The 10 Best Compact Crossover SUVs for 2021

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E 1

When it comes to the part of the public that purchases vehicles, well, they’ve definitely spoken. After a long love affair with the standard SUV-type set of wheels, the population was hit with something new. This one would still be a sport-utility vehicle, so to speak, but it wouldn’t be ‘truck-based’ in its design. This vehicle was still an SUV, for all intents and purposes, but it had what is referred to as a ‘uni-body’ construction, which made it more streamlined and aerodynamic while still providing for roominess and comfort. You also get the spacious cargo area in the back, just like with the truck-based variety. All of this makes for a much more comfortable riding experience, not to mention the fact that the fuel economy is better, too. So, what is this new vehicle we’re referring to? The ‘crossover SUV’, that’s what, as we’re sure you’ve likely guessed.

The fact is that the crossover dominated automobile sales for 2020, with 40% of all sales being attributed to the style , and the compact crossover (a smaller, more economical version of the same) has proven itself just as, if not more, popular than the bigger boy. Back in 2011 it was taking 50% of the market, and the numbers are expected to begin rising like before soon. So, what is it about the crossover that has so many mesmerized? Is it the sexy body with all that room inside? Is it the fact that the roominess is accompanied by great gas mileage and other capabilities? Just what is the lure? Well, it’s likely a combination of all of those things. In something of a tribute, and in an effort to aide those of you who are in the market to buy, we decided to bring you some top-notch information regarding the very best crossover SUVs for 2021. Just in the nick of time, right? You’ll find our picks for the best compact crossover SUV for the coming year listed from number ten to number one, from the best to the very, very best, so you’ll be able to get a good idea of what our opinion is on the topic, anyway. We’ll touch base on the safety options, engine and mileage specs, interior and cargo space, and finally, the price.

So, sit back, relax, and let the information you learn in the next half hour or so contribute to any decision making process you may have for buying new. We think if you are considering a crossover purchase this list will really help you narrow things down, so enjoy. Glad to help you take a load off…

10. The 2021 Buick Encore GX Select

The 2021 Buick Encore GX Select

The 2021 Buick Encore is one of our ‘not-run-of-the-mill’ compact SUVs. What we mean by that is that we’re actually used to seeing this particular model as a four-door sedan, not a crossover, but here it is in all its glory. Engine-wise, you get a turbo-three, 1.2 liter engine standard, and this all-wheel drive (AWD) seats five comfortably, with great cargo space to boot, and that’s not to mention the six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive (all is electronically-controlled). As for safety features, well, the 2021 Encore has a five-star safety rating. It includes automatic emergency braking, more interior space, pedestrian detection, and a variety of lane departure warnings. At $23,299 for the standard model, the 2021 Encore makes the list easily.

9. The 2021 Nissan Rogue

The 2021 Nissan Rogue

The new Rogue hasn’t deviated performance-wise; it is still ran by means of a 2.5 liter four-cylinder that works in cooperation with a CVT, or continuously-variable automatic tranny. The good news is that its power has been increased to 181 horses. Front-wheel drive is standard, but there is an AWD option available. As far as safety options are concerned, this vehicle comes equipped with Nissan Safety Shield 360, which consists of rear automatic braking, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, high-beam assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. The roomy interior seats five, with more than sufficient cargo space and all the latest technology, making the price tag of between $26,500 and $37,000 more than reasonable, all things considered.

8. The 2021 Chevy Trax

The 2021 Chevy Trax

This fun little beast comes AWD standard (you can opt for front-wheel drive only if you desire) and puts 138 horses out of its 1.4 liter inline-four engine. It has a six-speed automatic transmission, stability control, and electronic traction adjust. Safety options include rear cross-traffic detection, rear park assist, and side blind-zone alert. The conveniently-placed infotainment center is the topper when it comes to the spacious interior, which also offers sufficient cargo space, considering the vehicle’s smaller compact size. You can expect to spend a $21,400 base price for the Trax LS trim version, which is the standard.

7. The 2021 Mini Countryman

The 2021 Mini Countryman

While this particular model is the ‘largest’ of the British manufacturer’s line, it is indeed a compact crossover type. The interior boasts lots of room for the car’s size, comes with leather upholstery options, and the infotainment center now has the ability to connect with Amazon Alexa. There is a plug-in version, but the gas-powered versions come with front-wheel drive, a dual-clutch seven-speed (AWD versions have an eight-speed automatic) transmission, and a turbocharged three-cylinder, all which come standard. Together they put out around 135 hp, though some say it is underpowered; for a being a family-type vehicle we feel this is more than sufficient. Also, you’ll find fuel economy to depend on the trim level, which it normal, so check it out for the specific trim you are considering. Speaking of family, though, safety options include eight air bags (standard), but the new Countryman doesn’t have some of the driver assist features that make for added safety, and this can be a setback in today’s market. So, maybe it’s not as much a ‘family’ based vehicle as one would like, but it’s a great little runner with a bit of style and class. The standard version of the 2021 Mini Countryman carries a base price that starts at around $30,000.

6. The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

This particular offering is all-electric and, since it bears the famous Mustang name, seems to have fallen victim to price tag markups that no one is to fond of, but there are a lot of plusses to Ford’s new ride. As far as driver assist and safety features are concerned, there is a forward-collision warning feature available, as is automated emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. Lane keeping assist with lane-departure warning are also optional. Performance-wise, well, this baby can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than for seconds, and Car and Driver states that you can get a driving range of up to 270 miles of high-powered driving before needing a charge (the Premium model is able to be fast-charged when needed). The Premium model also has many extras that the base model does not. While it doesn’t look too roomy, the battery is actually located under the vehicle itself, so this makes for more than ample head and leg room, as well as ample cargo space. You can expect to pay for the Mustang name, however: The base model starts at $44,995.

5. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Here is an interesting contender for the throne: The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is an SUV we can almost immediately visualize as soon as it’s mentioned, but the picture in our mind is typically one of old. The new version, however, is off that beaten path for sure. While it does have a larger, boxier body, it indeed is considered a compact crossover, according to Car and Driver, and it is compact nonetheless. There is more than sufficient passenger room and cargo space, and safety features will include lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking, along with much more, though Ford has not released specifics on exactly what will be available or which features will be standard or optional. Fuel economy information has not been revealed at this point, but the vehicle will be powered by either a 1.5 liter 3-cylinder or a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder, both which are turbocharged. Here’s a bit of good news: The new Ford Bronco is said to be a bit more ‘adventurous’ than the Escape, which has basically worn the compact crossover crown for Ford for a number of years. MSRP for the 2021 Bronco Sport starts at $29,995.

4. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

This plug-in electric hybrid has potential to be one of the bestselling compact crossovers out there in the coming year. The electric drivetrain will get you around 42 miles before needing a recharge. It should also be noted that you get 302 horses out of the hybrid system, so power-wise there is little to complain about. As far as the interior, it is comfortably arranged and offers lots of room both above and below, and in the cargo area as well. It is being said by Toyota that the RAV4 Prime is their ‘quickest and most fuel efficient RAV4 ever’. The new RAV4 Prime has a starting price of $39,220.

3. The 2021 Kia Seltos

The 2021 Kia Seltos

This model looks a lot like a smaller Kia Telluride, but it has the capacity to stand on its own two feet. The body style is its strongest point, differing from others in its class thanks to its broader body and bolder lines, and the styling contributes greatly to the roomy interior, which has everything one needs when it comes to both space and information/entertainment control. It is available with three different engine options, but some are not available in North America; here you can count on a standard 2.0 liter 4-cylinder (147 hp) in the base model. It is also equipped with a CVT, or continuously-variable transmission; the turbocharged engine options have a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Safety equipment is a blessing in this vehicle, easily rivaling the offerings in many high-end luxury class vehicles. It comes with ESC, ABS, and traction control, but Kia has also added standard safety features like front and rear parking sensors and Hill Start Assist Control, just to name a couple. The 2021 Seltos has a starting price of $21,990.

2. The 2021 Lincoln Corsair

The 2021 Lincoln Corsair

This contribution by the Lincoln luxury brand does hold its own, regardless of the reputation of some of its larger SUV models in the past. The Corsair comes in two trim levels: the Grand Touring and the standard model, The system puts out an estimated 265 horses from its 2.5 liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, and as a hybrid it comes with electric that contributes to the power as well. On the inside the Corsair looks much the same on both trim levels, with sound control that makes for a nice, smooth, quiet ride. The cargo space isn’t booming, like it may be with those that are non-hybrid, but it’s there for the taking. Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 is in charge of safety onboard, including automatic high-beams, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, rearview camera, blind spot detection with cross-traffic alert, and automatic lane-keep assistance, to name a few features. The fact is that the 2021 Corsair by Lincoln is actually a very good luxury compact crossover option that shows great potential, and we’re all for the flexibility being shown by Ford in this venture. So, when it comes to the following prices:

• $40,000 to $45,000 for the base model
• $50,000 for the Grand Touring model

And so are the reasons that the 2021 Corsair comes in at number two: some of the best safety features on the market, luxury and space on the inside, and a price tag that is actually affordable for a Lincoln. It makes for exciting consideration, doesn’t it?

1. The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

In recent years Volvo has really come a long way in improving its output, and the new XC40 Recharge is no exception. Since safety is something that Volvo considers to be of the utmost importance, one can expect to be impressed. First, they moved the combustion engine to make things safer all-around, in case of impact, and the rear motor that it has is integrated carefully into the structure of the body itself, making it safer in the case of a rear-end collision. It also has an active safety system that is referred to as ‘scalable’ by Volvo. The Advanced Driver Assist System integrates the use of radar, cameras, and sensors that can be updated with technology as it advances …nice! As far as power, well, it comes from a 78-killowat-per-hour battery which, when fully charged, should give drivers approximately 200 miles of range, and the system together will provide 402 horses and go from 0 to 62 mph in less than five seconds. Impressive to say the least, especially for a compact crossover SUV that is able to boast all the bells and whistles on the inside, as well as the out. Cargo space, plenty of room, and great technological options and advances that make this a great vehicle to ‘interact’ with when on the go. So, what’s the price? Well, the MSRP on the base model, after tax credit, comes to around $48,000, which may seem to be a bit high, but this bad boy comes in at #1 for a reason…it’s well worth every penny.

When considering the styling of the crossovers on the market, it’s easy to get excited; they give you everything you need in one sleek, sexy package. Our vehicles come nearly as equipped as our houses these days, and crossovers make that possible, thanks to great design. Now we have the compact version, which provides for versatility and economy, so there is more to get excited about than ever before. We hope we’ve helped in your quest for the best compact crossover for your needs. Go out and arrange to test drive your favorites, and make sure that you are safe before everything else…and enjoy.

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