Subaru Crosstrek: one of the best subcompact SUVs available
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Top 5 Subcompact SUVs for Under $25,000 in 2021

If your last new car purchase was a compact car, you could be thinking about making your next one a subcompact SUV.

Canadian buyers are flocking to this segment to get into a taller body style with easier access, increased ground clearance, and sometimes available all-wheel drive, all in a small package well-suited to urban and suburban environments.

The catch is that subcompact SUVs tend to cost more than compact cars, and you’ll need to be more selective about where your budget goes.

Best subcompact SUVs under $25,000

Here are five of the best subcompact SUVs on the market available for $25,000 or less.

Hyundai Venue (from $17,599)

Hyundai Venue

The Hyundai Venue kicks off this list as the most budget-friendly vehicle in the segment. It’s available with front-wheel drive only and is designed to be a comfortable upgrade for buyers who are used to compact cars.

Buyers can expect 121 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque from the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and 528 litres of cargo space behind the second row, specifications that are the same on every grade. The entry-level price shown is for a model with a six-speed manual transmission rated at 8.6 litres of fuel per 100 km in city driving and 6.8 on the highway, although all other trims are equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) rated at 8.0 and 7.0 respectively. All of the Venue’s trims fall within our $25,000 price limitation, and while heated front seats and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard equipment and a heated steering wheel and Hyundai SmartSense safety features come in at the Preferred grade, the best value is at Trend where 17-inch alloy wheels are included along with a power sunroof.

Nissan Kicks (from $19,398)

Nissan Kicks

While the power figures on the Nissan Kicks are only slightly higher than in the Venue at 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque from its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a CVT, this FWD-only SUV makes up for it through a lightweight build and a nimble and easy-going drive feel. It’s also fairly fuel-efficient, using 7.7 L/100 km in city driving and 6.6 on the highway.

The Kicks offers a respectable 716 litres of cargo space and comes with intelligent emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and keyless entry as standard equipment, although heated front seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not included in the base grade. However, the top-of-the-line SR grade is priced at $24,098 and adds on these features plus an around-view monitor and a set of very cool headrest-integrated speakers.

Hyundai Kona (from $21,299)

Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona has been flying off dealer lots this year thanks to its mix of features, quality, and affordable price. The base price shown here is for the entry-level Essential trim with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive can be added to both the Essential and Preferred grades while staying within our $25,000 budget. 

Heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and keyless entry are all included with the base model. However, safety features such as blind spot warning, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert require an upgrade to the Preferred grade. Its 544 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats is on the smaller side for the segment.

Both Essential and Preferred come with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine rated at 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The trade-off of the Kona’s higher power is more fuel usage: it burns 8.6 L/100 km in city driving and 7.0 on the highway in its FWD configuration, and upgrading to AWD bumps these figures to 9.2 and 7.8 respectively.

Kia Seltos (from $22,995)

Kia Seltos

Hyundai and Kia share common building blocks such as vehicle platforms and engines, so in some ways the Kia Seltos is a sibling to the Hyundai Kona. However, there are some notable differences in packaging. The Seltos’s base price is for a FWD model, but an AWD equivalent is priced at $24,995. Both feature the same engine and power figures as the Kona but come with a CVT, which results in better fuel efficiency: the FWD model uses 8.2 L/100 km in the city and 7.1 on the highway, while AWD returns figures of 8.8 and 7.6 respectively. The 752 litres of cargo space is significantly more than what the Kona offers.

Combined with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot warning, plus great styling and excellent build quality and drive dynamics, we rate the Seltos as the best overall value on this list.

Subaru Crosstrek (from $23,795)

Subaru Crosstrek

The higher starting price of this veteran subcompact is justified through standard AWD, although keeping the Crosstrek under $25,000 requires buying the Convenience package with the six-speed manual transmission. This could either be a barrier to adoption or fantastic news, depending on the driver. 

This entry-level Crosstrek comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which produce 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. The trade-off is 588 litres of cargo space and the highest fuel economy on this list at 10.5 L/100 km in city driving and 8.1 on the highway. Standard 17-inch alloy wheels and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are selling points, while heated seats and the EyeSight suite of safety and convenience technologies require upgrading to the CVT model, which exceeds the $25,000 threshold. Still, for the right buyer, this budget Crosstrek is worth a serious look.

Shop confidently with Canada Drives

If one of the vehicles on this list interests you, Canada Drives offers all kinds of SUVs in our online showroom. Explore our inventory today!

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