2018 Best Small SUVs & Crossovers

 

Compact Affordable SUVs & Luxury Models | Our Top Picks

Compact crossovers and SUVs have become some of the best-selling vehicles in the marketplace, displacing traditional sedans as the primary choice for buyers who need a practical way to get around with their families. But while the compact label was once only attached to entry-level vehicles, premium car makers have responded to consumer demand with models that combine relatively affordable SUV prices with upscale styling and finishes. 

Chris Chase small bio picOur car review editor and used car expert Chris Chase picks his favourite small utility vehicles, starting with entry-level models and finishing with a few of the market’s most appealing luxury models. (Our definition of small SUV here includes mid-size models). Also check out:

2018 Best Luxury SUV & Crossovers

New SUV & Crossover Buyer’s Guide

1. Top Affordable SUV & Crossovers for 2018

  • 2018 Honda CR-V
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2018 Honda CR-V

Editor's Note: CR-V was all-new for 2017 entering its 5th-generation and 2018 CR-V shares same features.

Honda has been building a small, car-based crossover for longer than anyone but Toyota, whose original RAV4 came to market around the same time. That experience shows in the latest CR-V, which combines an efficient engine with a modern interior in a sensible package. Option one up, and you add loads of luxury features for less than $40,000; otherwise, enjoy the fact that for about $30,000 you can get a family-friendly utility equipped with Honda's full suite of active safety features.

CR-V USA | CR-V Canada

2017 Honda CR-V Touring Review

The 2017 Honda CR-V crossover is all-new with a fresh design but an underwhelming new turbo engine. We review the top-end Touring trim.

2018 CR-V Price & Trims

US Pricing (US$)

  • LX: $24,150
  • EX: $26,950
  • EX-L: $29,450
  • Touring: $32,650 

Canada Pricing (C$)

  • LX-2WD: $27,290
  • LX: $30,090
  • EX: $33,590
  • EX-L: $35,890
  • Touring: $38,690

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2018 Mazda CX-5

Editor's Note: The CX-5 was all-new for 2017 entering its 2nd-generation and 2018 CX-5 is the same.

Mazda is much newer to the compact crossover scene than Honda, but that company's engineers are apparently quick learners. A second generation CX-5 that arrived as a 2017 model took what was already a good vehicle and turned it into one of the best in its class, especially for drivers who like to feel connected to the road. This is neither the quietest nor the roomiest small SUV, but it is the most entertaining to drive among non-luxury models, and despite its mainstream price tag, the CX-5 looks and feels more expensive than it is.

Mazda CX-5 USA | Mazda CX-5 Canada

 

2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

We review Mazda's all-new, second-generation 2017 CX-5 GT 5-seat SUV that's selling well with a 2.2L diesel option arriving later this year.
2015 Mazda CX-5 GT Review

2015 Mazda CX-5 GT Review

2012 Mazda CX-5 GS review

2012 Mazda CX-5 GS Review

2018 CX-5 Price & Trims

US Pricing (US$)

  • Sport: $24,150
  • Touring: $26,215
  • Grand Touring: $29,645

Canada Pricing (C$)

  • GX: $25,900
  • GS: $29,500
  • GT: $35,100

Our Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Looks good inside and out
  • Refined and engaging driving manners
  • Advanced chassis and driver-assistance tech

Cons

  • Buzzing engine note sounds neither sporty nor refined
  • Limited rear passenger space; wide transmission tunnel intrudes up front
  • No hybrid model, for now at least

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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport / 2018 Nissan Qashqai

Editor's Note: Same vehicle, two markets – Rogue Sport in the US, Qashqai in Canada. Also, 2017 and 2018 models are the same.

Part of Nissan's recent expansion of its crossover offerings included this little utility, which benefits from strong mechanical ties to the larger Rogue. That relationship means this newer model offers more refinement than its price suggests. Keep in mind the Qashqai competes in a price class below that of the CR-V and CX-5, so it is smaller and less powerful but still charming, with its nicely-trimmed interior and handsome body styling.

Rogue Sport | Qashqai

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport Review sideview

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport Review

A bit smaller than the Rogue, we review the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport top-level SL trim providing the right size and utility for active urban lives.
2017 Nissan Qashqai Review

First Drive: 2017 Nissan Qashqai Review – Proven in Europe, Ready for North America?

Proven in Europe but is it ready for North America? We review Nissan's new sub-compact 2018 Qashqai CUV (or Rogue Sport in the US).
2017 Nissan Qashqai

2017 Nissan Qashqai Pricing and Release Date Announced

The sub-compact 2017 Nissan Qashqai pricing will start at under $20,000 CAD and arriving to dealerships this June 2017.
2017 Nissan Qashqai

2017 Nissan Qashqai Video Review: A New Compact, Nimble CUV for Urbanites

We preview the new 2017 Nissan Qashqai (dubbed the Rogue Sport in the US) in London, England before it hits our North American shores.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport Debuts and Coming to North America in Spring

Crossing the pond, the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport hits dealerships this spring; 141-hp and smaller than the Rogue.

