Operating a small car may not appear to be the most thrilling possibility. For a while, subcompact cars were regarded as the lowest level in the hierarchy of automobiles—affordable but lacking in other aspects. Words such as “economy cars” and “small cars” were used to characterize them.
Nevertheless, it is now the moment to rid oneself of those unfavorable connections. The subcompact SUVs we’ll be analyzing here may be classified as “subcompact,” but that’s simply because we require a term to refer to them. They are smaller than “compact SUVs,” which, by the way, have become pretty big.
A family of tall folks with lots of baggage can easily squeeze inside one of those. The little SUVs we’ll examine here are created for individuals who require less space and, maybe, have less finances.
The exciting news is that these small SUVs are pretty good! We would include them with our best picks for compact SUVs, so we’ve merged them into a complete list of tiny SUVs.
What makes them especially attractive is their variety in terms of looks, personality, and the kinds of customers they serve.
We provide athletic alternatives, options for outdoor enthusiasts, family-oriented selections, fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, and choices for individuals who prioritize cost. Each offers ample room for passengers and freight, demonstrating flexibility and overall worth.
Nevertheless, it is essential to consider certain disadvantages associated with these little SUVs. An important issue is the accessibility of all-wheel drive.
Three of our best choices do not have it at all, and although we think that front-wheel drive can be suitable for most driving situations, some people prefer the extra safety of all-wheel drive. Another aspect to consider is the quality of the interior.
Although many of these vehicles have appealing interior designs and provide comfort, convenience, and technology amenities similar to larger SUVs, they often contain more inexpensive plastic materials, which helps keep their price lower.
Now, let’s explore the top subcompact SUVs of 2024, organized in alphabetical order by brand.
1. 2024 Buick Envista
Notable Features: Attractive design; spacious for the category; smooth and sophisticated driving feel; powerful and efficient engine; well-equipped; affordable cost
Has room for improvement: All-wheel drive is not an option; armrests are somewhat firm; acceleration is technically slow (even though it may not feel that way).
The Buick Envista is one of General Motors’ notable and significant cars in recent years. Although it may appear minor on the outside, it features a frugal three-cylinder engine with gasoline and provides a pleasant driving experience.
The ride is calm, and the internal noise levels are minimal. It has a high-end look but is priced at less than $30,000. Although it does not have all-wheel drive, the Envista is an appealing choice in the subcompact SUV category.
2. 2024 Chevy Trax
What is notable: Good value; attractive appearance; unexpectedly practical; engaging and even pleasurable to drive; good fuel efficiency
Room for Improvement: All-wheel drive not offered; no engine option; firm armrests
The Chevrolet Trax, which is mechanically related to the Envista, has many similar qualities, making it a strong choice. It provides a more athletic appearance and performance, with somewhat crisper handling and a firmer ride quality.
Although it is not one of the fastest vehicles in its category on paper, it does not seem slow in reality. The Trax is also suitable for families, with roomy back seats and ample storage space. Although it lacks all-wheel drive, the primary front-wheel drive should be sufficient for most driving conditions.
3. 2024 Ford Bronco Sport
Noteworthy features: Ability to drive off-road; ample room for carrying items; smart storage and freight options; unique design
Has room for improvement: Significantly pricier; less fuel efficiency; certain interior materials have a low-quality feel.
Despite its size and classification as a subcompact, the Ford Bronco Sport provides greater load capacity than bigger cars. The distinctive characteristics of this vehicle, such as the map pockets with zippers and the illumination in the liftgate for campsites, make it a flexible option for individuals who desire more than just a compact SUV.
The Bronco Sport performs well off-road, with standard all-wheel drive, generous ground clearance, and adaptable “G.O.A.T. Modes” that adjust the vehicle for different terrains. The unique inside and outside design offers a novel SUV experience in contrast to conventional versions.
