Table of Contents
Best Crossover SUVs for 2023
By: James Diaz | May 25, 2023
Table of Contents
As the ideal blend of sedan and SUV, crossovers continue to captivate drivers seeking versatility, comfort, and performance. In 2023, the choices are more impressive than ever, with automakers presenting an array of models boasting updated technology, advanced safety features, and improved fuel efficiency. We’ll delve into the specs, driving dynamics, and overall value of each standout crossover SUV this year. Whether you’re a city commuter, an adventurous spirit, or a family-oriented driver, our guide will navigate you to your perfect crossover SUV match.
2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 7.6/10
The compact SUV arena is brimming with intense competition, as automakers vie for your attention like the ultimate Black Friday doorbuster. In the fray is the 2023 Hyundai Tucson – larger than the Kona but smaller than Santa Fe – locking horns with stalwarts like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Nissan Rogue. The Tucson boasts exceptional comfort, an attractive warranty, and unbeatable value, available as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid for added fuel efficiency. Last year, Hyundai revamped the Tucson, adding eye-catching aesthetics, an upgraded cabin, and cutting-edge tech to its arsenal. For 2023, Hyundai has tinkered with Tucson’s feature offerings and introduced a rugged new XRT trim.
Despite minor shortcomings, the 2023 Tucson remains a highly compelling option in its segment. The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid truly justifies its striking appearance. This compact SUV offers impressive fuel economy, a plush ride, and a plethora of standard tech features. Its polished hybrid powertrain even boasts swift acceleration in our tests. The Tucson Hybrid exceeds expectations for its price point and outshines rivals by a considerable margin.
2023 Hyundai Palisade
MotoPickers Rating: 7.6/10
First impressions matter, and Hyundai certainly knew this when they launched the 2020 three-row Palisade SUV. Instantly capturing attention with its practicality in accommodating passengers, cargo, and luxury, the Palisade, alongside its cousin, the Kia Telluride, shook up the three-row midsize SUV landscape. For 2023, Hyundai’s flagship SUV evolves further, warranting more than just a first glance. Sporting a revamped front-end design that aligns closely with the automaker’s other models, the Palisade now boasts a bolder grille, reminiscent of the styling seen on the Santa Fe and Tucson, but with a touch of finesse.
The LED daytime running lights and headlight clusters are also more seamlessly integrated into the front bumper and grille. The relatively newcomer to the three-row crossover SUV market, the Palisade has quickly become one of our favorites, offering impressive value, comfort, and capability. Only minor drawbacks, namely the average handling and fuel efficiency, mar this otherwise well-rounded SUV package.
2023 Mazda CX-5
MotoPickers Rating: 7.7/10
Occupying a prime spot in our rankings for years, the Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover SUV that comfortably seats five passengers. Boasting an upscale interior and exceptional driving dynamics at a competitive price, it’s no wonder the CX-5 is Mazda’s best-selling model. However, the brand’s direction for this popular SUV is in question following the introduction of the CX-50. Featuring similar dimensions and targeting a more adventurous clientele, the CX-50 joins the CX-30, CX-70, and CX-90, leaving the CX-5’s role uncertain. Despite its slightly limited rear passenger space, cargo capacity, and fuel efficiency, the Mazda CX-5 maintains its title as one of the class’s top contenders for those seeking a sophisticated and versatile small SUV.
2023 Kia EV6
MotoPickers Rating: 7.7/10
As the electric vehicle uprising progresses, there’s an abundance of fantastic options to explore. For those seeking a balance of style and performance in an all-wheel-drive electric SUV, the 2023 Kia EV6 proves to be a worthy contender. Sporting a suave exterior and agile handling, the EV6 delivers up to 310 miles on a single charge, as per EPA estimates. 2023 witnesses the arrival of the highly-anticipated GT model, claiming the crown of the most potent production vehicle in Kia’s history with its 576 horsepower and ability to sprint to 60 mph in a staggering 3.4 seconds.
While the base Light trim has been discontinued, the previously mid-range Wind trim remains our recommendation for the majority. The Kia EV6 deserves attention from those seeking an electric SUV that offers driving pleasure, with its abundant power, responsive steering, and balanced handling. However, if a comfortable ride or ample cargo space is your priority, there are superior alternatives available.
2023 Kia Telluride
MotoPickers Rating: 7.7/10
The Kia Telluride stands unrivaled as the top three-row SUV in the market today. Since its launch in 2020, the Telluride has consistently wowed us. What sets it apart from its competitors is its exceptional ride comfort, opulent cabin, and third-row seating spacious enough for adults. Additionally, the Telluride offers excellent value for money with its extensive features and generous warranty. For the 2023 model, Kia introduces two new subtrims to the lineup: the X-Line and X-Pro, which enhance the ruggedness of certain existing trims.
The X-Line is available for the EX, SX, and SX Prestige, while the X-Pro is exclusive to the SX and SX Prestige. Essentially, the Telluride is an outstanding three-row SUV, boasting a serene, premium interior, cutting-edge technology, ample standard features, spacious third-row seating, and an enjoyable driving experience. Though not without minor flaws, the Kia Telluride remains a top choice for a three-row crossover SUV.
2023 Mazda CX-30
MotoPickers Rating: 7.7/10
The 2023 Mazda CX-30 emerges as an exceptionally compact crossover SUV, boasting top-tier driving dynamics and luxury within its segment. Launched in 2020, the CX-30 comfortably nestles between the more compact Mazda CX-3 and the roomier CX-5 and CX-50. It delivers a driving experience akin to a hatchback, sharing numerous components and characteristics with the Mazda 3. With its agile handling and optional turbocharged engine, the CX-30 offers pure driving pleasure, complemented by an opulent interior that rivals seldom possess.
The 2023 model features subtle enhancements, primarily in terms of the base 2.5-litre engine’s improved fuel efficiency, upping the EPA’s combined driving estimate by a noteworthy 3 mpg, and a 5 horsepower boost. The added power may be imperceptible, but the increased fuel economy mitigates prior concerns. Mazda’s turbocharged engine option remains, albeit limited to the costly 2.5 Turbo Premium and Premium Plus trims. The CX-30 is a sleek, sporty addition to the ultra-compact SUV category, flaunting an attention-grabbing exterior, an array of standard equipment, comfortable driving dynamics and ample storage space. Despite a premium price tag, it provides exceptional value for money.
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5
MotoPickers Rating: 7.8/10
Entering its sophomore year, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 continues to thrive with only minor tweaks to its winning formula. This chic, retro-styled electric crossover SUV, which joined forces with the smaller Kona Electric, is set to launch its sedan sibling, the Ioniq 6, later this year. Beneath the eye-catching exterior, the Ioniq 5 boasts comfort, engaging driving dynamics, and an abundance of cutting-edge technology. Some variants even offer a remarkable EPA-estimated range exceeding 300 miles. The 2023 update includes a standard battery heating system across all models and a newly introduced battery preconditioning function for faster charging.
Towing capacity also increases to 2,300 pounds for models equipped with the larger extended-range battery. All-wheel-drive models now have an estimated range of 266 miles and exhibit slightly enhanced efficiency. Those yearning for an N-branded performance variant of the Ioniq 5 may need to wait until the 2024 model year. Despite not reaching the range of rival Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E models, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 remains a charming and enticing electric SUV.
2023 Hyundai Tucson
MotoPickers Rating: 7.8/10
In the fiercely competitive compact SUV arena, automakers vie for your attention much like the most coveted doorbuster deals on Black Friday. Among the challengers is the 2023 Hyundai Tucson, which slots between the smaller Kona and the larger Santa Fe. Its main rivals include heavy-hitters like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Nissan Rogue. Standout features encompass plush comfort, an attractive warranty, and unbeatable value for money. Plus, eco-conscious buyers can opt for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid Tucson to save on fuel.
Hyundai gave the Tucson a comprehensive makeover last year, incorporating avant-garde styling, a refreshed cabin, and cutting-edge tech. For 2023, the automaker has tweaked feature availability and introduced the outdoorsy XRT trim. While the Tucson isn’t without its shortcomings, it remains a strong contender in the segment. Boasting exceptional value, a smooth ride, and impressive tech offerings, the Hyundai Tucson impresses further with its upscale cabin and generous cargo area. However, its underpowered engine struggles to keep up in faster traffic. Despite this, the Tucson remains a well-crafted compact SUV.
2023 Kia Soul
MotoPickers Rating: 7.8/10
A decade ago, we witnessed a surge in quirky, boxy compact hatchbacks. Car shoppers had various options, such as the Scion xB, Nissan Cube, Kia Soul, and the more SUV-esque Honda Element. Fast forward to today, and the Kia Soul remains the sole survivor, but its recent 2023 refresh slightly mutes its eccentric charm. Launched in 2020, the third-gen Soul revitalized the cubic hatch concept with modernized design, an unpretentious cabin equipped with singular design touches, and a generous roster of standard features.
However, the 2023 refresh is a mixed bag. The unique slender headlights are replaced with bulkier, customary lamps, and the sporty GT-Line Turbo trim, along with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, has been dropped. Nonetheless, the Kia Soul remains a strong contender, with its spacious cabin, generous cargo space, engaging handling, and a user-friendly continuously variable automatic transmission. Despite minor drawbacks, this compact SUV ranks among the best in its class.
2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV
MotoPickers Rating: 7.8/10
The 2016 Mazda CX-9 redesign earned high praise as a top-tier three-row midsize SUV, although its limited interior and cargo space eventually fell behind newer, more spacious models like the Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas. Now, Mazda is back in the game with the all-new 2024 CX-90, poised to reclaim its leading position. Similar in size to the outgoing CX-9, the CX-90 boasts a 7.5-inch longer wheelbase, optimizing passenger and luggage room. Building upon the CX-9’s exceptional quality, the CX-90 elevates luxury to rival entry-level premium SUVs.
