Top Compact SUVs of 2017

October 4, 2017 by Benjamin Roussey

The sales of compact SUVs are on the rise right now. With 2018 just around the corner, we decided to take a look at some of the best-selling SUVs of 2017 and pit them against each other to see which one comes out on top. Want to know which is the best SUV of 2017? Read on to find out.


Volkswagen Tiguan

The Tiguan, even though it was a far cry from its predecessor, managed to beat out the Honda CR-V by the smallest of margins because of a large amount of cargo space and tons of seating, mixed with decent handling abilities and ride quality.


In order to give most Americans what they're looking for in compact crossover SUVs, Volkswagen had to rethink the way it approached the segment. The result was a compelling offering by any angle that you want to look at it. The only let down in the SUV was the 2.0-L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. The rest of the SUV is undeniably satisfying. It's easily one of the best choices in this segment proving that Volkswagen knows how to build SUVs for us Americans. A revised model with major improvements is all-new for 2018.


Honda CR-V

In second place, just behind the Tiguan, is the Honda CR-V. It's been redesigned with some additional family-friendly and safety features. The drivetrain is a little pokey though.


The redesigned CR-V could have totally been an example of something that requires minimal upgrades since it has done well in the past. Honda could just as easily have made some design tweaks and left it there. Instead, they redesigned the CR-V completely, which makes it very different from its conservative yet competent predecessor. The styling has gone from awesome to anonymous and is led by a new front fascia, sculpted haunches, and reshaped rear windows which reek of masculinity.


For every trim apart from the base, the CR-V gets a 1.5-L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine borrowed from the Civic, which can offer as much as 34 mpg on the highway as per the EPA. This is golden given the fuel-sipping and low-end torque ways of the Honda CR-V.


Mazda CX-5

Third, comes the Mazda CX-5 which has been redesigned with a killer interior.


This charismatic crossover combines the unrivaled enjoyment of driving with rich-looking style both on the outside and the inside. Just like its midsized sibling, the CX-9, this compact crossover has a classy interior and an upscale exterior design. A fuel-efficient engine transmits 187 hp to the front wheels through a 6-speed auto transmission and there's even an option to go All Wheel Drive.


Even though this may not be the most feature-laden or practical compact crossover, the CX-5 is a lot of fun to drive. Its exceptional chassis and precise steering provide mechanical refinement typically reserved for higher-end vehicles. At the end of the day, the CX-5 looks and even feels like a much more expensive SUV.


Ford Escape

Right in the middle of this list, in fourth place, is the Ford Escape which comes with a great multimedia system and a pretty small interior which hurt its chances. The missing safety features also cost the SUV quite a bit. The lack of some important technologies such as automatic engine braking and forward collision warning resulted in the Escape being ranked lower on this list. Like the Mazda, it offers an engaging driving experience, refined interior, and pleasant road manners.


Chevrolet Equinox 

Our fifth place winner is the Chevrolet Equinox, which will be all new in 2018. Everyone loved its connectivity features and powertrain but the handling. Cabin materials left little to be desired. Just like the Escape, this SUV lacks accessible automatic braking and collision warning. They are available on the Equinox but you'll need to get the top trim and pay for additional packages if you want them, which proves costly.


Nissan Rogue

Next up, the newly refreshed Nissan Rogue. This SUV offers a lot of versatility but comes with an outdated multimedia system and spotty cabin materials. The car-seat accommodations of the Rogue cost it a few points too as well as the latch anchors are pretty difficult to use.


This is why, despite having some praiseworthy aspects, the Nissan Rogue is rated below many compact SUVs in this segment. It does get high marks for cargo capacity and seating comfort, but the poor visibility and lethargic acceleration are sore points, to say the least. The Rogue Hybrid might interest a few people since it offers an efficiency gain of 7 mpg. The trade-off is cargo capacity since you have to accommodate the battery which means it's not one of the best choices in the class. 


Jeep Compass

Last on this list is the Jeep Compass. It doesn't have much going for it at the moment, kind of like the NFL right now, but that is a sore spot so we'll leave that alone! The interior of the SUV provides questionable quality and its lack of cargo storage and poor powertrain justify the last spot on the list. Just like the Rogue, the Compass struggles when it comes to car-seat accommodations, especially when it comes to using infant seat at the back.


The Compass was introduced 10 years ago at Jeep enthusiast's outrage, mostly because it had the same FWD as the Dodge Caliber. Despite its cheap interior and lack of refinement, the Compass wasn't as offensive as the Caliber to the casual shopper.


It managed to draw in a lot of customers since it provided an accessible point of entry to people who wanted Jeep SUV style without making any of the sacrifices that come with a Wrangler or paying as much as they would have to for a Grand Cherokee.


With the 2nd generation Compass, Jeep took the idea of small crossovers and ran with it. The 2017 Compass shares showroom space with the Renegade and the Cherokee which are both poignant additions to this SUV family. All run on a Fiat-derived platform.


The new Compass uses a stretched version of the underpinnings from the Renegade and fits in a totally different segment somewhere between compact and subcompact. If you want to enter the compact crossover SUV market, this may just be the SUV for you. 


If you could have any of these SUVs, which would you choose and why?

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