The Small SUV’s Guide

For some car owners, smaller can be much, much better, especially where Sport Utility Vehicles are concerned.
Though full-size models like the Hummer, the Land Rover Range Rover or the Escalade have their good points, such as high levels of protection and the ability to haul plenty of people and goods around, they’re also known for low fuel consumption and high challenges navigating even parking lots.
That’s why car manufacturers decided to come up with something with a similar style but in a smaller, easier-to-maneuver package. Smaller SUVs are less bulky sins, offer better gas mileage, and plenty of stability and hauling capabilities.
A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the SUV, the more it resembles a car. Likewise, the larger the SUV, the closer it comes to being a truck. Generally, trucks are known more for their utility, ability to haul or tow, and general ruggedness, while cars are usually designed to be lighter with a stronger focus on comfort and aesthetics.
When looking purely at price, compact SUVs are also more affordable, but you also may not get all the features of a larger model.
For instance, base models of compact SUVs can be found for just under or around $20,000, mid-size around the $25,000 mark, and full-size or luxury SUVs can start in the $30,000 range and up. Luxury options such as the Lexus LX or Cadillac Escalade can command prices past $50,000.
Compact SUVs offer around 70 cubic feet of space, and the largest models offer at least 100 cubic feet for storage needs.
On the other hand, smaller vehicles may not offer as many extra features as the larger models. For instance, a full-sized SUV may be powered by a 6-cylinder engine or even an 8 cylinder, while a smaller SUV may offer a 4- or 6-cylinder engine at best. Other extras available for larger owners but not usually for smaller types include anti-lock brakes, backing-up cameras, and heated seats.
One example of the smaller size SUV is the Honda CR-V. It falls more into the ‘truck’ category and is certainly sturdy but also offers some appealing visual features.
Edmunds, an auto review site, likes the CR-V especially the 2013 model that can be found for less than $25,000.
The site ranks the CR-V high, and says this crossover vehicle offers drivers and passengers enormous amounts of room, whether you’re hiring clients, tools or family members. Safety also is high.
The Ford Escape also was rated high for its comfort and durability. It performs well on performance tests, and has three engine types available even for the smaller models.
Edmunds also included the Mazda CX-5 in the recommended picks in this smaller SUV style as far as overall performance and affordability.
US News and World Reports’ “Best Car” listings showed similar rankings.
The Ford Escape, for instance, was praised for its great performance and excellent miles to the gallon, about 22 city and 31 highway. The Mazda CX-5 also made the list, with 26 city and 35 highway.
This list ranked the Honda CR-V as fourth, but still had good things to share. MPG also is decent, with 23 city and 31 highway. In comparison, larger SUVs average 15-20 MPG.

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