The turbocharged inline-six engine ensures powerful and silky acceleration, complemented by standard all-wheel drive and an optional plug-in hybrid with an estimated 26 miles of electric range per single charge. Exuding undeniable luxury, the Mazda CX-90 excels in its class with agile handling and swift speed. While the third-row space and cargo area remain slightly limited, the CX-90 is highly recommended for those seeking a feature-rich three-row SUV.
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E
MotoPickers Rating: 7.9/10
A decade ago, if you’d asked us what other type of vehicle the esteemed Mustang badge might appear on, we’d never have predicted an all-electric SUV. Yet, here we are with the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E – an electrified SUV embracing many design elements from the legendary Mustang coupe while providing a sporty drive worthy of its equine emblem. Although other EVs may deliver better performance or greater range, few strike such a harmonious balance as the Mach-E. This sleek Ford SUV boasts up to 314 miles of range and sprints to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds when fitted with all-wheel drive. Moreover, it’s a joy to drive around town, thanks to its bump-smoothing suspension and superbly quiet cabin.
It’s a Mustang! It’s an SUV! It’s the all-electric Ford Mach-E! Our expectations were uncertain when we learned Ford was concocting an electric Mustang SUV, but now we’re undoubtedly thrilled it exists. Sporting a dynamic drive, zero-emission output, and futuristic over-the-air software updates on a massive central touchscreen, the Mach-E drives and appears like a true car of the future.
2023 Honda CR-V
MotoPickers Rating: 7.9/10
The Honda CR-V has long been a reliable staple in the compact crossover market since its debut in 1997. Renowned for its roominess, enjoyable driving experience, user-friendliness, and fuel efficiency, the CR-V has consistently been a top pick for many. The 2023 model sees a comprehensive redesign, sporting fresh bodywork and a revamped interior while maintaining the attributes that make it a favorite. Honda ups the ante by increasing the size of this latest iteration, extending the wheelbase by 1.6 inches for more rear legroom.
Cargo space remains ample, with both the traditional and hybrid models offering an impressive 39.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats or 76.5 cubic feet when they’re folded down. Ideal for families, the new CR-V successfully maintains its strengths, such as a smooth ride, advanced tech features, and generous storage. However, with rival models having also upped their game, the CR-V is now a strong contender rather than an undisputed champion in the segment.
2023 Hyundai Kona
MotoPickers Rating: 7.9/10
Priced reasonably, the Kona shines as a subcompact SUV and stands as one of our top choices for petite crossovers. Boasting value-packed features, an urban-friendly size, and brisk acceleration courtesy of two potential powertrains, the small wonder underwent a facelift in 2022, sporting revamped exterior design, a boosted turbocharged engine, and the introduction of a zesty N variant. Thanks to these major improvements, tweaks for the 2023 model are minimal. While it has its shortcomings, such as a lackluster base engine and a cabin strewn with rigid plastics, these minor flaws are easily overlooked in the bigger picture.
Although the Kona is a strong contender in the extra-small SUV segment, it’s worth exploring other options like the Volkswagen Taos, Chevy Trailblazer, Mazda CX-30, and Buick Encore GX. Despite a solid turbo engine option, nimble handling, and an impressive feature list, the Kona isn’t a clear winner owing to its limited cargo space and plastic-ridden interior.
2023 Ford Bronco Sport
MotoPickers Rating: 8.0/10
For years, car enthusiasts eagerly anticipated the return of Ford’s iconic Bronco SUV, and in 2021, they were treated to not just one, but two new models: the larger, truck-inspired Bronco and the compact Bronco Sport. The former stays true to the adventurous spirit of its predecessors from the ’60s to the ’90s, while the latter offers a condensed version of this experience in a smaller crossover body. Built on the Ford Escape platform, the Bronco Sport might not be as formidable off-road as its bigger sibling, but it’s an ideal choice for those seeking a versatile compact SUV with a touch of trail prowess.
With standard all-wheel drive, impressive ground clearance, and specialized traction settings, you’re well-equipped to explore the great outdoors. Its spacious interior and easy-to-clean cargo area add to the Bronco Sport’s practical appeal. While this compact crossover excels in off-road capability, technology, and functionality, it falls short in areas such as ride comfort, rear passenger space, and agile handling, where its competitors have long excelled.
2024 Mazda CX-90
MotoPickers Rating: 8.0/10
The Mazda CX-9’s last revamp in 2016 propelled it to the top of our preferred midsize SUVs, flaunting three-row seating. However, its limited interior and cargo dimensions gradually became a drawback, as more spacious competitors like the Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas emerged. Mazda now seeks redemption with the all-new 2024 CX-90, a worthy successor to the earlier flagship model, boasting a 7.5-inch longer wheelbase to enhance passenger and storage capacity. The CX-90 deftly builds on the opulence of its predecessor’s interiors and offers an experience commensurate with entry-level luxury SUVs.
A turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine ensures seamless and robust acceleration, while the inclusion of all-wheel drive provides extra options for buyers – including a plug-in hybrid variant with a 26-mile electric range on a single charge. The CX-90 exudes luxury, boasts sharp handling and swift acceleration, making it a top contender in its class, despite its slightly cramped third-row space and cargo hold. For those exploring three-row SUVs, the Mazda CX-90 comes highly recommended.
2023 Mazda CX-9
MotoPickers Rating: 8.0/10
For 2023, the Mazda CX-9 continues its reign as the largest three-row midsize SUV in Mazda’s family, sitting just above the recently launched CX-50. As the all-new CX-90 steadily approaches, the CX-9’s future may be uncertain. However, this year’s model retains its place in the fray. Sporting only minor updates, the most noteworthy change is the elimination of the entry-level Sport trim, leaving the formerly second-tier Touring as the most affordable offering. Consequently, the starting price of the CX-9 is marginally higher compared to other three-row SUV competitors. Yet, it delivers a generously-equipped and aesthetically pleasing package.
Features such as standard all-wheel drive and an enhanced infotainment system have helped this Mazda stay abreast in a fiercely contested segment. Known for its stylish design and exhilarating driving experience, the CX-9 comes tantalizingly close to rivaling luxury marques with its top-notch interior. Nevertheless, it somewhat misses the mark in terms of cargo space, flexibility, and third-row comfort, which could be deal-breakers for many midsize-SUV enthusiasts – and the reason it isn’t ranked higher.
2023 Kia Seltos
MotoPickers Rating: 8.0/10
The Kia Seltos seems to be experiencing a case of middle-child syndrome, overshadowed by its more prominent Kia brethren. On one side, its price point is higher than the quirky and eye-catching Kia Soul. On the other, the all-new Kia Sportage commands attention with its sharp, bold design that is set to influence the brand’s future lineup. However, the Seltos’ position in the family isn’t the only reason buyers might overlook it.
While the Seltos boasts impressive cargo space and a unique aesthetic, its front seats could use enhancements for better long-distance comfort. It also falls short in delivering an exhilarating driving experience on winding roads, with even the optional turbocharged engine feeling somewhat sluggish from a standstill. Despite these drawbacks, the stylish and spacious Kia Seltos, packed with cutting-edge technology and safety features, warrants a closer look. Make sure to compare it with other popular contenders like the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and Mazda CX-30 before making a decision.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
MotoPickers Rating: 8.1/10
Historically, Jeep had little to entice buyers seeking a three-row SUV, but this has altered in recent years with the debut of the mighty Wagoneer and the Grand Cherokee L. Measuring a foot longer than its two-row counterpart, the Grand Cherokee L utilizes this additional space by incorporating a third row. This adventurous SUV, which seats up to seven occupants, could be your ideal 2023 ride. We appreciate the Grand Cherokee L as a commendable three-row SUV option, particularly for those who envisage embarking on off-road excursions or hauling hefty trailers. Boasting ample room for passengers across all rows and significantly outperforming rivals in off-road and towing abilities, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is not without its flaws. Its on-road behavior falls short, making it a less practical three-row SUV compared to some competitors.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.1/10
Technically positioned as a compact SUV, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe stands out with its slightly larger dimensions, bridging the gap between small and midsize SUVs. However, some competitors within its class offer greater passenger and cargo capacity, better affordability, agility, and fuel efficiency. Nevertheless, the Santa Fe Hybrid sets an impressive benchmark, achieving 34 mpg combined – a noteworthy 9 mpg improvement over the standard model – without a significant price hike. Bolstered by Hyundai’s generous features and warranty package, the Santa Fe Hybrid presents a persuasive proposition. Shoppers will no doubt be drawn to the 2023 model, yet the Kia Sportage Hybrid remains our top-rated SUV in this segment. We also recommend exploring the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape hybrids, which offer intelligently-designed packaging, enhanced fuel economy, and potential savings both upfront and in the long run.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe
MotoPickers Rating: 8.1/10
The Hyundai Santa Fe has long been a favored midsize SUV with a solid reputation. A few years back, it lacked character; however, the 2021 model received a facelift with a revamped grille and refreshed interior. While not quite as distinctive as its edgy sibling, the Hyundai Tucson, the Santa Fe boasts an attractive and roomy crossover that’s enjoyable to drive. With a generous list of features and impressive acceleration provided by the optional turbocharged engine, the Santa Fe offers excellent value. Nonetheless, competitors like the Honda Passport, Subaru Outback, and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport are also worth considering. Beyond its remarkable acceleration and fuel economy, this SUV also offers a luxurious experience at a competitive price point, complete with ample cabin space and a silky-smooth ride.
