Small and mid-size SUV models have grown increasingly popular in the last decade and the market for these models continues to grow, especially in the United States. In the U.S. market, pickup trucks have consistently been amongst the most popular models, however, their sales have been trending in the wrong direction during this surge of interest in SUVs. So what models can we expect to continue this trend going forward?
In recent years, the Mazda CX-5 has emerged as one of the best compact SUVs on the market. The CX-5 has become a sporty, reliable SUV model with a gorgeous interior and one of the highest available safety scores earning it a spot on the IIHS Top Safety Picks list. This model is most comparable to the Honda CR-V model and features better performance, more engine options, and a nicer interior, although the CR-V is roomier and features more cargo space.
One of the most widely speculated changes that could come to the Mazda CX-5 is the introduction of Mazda’s 2.2-liter turbo-diesel engine. The company first announced plans to include this engine with the 2017 Mazda CX-5 but has yet to do so, and these plans are still considered speculation. However, many people are excited as this engine is expected to exceed the 31 miles per gallon that come with the model’s current standard engine. This model was completely redesigned for the 2017 model year, so we expect any additional changes to be minimal at best.
Rebounding off the rave reviews and tremendous sales of the 2019 model, we can expect the Mazda CX-5 to be one of, if not the best compact SUV of the year. The prices for the Mazda CX-5 have not yet been released, but the previous year's model starts out at $24,350.
Arguably the biggest competition to the Honda CR-V is the Toyota RAV4 and like the CR-V, this model has had sales that have been off the charts in recent years. The RAV4 is extremely affordable, has above-average fuel economy for its class, and features tons of driver-assist technology, making it one of the safest compact SUV models on the market, and extremely popular with teen drivers. The Toyota RAV4 was completely redesigned so we should expect minimal changes for Toyota’s new model. A small lift for added off-road drivability and minor changes to the grill and exterior angles are to be expected with virtually no changes to the powertrain being likely. We can expect the Toyota RAV4 to be one of the best-selling SUV models of the year. The Toyota RAV4 models start out at $25,650.
The Honda CR-V consistently ranks amongst the best-selling SUVs year after year and we shouldn’t expect that to change with the new model. The Honda CR-V is most well known for its high safety ratings and affordability. In fact, the 2019 model was voted the best compact SUV for the money by U.S. News.
So what changes should we expect for the new model?
Well, the Fifth-Generation CR-V began with the 2017 model year so we shouldn’t expect any drastic changes to the new model. The changes to be made will likely be predominantly cosmetic with an emphasis on the exterior, although Honda has yet to confirm this. Honda vehicles have always been known for their reliability and the CR-V has been no exception. To make any glaring changes to the model at this point would be reckless and unnecessary as it’s constantly hovering towards the top of the list of best-selling compact SUV models in the United States. No need to change what’s been working and this vehicle is one of the best. The Honda CR-V starts out at $24,450.
Like the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester has been around for quite some time. That doesn’t happen to car models without being a model of success and consistency. The Subaru Forester is the first vehicle on this list that features standard all-wheel drive for all of its trims. This model is most well-known for its cargo space, awesome fuel economy, and above-average safety scores. It’s widely recognized as one of the best compact SUVs for families on the market.
The 2019 Subaru Forester was completely redesigned and marked the beginning of the model’s fifth generation. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the new Subaru Forester won’t feature too many changes. The Subaru Forester will have the same features as the previous model, plus available LED license plate lights, additional color schemes, and the new Rear Seat Reminder to ensure that children and pets are not left unattended in the vehicle. The Forester is the perfect vehicle for middle-class families, starting out at $24,295.
While the Kia Sportage sales within the United States pales in comparison to the RAV4 and CR-V models, the Sportage is still a great compact SUV. In fact, an argument can be made that the Kia Sportage is the most visually appealing of the bunch, especially its interior. The interior features comfortable materials with beautiful colors that give it a luxurious feel, while still remaining affordable enough to rival other models in its class. This model drives smoothly but lacks the fuel economy of the other models listed above.
The cosmetic changes of the Kia Sportage are minimal. However, Kia announced that several features will now become standard for the new model year including a driver condition monitor, pedestrian detection, Android Auto, Apple Play, and an eight-inch touchscreen. We can expect the Kia Sportage to still rank amongst the best SUVs in the market even if the sales don’t justify that. The Kia Sportage starts out at an affordable $23,990.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the youngest compact SUV models on the list as it was first introduced in 2007. While there are better options in this class (as listed above), the Tiguan remains a well-rounded, reliable compact SUV and is one of the best in its class. However, Volkswagen only offers one engine choice, which many find disappointing. Nonetheless, the fuel economy and passenger space make this model favorable amongst other vehicles of the same class that isn’t listed.
The Second-Generation Volkswagen Tiguan began with the 2018 model year, so the 2019 and 2020 models didn't include too many changes. The new model introduced a new standard WiFi hotspot, and additional standard safety features such as forward collision alert, automatic braking, and blind-spot warning system. Aside from the introduction of these new standard features, the only changes to the newer model years are a few minor shuffles and additions to the model’s trim levels. The Volkswagen Tiguan starts out at $24,295, however, it’s probably in any shopper’s best interest to hold out for the release of the newest model for the additional standard safety technology.