Compact SUVs

![These mighty mites still pack a punch](http://buyersguide.carsoup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Main_IMG_572x280.jpg)These mighty mites still pack a punch
People still love crossovers and SUVs. They are the preferred family transport of today. And more and more they love them at any size.

Just like every vehicle trend, the idea of downsizing has taken hold amongst crossovers and SUVs. The most popular ones are considered “Compact.” The best-selling vehicles in this class yield around 20,000 units per month and mainstream models are priced about the same as a comparable mid-sized family sedan.

As expected, families with children are the primary buyers of compact crossovers and SUVs. They love the extra space, including the convenience of a larger cargo hold behind the second row.

The primary reason for buying a compact crossover/SUV is relatively better fuel economy on these vehicles. Four-cylinder engines have improved to provide both efficiency and performance while carrying solid loads across the miles. There are a few models offering a V6 engine option, but others are touting the extra efficiency of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Standard equipment has expanded to include active safety features and improving infotainment systems to engage everyone on board. For families on the go, some of these vehicles are now equipped with power lift gates, including a hands-free option for people holding items to put in the back. One option you might not find on many models these days is a third row of seating. Families are finding the compromise between people, cargo space and economy to opt out of additional seating in these compact crossovers/SUVs.

There are plenty to choose from in this highly competitive market segment.

Equinox_140x140CHEVROLET EQUINOX: General Motors had a winner in the ‘Nox with its forward thinking design, cabin and driveline. Last year added the 3.6 liter V6 on top of the standard four-cylinder offering. Yet, it is showing its age. It will soldier on another year even in the face of improving competition.
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Journey_140x140DODGE JOURNEY: Some call this the sleeper in this class. Further proof of its sleeper status: It is good enough to be sold in Europe as a Fiat – and are selling quite well over there. Along with the four-cylinder, the Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 is also offered on most Journey models. There is plenty of space for a long vacation for four in the cabin and the cargo hold.
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Escape_140x140FORD ESCAPE: With its OneFord designation and Kinetic styling, the Escape has become one of the top sellers for the company in the U.S.A. It can transport 4-5 people comfortably and carry their stuff to the next adventure. Power comes from an all-four-cylinder lineup, including two Ecoboost turbocharged engines. With its four-wheel drive system, it serves up plenty of grip and traction when needed.
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GMC TERRAIN: Though riding on the same platform as the Equinox, the Terrain combines Professional Grade design with upscale aspirations. You can get the Terrain with either the four-cylinder or V6 – even with the luxurious Denali model. Even with improving competition, the Terrain has compelling looks with string performance to boot.
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CRV_140x140HONDA CR-V: One of the most popular compact crossovers of all time grew in 2012 to accommodate people and their lives inside. 2.4 liter four-cylinder power motivates the CR-V in either front- or all-wheel drive. The main selling point is the cargo space – it is one of the largest in the class.
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Tucson_140x140HYUNDAI TUCSON: With all due respect to the Dodge, this is the real sleeper in its class. It remains one of the most original crossovers out there. You still get a selection of four-cylinder engines under the hood and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, there is plenty of Hyundai’s innovative design to enjoy while gobbling up the miles.
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Jeep_Cherokee_140x140JEEP CHEROKEE: Built off the Chrysler-Fiat CUS-Wide platform, the new Cherokee stirred up plenty of discussion due its design. This is not your upright Jeep that we all know and love, but there is a lot more than just its design. The Trailhawk is a capable vehicle off-road – one fact that will surprise everyone. Expect new engines and transmissions never seen on any Chrysler product on this new Jeep.
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jeep_compass_140X140JEEP COMPASS: Once thought as dead by this year, the Belvidere, Illinois-made small Jeeps will solider on with some significant changes. A new six-speed automatic and some trim upgrades keep this competitive for Jeep buyers. The automatic will be connected to the familiar 2.4 liter World Engine that is still the backbone of this platform.
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jeep_patriot_140X140JEEP PATRIOT: Similar to the Compass, this small jeep receives minor trim changes and the six-speed automatic to improve performance from previous models. The Patriot has a bit more off-road capability than the Earthbound Compass, and truly looks the part. The best bet is the 2.4 liter four-cylinder that motivates the Patriot towards the trails.
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kia_sportage_140X140KIA SPORTAGE: This sporty number still attracts buyers to Kia. A choice of four-cylinders powers this crossover – one being turbocharged. Some may object to the lack of visibility out back, but that is part of the charm of the Sportage. It is made for people looking for something completely different.
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mazda_140X140MAZDA CX-5: Some have derided the CX-5 as being too small for its competitors, but it is now mighty enough to go against them. The addition of the 2.5 liter Skyactiv four-cylinder now puts the CX-5 in play with serious results. For the most part, the CX-5 shows its “Zoom-Zoom” side, while carrying families, friends and their getaway gear in comfort.
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nissan_rogue_140X140NISSAN ROGUE: A new model is coming – soon. The current model served Nissan well, but the competition got much better. It will be built in Tennessee on a new platform, yet it will still have a four-cylinder engine with the Xtronic CVT transmission. Further details should be coming later this year.
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subaru_forester_140X140SUBARU FORESTER: New for 2014, the Forester grew in size while upping the ante in quality and accommodations. In all, it is more user-friendly, more comfortable and quieter than its predecessors. Add the new Eyesight active safety feature that acts as a complete forward collision mitigation device. Power comes two four-cylinder boxer engines – one of them is turbocharged – connected to Subaru’s all-wheel drive system.
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toyota_rav4_140X140TOYOTA RAV4: Changed for 2013, the RAV4 is the cornerstone of Toyota’s crossover/SUV lineup. The improvements are only available to the eye – new sheetmetal and interior. Underneath, the only engine available is the 2.4 liter four-cylinder connected to either front- or all-wheel drive. It remains a competent crossover that does the job.
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volkswagen_tiguan_140X140VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN: The Golf-based crossover has plenty of passenger room available for 4-5 people. Available only with a 2.0 liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, you can get the Tiguan with front- or the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. It is a solid choice for families looking for something European in this segment.
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