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.1/10
The Honda CR-V has long been a staple in the compact crossover world since its debut in 1997, consistently earning praise for its roomy interior, enjoyable driving experience, user-friendly design, and fuel efficiency. Now, the 2023 model gets a complete makeover, sporting updates from bodywork to cabin, while retaining the best features of its predecessor. With size being paramount even in a compact SUV, Honda has expanded the latest CR-V, stretching the wheelbase by 1.6 inches for increased rear legroom. Cargo space remains competitive, and notably, the hybrid variant now matches the regular model with an impressive maximum of 39.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats or 76.5 cubic feet when they’re folded down.
The refreshed Honda CR-V maintains its status as a top choice for family-friendly small SUVs, offering a smooth ride, advanced tech features, and ample storage. However, rivals have also evolved, meaning the CR-V, while a strong contender, is no longer the undisputed champion of its category.
2023 Chevrolet Traverse
In today’s automotive world, a vehicle must surpass expectations to achieve success. Merely ticking boxes no longer cuts it, regardless of a car’s capabilities. When the current-generation Chevrolet Traverse launched in 2018, terms like “distinctly average” and “clumsy” were used to characterize it. From the outset, it faced an uphill battle, and the substantial makeover it underwent last year scarcely elevated its status.
The 2023 Chevrolet Traverse essentially mirrors its predecessor, and while we acknowledge its brisk acceleration, user-friendly infotainment, and generous passenger and cargo capacity, these qualities fall short of matching its adversaries. Hindered by limited rear visibility and an interior laden with excessive hard plastic, the Traverse appears and feels out of its depth amid rivals boasting near-luxury standards. To compound matters, segment frontrunners offer more features and superior interiors at lower price points. The 2023 Chevrolet Traverse showcases commendable attributes, such as a roomy cabin and potent V6, yet it’s eclipsed by numerous formidable contenders in the midsize three-row SUV market.
2024 Cadillac Lyriq
The Cadillac Lyriq marks the brand’s debut in the electric vehicle arena. Although categorized as a compact SUV, its elongated dimensions evoke a modern, low-profile station wagon. Employing General Motors’ cutting-edge EV technology, the initial Lyriq models boast a 100kW battery pack fueling a single electric motor that drives the rear wheels. This configuration yields an impressive 340 horsepower and an EPA-estimated range of 312 miles. A dual-motor Lyriq with all-wheel drive and an estimated 500 hp is also in the works. Although not revolutionary, these specs are on par with rival luxury EVs. Inside the Lyriq, occupants are greeted with an opulent interior featuring a blend of leather, wood, and metal.
The spacious front seats offer ample comfort, while a striking 33-inch curved screen dominates the dashboard. Only the climate control switches utilize physical buttons in this minimalist cabin. Additionally, the Lyriq comes standard with GM’s Super Cruise, a hands-free highway driving assist system. Our brief acquaintance with the 2024 Cadillac Lyriq left us craving more, as it promises a luxurious experience at a competitive price point, coupled with an ambitious range and battery offering. While there’s room for improvement in its driving dynamics, we eagerly await a full performance and range assessment in the near future.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
A perennial favorite in the compact SUV segment, Toyota’s RAV4 has consistently won over customers with its spacious interior, comfortable ride, and steadfast brand loyalty. Now, the 2023 RAV4 Hybrid aims to strengthen its position by offering even greater fuel efficiency without sacrificing practicality or enjoyment. Key enhancements for 2023 include a revamped center touchscreen and digital instrument cluster boasting crisper graphics, improved voice command functionality, and wireless software updates – all achievable without visiting a dealership. Furthermore, the Woodland Edition trim makes its debut within the RAV4 Hybrid range.
Based on the XLE model, this rugged upgrade sports bronze-hued wheels, elevated roof rails, all-terrain tires, and a custom-tuned suspension for better shock absorption. While the RAV4 Hybrid guarantees ample cabin space and remarkable fuel savings, minor trade-offs in driving dynamics and interior quality are worth noting. Overall, its versatility and inclusion in a select group of hybrid SUVs make it an attractive choice, despite sharing some of the regular RAV4’s limitations when compared to rival compact crossovers.
2023 Subaru Forester
As one of the pioneers in the compact crossover SUV category, the Subaru Forester first made its mark in the late 90s, quickly becoming one of the brand’s top-selling vehicles. With its renowned all-wheel-drive setup and ample ground clearance, it has cemented its place as an ideal choice for those residing in frosty regions, adeptly handling light off-roading adventures. The Forester is part of Subaru’s quartet of SUVs, which includes the more compact Crosstrek, the Outback, and the spacious three-row Ascent.
The 2023 Forester builds upon the numerous enhancements made in its 2022 predecessor, chiefly focusing on fine-tuning its safety systems and expanding the forward-looking camera’s viewpoint. Additionally, the Wilderness variant now boasts a larger infotainment screen as standard equipment. Although the Forester’s acceleration might leave something to be desired, this crossover SUV nonetheless impresses with its hearty demeanor, cozy interiors, and competitive collection of features, all at an attractive price point.
2023 Nissan Rogue
As Nissan’s top-selling model, the Nissan Rogue undoubtedly dominates the compact SUV market with its head-turning appeal. A recent makeover has propelled the once-dull Rogue into the spotlight, trading in its uninspiring exteriors for attractive styling and a tech-savvy cabin. Boasting a modern digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay, and the sophisticated ProPilot Assist suite, the 2023 Rogue keeps up its pizzazz with subtle updates. The alluring Midnight Edition package embellishes the Rogue SV with black-painted wheels and accents, while the SL and Platinum models welcome Amazon Alexa compatibility. Retaining its practicality, fuel-efficiency, and generous standard features, the latest Rogue is an impressive all-rounder. However, it lags behind rivals in cabin noise, ride comfort, and aging infotainment offerings.
2023 Mazda CX-50
Introducing the 2023 Mazda CX-50, a fresh addition to the compact SUV market, set to coexist with the current CX-5. Although it may seem peculiar to have two such similar SUVs contesting the same segment, the distinctions between them are substantial enough to warrant their simultaneous presence. The CX-50 sports an edgier exterior, characterized by pronounced fenders and a sleeker grille design. Thankfully, its rugged appearance isn’t merely superficial, as the CX-50 boasts superior off-roading prowess and towing capabilities compared to the CX-5 and numerous other competitors.
The ingenious off-road drive mode, which seamlessly unites steering and traction control, accounts for much of its adventurous nature. Additionally, the CX-50 offers a ground clearance ranging between 8.3 and 8.6 inches, rivaling the nature-loving Subaru Forester at 8.7 inches. For those seeking added off-road finesse, the CX-50 Meridian Edition comes equipped with all-terrain tires. When it comes to the driving experience, the CX-50 is the cream of the crop, offering a luxurious and roomy interior, along with agile performance.
2023 Honda Pilot
When the third-generation Honda Pilot hit the scene in 2016, we were instantly smitten by its outstanding ride quality, posh cabin, and ingenious storage solutions – making it our top pick among three-row crossover SUVs. Fast forward a few years, however, and the Kia Telluride (along with its Hyundai Palisade sibling) snatched the throne. Undeterred, Honda regrouped and upped their game in the all-new 2023 Pilot. Addressing previous limitations, the Japanese automaker elongated both the wheelbase and overall length, creating extra room for passengers, especially in the rear two rows, while accommodating bulky child seats with ease.
Redesigned exterior and interior styling give the Pilot a contemporary, rugged appearance, shedding its former curves. Plus, the exciting new Pilot TrailSport spices things up with some bona fide off-road enhancements. Regrettably, the revamped Pilot trails its rivals in terms of third-row space, cargo capacity, and cutting-edge tech. While it’s undoubtedly comfortable and roomy for those up-front, some competitors provide more value for your hard-earned cash.
2023 Honda Passport
Are you in search of more room than a standard compact SUV but have no use for a third seating row? The 2023 Honda Passport could be the perfect match for your needs. Nestled between Honda’s smaller CR-V and the larger, three-row Pilot, the Passport is essentially a more compact, two-row iteration of the Pilot, and it currently tops our list in this category. With its enhanced off-roading capabilities—thanks to last year’s TrailSport trim addition—and a refreshed aesthetic, the 2023 Honda Passport tops the two-row midsize SUV competition, including Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Hyundai Santa Fe.
This year, it gains an edge with standard all-wheel drive throughout the range, ending the front-wheel-drive option for the base EX-L. However, the Passport isn’t flawless. It features a handful of driver-assist technologies that aren’t always optimally integrated, but the benefits far outweigh any minor glitches. Discover more about our top pick below. The Honda Passport stands out as a highly adaptable SUV, boasting a sporty design, impressive performance, a smooth ride, ample cargo space, reasonable fuel efficiency, and numerous standard features. Its excellent smartphone integration and abundant internal storage make it an exceptional choice for drivers.
2023 Buick Enclave
The 2023 Buick Enclave positions itself as a midsize three-row SUV offering comfortable seating for seven passengers. Garnering accolades for its roomy interior, abundant cargo capacity, smooth ride, and extensive list of standard amenities, the Enclave underwent a revamp in 2022, incorporating contemporary design elements, cabin enhancements, and additional standard tech features. Consequently, the 2023 model presents only slight modifications. Straddling the line between luxury and non-luxury three-row SUVs, the Enclave faces stiff competition from the likes of the remarkable Hyundai Palisade and chic Mazda CX-9, both of which are more budget-friendly. On the other hand, lavish options such as the Acura MDX and Lincoln Navigator provide an opulent experience for a marginally higher cost.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee
For 2023, the Jeep Grand Cherokee emerges as a revitalized midsize SUV with two seating rows. Taking design cues from its upscale sibling, the Grand Wagoneer, it sports a refreshed exterior and revamped interior for the 2022 edition. Inside, Jeep’s cutting-edge Uconnect 5 infotainment system takes pride of place, flanked by a modern digital gauge cluster and an optional extra display for the front passenger. While the V6 and V8 engines have been retained from the previous variant, the lineup now includes the plug-in hybrid 4xe. This eco-conscious addition lends an impressive all-electric range of 25 miles before the four-cylinder gasoline engine kicks in. Plus, its 375-horsepower output and 470 lb-ft of torque outshine even the mightiest V8 on offer.
