It’s an annual, cyclical process — as American drivers continue to profess their preference for sport-utility vehicles and crossover SUVs, brand-new models get introduced each year, while at the same time existing models receive updates to be more competitive with new players. And as the segment continues to grow, many newcomers (as well as some top-selling SUVs) have starting MSRPs of less than $25,000. Here we look at all 27 SUV choices on the U.S. market — both new models and old favorites — that fall under this attractive price point.
Price: Starting at $17,995
AWD Starting at $19,995
The least-expensive way to buy a new Jeep, the Patriot joined the lineup for 2008 alongside the Compass, which is built on the same platform. The Patriot has a classic Jeep look with round headlights and an upright 7-slot grille. The compact crossover features standard front-wheel drive with a choice of two all-wheel-drive systems. Freedom Drive I is a full-time system designed for on-road use, and Freedom Drive II is off-road capable. Patriot gets power from either a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter engine or a 172-horsepower 2.4-liter unit, along with three different transmission options.
Price: Starting at $17,995
AWD Starting at $19,995
Jeep joined the growing subcompact crossover segment via the 2015 Renegade — a small, fuel-efficient new model that still offers off-road capability. The Renegade Sport and Latitude trims are both powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 6-speed manual transmission, or an available 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with 9-speed automatic transmission, which are standard for Renegade Limited and Trailhawk trims. The Renegade Trailhawk offers legendary Jeep capability via its Active Drive Low 4×4 system, Selec-Terrain system with five modes, off-road suspension, hill descent control, 17-inch off-road aluminum wheels, aggressive tires, red tow hooks and skidplates.
Price: Starting at $19,215
AWD Starting at $21,315
A brand-new model for 2016, the HR-V is the smallest entry in the Honda crossover lineup with a design that has a more couplelike profile, sporting a sloped roofline and hidden rear door handles. The surprisingly spacious interior can handle cargo of myriad shapes and sizes with its configurable second-row “Magic Seat.” Power comes from a 141-horse 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine teamed with a continuously variable transmission with Honda G-Design shift logic, or a 6-speed manual transmission offering reasonable performance and good fuel economy in this very competitive market segment. HR-V is available in front-wheel drive or with Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System.
Price: Starting at $19,595
AWD Starting at $21,595
The other of Jeep’s two compact crossovers, the Compass has front-wheel drive with a choice of two all-wheel-drive systems. Freedom Drive I is a full-time system designed for on-road use, and Freedom Drive II is off-road capable. The Compass was redesigned for 2011 and the new design looks a lot like the new Grand Cherokee — a big improvement over the original design, but the drivetrain is still the same with a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter engine or a 172-horsepower 2.4-liter engine and three different transmission options.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Price: Starting at $19,595
AWD Starting at $22,195
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport receives a refreshed exterior for 2016 with Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” front-end, a new 18-inch alloy wheel design, wheel lip moldings and power-folding mirrors with integrated turn indicator lights. Inside is a new steering wheel, new seat fabrics and an improved 6.1-inch display audio system. A more powerful 2.4-liter MIVEC 4-cylinder engine is available for all 2016 Outlander trim levels (standard with the SE, SEL and GT trims), combined with a CVT transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with Mitsubishi’s All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system available at all trim levels.
Price: Starting at $19,960
AWD Starting at $21,210
Mazda’s new compact crossover that joins the lineup for 2016 between the popular CX-5 and Mazda3, the CX-3 is the fifth Mazda model to feature the automaker’s KODO — Soul of Motion design language. The CX-3 derives power from Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine and incorporates SKYACTIV technology for the balance of driving enjoyment and fuel efficiency. Front-wheel drive is standard and CX-3 offers Mazda’s new-generation AWD system that utilizes the same active-torque control introduced in the CX-5 and also features a front wheel slip-detection system, which employs sensors to monitor the driver’s intentions as well as constantly-changing driving conditions.
Price: Starting at $20,000
AWD Starting at $24,635
Fiat returned to the U.S. market in 2012 with a car that played perfectly into the Italian car company’s heritage — the diminutive, fun-to-drive 500. Now Fiat is embracing the American market with an entry into what seems to be America’s favorite segment — the crossover. The 500X stays true to the brand, with styling matching the rest of the 500 lineup and a size not much larger than the original 500. Two engines are available on the new 500X: a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo or a larger 2.4-liter unit putting out 180 horsepower. Of course the 500X is available with AWD; the advanced system disconnects the rear axle when not needed, with the intent of improving fuel economy.
