The Top 5 best new small SUVs give you the handling and power of the SUV without the hulking behemoth size and poor fuel efficiency of the big boys. Sometimes you just want something a little smaller. It’s easier to get into, better on gas, and gives you the extra space and comfort that you don’t get in a sedan. But which ones combine all the luxury, technology, and reliability rolled into one? Here they are, the top 5 best new small SUVs.

1. 2011 Audi Q5 Base MSRP: $36,075

The Audi Q5 leads the way in nearly every category. It provides a smooth ride with ample power from a 3.2L V6 engine that is no longer available in the A4. It is also not short technology, incorporating Audi’s third-generation Multimedia Interface (MMI). It also provides the best towing capacity of any vehicle in its class at 4,400 lbs. According to Edmunds, “The 2010 Audi Q5, with its premium interior, roomy backseat, sporty handling, firm but supple ride, and excellent crash-test scores, is one of the best bets for consumers in search of a fun-to-drive, yet practical, compact luxury crossover.”

2. 2011 Ford Edge Base MSRP: $27,995

The Edge hasn’t changed much in the past few years and that’s probably for a good reason. The list of options and Ford’s focus on technology place the Edge at near the top of the list. Issues with a sluggish transmission and poor interior materials are the only drawbacks. Safety and performance standards are both above par. A switch in tire sizes has improved what were once poor braking distances.

3. 2011 Infiniti EX35 Base MSRP: $34,675

Buy this one more for the ride than for roomy comfort or hauling capacity. It’s clear to see Infiniti is more concerned with performance and reliability than with comfort.  Not that that’s a bad thing, just don’t look for leg room in the rear seats and if you’re looking to haul a ton of gear, look elsewhere. Other than that, the EX35 provides a superior ride, great technological features, and some of the best styling available. According to Edmunds, “The Infiniti EX35 is one of the best-driving entries in the growing compact luxury crossover segment, and the price is right.”

4. 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Base MSRP: $22,490

On paper, this one has it all; a great list of features, superb crash test safety ratings, a powerful 3.5L V6 engine, and fuel efficiency that can reach 19/26mpg (city/highway). What keeps it so low on the list is the overall ride. The suspension is very stiff and the optional 18” tires only make that worse. Still, the price is one of the lowest in the industry compared to its competitors and the 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty assure you that you’ll have it for years to come.

5. 2011 Volvo XC60 Base MSRP: $32,395

The amenities and overall ride place the XC60 on the list of the best five. It has enough interior space to surpass models such as the Infiniti EX35 and the Mercedes-BenzGLK350. Safety and performance features are right on pace with competitors and the list of options, especially the technologically-equipped options, is impressive. Still, the XC60 will not get great gas mileage for the amount of performance received and it may be better suited with a peppier engine.

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