The rugged Trailhawk is now exclusively paired with the 4xe hybrid powertrain. Boasting comfort, ample space, class-leading towing, and genuine off-road prowess, the Grand Cherokee garners high praise. Its well-engineered driving aids further enhance safety and ease of driving. However, its value proposition falls short: the Grand Cherokee comes with less standard equipment than competitors and its price tag drifts into luxury territory when fully loaded.
2023 Kia Sorento
In search of a compact SUV with the ability to carry six or more passengers? Look no further than the 2023 Kia Sorento, featuring third-row seating—a rare find among small SUV models. Nestled between the five-seater Sportage and the larger Telluride, the Sorento offers a perfect balance of space, accommodating up to seven passengers in a snug arrangement. Boasting an array of standard features, such as wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lane keeping assist, and numerous USB charging ports, this Kia model is dressed to impress.
Fear not about sacrificing coziness in the second row—the Sorento delivers surprising spaciousness, with even the rear-most seats aptly comfortable for adults, albeit slightly tricky to access. Sporting a remarkable blend of quality, practicality, and performance options, the all-new Sorento presents itself as a highly appealing choice for those seeking a versatile compact SUV. The only possible downfall could be the somewhat costly price tag of the top-tier model.
2023 Kia Sportage
Perception may not be everything, but it certainly plays a significant role. Kia has long been regarded as a value-focused automaker, but with value often comes the stigma of cheapness. To counter this, Kia has focused on delivering exceptional design, cutting-edge technology, and clever packaging at a competitive price point. The Kia Sportage, their compact crossover SUV, squares off against class-leading rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4. In this crowded market, it’s easy for the Sportage to get overshadowed. However, the Kia Sportage sets itself apart with a smooth driving experience, generous seating space, and an expansive rear cargo area. Added to this, it boasts attractive tech features and advanced driver assistance systems. The only notable drawbacks of the Sportage are its lackluster acceleration and disappointing fuel efficiency.
2024 Subaru Outback
The 2023 Subaru Outback effortlessly merges the benefits of a wagon and an SUV, delivering a highly versatile vehicle as a result. While its wagon-like contours don’t offer as much cargo capacity as some competing midsize SUVs, it compensates with a lower roofline for more straightforward loading. When it comes to SUV features, standard all-wheel drive and notable ground clearance are perfect for off-road adventures or tackling harsh weather conditions. For 2023, the Outback gets a subtle cosmetic update, sporting new plastic cladding beneath the headlights and around the wheel arches, resembling last year’s Wilderness trim.
Interestingly, the Wilderness trim itself remains virtually unchanged. In-car technology also gets a boost, with an upgraded infotainment system allowing wireless smartphone connectivity to the central 11.6-inch touchscreen, eliminating the need for a USB cable. Moreover, the Onyx Edition now offers a choice between the base or turbo engine, with the latter being renamed the Onyx Edition XT. As before, it’s the most budget-friendly turbo variant in the range. The Outback provides all the SUV functionality without the pretense, blending a station wagon’s practicality, comfort, drivability, and excellent visibility with an SUV’s elevated ground clearance, smooth ride, and all-weather confidence. While it isn’t flawless, its strengths certainly outweigh its weaknesses.
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
For those seeking a more substantial SUV with fuel-saving capabilities, the options may seem scarce in the realm of midsize, three-row, hybrid vehicles. Fear not, as the 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is here to cater to your needs. Boasting an impressive 36 mpg for combined city and highway driving, this gem outshines competitors like the smaller Kia Sorento Hybrid and the pricier Ford Explorer Hybrid. With a sensible price point in comparison to its non-hybrid sibling, the Highlander Hybrid allows for potential savings of up to $900 annually within just nine months. Built upon the solid groundwork of the standard Highlander, this eco-friendly variant doesn’t compromise on performance, agility, or interior space. Although the third-row seating is on the smaller side for this category, the Highlander Hybrid remains an outstanding choice in the limited market of three-row hybrid SUVs.
2023 Toyota RAV4
Continuously topping the charts, the Toyota RAV4 remains a popular choice for SUV enthusiasts, thanks to the unbeatable combination of Toyota’s reliability and its well-crafted design. This compact SUV boasts a spacious cabin, a smooth ride, and user-friendly tech features. Its wide range of trims caters to diverse tastes and budgets, with the RAV4 TRD Off-Road variant offering a unique off-roading experience through its all-terrain tires and bespoke suspension upgrades. Though its exterior remains unchanged for 2023, the interior receives a revamp with a new infotainment system featuring enhanced graphics, user-friendly navigation, and OTA software updates.
Additionally, both standard and upgraded touchscreens have been enlarged, and the cabin now benefits from wireless phone integration and a digital instrument panel. Combining a comfortable ride, ample interior space, and excellent fuel economy, the RAV4 offers practicality and utility. However, its lackluster engine performance and uninspiring steering prevent it from fully dominating the compact SUV segment.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime
The Toyota RAV4 Prime dominates as a versatile compact crossover SUV, effortlessly taking on multiple roles that traditionally require several vehicles. It boasts emission-free electric mileage, hybrid efficiency for extended journeys, and ample cargo and passenger space, making it an ideal choice for families. Furthermore, this dynamic SUV boasts incredible power – with 302 combined horsepower encompassing a gasoline engine and dual electric motors, it is only second to the Toyota GR Supra in speed, hitting 0-60 mph in a mere 5.9 seconds.
The updated RAV4 Prime, with its beefed-up battery and ultra-powerful electric motors, effortlessly outshines competing plug-in SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson PHEV, Kia Sportage PHEV, and Volvo XC60 T8 Extended Range. In addition to its remarkable fuel economy and robust performance, it excels in comfort, interior quality, and technology. Our tests confirm the RAV4 Prime’s agility, as well as its EPA-estimated 42-mile electric-only range.
2023 Volkswagen Taos
Arriving fashionably late to the subcompact SUV scene, Volkswagen introduced the Taos in 2022, sitting a notch below its Tiguan sibling in terms of size and price. Boasting eye-catching design, useful tech options, and a deceivingly roomy cabin, the Taos carries over into 2023 with just a few tweaks. Now standard across all trims are the base S model’s previously optional driver aids, such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot warning. Additionally, the SEL version welcomes a panoramic sunroof, while the SE gets adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist as standard. This petite powerhouse from Volkswagen delivers an impressive blend of contemporary tech, safety, and generous space for passengers and cargo alike. Its minor drawback is an occasional sluggish or clumsy gear shift, but overall, the Taos stands as one of the most versatile and family-oriented options in its category.
2023 Volkswagen Atlas
Introducing the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas, a spacious seven-seater SUV boasting three rows and earning the title of the largest vehicle in VW’s current U.S. lineup. Since its premiere in 2018, the Atlas has consistently impressed as a top-tier midsize SUV, offering exceptional comfort for all passengers, even those in the back row. Not to mention, the user-friendly interior layout and enjoyable driving experience earn the Atlas high praise. While a 2021 update brought a sleeker design and enhanced infotainment system, modifications for 2023 remain minimal.
At this stage, it’s likely that Volkswagen is already focused on crafting the next-gen Atlas, meaning we can expect the current model to see out its days without any significant changes. Alongside its remarkable spaciousness and intuitive tech features, the Atlas also boasts valuable driver assistance tools. While its engines may not offer the peppiest acceleration, as a family SUV, the Atlas proves hard to resist.
2024 Subaru Crosstrek
The current-generation Crosstrek has been around for about half a decade, making it prime time for a refresh in the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek as car manufacturers usually revamp their models every four to six years. Changes can vary from subtle design tweaks to major overhauls in the cabin, exterior, and mechanics. For the 2024 edition, Subaru has chosen to keep alterations minimal, introducing just a Special Edition trim to the lineup.
Sporting a Desert Khaki paint job and adorned with black and red seats, this fresh edition is based on the Premium trim and adds an adventurous touch to the Crosstrek range. While we were hoping for the addition of an Outback Wilderness, mirroring the Forester and Outback Wilderness trims, it seems that is not in the cards. Previously, we recommended the Crosstrek, albeit noting its lackluster performance. However, with the new optional 2.5-liter engine, it now boasts impressive acceleration to match its premium interior, robust off-road capabilities, and an exceptional suite of driver assistance features.
2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid
For 2023, the Kia Sorento Hybrid emerges as a distinct contender in the crossover SUV arena. Bridging the gap between the larger, sought-after Telluride and the more compact Sportage, this versatile SUV boasts a rare third-row seating option. The Sorento comes in both non-hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, each reviewed individually. Under the hood, a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine teams up with an electric motor to deliver an impressive 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It also achieves an EPA-estimated 37 mpg in combined city/highway driving, 11 mpg more than its non-hybrid counterpart and on par with hybrid models like the Honda CR-V and Toyota Highlander.
