Although crossovers continue to garner consumer attention in today’s marketplace, just finding the best cheap crossover SUVs can prove to be quite an exercise. The appeal of crossovers is undeniable: They feature car-like ride and handling and a truck’s capabilities. That said, however, there are crossover SUVs that are more of one than the other, and some that are somewhere in-between.

Choosing the best cheap crossover SUVs entails searching for one that offers as much of what you want in an SUV and weighing and balancing what you need to lay out to pay for it. Here are four contenders for Best Cheap Crossover SUVs.

  • Honda CR-VBacked by Honda’s stellar reputation and thousands of satisfied buyers, the Honda CR-V for 2010 continues to provide one of the best combinations of safety, utility and affordability in its class. Often compared to the Toyota RAV4, the CR-V offers advantages such as a much-easier-to-use tailgate and comfortable and high quality cabin. With base manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) beginning at $21,545, CR-V is the most expensive of this list of four contenders for best cheap crossover SUVs – but it’s also a compact crossover that’s the best-selling SUV in the country. With spacious passenger and cargo areas, cool family-friendly features, agile handling, and excellent crashworthiness, “the 2010 Honda CR-V remains one of our favorite compact crossover SUVs,” says Edmunds. Note, however, that there’s no third-row seat.
  • Nissan RogueReviewers hail the 5-passenger Nissan Rogue, introduced in 2008, as a decent value (base MSRP of $20,460), offering a pleasant ride (on pavement), versatile cargo space, and good fuel economy. Consumer Guide says, “Overall, Rogue’s competitors are quieter and more refined, but this compact Nissan gets points for sleek styling and high levels of interior functionality. If you can live with Rogue’s sometimes harsh ride, this little Nissan might make sense.”
  • Hyundai TucsonRedesigned for 2010, the Hyundai Tucson gets more power, style and nearly best-in-class fuel economy (an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway, with 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission) – at an attractive base MSRP of $18,995. Autoblog opines, “While not our first choice in performance machines, the 2010 Hyundai Tucson might in fact be our first choice if we needed a small crossover.”
  • Jeep CompassAt a base MSRP of $18,720, the aging Jeep Compass – Jeep’s first and only crossover vehicle, is nearly the cheapest crossover SUV out there. Only the Kia Sportage is less expensive at a base MSRP of $16,995). Unlike other Jeeps, however, Compass lacks off-road prowess. It’s more car than truck, and it shows. Still, it’s smooth-riding, has excellent fuel economy for its class, and, there’s that cheap price. Edmunds comments: “Despite its low price and unique flip-down tailgate speakers, the 2010 Jeep Compass ranks as one of the least attractive choices in the compact-SUV segment.”

Are there more 2010 contenders on the Best Cheap Crossover SUVs that you should consider? Also look at the Subaru Forester (base MSRP $20,295), Dodge Journey (base MSRP $20,490), and Kia Sportage (base MSRP $116,995).

See the top 10 least expensive or cheapest SUVs

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