Price: Starting at $20,250
AWD Starting at $22,100
Since its launch for the 2011 model year, the JUKE has definitely stood out from the crowd with its sculpted headlights, unique silhouette and overall muscular lines, and last year the model received new front and rear fascias. This small crossover features a sporty-looking interior with a surprising amount of room for rear-seat passengers and cargo. Juke backs up its sporty looks with a 188-horsepower direct-injected 4-cylinder engine, available all-wheel drive and high-performance NISMO versions. Last year Nissan added the JUKE Color Studio personalization program, which lets buyers customize the colors of exterior and interior elements such as wheels, spoilers and mirror caps. For 2016 limited-edition Black and Yellow “Stinger Edition by Color Studio” JUKE SV packages are added.
Price: Starting at $20,300
AWD Starting at $21,800
Since the compact crossover segment continues to grow, last year Chevrolet introduced the Trax to American shoppers — a model also sold in
6 global markets. Trax seats five, and the split-folding rear seat adds considerable versatility to the small crossover. Trax also comes standard with GM’s latest tech offering — OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Power comes from a small 1.4-liter turbocharged engine producing 138 horsepower that delivers up to 34 mpg highway on the highway.
Price: Starting at $20,995
AWD Starting at $26,295
The Journey is an affordable, versatile crossover with optional seating for seven, in-seat storage, in-floor storage bins, multiple engine choices and available all-wheel drive. The Journey Crossroad was new for 2015, positioned between the SXT and Limited trims, and for 2016 two versions are offered. Journey Crossroad includes 19-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels, platinum chrome exterior accents, dark tinted headlights and dark tinted taillights. Crossroads Plus adds leather seats with sport mesh inserts, an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, a power driver’s seat and other interior features. The available 3.6-liter Pentastar engine produces 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and can deliver up to 25 mpg on the highway.
Price: Starting at $21,595
AWD Starting at $22,395
Subaru made a brilliant move a few years ago when the automaker took its compact Impreza and with few alterations converted the platform into the very popular XV Crosstrek, which has a more aggressive off-road look. For 2016 Subaru drops XV from the name, and the front-end styling gets updated with a new black grille and chrome accents, new headlights, a new front bumper and fog light covers with chrome trim. The spritely small crossover has a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine combined with either a 5-speed manual transmission or the available Lineartronic CVT. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and full-time all-wheel drive, the capable Crosstrek delivers impressive fuel economy of 29 mpg combined.
Price: Starting at $21,795
AWD Starting at $24,895
Mazda’s compact SUV, the CX-5 debuted as a 2012 model and was the first vehicle in the lineup to feature the KODO — Soul of Motion design language incorporating SKYACTIV technology for driving enjoyment and environmental balance. The CX-5 Sport is powered by a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter engine with a 6-speed manual transmission. The CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring trims are powered by a 184-horsepower 2.5-liter engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The CX-5 has been updated for 2016 with a revised grille, new headlights, new taillights, improved interior materials, a retuned suspension, an improved infotainment interface and optional LED headlights.
Price: Starting at $22,395
AWD Starting at $22,395
Currently the best-selling model in Subaru’s lineup, the Forester was redesigned for the 2014 model year and for 2016 adds Subaru’s STARLINK safety and security features, as well as the STARLINK Multimedia system for more sources of entertainment and information through smartphone integration. As with all Subaru models, full-time all-wheel drive is standard. Two engine choices are available: a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine combined with either a 5-speed manual transmission or the available Lineartronic CVT, or the 250-horsepower turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine combined with a high-torque version of the CVT with manual shift mode.
Price: Starting at $22,600
AWD Starting at $27,160
Chevrolet’s compact crossover, the Equinox is updated for 2016 with a new front fascia containing a chrome-trimmed dual-port grille and projector-beam headlights; a new rear treatment; dual-element taillights; LED daytime running lights for LT and LTZ trims; and new wheel designs. Inside, the revised center stack includes a storage shelf and updated control graphics. A 7-inch color touch radio screen with a rearview camera is standard for L and LS trims. The standard powerplant is an EcoTec 2.4 liter that achieves an EPA-rated 32 mpg highway with front-wheel drive; the optional 3.6-liter V6 produces 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque.