Our Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great to drive, in town and out
  • Lots of passenger and luggage capacity for its size

Cons

  • Wheel/tire choice makes a difference to road noise
  • Not much space to rest a big left foot

2018 Rogue Sport / Qashqai Price & Trims

US Pricing (US$) – Rogue Sport

  • S: $22,110
  • SV: $23,740
  • SL: $27,190

Canada Pricing (C$) – Qashqai

  • S: $19,998
  • SV: $22,698

2. Top 2018 Luxury Crossovers

  • 2018 bmw x2 crossover
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2018 BMW X2

 

Moving into the luxury realm, the X2 is the latest addition to BMW's crossover lineup. It’s more compact than the mechanically similar X1, thanks to tidier body proportions that house a smaller interior. As much as we wonder just how many crossovers BMW needs, we like the look of the X2, whose styling makes it look more like a small hatchback than a utility. With a starting price north of $40,000, remember that you're paying for BMW's sharp handling and drivetrain refinement rather than for actual luxury features which, when added on in any significant quantity, drive the price toward the $50,000 mark. Here's a good 2018 X2 Review if you're looking for on-road impressions.

X2 USA | X2 Canada

2018 BMW X2 Price & Trims

US Price (US$)

  • X2 xDrive28i: $38,400
  • X2 sDrive28i: $36,400

Canada Price (C$)

  • X2 xDrive28i: $42,250

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2019 Infiniti QX50

 

Editor's Note: The new QX50 arrives late 2018 as a 2019 model. TractionLife.com was at the QX50's world premiere in LA late 2017 – read the story below.

It took Infiniti a long time to redesign its QX50 into a second generation: the original began life in 2007 as the EX 35 before being rechristened in 2013. While the 2019 QX50 was slow to arrive, Infiniti made the wait worthwhile with the industry's first variable compression ratio engine, which can optimize its performance to favour city or highway driving in a bid to boost fuel economy. Infiniti wraps that high-tech engine in sharp styling, and places occupants in a lovely interior that boasts far more space than the outgoing model.

QX50 USA | QX50 Canada

2019 infiniti qx50

All-New 2019 Infiniti QX50: 4 New Things You Need to Know About the Japanese...

Infiniti revealed their next-generation 2019 QX50 mid-size crossover recently in LA, arriving to dealers early 2018. We take a closer look at the next generation Japanese crossover with 4 new features.
Infiniti QX50 Concept

Infiniti QX50 Concept: Glimpse into the QX50’s Future

It’s only right Infiniti would unveil a mid-size SUV concept in the world’s fastest growing market. The Infiniti QX50 Concept makes debut.

2019 Infiniti QX50 Price & Trims

US Price (US$)

  • QX50 Pure: $36,550
  • QX50 Luxe: $39,400
  • QX50 Essential: $43,350

Canada Price (C$)

  • QX50 AWD: $44,490

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2018 Lincoln MKC

Editor's Note: The redesigned 2019 Lincoln MKC has been officially announced; it will come with either a 245-hp 2.0L or 285-hp 2.3L turbocharged engine, arriving Summer 2018. Read the full feature including 2019 MKC gallery below.

Lincoln's entry-level utility is not new, but it remains one of our favourite small crossovers for its combination of good looks and on-road refinement. The MKC is especially likable for its optional 2.3-litre engine, whose 285 hp isn't class-leading but lends this vehicle sprightly performance in all situations. We also like this little Lincoln's generously padded front seats and its high-tech interior, wich comes as a nice surprise in a vehicle nearing the end of its life cycle and made by a brand with a reputation for conservative design.

MKC USA | MKC Canada

Lincoln’s Updated 2019 MKC Compact SUV Arrives Next Summer

With either a 245-hp 2.0L or 285-hp 2.3L turbocharged engine, the redesigned 2019 Lincoln MKC compact luxury traveller arrives Summer 2018.

2018 Lincoln MKC Price & Trims

US Price (US$)

  • MKC Premiere: $33,355
  • MKC Select$36,110
  • MKC Reserve$39,985
  • MKC Black Label$45,975

Canada Price (C$)

  • MKC Select$42,450
  • MKC Reserve$47,200

  • 2018 porsche macan gts
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2018 Porsche Macan

 

Having recognized there's money to be made in this market segment, Porsche is now at least as well-known for its crossovers as the historically significant 911 sports coupe. The compact Macan wears the brand's signature styling cues well and follows up with the sort of sharp driving responses you'd expect from a Porsche. Inside, the long centre console looks intimidating with its rows of buttons, but the design is actually quite functional. The Macan's cabin is on the small side, but if that's your main priority, you'll have no trouble finding roomier vehicles that cost less.

Macan USA | Macan Canada

New 440-hp Porsche Macan Turbo Exclusive Performance Edition Revealed

Arriving early 2018, the Porsche Macan Turbo Exclusive Performance Edition builds on the most powerful derivative in the model line.

2018 Porsche Macan Price & Trims

US Price (US$)

  • Macan: $47,800.00
  • Macan Sport Edition: $61,100
  • Macan S: $55,400
  • Macan GTS: $68,900

Canada Price (C$)

  • Macan: $54,100
  • Macan S: $61,400
  • Macan GTS: $76,000

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