For 2023, Kia upgrades the Sorento Hybrid, removing the basic S trim and introducing the fully-loaded SX Prestige model complete with digital instrument panel, standard all-wheel drive, heated and ventilated seats, and a wealth of other high-end features. Even the sole remaining EX trim comes generously equipped, offering spacious passenger room, and an easily navigable infotainment system on a large touchscreen. The only drawback to this highly praised SUV is the limited cargo space behind its third row of seats.
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Introducing the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, a compact crossover SUV that builds on the foundation of its smaller sibling, the Bolt EV hatchback. The EUV’s main advantage lies in the extra rear legroom provided by an extended wheelbase and an additional 6 inches in length. In terms of cargo space, it’s on par with the Bolt EV, offering 16.3 cubic feet behind the back seat, and 56.9 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded down. Powered by a fully charged battery, the EPA rates the EUV’s driving range at 247 miles, which is slightly lower than the Bolt EV’s 259 miles.
However, in our own test, the EUV managed 260 miles on a single charge. While this is a respectable range, competitors such as the Kona Electric and Volkswagen ID.4 can cover even greater distances. The Bolt EUV is basically the “iPhone Max” of Chevrolets, providing enhanced space, comfort, and features, including the optional GM Super Cruise hands-free driving assistance. Although the EUV may compromise slight agility for its upgrades and have a slightly higher price tag, we believe it’s a worthy investment.
2023 Buick Encore GX
Although it may seem like just another variant of Buick’s enduring micro SUV, the Encore GX is in fact a distinct model that replaces the diminutive Buick Encore. With its larger and more luxurious presence, the GX stands out among today’s subcompact SUVs, boasting an impressive array of technology and safety features, as well as more space and cargo capacity than most of its rivals. Its refined design and proportions echo the sophistication of Lexus and Volvo competitors, a departure from Buick’s usual subdued style. However, the bulk and attributes of the Encore GX come at a price; it’s among the most expensive subcompact SUVs on the market.
Standard essentials like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, but extras such as navigation, a Bose audio system, and adaptive cruise control are still optional even in the top-spec GX. Depending on your preferences for a compact SUV, you may find the Chevrolet Trailblazer or rugged Subaru Crosstrek more appealing. The Mazda CX-30 offers a similarly premium experience with added power, while bigger SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson provide more of everything at a similar cost. We were pleasantly surprised by the Buick Encore GX’s lively acceleration and adept handling, along with its signature attributes of a smooth ride, upscale interior, and extensive list of tech offerings. However, these qualities come at a literal cost, as the Encore GX’s pricing is on the higher end compared to its main competitors.
2023 Hyundai Kona Electric
The 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric brings a refreshing twist to the subcompact SUV segment, offering superb value and a surprisingly enjoyable drive. Sharing similar handling and rapid steering as its gas-powered counterpart, the Kona Electric’s motor provides a swift and smooth ride. As an affordable entry into the ever-expanding EV market, it provides a more wallet-friendly option compared to many larger electric vehicles. The 2023 model witnesses the first major revamp of the Kona series since its inception, boasting a sleeker front end, sans faux grille, and revamped LED daytime running lights plus headlamps. The rear bumper and taillights also receive a makeover, although the overall silhouette remains intact. With an impressive range, competitive pricing, stylish cabin, and generous standard features, the Hyundai Kona Electric has always offered great value. These latest enhancements make it an even more enticing proposition in the burgeoning EV arena.
2023 Subaru Ascent
Introducing the 2023 Subaru Ascent, a spacious, three-row midsize SUV that stands as Subaru’s grandest offering to date. Mirroring its cousins, the compact Forester and adventurous Outback, the Ascent equips standard all-wheel drive and generous ground clearance for navigating through harsh weather conditions or conquering off-road terrain. It may not rival the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco when it comes to pure off-road capability, but the Ascent excels in transporting up to eight passengers into the great outdoors. New for 2023 are refreshed front and rear designs highlighting upgraded lighting, bumpers, and grille, while an 11.6-inch touchscreen now comes standard – mirroring other recent Subaru models.
Additionally, enhancements to the forward collision mitigation system, an optional top-down parking camera, and a fresh Onyx Edition Limited trim are noteworthy features. Beyond mere aesthetics, the Ascent’s 2023 enhancements – particularly the EyeSight safety suite upgrades and contemporary infotainment system – solidify its status as a modern family transporter and strengthen its position within the competitive three-row SUV market.
2023 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander has earned a reputation as a top contender in the arena of three-row midsize SUVs, making it an ideal option for expanding families seeking a minivan alternative with a more dynamic driving experience and superior maneuverability. The 2023 iteration builds on the latest generation model, introduced in 2020, and boasts several enhancements. A key change is the replacement of the previous V6 engine with a new turbocharged four-cylinder variant, offering reduced horsepower but increased torque. Surprisingly, this smaller engine delivers a robust performance in such a sizable vehicle.
Additionally, the Highlander now achieves marginally better EPA-estimated fuel efficiency, placing it among the greenest three-row SUVs available. The Highlander’s fuel-sipping engine, smooth ride, assured handling, and abundant driver assistance features all contribute to its high rating. However, bear in mind that its third row may not be as spacious as some rival offerings.
2023 Nissan Pathfinder
For 2023, the Nissan Pathfinder stands out as a roomy midsize SUV with three rows of seating, offering fierce competition to rivals like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Kia Telluride. Thanks to a complete overhaul last year, the Pathfinder now provides an enhanced ride experience and cutting-edge tech amenities. Its generous dimensions make it ideal for families, as even large adults or tall teenagers can easily fit in the third row, something that’s not always possible in other vehicles in its class.
Additionally, the Pathfinder excels in towing capabilities, with a maximum capacity of 6,000 pounds when properly outfitted—perfect for hauling a small to medium-sized trailer. Combining all these elements, the Nissan Pathfinder delivers a roomy, comfortable, and enjoyable driving experience packed with top-of-the-line technology and safety features.
2023 Nissan Ariya
Nissan was an early player in the affordable electric vehicle (EV) market when it introduced the Leaf hatchback back in 2011. However, times have changed, and the latest EVs have grown larger, speedier, and achieved a substantial range improvement. Nissan now joins the competition with the 2023 Ariya, taking on rivals like Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota bZ4X, and Volkswagen ID.4. Following the industry trend, the Ariya offers two battery options, with the standard 63-kWh pack competing directly with the Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Buyers can choose between a single-motor front-wheel-drive configuration (214 hp) or a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup (335 hp), dubbed the e-4orce. While the Ariya has promising specifications, certain design choices, such as charging times and dashboard display aesthetics, may deter some potential buyers. Nonetheless, it’s worth considering the Ariya in comparison to the Ioniq 5, Mach-E, and ID.4.
2023 Kia Niro
The Kia Niro bridges the gap between a compact SUV and a hatchback, making it an enticing choice for eco-conscious drivers. Available in three electrified editions – a standard hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a fully electric model – this review focuses on the most budget-friendly option: the regular hybrid. The 2023 Niro has undergone a thorough revamp, boasting a larger structure, enhanced interior, and advanced tech features. Its exterior aesthetics now resemble its bigger, electric relative, the Kia EV6.
Not only does it look futuristic, but the Niro also offers increased dimensions with a slightly extended wheelbase and overall length. The result? Ample space for passengers and 22.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats. The interior has also received a modernized refresh, featuring an optional dual 10.25-inch instrument panel and central touchscreen akin to the EV6. Although the Kia Niro’s acceleration leaves room for improvement, its value for money, smooth ride quality, and handy driving aids make it an exceptional choice for anyone seeking a fuel-efficient, compact crossover.
2024 Honda HR-V
Honda’s petite HR-V SUV serves as the brand’s entry-level offering, sitting below its bigger siblings, the CR-V, Pilot, and Passport. The recent revamp delivered a refreshed design, upgraded tech, and a tad more oomph to this compact powerhouse. It boasts spacious seating, generous cargo capacity, and competitive pricing, along with standard Honda Sensing, an impressive suite of cutting-edge driver assistance features. However, this little SUV isn’t without its drawbacks: taking over 10 seconds to reach 60 mph, the HR-V’s sluggish acceleration is far from impressive.
Surprisingly, it offers only modest fuel efficiency, leaving us yearning for a more potent engine option. With the recent redesign, significant updates for 2024 seem unlikely. Additionally, the HR-V’s stiff front seats can make long journeys a bit wearisome, and its tech offerings are fairly average. While Honda’s smallest SUV has a reputation for packing plenty of practicality and smart features into its compact frame, the 2023 makeover doesn’t quite excel in a segment brimming with dynamic contenders.
2023 Ford Edge
Midsize SUVs encompass a diverse assortment of vehicles, ranging from sizable three-row options to roomy two-row variants. For those seeking more space than a compact SUV without the need for a third row, the 2023 Ford Edge is a solid choice. It boasts a spacious interior, cozy seating, and an array of attractive features, including standard all-wheel drive and a large 12-inch touchscreen. Ford even offers an ST performance variant powered by a 335-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine. However, the Edge does have its drawbacks, such as its fastback-inspired design reducing rear headroom and thick roof pillars obstructing visibility.
Additionally, it faces stiff competition from rivals with more modern designs. If you desire greater off-road capabilities, consider the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Subaru Outback, or opt for the Honda Passport or Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport for a more spacious cabin. As for 2023 updates, they are minimal, with only slight alterations to trim elements. Nevertheless, the Edge provides a roomy cabin, ample cargo room, and user-friendly infotainment, making it a compelling choice for those in the market for a midsize SUV. Some drawbacks include a slightly jittery ride, and the cabin quality on higher trims may not justify the near-luxury price tag. Overall, the Edge is a well-crafted vehicle that merits its position among the top mainstream SUVs.
