There has been a sharp increase in subcompact SUVs over the last few years and it’s not hard to see why their popularity is growing. The best small SUVs in Canada offer a full view of the road, reliability and power that many sedans do not. The extra cargo space and in-cabin comfort is an added perk. To top it all off, small SUVs come in at a lower price points than their full-size relatives. Using expert reviews and research, this list highlights some of the best small SUVs in Canada and the features that got them on this list.
While many of the SUVs on this list have an impressive fuel economy, the CX-3 comes in at 31 mpg combined city and highway, placing at the top of this group of subcompact SUVs. The exterior is flashy and stylish and inside the cabin the controls are easy to use and everything the driver needs is at arm’s length. According to Edmunds.com, on the road the CX-3 handles exceptionally and has sharp and responsive steering. The 2019 model of the CX-3 offers an increase in power and a decrease in cabin noise, making it one of Edmunds Best Small SUVs in 2019.
The Crosstrek’s versatility and design makes it very difficult to decide if it is a hatchback, SUV, or subcompact SUV, and its performance would place it near the top of all of those categories. The stocky and powerful small SUV follows its Subaru companions in its impressive off-road capabilities and the X-Mode traction control and all-wheel-drive makes it one of the safest vehicles on this list when facing ice, rain or mud. Not only does the wide body of the cabin make for a comfortable and soundproof ride, it also allows the Crosstrek to reach a cargo capacity of 55.3 cubic feet, which is roughly the same if not more than many full-size SUVs. Like many other Subaru vehicles, the Crosstrek is perfect for adventures heading to the cabin on the weekend or off-roading down to the beach to watch the sunset. If drivers are not the adventurous type, the Crosstrek ensures a safe ride to wherever they are headed on Canadian roads. Finally, like the CX-3, the Crosstrek boasts a very impressive 29 mpg combined fuel economy.
Hyped as a major standout amongst the subcompact SUVs in Canada class by Edmunds, the Hyundai Kona has a ton of features that have earned it that title. Starting with the turbo 1.6 litre engine that gives the Kona a get-up-and-go that makes drivers feel like they are behind the wheel of something much larger. Inside the cabin, the Kona has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across all models and has sleek and comfortable seats in the front and back. Edmunds and Caranddriver.com both give the Kona very high marks in handling around corners and responsive steering. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Kona, though, is how much drivers get for the price they pay. The base 2019 model comes in at just $19,900, which is significantly lower than competitors.
The Kia Soul is certainly the subcompact SUV with the most character and panache, hands down. The box shape of the Soul sets it far apart from its competitors but definitely not in a negative way. The shape gives it the most cargo capability on this list with 62.1 cubic feet of space. The steering and handling are extremely responsive and makes for a fun and entertaining ride. The interior is simple and elegant and provides plenty of room for drivers of all sizes and the boxed shape gives excellent visibility in all directions. As is the case with most of the newer Kia vehicles, Apply CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard across all trim-levels.
The RAV4 is one of the larger compact SUVs on the list but what Toyota has done with it over its many generations cannot be ignored. In 2019, the RAV4 was infused with plenty of updates such as exterior design, engine specs, and additional safety and tech. the 2.5 litre engine has a huge 203 horsepower, which is much higher than the competitors on this list. The interior has tons of room for passengers, though it lacks in cargo capabilities. It has a top of the line infotainment system with easy to learn and use controls and Bluetooth capabilities. For the difficult weather that Canada can offer, the Adventure trim level has all-wheel drive making it a bit sturdier and safer during the endless winters. Overall, the RAV4 has long been a leader in the small SUV categories and it remains one of the best rated SUVs in Canada.
Volkswagen has taken an exceptional and huge step forward with the second generation of the Tiguan. Not only have they improved the exterior look – which is now flashy and exciting without sacrificing class – they have topped the class in almost every category. According to Cars.com, the Tiguan topped or tied in a staggering nine out of 16 categories: front seats, rear seats, multimedia and controls, interior quality, powertrain, handling, noise, cargo storage and child-seat fitment. There is tons of seating space and it is the quietest cabin with the newest tech. It is an impressive vehicle and certainly the best small SUV on the market.
Year after year the CR-V is one of, if not the, best small SUVs in Canada not just because it is inexpensive but because it is truly one of the absolute best options for buyers. Edmunds awarded the 2019 CR-V with awards in the Best Family Cars, Best Family SUVs and Best Small SUVs categories, which is not something to ignore. The CR-V checks nearly every box – ample cargo space, impressive and top of the line safety features, best-in-class fuel economy and acceleration. There is a reason that the CR-V tops a lot of lists as the best small SUV and it’s because it excels in nearly every category – it is safe, reliable, efficient and innovative.
The best small SUVs in Canada are versatile and unique. This new subcompact SUV landscape is a relatively new one so in a sense the vehicles on this list are still finding their way but they offer drivers an exceptional blend of space, handling, and reliability. They may not have the power of the full-size SUVs but they definitely have their own features that make it difficult to look past any option on this list.