still offers plenty of redeeming features. It boasts a spacious cargo area with a low load floor, comfortable rear seats, and a wide array of modern conveniences. However, the CR-V is showing its age, especially in terms of styling and safety ratings. Its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and chassis also fall behind more modern competitors.

Jeep Compass: A Tale of Extremes

The 2022 Jeep Compass is a study in extremes. On the positive side, it impresses with interior upgrades, including the Uconnect 5 infotainment system and improved materials. It also offers a comfortable on-road ride, making it a competent choice for various terrains. However, it’s let down by its 2.4-liter engine’s lackluster performance, tight rear seats, and a price tag that doesn’t quite align with its features.

Volkswagen Tiguan: A Wild Card

The Volkswagen Tiguan proves to be a bit of a wild card in the comparison. While it doesn’t quite crack the top three, it impresses with its refined drive and handling. However, it falls short in terms of ride comfort and interior materials, making it a middle-of-the-pack contender. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers decent power but lags in fuel economy.

Mazda CX-50: A Stylish Contender

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 stands out for its striking exterior design and a well-designed interior. It’s powered by a turbocharged engine, making it quick on the road. However, it compromises ride comfort with its stiff suspension and offers fewer features compared to rivals in its price range.

Subaru Forester: Sticking to Tradition

The Subaru Forester maintains its loyal following with its boxy shape, excellent visibility, and rear-seat comfort. It excels in ride comfort and remains a popular choice. However, it falls short in terms of engine performance, lacking the power and efficiency of more modern powertrains.

Toyota RAV4: A Value Proposition

The Toyota RAV4 enters the competition as a hybrid, offering impressive fuel economy at 40 miles per gallon combined. It also boasts a responsive 219-horsepower powertrain. However, it lacks in interior quality, featuring a less attractive design and lower material quality, which might not align with some buyers’ expectations.

Ford Bronco Sport: The Off-Road Enthusiast

The Ford Bronco Sport brings a unique off-road-focused identity to the competition. With its boxy design and a torquey 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, it stands out as one of the quickest SUVs. However, it’s less equipped than many rivals and offers fewer tech features, making it a niche choice.

Mazda CX-5: The Performance-Oriented Option

The Mazda CX-5, a more practical option in the Mazda lineup, delivers a well-rounded experience. It offers a responsive and enjoyable drive, a refined interior, and top-notch material quality. However, its feature set is more limited due to its lower price point.

Nissan Rogue: The Most Improved Player

The 2022 Nissan Rogue has undergone a remarkable transformation, earning a solid third place in this rigorous competition. It impresses with exceptional comfort, both in terms of ride quality and rear-seat space. The materials used inside and the abundance of features contribute to its success. Under the hood, the 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine strikes a balance between power and efficiency.

Hyundai Tucson: The PHEV Choice

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson offers a unique proposition as the only plug-in hybrid in the lineup. With its combination of a 1.6-liter turbo-four and electric motor, it provides an impressive 261 horsepower and excellent torque. While it excels in several aspects, including performance and fuel economy, it comes with a higher price tag and slightly lower interior quality when compared to its sibling, the Kia Sportage.

Kia Sportage: The New Champion

And finally, the winner of the 2022 Auto Guide Compact SUV Mega Comparison is the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid. Kia has indeed made an impact with its hybrid trim, delivering remarkable stats and a feature-rich package. The Kia Sportage stands out for its spacious and modern interior, offering excellent front seat comfort and a wealth of advanced tech features. Its 1.6-liter turbo-four and electric motor combination provides a powerful and efficient performance, making it one of the quickest and most fuel-efficient options in the lineup. All of this comes at a competitive price point, making the Kia Sportage Hybrid a top choice in the fiercely competitive compact SUV market.

In conclusion, the landscape of family vehicles has shifted dramatically, and compact SUVs are leading the way. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid represents the pinnacle of this evolution, offering a winning combination of performance, efficiency, features, and affordability. As the compact SUV segment continues to grow and evolve, Kia’s Sportage Hybrid has set a high standard for its competitors to follow.

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