2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer
Significantly more compact than its midsize SUV predecessors from the early 2000s, the 2023 Trailblazer is renowned for its petite, parking-friendly dimensions and respectable fuel efficiency. Nestled between the smaller Chevy Trax and the nimbler Equinox, the Trailblazer hits the sweet spot for those seeking a five-seater crossover. Now in its third year, the latest generation Chevrolet Trailblazer combines a roomy interior and chic design elements into an economical package. Under the hood, a standard 1.2-liter turbocharged engine delivering 137 horsepower and front-wheel drive provide enough zip for tackling inclines and overtaking on highways.
For those craving more power, an all-wheel-drive variant with a beefier engine is available. Inside the well-appointed cabin, you’ll find an abundance of tech features including standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, audio controls, and an intuitive touchscreen, creating a user-friendly infotainment system. Chevrolet has certainly nailed it with the newest Trailblazer – it may not top its segment in efficiency or performance, but it excels in virtually every other aspect. In the ever-growing arena of subcompact SUVs, the Trailblazer stays one step ahead.
2023 Ford Escape
For 2023, the Ford Escape earns its spot as a top contender in the compact crossover SUV segment, standing out among favorites like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. As a smaller sibling to the Ford Edge, the revamped Escape boasts a variety of powertrain options, including gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models. With its spacious and comfortable cabin, the Escape is well-equipped with cutting-edge tech, user-friendly infotainment systems, and a range of standard and optional driver assistance features.
The 2023 model brings a refreshed design, sporting a more assertive appearance with a bold, squared-off front end. Inside, larger, sleeker infotainment screens effortlessly blend style and function. While the Escape ticks most boxes for a compact SUV, such as comfort, cabin space, and useful tech, there are minor drawbacks like slightly rough transmission shifts and less-than-perfect handling. Nonetheless, its ample storage capacity and outstanding hybrid fuel economy make the Escape an undeniable frontrunner in the crossover SUV market.
2023 Nissan Kicks
The compact 2023 Nissan Kicks is the ideal SUV for city-dwellers, but it might not be your go-to choice for a gentle off-road adventure. In its category, the Kicks is one of the few models that don’t offer an all-wheel-drive option, and the four-cylinder engine could leave you craving more oomph. Nevertheless, it’s Nissan’s smallest and most wallet-friendly SUV, boasting an appealing assortment of standard features for those on a budget.
If you’re considering the Nissan Kicks, the Hyundai Venue and Kia Soul might also pique your interest with their modest starting prices and lack of all-wheel drive. However, if you’re willing to stretch your budget, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Mazda CX-30, and Hyundai Kona are worth exploring. Boasting a stylish design and some of the top features and technology in the extra-small SUV category, the Kicks delivers fuel efficiency, easy parking, and even a touch of fun when tackling winding roads. However, it lags behind in comfort and overall performance when compared to its rivals.
2023 Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan stands out as a compact crossover SUV, boasting the comfort, space, and distinctive aesthetics akin to its larger counterpart, the Volkswagen Atlas, and even some high-end Audis. The cabin offers a touch of luxury, particularly in the top-spec model, which features genuine leather upholstery, contrasting stitching, and an impressive digital dashboard. The spacious interior and smooth handling make it an enjoyable ride, with so much room that it even offers an optional third-row seat – a rarity in this segment.
However, its competitors shouldn’t be overlooked, as vehicles like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 offer quicker performance, while the Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Forester come at a lower price point. Although it has a sleek design, convenient third-row seating, and excellent visibility, the Tiguan isn’t the top choice due to concerns about the functionality of the third row and some difficult-to-use controls.
2023 Volkswagen ID.4
Debuting in 2021, the Volkswagen ID.4 is a versatile electric SUV comparable in size to the popular Tiguan. However, with a platform specifically designed for electric power, the ID.4 offers a more spacious cabin compared to its traditional counterpart. It boasts an extensive range of standard amenities and tech features, enhancing its appeal. In 2023, a new, more affordable Standard trim joins the lineup, making the ID.4 one of the most competitively priced electric vehicles in its segment.
However, a smaller battery in the Standard trim results in a reduced range, estimated at 208 miles by VW. Competing EVs, including the ID.4’s Pro trim with a larger battery, have longer ranges. The Volkswagen ID.4 remains an attractive electric SUV choice, thanks to its user-friendly driving experience, spacious seating, and exceptional value. Real-world range exceeds expectations in both single and dual-motor versions, while the only significant drawback is the somewhat cumbersome control interface.
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Five years after the debut of the current-generation Crosstrek model, it seems fitting that the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek ushers in a fresh era for the robust subcompact SUV. Manufacturers typically introduce updates every four to six years, with changes ranging from mild aesthetic tweaks to extensive internal, external, and mechanical revamps. However, for the 2023 model year, Subaru has chosen a more conservative approach, presenting a limited Special Edition trim as the only update. Adorned in Desert Khaki paint and furnished with black and red upholstery, this Special Edition adds an adventurous touch to the Crosstrek’s Premium trim level.
Although we had hoped Subaru would extend its Forester Wilderness and Outback Wilderness trims to include an Outback Wilderness edition, sadly, this is not the circumstance. Nonetheless, we previously endorsed the Crosstrek, albeit acknowledging its underwhelming speed. Fortunately, with the optional 2.5-liter engine, the Crosstrek now boasts near class-leading acceleration, complemented by its luxurious interior, reliable off-road performance, and exceptional driver assistance features.
2023 Mitsubishi Outlander
Introducing the top-performing vehicle in Mitsubishi’s U.S. portfolio: the 2023 Outlander. This stylish three-row compact crossover SUV boasts up-to-date technology and competitive performance. While it may seem like it’s just meeting the fundamental requirements of its segment, it truly stands out among Mitsubishi’s U.S. offerings. The 2023 Outlander’s superiority can be partly attributed to sharing its platform and components with the Nissan Rogue. Despite their commonalities, the Outlander sports unique visual appeal, an additional third-row seat, and its distinct driving personality.
Powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, unlike the Rogue’s turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder, the Mitsubishi also benefits from a more comprehensive warranty. Significantly improved from its predecessor, the Outlander features a cutting-edge touchscreen interface, enhanced interior materials, and better ride and seating comfort, all thanks to its partnership with the 2021 Nissan Rogue. The occasional minor tech glitches and lackluster powertrain are some of the few drawbacks, but they’re easy to overlook in this brilliant crossover SUV.
2023 Ford Explorer
As one of the pioneering SUVs, the Ford Explorer has been cruising American roads for over three decades, igniting a lasting passion for sport-utility vehicles. The current iteration of Explorer garners praise from our team for its potent powertrains, ample cargo room, and standard safety features. However, its lackluster interior materials often fail to justify the price tag, especially in higher trims nearing luxury SUV levels.
Although the Explorer still has its charms, the midsize SUV arena has expanded significantly, overshadowing its former dominance. Recently, the Kia Telluride and its sibling, the Hyundai Palisade, have claimed our top recommendations. Both provide greater comfort and a more premium feel than the Explorer, and are set to receive updates for the 2023 model year. A revamped 2023 Honda Pilot joins the fray as well, featuring a TrailSport edition that enhances off-road prowess. While the Ford Explorer demonstrates exceptional balance and poise for a midsize three-row SUV, its exclusivity is hampered by subpar material quality and hefty pricing.
2023 Ford Escape Hybrid
The 2023 Ford Escape stands out as a compact crossover SUV, earning its place among Ford’s most sought-after automobiles and top-selling crossovers in the market. Positioned beneath the sizable Ford Edge, it competes with renowned counterparts like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The Escape boasts a range of powertrain options – gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid – complemented by an array of in-car tech and standard or optional driver assistance features. Known for its comfort, spaciousness, and impressive fuel efficiency, the 2023 model ushers in a notable revamp, flaunting a fresh exterior design, Sync 4 infotainment system, and a revamped lineup with new trim levels and tweaked engine and feature options.
The updated look enhances the SUV’s assertive stance, sporting a more upright and boxy frontend. Internally, the larger infotainment displays exude a contemporary vibe while improving usability. The Escape Hybrid, one of the few small SUVs offering a hybrid powertrain, delivers impressive fuel economy without compromising on its excellent tech features, roomy interior, and smooth, effortless driving experience.
2023 Dodge Durango
Dodge was an early adopter of SUVs as family cars, launching the Durango back in the late 1990s. Now, in its third generation, the 2023 Dodge Durango vies for attention among a plethora of three-row SUVs offered by nearly every car manufacturer. The Durango sets itself apart with its bold character, making this functional vehicle feel more exciting than a typical family wagon. Moreover, when fitted with an optional V8 engine, it can effortlessly tow small-to-medium-sized trailers.
However, it’s no secret that the current Durango’s age shows in its outdated design and subpar fuel efficiency. While the Durango may not entice a wide audience, its remarkable performance and practicality are undeniable, with the ability to reach 60 mph in under 5 seconds and tow up to 8,700 pounds. Nevertheless, its lack of refinement serves as a constant reminder of its dated platform.
2023 Jeep Cherokee
The 2023 Jeep Cherokee stands as a compact two-row crossover SUV in a category filled with fresher models. Despite its last major makeover dating back to 2014, Jeep has kept the model relevant with regular updates, including new trims, additional features, and a mild facelift in recent years. In 2022, the Cherokee saw a rejigged trim lineup and enhanced standard features on select models. Although Jeep has not disclosed any specific plans for 2023, a comprehensive redesign or another update is likely in the pipeline, potentially featuring a hybrid or plug-in hybrid variant among the latest powertrain options.
