I confess: not only am I something of a car nut, I’m also addicted to road trips, so I’m always on the lookout for the best compact SUVs, the sporty ones, the ones with great fuel economy and extra features to make my next road trip that much more fun and affordable. I recently test-drove a handful of cross-overs and SUVs for a week each, and discovered this segment has a few surprises – and I’d love to share them with you! Here are my picks for the best compact SUVs and cross-overs, and how they wowed me.
1. Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD
Being from the Motor City, home of the Big Three American automakers, I feel kind of guilty listing the Kia Sorento as my top pick for the best compact SUVs… but it really is amazingly gorgeous and fun-to-drive. It used to be that Kia was synonymous with “fuel efficient and cheap,” but while those two things are still true, design has been added to the mix, along with luxe details and loads of features, some for safety, some for convenience, and some just for fun. Perhaps my favorite feature of all is the panoramic sunroof, letting the light in on even the gloomiest day, throughout the entire cabin (not just the front seat). I also love the instrument and controls cluster – it’s so intuitive! Every time I wanted to check something (how fast am I going, how much gas do I have), or do something (turn up the radio, turn down the heat), the button or gauge was exactly where I wanted it to be. I’d like a little better fuel economy, but honestly, a few MPGs is a small price to pay for such a beautiful vehicle.