Every 2019 Compact SUV Ranked from Best to Worst

a black toyota rav4 followed by a gray green toyota rav4 on a highway along the beach

Compact SUVs are some of the best-selling vehicles in the United States. In fact, they occupy four of the top ten spots on the list. SUV sales are booming as American consumers trade in their sedans for these higher-riding models. As such the compact SUV segment is a crowded and competitive one. But competition is healthy and has resulted in some great offerings for consumers. We’ll help you cut through the crowded pack to determine which one is best for you.

We ranked 15 compact SUVs from best to worst by combining their ratings on driving performance, standard features, design, and value.

15. 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

a red 2019 mitsubishi eclipse cross

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The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has a fairly cushy ride. Its drawbacks are too numerous to recommend it, however. It has noticeable body roll through turns, unresponsive steering, and small cargo space compared to others in the segment. This drops it down to the bottom of the list.

14. 2019 Jeep Compass

a red 2019 jeep compass

(image via Facebook)

We do like the exterior styling of the Jeep Compass, and the interior is just as straightforward and appealing. However, it has below-average reliability ratings, so even the affordable price point may turn into a more expensive investment in the long-term. It also features underpowered engines, humdrum handling, and tight cargo space.

13. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander

a red 2019 mitsubishi outlander

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The Outlander does have 3 rows, something the majority of these competitors don’t. That makes it affordable for a 3-row SUV. But since it has a dull engine, low-quality interior materials, and doesn’t rank very well for reliability, buyers’ money is best spent elsewhere. You may pay more upfront for something else, but it will be better performing and save you more money in the long run.

12. 2019 GMC Terrain

a black 2019 gmc terrain

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The GMC Terrain was recently redesigned, and we are fans of the exterior look. However, the tricky space between the C- and D-pillars offers an essentially unusable window which makes rear visibility troublesome. The cabin is comfy, and the ride is smooth. But GMC doesn’t offer much in the way of additional features or value for its higher starting price over, say, the mechanically identical Chevrolet Equinox.

11. 2019 Jeep Cherokee

a blue 2019 jeep cherokee

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Like its other Jeep siblings, the Cherokee has a well laid out, if not simple, infotainment dash. It also truly holds its own off-road. Maybe that off-road focus contributed somewhat to the lowest fuel economy ratings in the class. Acceleration also suffers from a poor base engine, though a new optional 2.0L is available.

10. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

a red 2019 chevrolet equinox

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The Chevrolet Equinox edges out its corporate cousin because it offers a better value proposition. It’s affordable and has good reliability ratings. The cabin is comfortable and roomy, and the infotainment dash is intuitive. The build quality materials could be amped up a bit, but it does have a diesel model that offers stellar fuel economy. At least that’s a differentiator from competitors.

9. 2019 Nissan Rogue

a 2019 red nissan rogue

(image via Facebook)

Even though the Nissan Rogue comes middle of the pack in our rankings, it’s one of the best-selling vehicles in the country. It’s affordable and comes loaded with a large array of standard features. It’s also surprisingly roomy for a compact SUV. The underpowered engine, however, tends to whine and struggle when picking up speed. It’s noticeable enough to hear it in the cabin.

8. 2019 Ford Escape

a white 2019 ford escape

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The 2019 Ford Escape is the last of the third generation. Beginning in 2020, it will see a complete redesign along with the addition of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. While the 2019 version has a well-powered engine, other competitors have higher safety score ratings. If you prize cargo space, however, the Ford Escape is one of the class leaders.

7. 2019 Kia Sportage

a silver gray 2019 kia sportage

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The Kia Sportage offers the typical South Korean value proposition. Tons of standard features at lower prices than rivals. The Sportage is also smooth-riding with taut handling. It doesn’t have the most cargo space behind the rear seats, however. Nonetheless, it’s still a solid choice.

6. 2019 Hyundai Tucson

a silver 2019 hyundai tucson

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The Hyundai Tucson is related to the Kia Sportage and has, essentially, the same pros and cons. Its smooth ride is counterbalanced by midling fuel economy ratings and smaller cargo capacity than some rivals in this class. It’s due for a complete overhaul in 2021, and Hyundai has promised some radical styling. It might be worth your while to wait a few months to see what Hyundai has in store if your heart is set on a Tucson.

5. 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

a black 2019 volkswagen tiguan

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Sure the Tiguan has a funny name, but there’s nothing funny about the driving experience. It floats down the road with the sure-footedness of mid-size luxury sedan. It also has a great warranty and good reliability ratings, which means that it’s a safe investment for the long-haul. The rear cargo area is also particularly spacious.

4. 2019 Toyota RAV4

a black 2019 toyota rav4

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Toyota’s top seller was completely redesigned for 2019, and we are fans of the more aggressive styling (at least compared to something like Honda’s CR-V). The RAV4 has spacious dimensions throughout the interior, and it comes with an array of standard driver assistance features. Plus, the very fuel-efficient hybrid model is only slightly more expensive and comes standard with AWD. There really isn’t a reason not to opt for it.

3. 2019 Subaru Forester

a green 2019 subaru forester

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The venerable Forester (a lifted station wagon “disguised” like an SUV) has been selling like gangbusters for Subaru. It’s easy to see why. The Japanese automaker’s cars typically have great safety scores and solid handling with a comfortable ride. All of that applies to the Forester, plus it comes standard with all-wheel-drive. Not many other competitors in this class can say that.

2. 2019 Honda CR-V

a red 2019 honda cr-v

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While the CR-V may not have won us over on the looks depart from the outside, once you sit in the cockpit you can’t help but appreciate the obvious care and precision with which Honda appointed its vehicle. It has the most space in the class, great fuel economy, and upscale interior, and a smooth-as-can-be ride. No wonder it’s a perennial best-seller.

1. 2019 Mazda CX-5

a red 2019 mazda cx-5

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Mazda’s CX-5 outsells the rest of Mazda’s lineup combined. It’s easy to see why. Both the exterior and interior are gorgeous. The sheetmetal shines in classy waves, and the minimalist interior looks like it was pulled straight out of the luxury class. The powerful engines provide a pleasant and engaging driving experience, and it doesn’t come at the expense of fuel economy. What is there not to like?