The small crossover market is teeming with contenders, such as the roomy and cozy Honda CR-V, the chic and unexpectedly luxurious Mazda CX-5, the revitalized Nissan Rogue, and category stalwarts like the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. While the Cherokee doesn’t necessarily outshine its competitors in any particular aspect (except for the Trailhawk model), it’s certainly worth considering. Sporting a design reminiscent of the Grand Cherokee, the latest iteration of the Cherokee offers a V6 engine alongside an exciting turbocharged 2.0-liter option.
2023 Chevrolet Blazer
Entering its next phase, the 2023 Chevrolet Blazer flaunts a refreshed appearance. Featuring a sleeker nose, a streamlined front grille, and an intensified squint in its headlights, the Blazer exudes modernity. Alongside these exterior changes, the interior boasts a standard 10-inch touchscreen across all models. Since its reimagining in 2019, the Blazer has earned praise, and this update aims to maintain its appeal in a fiercely contested midsize SUV market. However, its transformation into a family-friendly option leaves it susceptible to adversaries such as the Honda Passport and Volkswagen Atlas, while the revived Ford Bronco embraces its rugged roots.
As a result, the Blazer struggles to define its identity in this congested segment. Despite this, there are plenty of attractive features, particularly its agile handling and smooth ride quality. However, the striking Camaro-inspired design leads to trade-offs, such as compromised rear headroom and smaller cargo capacity. Read on to discover our thoughts on the revamped Chevy Blazer and the reasons behind them.
2023 GMC Acadia
In search of a three-row SUV offering a smooth ride? Check out the 2023 GMC Acadia. With various trims including the base model, stylish Denali, and rugged AT4, GMC aims to position the Acadia as a more premium option than its midsize SUV competitors, without the luxury price tag. However, we’re not entirely convinced. Since its 2017 debut, this second-gen Acadia lags behind the likes of Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, which deliver superior utility and interior refinement at a comparable cost.
Don’t forget alternatives like the revamped 2023 Honda Pilot, fresh Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and spacious Volkswagen Atlas. While our testers deem the Acadia a fair choice, chances are you’ll prefer one of its rivals in this highly competitive segment. Keep an eye out for GM’s next-gen Acadia, anticipated to be a 2024 model, as the current offering has been eclipsed by several midsize SUV adversaries.
2023 Hyundai Venue
If you’re low on funds, you’re left with two options: keep fixing your old car when it breaks down or acquire a loan for a brand new car, providing you with hassle-free driving for years to come. This is where the 2023 Hyundai Venue stands out, acting as an entry-level vehicle boasting a touch of flair, added versatility, state-of-the-art technology, and an extended warranty. With Hyundai retiring its Accent sedan, the Venue now becomes the most budget-friendly option to own a new Hyundai. The 2023 Venue is classified as a crossover SUV, yet it lacks all-wheel drive or significant ground clearance.
Moreover, its minimal power makes towing or heavy cargo load unsuitable. Nevertheless, the Venue’s value shines through its plentiful features, outstanding warranty, and complimentary scheduled maintenance program. Similar to other Hyundai models, the Venue showcases extraordinary quality at an affordable price. The smallest Hyundai SUV, the Venue, crams a lot into a compact design. It excels in daily tasks and offers sufficient comfort for road trips, providing great value and a variety of contemporary safety and technological elements. If you’re seeking something more functional and chic than a subcompact sedan, the Venue is well worth exploring.
2024 MINI Cooper Countryman
The 2024 Mini Countryman is an eye-catching compact crossover that holds the distinction of being both Mini’s largest offering and one of the tiniest SUVs on the market. Although its modest dimensions make it somewhat less practical than most SUVs, the upside is an easily maneuverable and parkable vehicle. Boasting a unique interior and exterior, the Countryman is a thrill to drive, with agile handling and swift acceleration courtesy of the Cooper S and John Cooper Works trims. Mini even presents a plug-in hybrid variant—the SE All4—albeit with a mere 17 miles of all-electric range before reverting to standard hybrid mode.
Its limited range is slightly disappointing in today’s plug-in market, and once depleted, the SE All4 achieves similar fuel economy to the Cooper S despite its hybrid credentials. The Countryman has long been Mini’s solution for enthusiasts seeking the brand’s lively character with added practicality, and its zippy acceleration and spirited handling certainly live up to the marque’s reputation. Nevertheless, its restricted usefulness, lack of Android Auto compatibility, and outdated interior leave much to be desired for a wider audience.
2023 Nissan Murano
The Nissan Murano has been a staple in their fleet since 2003, flaunting its unique design and cozy seating for five. Despite the current iteration being introduced in 2015, it remains largely unaltered and overdue for a revamp. However, no indications of a new model are in sight, as Nissan seems content with rolling out its antiquated SUV. Meanwhile, its siblings—the compact Rogue, sizable Pathfinder, and electric Ariya—have received remarkable makeovers. With the Rogue now boasting comparable legroom and even greater cargo capacity, and the Pathfinder offering a three-row seating capacity and substantial towing capabilities, the Murano appears outdated.
Although pricier, the Ariya presents a more contemporary identity for the automaker. Despite its eye-catching exterior and sturdy engine, the Murano’s design comes at a price, compromising rear visibility and resulting in a limited towing capacity. This midsize SUV exudes charm and value but lacks the versatility of its rivals.
2023 Toyota Venza
The Toyota Venza made a triumphant return after a six-year hiatus, plunging into the fiercely contested midsize SUV category. While it may not be a top contender in its class, the Venza sets itself apart with a focus on sophistication and fuel efficiency. Built on the same foundation as the beloved RAV4, the Venza stretches over 5 inches longer and boasts a streamlined profile, courtesy of a sloping roofline and a crisp rear end design. Exclusively available as a hybrid, it shares the RAV4 Hybrid’s potent 219-horsepower gas-electric configuration.
The Venza’s interior is a fusion of style and tech, exuding an air of luxury. Drawing inspiration from Lexus and other premium marques, the Venza sports an assertive yet refined aesthetic. Despite its shortcomings in terms of passenger and cargo capacity, and lack of towing capability, the Venza is a top choice for those prioritizing comfort, technological prowess, and outstanding fuel economy.
2023 Kia Niro EV
Introducing the 2023 Kira Niro EV, a fully-electric rendition of Kira’s popular compact crossover, the Niro. This wallet-friendly alternative to the larger EV6 delivers exceptional range and interior amenities without breaking the bank. Kira has outdone itself with the second-gen Niro, providing an upgraded cabin experience, superior tech, and enhanced comfort. The adjacent 10.3-inch displays boast eye-catching aesthetics and user-friendly interfaces. Optional luxuries such as heated, ventilated seats, and a Harman Kardon audio system elevate the Niro’s premium feel.
Boasting an expanded 22.8 cubic feet of cargo room, this crossover is as practical as it is stylish. While the Niro EV may not be deemed best in any one category, its comfort, tech-savviness, and real-world range make it a strong contender. And although it’s not the most affordable EV on the market, Kira’s extensive list of standard inclusions and outstanding warranty certainly help to balance the scale.
2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid
If the thought of switching to an electric vehicle gives you range anxiety, you might want to check out the newest plug-in hybrids, offering a perfect balance between all-electric and petrol power. A fresh addition to the plug-in hybrid SUV market is the innovative 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which has the potential to reinforce Mitsubishi’s presence in the U.S. Featuring a gasoline engine, a floor-mounted battery pack, and two electric motors, the Outlander PHEV offers an impressive electric-only range of up to 38 miles per charge.
Once the battery is drained, the gasoline engine kicks in, vanquishing range anxiety, though its fuel economy is a modest 26 mpg, compared to its rivals’ 35-40 mpg. With its outstanding efficiency and polished interior, the Outlander PHEV is definitely worth a look if you’re exploring plug-in SUV options. Its additional third row doesn’t compromise cargo space, making it an ideal choice for families. Just be prepared to shell out a little extra compared to the all-gas iteration, which provides a similar experience.
2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid
Having dominated the SUV scene for over three decades, the Ford Explorer has been a firm favorite among American drivers. While its potent engines, spacious cargo area, and safety features remain commendable, the current model falls short in terms of interior craftsmanship, particularly when considering the hefty price tag for high-end trims. Despite the Explorer’s rich history, it has been surpassed by the likes of the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, which offer greater comfort and a high-quality interior.
With refreshed versions of these models, along with the revamped 2023 Honda Pilot, the competition only gets tougher for the once-crowned king. The hybrid Ford Explorer, although it features impressive handling, stylish design, and brisk acceleration, suffers from the same drawbacks as its gasoline counterpart, namely limited rear passenger and cargo space and inferior cabin materials. In addition, the hybrid powertrain isn’t without flaws, and the Limited or Platinum trims make it even more costly.
2023 Chevrolet Equinox
In the realm of enticing compact SUVs, the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox contends against formidable adversaries like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. What sets it apart is its sleek design, featuring elegant curves, standard LED headlights, and a distinct grille. For those desiring a sportier touch, the new Midnight and Sport packages offer gloss black wheels and blacked-out exterior accents at a lower price than the well-equipped RS trim. Chevrolet adds a bit of spice to the 2023 model by squeezing an extra 5 horsepower out of the four-cylinder engine, albeit the turbo variant hasn’t been particularly peppy thus far. We’re hoping this extra kick enhances the Equinox’s dynamism, and we’ll keep you updated after testing it. While the Equinox is undoubtedly user-friendly, it might not be the perfect fit for everyone. Explore our SUV rankings to find the ideal crossover that caters to your requirements.
