One of the hottest market segments at the moment is the subcompact SUV, including crossovers. With the introduction of new models from Mazda and Honda, consumers stand to gain with greater choices and superb styling and features. But the other small (including compact) crossovers and SUVs aren’t standing still either. Each one possesses its own unique character that appeals to certain tastes.
Here we profile 10 2016 small crossover SUVs worth a look.
2016 BMW X1 – This time around, the BMW X1 crossover utility is larger than before, more versatile and more powerful with a new 228-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged (BMW calls it “Twin Turbo) four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The German automaker says this combination makes the X1 the most powerful entry-level vehicle in the segment. An optional rear adjustable seat slides fore and aft, adding a potential 2.6 inches in rear legroom. And a power-folding feature powers down the rear seats to a flat cargo floor or back up with the push of a button (accessible in the cargo compartment). Standard features include full LED headlights, a head-up display, front fog lamps, keyless start, power heated mirrors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
2016 Audi Q3 – Audi gave the Q3 luxury compact crossover a mildly refreshed front end design, added to the standard features list by including a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors. Moving up to the Prestige trim adds such standard features as 19-inch wheels, sporty “S” line styling cues, full LED headlights, and dynamic rear turn signals. Front- or all-wheel drive (Audi calls it “Quattro”) are available. The Q3 is powered by a 200-horsepower turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Cargo space, however, is just 16.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats, with 48 cubic feet (a respectable number) with the seats folded down. The Q3 offers a quiet, comfortable ride and boasts one of the finest interiors in the class.
2016 Chevrolet Trax – For city dwellers who prefer practicality and frugal fuel economy (29 mpg combined for front-wheel drive and 27 mpg for all-wheel drive) over power or styling, the 2016 Chevrolet Trax offers a compelling value proposition. Besides roomy seating that’s quite versatile for four adults, the Trax boasts excellent safety ratings. A rearview camera is standard, as are 10 airbags and electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. As for power, the Trax gets around nicely thanks to its 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Cargo space with rear seatbacks up is 18.7 cubic feet. Fold the seatbacks down and the space increases to 48.4 cubic feet. Fold down the front passenger seat flat and the Trax accommodates longer items.
2016 Buick Encore – Handling is about as good as it gets in a tall, heavy wagon-cum crossover like the 2016 Buick Encore. It’s even better in all-wheel drive than in front-wheel drive, no doubt due to the weight in the lower front of the vehicle. All Encore models come standard with 10 airbags and a rearview camera. While only a single engine is offered, a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, Buick promises more power to come in an Encore Sport Touring model available soon. Ride is quiet, although not hushed as in other Buick models. Safety-conscious consumers can feel comforted in the Encore’s overall five-star crash test score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Encore is an attractive small crossover, but it’s not the only one. The field is crowded with many new entries and quite a few that start at a lower price point.
2016 Fiat 500X – Resting on a wheelbase that’s 102 inches long and with an overall length of 168 inches (depending on model), the 2016 Fiat 500X is about five inches shorter than the 500L hatchback, but about an inch wider. The 500X is also wider than the Chevy Trax. Front seat passengers will benefit from firm seats that have some lumbar support. If you opt for the panoramic sunroof, however, headroom will be somewhat less. In the rear seats, there’s not as much room for passengers as the Honda HR-V. As for storage, the 500X has 18.5 cubic feet of it behind the second row, with 50.8 cubic feet behind the front row. A nice plus is the height-adjustable rear cargo floor (available on all except the Pop trim). Instead of the base version’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, opt for the bigger and more powerful 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine matched with nine-speed automatic (in the 500X Trekking Plus).
2016 Honda HR-V – Great styling, more headroom than the popular Fit, plus optional all-wheel drive – these are the perks that go with the all-new 2016 Honda HR-V subcompact crossover. On the inside, the HR-V boasts nicer materials than the Fit, plus noise insulation for a quieter ride and better details. Although the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 141 horsepower, the HR-V isn’t all that quick, but it does get 31 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and CVT transmission. Honda says the HR-V is the roomiest vehicle in its class with 58.8 cubic feet of space behind the front seats and 24.3 cubic feet behind the second-row seats. But with the innovative Magic Seat that flips and folds, the HR-V boasts a flexibility that rivals can’t quite match. Even the base HR-V has a rearview camera, power windows, mirrors and locks, Bluetooth with audio streaming, steering-wheel audio controls, and tilt/telescope steering.
2016 Mazda CX-3 – One of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in the segment, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is also stylish, well equipped, has ample features and great options and an elegant, up-market feel. One surprise is how quiet the CX-3 is – even on bumpier road surfaces. Naturally, the choice of wheels will affect this characteristic. The CX-3 has only one powertrain, a 136-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. Fuel economy is rated at 31 mpg combined (front-wheel drive) and 27 mpg combined (with all-wheel drive).
2016 Subaru Crosstrek – If you’re looking for a small crossover SUV that gets good gas mileage and has all-wheel drive, look no further than the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek. Highlights are the Crosstrek’s traction and agility, maneuverability and comfortable ride. The available Subaru EyeSight active safety suite (included in the Crosstrek Limited and available in Premium) includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, lane-departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert. The exterior of the Crosstrek benefits from a new grille, fascia, bumper and headlight design – giving the vehicle a beefier look.
2016 Jeep Renegade – With a wider cabin than some rivals (including the Chevy Trax), the 2016 Jeep Renegade delights with a quiet ride on pavement and the Trailhawk’s all-wheel drive off-road prowess. No, it’s no Wrangler, but the Renegade’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance, skid plates and front and rear bumpers allow for good approach and descent on tough terrain. The Renegade has a choice of two different four-cylinder engines, a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four or a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four. The BeatsAudio system is available in the 2016 Renegade, delivering 506 watts of power through nine speakers and 6.5-inch subwoofer. In short, the Renegade is cute and rugged, when needed. What’s not to like?
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA – Mercedes-Benz bills the GLA-Class as a true premium compact SUV with dramatic styling, and we’d have to agree. Basically unchanged from the 2015 model, the 2016 GLA is powered by a 208-horsepower turbocharged in-line four with third-generation direct injection with advanced rapid-multispark ignition and fuel-saving ECO start/stop. Three models are available: GLA250, GLA250 4Matic, and AMG GLA45.