Good Things in Small Packages – The Best Compact Crossovers of 2020
Everyone loves a roomy vehicle. A little wiggle room for your hips, enough headroom so your perfectly coifed hair doesn’t rub. It’s no wonder the compact crossover market is so dominant in North America. In 2019, almost 3.8 million brand-new small SUVs were sold in the United States alone. That says something. Year after year, compact crossovers and small SUVs get better as carmakers dump billions of dollars into development and R&D. Boy, is it paying off. There are some awesome rigs running around the streets. It’s tough to pin down the best of this awesome segment, but we’ve given it a go.
In no particular order, we take a look at the best compact crossovers of 2020 in the United States (in our opinion, at least).
2020 Mazda CX-5
An available 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and a very capable i-ACTIV AWD quarterback this sexy little number. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 looks much more upscale than its price tag suggests, and it’s more comfortable than you’d expect too. Mazda has done a phenomenal job at building a well-mannered and sporty crossover that seats five rather spaciously. Containing awesome tech like available 360-degree monitor, 10-speaker Bose audio system, and forward-thinking ADAS technologies, the CX-5 is one unit you should have on the shortlist.
2020 Toyota RAV4
The best-selling compact crossover in America is the 2020 Toyota RAV4 once again. The recent redesign has given the typically polite-looking SUV an edgy visage that’s both sporty and aggressive. It used to have a sole engine option, a 203-hp 2.5-L four-cylinder, but an even more efficient RAV4 Hybrid is available for 2020. Among the trim levels, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard and an available JBL audio system cranks out 800 watts. For a unique look, check out the interior on the TRD Off-Road and Adventure trims on this entry on the best compact crossovers of 2020.
2020 Ford Escape
Selling nearly a quarter-million units in 2019, the Ford Escape is an incredibly popular model as well. The 2020 Ford Escape is completely redesigned to be more in line with the competition, and we’ll see how that does. Two four-cylinder EcoBoost engine and an Atkinson-cycle Hybrid power this lineup. Special stuff for the Escape is found in a standard set of technologies known as Ford Co-Pilot360 including Pre-Collision Assist, Lane-Keeping System, and auto high-beams, not to mention available Active Park Assist. The 2020 Ford Escape also offers an available head-up display, which sets a standard for the segment.
2020 Hyundai Kona Electric
Let’s get a little off the beaten path now. The all-electric 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric isn’t your typical cute ute, but we’re sure you’re going to love it – especially driving past the gas pumps in this one of the best compact crossovers of 2020. The 201-hp electric powertrain has an EPA-estimated 258-mile range, good enough for most city and country folk alike. You’ll make off with tech like Forward Collision Avoidance Assist and Blind Spot Collision Warning as standard equipment, and leather upholstery with heating and ventilation, LED headlights, and a sunroof are options.
2020 Honda CR-V
Another ‘ol’ faithful’ on the list of the best compact crossovers of 2020 is the 2020 Honda CR-V. The CR-V tends to take a classier approach to compact crossover looks with more chrome bits and fancy wheels, but it’s quite the mover too. For 2020, all trims come standard with the 190-hp turbocharged 4-banger although this year also offers a late-availability Hybrid to make things interesting. Cool features like a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, and hands-free access power tailgate give the CR-V plenty of bang for your buck.
2020 Subaru Forester
There’s something to be said for a compact crossover with standard AWD. The 2020 Subaru Forester has Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive on all trims and a 182-hp BOXER engine with up to 33mpg. Some people might find the looks to be a little off-target (like myself) but it doesn’t offset the benefits like available DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System or its incredibly spacious 76 cu. ft. of cargo space.
2020 Nissan Rogue
Most carmakers have something that makes them stand out from the crowd. The 2020 Nissan Rogue doesn’t necessarily have any tech or looks that are overtly special, but it just does everything rather well. A 170-hp 2.5L 4-cylinder and CVT transmission are enough for sporty driving, and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is available to make suspect road conditions of no consequence. Driver-Assist tech is especially well done with Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Adaptive Cruise Control popular systems.
2020 Jeep Cherokee
Sales have declined 20% year-over-year for the Cherokee, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a fantastic unit, earning a spot on the list of the best compact crossovers of 2020. But the 2020 Jeep Cherokee is one of the sportiest-looking crossovers and has Jeep DNA. The proof is in the powertrain options that include a 270-hp turbocharged 2.0L, Jeep’s renowned Selec-Terrain 4WD system, and a ton of off-road gear on certain trims. But just being trail-ready doesn’t mean it can’t be refined. Premium options include gorgeous leather upholstery choices, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, and a stunning dual-pane panoramic sunroof.
2020 Chevrolet Equinox
A standard entry and a popular seller is the Chevy Equinox. The 2020 Chevy Equinox is a generation that’s a compact crossover where it used to be a midsize player. It offers two engine choices – a more efficient 1.5L turbo engine and a fun-to-drive 252-hp 2.0L turbo engine, plus it has a switchable AWD system as an option. Most AWD compact crossovers are full-time systems. To get into a 2020 Equinox with impressive substance, check out the Equinox Premier with heated leather seats, a hands-free power liftgate, and driver-assistance systems like Lane Keep Assist, Follow Distance Indicator, and Forward Collision Alert.
2021 Kia Seltos
Looking forward to the next model year, watch out for a new entry call the Kia Seltos. Built for rugged terrain, it has a strong look with an optional two-tone roof. A turbocharged 1.6L engine and available AWD with Lock Mode dominate loose or slippery streets and can conquer light off-roading as well. Tons of LED lighting, Smart Cruise Control, synthetic leather upholstery with heated seats, and wireless phone charging are just a few of the options in the 2021 Kia Seltos.