2023 Jeep Compass
Nestled between the compact Renegade and the sizeable Cherokee in Jeep’s roster sits the 2023 Jeep Compass, a nifty crossover SUV. Last year saw the Compass receive refreshed interior and exterior designs, heightened in-car technology, and a plethora of standard features. As we roll into 2023, Jeep isn’t slowing down. The Compass now boasts a turbocharged engine, churning out an impressive 200 horsepower as standard—meaning its acceleration will leave you grinning. According to the EPA, the Compass achieves a respectable 27 mpg combined city/highway driving, a 2 mpg improvement from its predecessor, albeit still lagging behind some compact SUV rivals.
Additional upgrades feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive as standard across all models, and the implementation of a drowsy driver monitor and rear seat reminder system. While ideal for the off-road adventurer, the 2023 Jeep Compass may not cater to everyone’s needs. However, if a hybrid powertrain emerges within the year, the Compass could very well broaden its appeal.
2023 Jeep Renegade
As a dynamic subcompact SUV, the 2023 Jeep Renegade sets itself apart in a league of its own. While it doesn’t quite possess the off-roading prowess of its iconic sibling, the Wrangler, the Renegade leaves many rivals in the dust when venturing off the beaten path. The Trailhawk variant, specifically, boasts a heightened suspension and all-terrain tires to conquer ruts and rocks with ease. However, the Renegade, launched in 2015, is beginning to show some wrinkles.
A comprehensive makeover is arguably overdue, although it seems the 2023 iteration will not bring about significant changes. Recent leaks reveal minor styling tweaks and an updated touchscreen infotainment system, but the Renegade’s core remains unchanged. Radiating charm and character, this pint-sized SUV may have a somewhat rigid ride and limited cargo space, but it’s certainly worth considering for those seeking a crossover SUV with flair.
2023 GMC Terrain
We understand — the car stock squeeze is undeniable, with both new and pre-owned vehicle prices soaring, prompting you to explore brands that perhaps weren’t initially on your radar. If you’re struggling to find the ideal Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, you may now be considering the 2023 GMC Terrain as a viable alternative. However, we’d advise you to think twice. Despite receiving several tech upgrades and a subtle facelift last year, the Terrain’s multitude of shortcomings prevent it from even reaching the middle ground in the compact SUV market.
Its sole engine option is underwhelming, and both seating and ride quality significantly fall short of the segment’s norm. Although the GMC Terrain boasts a cozy interior and user-friendly tech features, its feeble base engine, sluggish transmission, and unstable ride – combined with a steep price tag – hinder the vehicle from truly shining in the compact SUV category.
2023 Dodge Hornet
Feast your eyes upon the first new Dodge model in over a decade, stepping away from the shadows of its Charger and Durango siblings. Introducing the 2023 Dodge Hornet, a small crossover that may appear to have shed its kinship with the notoriously macho, supercharged V8-powered trio. However, a closer examination of its engine options reveals a continued allegiance to the family’s performance-driven ethos, albeit with a touch of 21st-century finesse.
While most compact SUVs, like the Honda HR-V (158 hp) and Toyota Corolla Cross (169 hp), prioritize fuel efficiency, Dodge has ensured the Hornet remains a true powerhouse by equipping the base GT trim with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder capable of an impressive 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Hornet’s performance rivals that of sporty hatches like the Volkswagen GTI, making it the most potent compact SUV available, though its market appeal is yet to be determined.
2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Slotting in between the compact Outlander Sport and the larger three-row Outlander, the Eclipse Cross occupies a unique position within Mitsubishi’s SUV range. Its intermediate size and relatively high entry price allow it to take on both smaller contenders such as the Volkswagen Taos and Kia Seltos as well as more spacious options like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. Going through a revamp for the 2022 lineup, the Eclipse Cross received a fresh face, upgraded infotainment, and fine-tuned suspension.
Consequently, changes for the 2023 model have been minimal; all trim levels now feature standard all-wheel drive and LED headlights and fog lights, while the SE and SEL Special Edition trims have been consolidated into their respective main trims. Although Mitsubishi’s updated design showcases some improvements, the 2023 Eclipse Cross continues to lag behind rivals in most aspects. We’ll dive deeper once the vehicle is available for thorough testing, but for now, there’s a plethora of extra-small SUVs more deserving of your consideration.
2023 Subaru Solterra
Finally, Subaru has entered the EV arena with its brand-new 2023 Solterra SUV. Born from a partnership with Toyota, it shares production lines with the related bZ4X EV. Like its Toyota counterpart, the Solterra boasts appealing features alongside a few shortcomings. Dimension-wise, it’s akin to Subaru’s Forester and, being a Subaru, possesses mild off-roading abilities due to its raised stance and 8.3 inches of ground clearance. Equipped with all-wheel drive via dual electric motors, the Solterra delivers a respectable 215 horsepower—though a dual-motor Tesla Model Y offers nearly double this output.
Having test-driven the Solterra on urban roads and off-track, we believe it offers adequate acceleration for most users. Subaru’s understanding of its clientele is evident as the initial batch of Solterras has already sold out through 2022. However, we’ll reserve our final verdict until we’ve had more time to thoroughly assess this newcomer.
2023 Toyota bZ4X
Introducing the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, the manufacturer’s maiden voyage into the realm of mass-produced electric vehicles, and currently their sole EV offering. This compact SUV, comparable in size to the RAV4, boasts familial ties to the brand-spanking-new Subaru Solterra. Despite Toyota taking its sweet time to enter the EV market, the bZ4X doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head as one might expect. Under its hood, the front-wheel-drive version offers a modest 201 horsepower, while the all-wheel-drive variant pushes a slightly higher 214 hp.
With regards to range, the bZ4X has an EPA-estimated mileage of 222-252 miles, depending on the configuration. However, compared to other EVs in the market, it isn’t exactly impressive. Although the bZ4X does provide a comfortable ride and is equipped with an array of tech features, its lackluster range, performance, and cabin aesthetics place it firmly in the ranks of average contenders within the ever-expanding EV landscape.
2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
As the most affordable SUV in Mitsubishi’s roster, the 2023 Outlander Sport is also one of the oldest designs still available for purchase. First hitting the market in 2011, this compact crossover has seen multiple facelifts to maintain a contemporary appearance. However, there’s only so much that can be done to hide its dated underpinnings. Now in its twelfth year, the Outlander Sport comes with standard all-wheel drive across the range. Apart from that, updates for 2023 are scarce, and the SUV remains a blend of value, practicality, and decent handling.
We suggest considering rivals like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-50, Subaru Forester, and Hyundai Tucson before settling on the Mitsubishi. Nonetheless, if you’re after simple transportation from A to B backed by a solid warranty, the Outlander Sport could be just the ticket. The Outlander Sport may not cater to tech enthusiasts or driving aficionados, but it does provide straightforward passenger and cargo transport. With user-friendly climate and radio controls, and selectable all-wheel drive to tackle diverse climates, it adequately fulfills its purpose.
2023 Mazda MX-30
Mazda has been somewhat slow to embrace the EV market, but its first foray into fully electric vehicles with the 2023 Mazda MX-30 is certainly making a statement. Envisioned as the beginning of Mazda’s “multi-solution electrification strategy,” the MX-30 promises to be the first in a series of electric offerings. With design cues borrowed from the CX-30 subcompact SUV, this newcomer boasts sleek, muscular lines that make for an eye-catching entrance.
Inside, you’ll find an upscale blend of leather, cloth and metal accents, accompanying 21 cubic feet of ample cargo space. True to Mazda’s reputation, the MX-30 delivers sharp, lively handling. This EV doesn’t just look good; it also provides an engaging driving experience, brimming with the latest tech. However, its ranking may be affected by its modest 114-mile range and somewhat uncompetitive pricing in the growing EV market.
2023 FIAT 500X
As we eagerly anticipate the revamped 500e electric hatchback in 2023, the Fiat 500X remains the sole offering in the Italian marque’s portfolio. This compact crossover SUV boasts a potent turbocharged powerplant and a standard all-wheel-drive system. However, the 500X’s allure dwindles beyond that. It feels cramped, and its tech suite could use a refresher. These shortcomings are glaring, particularly when rivals like the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Mazda CX-30, and Volkswagen Taos offer more amenities, provide extra room, and generally deliver a superior driving experience. While the Fiat 500X’s zippy turbo engine and all-wheel drive establish it as a respectable all-rounder, the allure of Italian flair and romance comes with a price tag that might make you lira-tive.
What makes a crossover SUV different from a traditional SUV?
Crossover SUVs, often called CUVs, are built on a unibody platform similar to a car, providing a more car-like driving experience with improved fuel efficiency. Traditional SUVs are built on a body-on-frame platform like a truck, which typically offers more off-road and towing capabilities but may be less comfortable and fuel-efficient.
Is a crossover SUV suitable for off-road driving?
While crossover SUVs may not match the off-road capabilities of some traditional SUVs, many models come with features that can handle light to moderate off-roading, such as all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance.
How spacious are crossover SUVs?
Crossover SUVs are known for their efficient use of space. While interior room can vary by model, many crossovers offer generous passenger space and cargo capacity comparable to larger SUVs or minivans, often with flexible seating configurations for added versatility.
Are crossover SUVs fuel-efficient?
Crossover SUVs tend to be more fuel-efficient than traditional SUVs due to their lighter weight and aerodynamic design. The exact fuel economy will depend on the model and powertrain, with hybrid or electric crossovers offering even greater efficiency.
Why are crossover SUVs becoming so popular?
Crossover SUVs have gained popularity due to their blend of versatility, comfort, and efficiency. They offer many advantages of both cars (like handling and fuel economy) and SUVs (like cargo space and a higher driving position), making them a practical choice for many drivers. The wide variety of models available in 2023 means there’s likely a crossover SUV that meets your specific needs.