The Best Small SUVs: Best Deals on Used Compact SUVs for 2021

Whether towing a boat to the lake or shuttling the kids to a soccer game, you need a versatile SUV that can take you wherever life leads you.  A compact SUV gives you the driving experience of a sedan with the power of a SUV. Since EchoPark only sells 1-4 year old sport utility vehicles, our compact SUVs come equipped with the latest safety and technology features from touchscreen displays and Apple Carplay to adaptive cruise control. Some contain backseat entertainment systems and even a third row of rear seats. A few are even more fuel efficient than some sedans on the market.

Some of the best small SUVs, such as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V or Hyundai Tucson, could be just what you need to fuel some fun into your driving.  Since compact SUVs offer a diverse range of options, you’ll want to research and compare different makes and models to ensure you pick the perfect SUV for your lifestyle. To help with this process, you should know what it is you want to do in your SUV and match the features you’ll need to get you there.  And one of EchoPark’s knowledgeable Experience Guides can guide you every step the way.

How We Chose the Best Compact SUVs 

At EchoPark, we set out to make the car buying process as easy as possible. Though a small SUV might have a lower pricetag than a full-size vehicle, it's still a pretty sizeable investment. That's why we put together this guide. We analyzed the most popular Hyundais, Subarus, Mazdas, Nissans and other popular carmakers and rated them by: 

  • Price
  • Fuel economy
  • Powertrain
  • Safety features
  • Spacious interior design 
  • Engine power 

From robust four-cylinder engines to hybrids, these are the best SUVs that can give you the best fuel economy, storage and safety for their size. 

Ford Escape 

EchoPark Starting Price (April 2021): $13,589

Engine/Powertrain: 1.5L turbo engine, front wheel drive 

Ford's signature compact SUV is one of the nation's most popular vehicles of its class, and for good reason too. It's reasonably priced, features a sleek exterior and interior design and has enough storage and seating for almost any family. This 5-seater features a 1.5L turbo engine and comes standard with front wheel drive. At an estimated 37 MPG on highways and 44 MPG in cities, it's also one of the most fuel efficient small SUVs on the road. For those interested in going green, the Ford Escape is also available as a plug-in hybrid.  

Ford Escape Pros 

  • Available hybrid powertrain
  • Active safety technology standard
  • Fresh redesign for 2020 

Ford Escape Cons 

  • Not the lowest-price option for small SUVs 
  • On-board entertainment isn't the most advanced for its class 

Toyota RAV4  

EchoPark Starting Price: $18,529

Engine/Powertrain: 2.5L I4 engine, all wheel drive 

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular compact SUVs worldwide, resonating with suburban and city drivers who need fuel efficiency, ample storage and comfort. This 5-seater is one of the most fuel-efficient small SUVs in our round-up, averaging 41 MPG on city streets and 38 MPG on highways. It's also an all wheel drive model, making it perfect for areas that see inclement weather and rough roads during the winter. Like the Ford Escape, the RAV4 is another popular compact SUV available as a hybrid. 

Toyota RAV4 Pros 

  • Comes standard with Lane Keep Assist 
  • Exterior LED lights 
  • Option for hybrid model 

Toyota RAV4 Cons 

  • Its 2.5L engine isn't as powerful as ones in other small SUVs

Subaru Forester

EchoPark Starting Price (April 2021): $18,529

Engine/Powertrain: 2.5L H4 engine, all wheel drive 

The Forester is a small crossover known for its practicality and rugged appeal. And for a relatively compact crossover SUV, it's got a spacious interior with plenty of cargo room and seating for five.  The Subaru Forester features five trim levels, with the 2.5i Premium being the most popular. The Forester gets 26 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. 

Subaru Forester Pros

  • Lots of cargo space 
  • Spacious interior
  • All wheel drive capabilities 

Subaru Forester Cons  

  • Some competitor models are more affordably priced for similar features

Honda CR-V 

EchoPark Starting Price (April 2021): $13,999

Engine/Powertrain: 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, all wheel drive 

The Honda CR-V is a model with a long history as a popular compact SUV. It boasts an impressive fuel economy (28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway) and has great safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist now included with the base trim. The CR-V features a 184-horsepower base engine. And for used car buyers, the CR-V also recently received some significant exterior style upgrades in 2017. 

Honda CR-V Pros 

  • Great price; high fuel economy
  • Spacious interior 
  • Lane Assist and Collision Mitigation Braking System updated for 2019 models 

Honda CR-V Cons

  • Few upgraded tech options for base model 
  • Infotainment controls may be confusing 

Hyundai Tucson  

EchoPark Starting Price (April 2021): $15,589

Engine/Powertrain: 1.6-Liter turbo four engine until 2019, optional 2.4-liter engine starting 2019, all wheel drive 

Another popular small SUV, the Hyundai Tucson features comfortable seating for four adults and is notable among compact SUVs for its long and comprehensive warranty options. However, the Tucson might not be best for drivers who appreciate a powerful engine and robust fuel economy. Tucson models until 2019 are equipped with 1.6-liter turbo-four engine. In 2019, Hyundai introduced an 2.4-liter engine, but this option doesn't come standard for base trims. Safety features include an automatic emergency braking and a forward collision warning system. In terms of tech and infotainment features, the Tucson is available with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a 7-inch touch screen. 

Hyundai Tucson Pros 

  • Affordable price
  • Great safety and infotainment features that come standard 
  • Long warranty 

Hyundai Tucson Cons 

  • Not as much cargo space as other competitors 
  • Not the most powerful engine options on the market 
  • Not as fuel efficient as other competitors 

Find Your New Car at EchoPark 

At EchoPark, we're reinventing the car buying process and finding new ways to get the best deals for drivers nationwide. 

If you're in the market for the best car for your money, browse our line-up of popular compact SUVs. Be sure to check out our other roundups of the best makes and models and get in touch if you'd like to know more about any of the small SUVS and crossover SUVs on this list.