4. 2024 Kia Seltos
Noteworthy features: Ample space; impressive technology; lively acceleration with turbo engine; innovative design throughout; solid safety ratings
Room for Improvement: Turbo engine’s below-average fuel efficiency; underpowered base engine
The Kia Seltos offers practicality and style at a reasonable cost. Despite being priced and sized between subcompact and compact SUVs, it provides a larger interior space than anticipated.
The Seltos offers unusual design characteristics, contradicting some cost-cutting efforts to maintain affordability. Additionally, it has an attractive appearance, and its turbocharged engine delivers impressive acceleration for its category.
The Seltos provides excellent value, enhancing Kia’s usual feature-rich options and extended guarantee.
5. 2024 Kia Niro
Notable Features: Stylish design; three electric engine choices; unexpectedly roomy; leading-edge technology
Room for Improvement: Lacks all-wheel drive; the value of both the Hybrid and EV versions is debatable; no tax credit for the EV; average handling
The Kia Niro has a robust selection of three electrified powertrains, all in an appealing style. Whether you choose the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full EV variant, the Niro has a roomy, technology-filled cabin and attractive external design. The hatchback design of the car is enhanced by the distinctive “aero blade” behind the rear doors.
The Niro demonstrates that fuel efficiency can be achieved without compromising the car’s appearance. If you’re searching for the most environmentally friendly option in the mid-compact category, the Niro is an excellent selection.
6. 2024 Nissan Kicks
What is notable: Plenty of room and features for an affordable price, excellent fuel efficiency, and well-implemented safety technology.
Room for Improvement: Sluggish acceleration; average interior
For those with limited funds, the Nissan Kicks offers excellent worth.
Although it may not possess significant power and is not the most exciting to operate, it performs exceptionally well in the fundamental aspects. The Kicks provides a roomy interior, various safety features, and a comfy cabin that doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.
The inside is well-designed, and higher trim levels have remarkable materials.
Suppose you’re looking for a practical, economical option for urban transportation and carrying a weekend’s worth of goods for a getaway. In that case, the Kicks is a good alternative.
7. 2024 Subaru Crosstrek
Notable Features: Standard all-wheel drive; genuinely capable off-road; fuel-efficient; straightforward interior controls
Room for Improvement: Sluggish primary engine; unstable handling; antiquated technology
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is notable for its included all-wheel-drive technology and ability to handle off-road conditions. It provides a driving experience similar to a car, making it a popular option for individuals who prioritize ease of handling and fuel economy.
The Crosstrek has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches (or 9.3 inches in Wilderness form), which allows for good off-road performance. Internally, it features uncomplicated controls, ample back seating, and a generous cargo space.
Although it may not have the most attractive appearance and has slower technology, it is a dependable alternative for different driving circumstances.
8. 2024 VW Taos
What is notable: Impressive rear seat roominess, expansive storage capacity, powerful performance, and efficient fuel consumption
Has room for improvement: Unexciting driving experience; rough appearance can be deceiving
The Volkswagen Taos provides a very suitable experience for families compared to other midcompact SUVs. The automobile has a large back seat that can comfortably fit rear-facing car seats and a considerable amount of space for storing cargo.
The inside size is comparable to that of bigger compact SUVs, providing mobility and fuel efficiency advantages. The Taos is known for its modern design, both inside and out, and includes Volkswagen’s previous generation of user-friendly interior controls.
Although it may look tough, it performs well in everyday driving and provides a balanced option for families and individuals.
Overall, small SUVs have undergone substantial changes, as the 2024 models push the boundaries of what people often expect from tiny vehicles.
They offer room, up-to-date technology, and various styles to accommodate different tastes and budgets.
Although some people might feel the absence of all-wheel drive or wish for a more upscale cabin, these subcompact SUVs provide attractive options in a quickly expanding category.
Whether you value cost-effectiveness, capacity to drive off-road, or amenities suitable for families, a small SUV on this list suits your needs. Therefore, when you’re thinking about getting a new car, don’t forget to consider the smaller SUVs, as they might pleasantly surprise you.