Price: Starting at $22,700
AWD Starting at $24,995
All new for the 2016 model year, the Hyundai Tucson has a fresh look, an updated interior and a number of new high-tech features. When equipped with the optional Automatic Emergency Braking, Tucson earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation. The new Tucson is more spacious inside, and under the hood it now offers a new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 175 horsepower as well as improved fuel economy.
Price: Starting at $22,150
AWD Starting at $23,650
The Kia Sportage is all-new for 2017 with fresh exterior styling, a stiffer structure for improved driving dynamics, driver assistance systems and new technology. Every panel of the exterior is new, but the biggest change is a new front-end design with the Kia tiger-nose grille and headlights positioned higher. The new Sportage is the same width, but the wheelbase has increased 1.2 inches and the overall length has increased by 1.6 inches, improving both passenger room and cargo volume. The 2017 Sportage is offered in LX, EX and SX Turbo trim levels, with the LX and EX powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that produces 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, and the SX Turbo powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder unit producing 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 2017 Sportage is the first Kia to offer UVO3, which features 14 telematics services, 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps and Wi-Fi tethering capability.
Price: Starting at $22,995
AWD Starting at $24,995
For 2016 the Mitsubishi Outlander has been redesigned to be more competitive in the popular small crossover segment, featuring a new exterior design and structural improvements for better ride quality and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The new look incorporates Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” front-end design as well as redesigned front fenders, halogen headlights, LED position lights, lower door sections, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear fascia and LED taillights. Interior improvements include a new steering wheel, a new infotainment system, new trim, new seating surfaces and a redesigned folding rear seat. Outlander is powered by a 166-horsepower 2.4-liter engine combined with a CVT or a 224-horsepower 3.0-liter engine combined with a 6-speed Sportronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters for the Outlander GT S-AWC.
Price: Starting at $23,290
AWD Starting at $24,640
The Nissan Rogue was redesigned for the 2014 model year with the Nissan V-grille, which makes for a bolder front end and a more refined overall look. Rogue is motivated by a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, and with its advanced Xtronic transmission with Eco mode it gets EPA fuel economy ratings as high as 33 mpg. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive optional. Three-row, 7-passenger seating is also an option. The 2016 Rogue adds available Forward Emergency Braking, a Motion-Activated Power Liftgate, NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM and Siri Eyes Free.
Price: Starting at $23,495
AWD Starting at $25,495
The Cherokee returned for 2014 as an all-new compact SUV to replace the Liberty in the Jeep lineup, and it is now Jeep’s best-selling model. The new Cherokee features a modern aerodynamic design, powered by a new 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 engine or a 2.3-liter Tigershark MultiAir 2 engine — both combined with a standard 9-speed automatic transmission. The Cherokee Trailhawk delivers legendary Jeep off-road capability via task-specific features that include lifted off-road suspension with skidplates, tow hooks, Selec-Terrain traction control, Jeep Active Drive Lock with rear locker and Selec-Speed Crawl Control. The Cherokee Overland trim is added for 2016, offering a new level of luxury.
Price: Starting at $23,895
AWD Starting at $23,895
The modern descendant of the original U.S. military vehicle that spawned the Jeep name and began the legacy of extreme off-road capability, the Jeep Wrangler continues to offer signature Jeep elements including round headlights, a 7-slot grille, solid axles, removable doors, exposed hinges, a fold-down windshield and removable tops. Available in 2-door Wrangler and 4-door Wrangler Unlimited versions, all Wranglers are powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft or torque, combined with either a 6-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic transmission. The Rubicon Hard Rock Edition, Freedom Edition and Willys Wheeler return for 2016, and the new Black Bear Edition gets added.
