Big things come in small packages, especially when you’re talking about compact SUVs. Smart and stylish, these little utilities and crossovers offer the drivability of a car with the practicality of a larger family vehicle. And many deliver a wide array of technology features as well as sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems. Add to that fuel economy that’s significantly better than a full-size SUV or minivan. With more and more consumers taking notice of the benefits, it’s no wonder this segment is rapidly growing. To that end, here are 8 new small SUVs for 2018 that should be on your watch list.
This little luxury crossover brings with it a nice dose of performance, technology and comfort. From the outside, the Q5 has taken on a more aggressive look than before. The upscale cabin is quiet and plush, and there’s a wide array of luxury features like a panoramic sunroof and heated leather seats. The modern interior also integrates a number of optional driver-assistance and convenience technologies. There’s plenty of cargo room, too, despite the Q5’s concise footprint.
Under the hood, the Q5 is motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 252 horsepower. The engine pairs with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and energy goes to all four wheels to help the Q5 drive smoothly and confidently regardless of driving conditions. The Q5 is available for a base MSRP of $41,500.
Of all the small SUVs in our lineup, the 5-passenger BMW X3 is the one most intended for those who love to drive. The X3 has been on the market for years, but continues to make improvements in styling and interior features. Now longer and wider than before, the X3 grants more passenger space. BMW’s most recent iteration of the iDrive infotainment system is more intuitive than ever and integrates Apple CarPlay functionality. And there’s a whopping 62.7 cu ft. of max cargo space for families that go on long trips.
On the road, the X3 is designed to be agile and responsive. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 248 hp. This engine connects to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional and highly recommended for those in cold climates. Standard features such as 18-inch wheels, roof rails and a power lift gate make the X3 a pleasure to own. The 2018 BMW X3 has a base MSRP of $42,450.
Youthful and fun, the new 500x is for those who like to stand out a bit from the crowd. Its Italian-inspired design makes it one of the most interesting-looking offerings in the subcompact SUV segment. Aside from its eye-catching exterior, the 500x enjoys high-quality interior materials and a good amount of useful cargo space. Available in three trim levels, the Fiat 500x offers an abundance of optional convenience and luxury features.
The front-wheel-drive 500x is outfitted with one of two engines: the base model’s 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine tied to a manual gearbox, or the larger 2.4-liter inline four tied to a 9-speed automatic. With either setup, you can expect a peppy and spirited driving experience, but if you’re looking for good fuel economy, the 500x is probably not for you. The 2018 Fiat 500x starts at $19,995.
Built on the same platform as the subcompact (and now discontinued) Fiesta, the Ford EcoSport brings all the advantages of a small car in the form of a utility vehicle. With lots of interior space, the EcoSport is designed to accommodate the family comfortably. The well-crafted cabin offers an available suite of technology, including Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, a touchscreen interface, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a keyless entry keypad and smartphone integration.
Available in four trim levels, the EcoSport is powered by a choice of two engines: a miniscule 1.0-liter engine generating 123 hp, and a twice-as-large 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 140 hp. Both will be amply efficient. And driver-assistance systems like rear cross-traffic alert will make your drive safer in your everyday travels. The 2018 Ford EcoSport will have a base MSRP of $20,990.
Available in four distinct trim levels, the Hyundai Kona is a good-looking small SUV with impressive interior space and technology. The infotainment system is controlled by a dashboard-top tablet screen for ease of use. And the Kona offers an abundance in the way of driver-assistance and convenience tech. The Kona’s overall cabin is spacious and comfortable for the whole family, whether you’re running to the grocery store or taking a weekend road trip. And the cargo area’s wide, flat load floor makes plenty of room for luggage, camping equipment or gear of any kind.
The Kona is propelled by either a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission to make 147 hp, or a more spirited turbocharged 1.6-liter engine generating 175 hp and paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If you live in colder climates, we recommend you opt for all-wheel drive, which is available with either engine. The 2018 Hyundai Kona offers one of the best warranties in the industry and has an expected base price around $20,000, making it very competitive with others in the class.
The all-new Nissan Kicks received a lot of head-turning looks when it was introduced at the 2017 Los Angeles Show. This stylish subcompact crossover is defined by an athletic and sculpted exterior that will remind you of the Nissan Juke. The well-crafted cabin features upscale materials and good fit and finish, as well as an impressive roster of safety, technology and driver-assist systems, from frontal-collision warning to rear cross-traffic alert. The modern interior also integrates optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Available in three trim levels, the front-wheel-drive Kicks is motivated by a 125-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that ties to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is not as powerful as some in this class. But with an estimated 33 miles per gallon combined, the Kicks will draw consumers looking for a more fuel-efficient choice in the segment. With an on-sale date of June 2018, pricing has not yet been announced.
The Subaru Crosstrek is the small SUV for the family that needs all-weather capability and likes to go off the beaten trail. This second-generation model enjoys a rugged exterior look, a good ride height and a unique shape that blends utility, hatchback and wagon into one. The interior is clearly an improvement over that of the previous-generation Crosstrek, boasting upgraded materials and a less utilitarian feel. And safety is clearly the focus here, headlined by Subaru’s available EyeSight system, which includes automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning, among other driver-assistance features.
The Crosstrek returns with a new suspension geometry and a stiffer body to deliver a smoother ride. Offered in three trim levels, the Crosstrek is powered by a 152-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that pairs with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission. And since this is Subaru, all-wheel drive is standard. The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek has a starting price of $21,795.
As Volvo’s smallest SUV offering, the new XC40 is equal parts luxurious and safe. The carmaker’s reputation for safety carries over into this newest model, offering strong construction and an extensive list of active safety features. One example is the automatic braking system, which detects cars, pedestrians and even large animals. And from a luxury perspective, the XC40 offers everything from an available panoramic moonroof to a 13-speaker premium audio system. The Sensus infotainment system is notably sophisticated but can be a tad difficult to learn.
The XC40 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine channeling 247 hp through its 8-speed automatic transmission. We recommend opting for the upgraded sport-tuned chassis for an extra dose of driving enjoyment. The base MSRP for the 2018 Volvo XC40 is $36,195, and there’s also a special flat-fee ownership plan called Care by Volvo, which may be right for some buyers.