Price: Starting at $23,600
AWD Starting at $26,850
Ford’s compact Escape crossover continues to be one of the top-selling SUVs on the market, and the redesigned 2017 model hits showrooms this spring with a new exterior look, new interior, new engines and more driver-assistance technology. Outside, Escape receives a raised trapezoidal grille to tie it more closely to other Ford SUVs. Inside, a redesigned center console has the shifter repositioned to create a storage bin at the base of the center stack, and includes new cupholders and a pushbutton parking brake. The 2017 Ford Escape is offered in S, SE and Titanium trim levels with a Sport Appearance package available for SE and Titanium. Two new EcoBoost engines are available, with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost standard for SE and Titanium and the 2.0-liter EcoBoost optional for SE and Titanium. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost produces 180 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.0-liter EcoBoost produces 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. The Escape S continues to be powered by the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and all engines are combined with a 6-speed automatic with new paddle shifting for SE and Titanium levels.
Price: Starting at $23,745
AWD Starting at $25,045
Honda’s popular compact crossover received a significant mid-cycle refresh for the 2015 model year and has been the top-selling SUV most of the past year. The CR-V is powered by a 2.4-liter direct-injection DOHC i-VTEC inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, combined with a new continuously variable transmission with G-design Shift for more power and better efficiency than the previous model. The exterior design was updated with new front and rear bodywork, new mirrors and new wheels. Inside, the CR-V added a configurable center console, new rear console heat/air ventilation ducts and an available 7-inch touchscreen display audio/telematics interface. New available features include a power tailgate, 10-way power heated driver’s seat with memory, and LED daytime running lights.
Price: Starting at $23,975
AWD Starting at $28,750
Refreshed for the 2016 model year, Terrain is the second-best-selling model for GMC after the full-size Sierra pickup. Updates include a new front fascia and rear-end treatment; C-shaped lower chrome trim; new chrome-accented grille designs for SLE, SLT and Denali; a new hood design; LED daytime running lights on upper trim levels; new wheel designs; and a revised center stack with a storage shelf and updated control graphics. Terrain seats five and is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The standard engine is an EcoTec 2.4-liter that has an EPA rating of 32 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and an optional 3.6-liter V6 produces 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque.
2016 Buick Encore
Price: Starting at $24,065
AWD Starting at $25,565
Buick’s small crossover offers quiet, safety and fuel efficiency in a small package. Named a 2015 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, Encore safety features include 10 airbags and StabiliTrak stability enhancement. Also offered are rear cross-traffic alert, a side blind zone alert system, park assist, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Buick’s exclusive Quiet Tuning is standard and includes Bose Active Noise Cancelling technology. For 2016 the Encore Sport Touring is added, powered by a 153-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter engine with direct injection and start/stop technology combined with a 6-speed automatic. The standard engine is a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter EcoTec combined with a 6-speed automatic. Encore Sport Touring features a rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum premium-finish wheels and body-color door handles. Buick just debuted the updated 2017 Encore at the New York Auto Show in March, but it won’t be available until fall 2016.
Price: Starting at $24,350
AWD Starting at $25,750
The Toyota RAV4 was one of the first “crossovers” when it arrived on U.S. shores in 1996. The current fourth generation debuted as a 2013 model with a more aggressive yet more aerodynamic design. The RAV4 is powered by a 176-horsepower 2.5-liter engine combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Shift and Sport and Eco modes, and has front-wheel drive or Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive. A Blizzard Pearl Premium Package for the RAV4 Limited includes Blizzard Pearl paint and new 18-inch machine-finished wheels with black-painted pockets. A one-touch power liftgate with driver-selectable memory height is standard on the Limited and optional for the XLE.
Price: Starting at $24,890
AWD Starting at $26,865
Tiguan is Volkswagen’s compact SUV, powered by a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission combined with either front-wheel drive or 4Motion all-wheel drive. For 2016 Tiguan’s starting price dropped by almost $1,400, gaining Tiguan a spot on this list with new standard features that include V-Tex leatherette seat surfaces, heated front seats, keyless access with push-button start, an MIB II infotainment system with a 5-inch touchscreen, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers. The sporty R-Line trim is now positioned between the S and SE trims at a lower price of $28,700.
Price: Starting at $24,995
AWD Starting at $24,995
The Subaru Outback was one of the original crossover vehicles, combining the ride and handling of a passenger car with the utility and off-road capability of an SUV. Redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Outback has more space, fresh styling, better fuel economy and a slew of new high-tech features for entertainment and safety. Outback is available with either a 2.5-liter 175-horsepower engine or 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine producing 256 horsepower. Both put power to the ground via Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. The interior is greatly improved including an updated infotainment system with its 6.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen display.