These Are The 5 Best Compact SUVs of 2022

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Christina Naidu

Compact SUVs remain one of the most popular car vehicle types in America because of the versatility, space, and value they offer. Starting at under $30,000, you get a four-door SUV with plenty of space, modern tech features, and in some cases, good off-roading capabilities. As with most vehicle categories, there are thousands of great options to choose from, and it can be difficult finding the perfect one for your needs. Luckily, we’ve saved you the research by compiling a list of the 5 best compact SUVs in 2022.

All compact SUVs are not manufactured equal, nor do they provide the best possible value for your money. Here are a few of the things we had in mind when we made our list of the best compact SUVs of 2022.

Criteria

Price: All compact SUVs cost more and provide more value on higher trims, but on their base models, they should cover all of your basic needs and fit into a sub $30,000 budget. Expect a good infotainment system, plenty of storage, great navigation and safety features, a powerful engine, and so much more.

Warranty and Reliability: Although all the cars we’ve chosen are fresh off the manufacturing line, they have a history we can refer to. Cars that have been recalled, received bad reviews, and are famous for specific issues don’t make our list. We also check the warranty packages provided by the car manufacturer.

Fuel Economy: If you’re investing in a car in 2022, fuel economy is probably one of your biggest concerns. As the price of gas rockets up, you’ll have to spend more and more each year as the world slowly shifts toward renewable energy and EV. A car with good fuel economy could save you thousands of dollars over its lifetime.

Performance: For car owners who love to pour over the particulars and cherish the sound and feel of their engine, transmission, and torque, we also paid close attention to performance. All cars on this list come with base engines powerful enough to haul a moderate amount of load.

Design: The overall design and aesthetic of the compact SUV also matters. The best compact SUVs strike a balance between style and value.

1. 2022 Toyota RAV4

A black 2022 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV.

What We Loved

  • Rugged and reliable design, materials, performance, and a great warranty.

What We Disliked

  • The internals are not the best for the price

Very few compact SUVs compare to the Toyota RAV4 in value and reliability. For over a decade now, the RAV4 line has provided a quality, affordable, and flexible car experience, and the 2022 refresh delivers more of the same.

The base model is spartan but provides all of the essentials and more. It runs on a 2.5 liter-four-cylinder engine that produces 203-hp and runs with 8-speed automatic transmission. The cabin is comfortable and spacious, featuring a 7.0-inch infotainment system with 4G LTE support, Apple, and Android play. The RAV4 also provides great climate control features, and outstanding fuel economy– able to deliver up to 30 mpg. On a higher trim, you get better upholstery, better climate control, a fiercer design, more colors, and a larger infotainment system, among other perks. The RAV4 starts from $27,000.

Rating

2022 Toyota RAV4

Reliability
Fuel Economy
Performance
Design
3.5

2. 2022 Honda CR-V

A black 2022 Honda CR-V with its headlights on.

What We Loved

  • Great ride quality and internals for the price.

What We Disliked

  • 5.0-inch screen on the base model can be tedious to navigate and use while driving.

Falling in the same price bracket, the Honda CR-V is a reliable alternative to the Toyota RAV4. It comes with a slower 190-hp 1.5-liter engine and a continuous variable automatic transmission that somehow manages to outclass the RAV4 in ride quality, responsiveness, handling, and braking.

The interior of the CR-V is a highlight for the car, providing quality upholstery and finish, even on the base trim. Where the Honda CR-V falls short, however, is in its lackluster infotainment system. A 5.0-inch screen with only FM radio support spoils the budget experience, and even on a higher trim, the 6.0-inch screen feels slow.

If you look past both faults, the standard powertrain warranty support, and 27 mpg fuel economy score still make it a viable option. On a Hybrid trim, you can get up to 40 mpg in cities.

Rating

2022 Honda CR-V

Reliability
Fuel Economy
Performance
Design
3.5

3. 2022 Mazda CX-5

A red 2022 Mazda CX-5 compact SUV.

What We Loved

  • Luxury internal, great performance, and a design reminiscent of cars that cost thousands of dollars more.

What We Disliked

  • The Fuel Economy of the Mazda CX-5 is not great.

If you’re looking for the best affordable luxury compact SUV of 2022, you won’t find any better than the Mazda CX- 5.

All around, it provides value, comfort, and style of compact SUVs several tiers up, all at roughly the same price as the RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

The outer design is bold and stylish and oozes luxury, and the drive quality, acceleration, handling, and responsiveness are impressive on the base and turbo engine provided by Mazda. The 6-speed automatic transmission smooths out the ride quality, giving the car a rather grounded feel, balancing between floaty and stiff, and the internals are nothing to sneeze at either.

It comes with smooth faux leather upholstery, plenty of space in the rear, and a generous 10.3-inch infotainment system with Apple play and Android play support.

The only area the Mazda CX-5 falls behind is fuel efficiency. The standard four-cylinder 187-hp engine gets 24 MPG, while a 250-hp turbocharged engine gets 22 MPG. The warranty, however, is fair and standard. The Mazda gets coverage for up to five years or 60,000 miles.

Rating

2022 Mazda CX-5

Reliability
Fuel Economy
Performance
Design
3.5

4. 2022 Subaru Forester

A white 2022 Subaru Forester on the road.

What We Loved

  • Rugged, improved design, and great off-roading capabilities.

What We Disliked

  • The base version of the Subaru Forester lacks the best features.

The 2022 Subaru Forester is a rather niche, but capable car for drivers looking for something with more off-roading capabilities.

Starting at $26,000, it comes in a bit cheaper than other compact SUVs on this list but is just as potent. It ships with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out 182 hp and will get you about 28 miles per gallon on average.

Since it’s an off-roading SUV, it has 8.7 inches of ground clearance on the base model, some advanced terrain control modes, and a gaggle of other safety measures. On a higher trim, you get higher ground clearance with the 17-inch wheels as well as other eye-catching customization options.

The internals are spartan, but rugged. It uses hard rubber for knobs, the dashboard, and other important areas, and the seats are faux leather. The infotainment system is also great. The 6.5 inches won’t win you any awards, but thankfully most of the controls are available via buttons.

Rating

2022 Subaru Forester

Reliability
Fuel Economy
Performance
Design
3.5

5. 2022 Hyundai Tucson

A dark grey 2022 Hyundai Tucson compact SUV.

What We Loved

  • Great performance, quality leather interiors, and tons of customizability and upgrade options.

What We Disliked

  • The hybrid trims of the Hyundai Tucson are pricey.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is a strong new contender in the massively populated compact market and has been dubbed by many as one of the best compact SUVs in 2022.

It combines the luxury design and internal polish you’d find on a CX-5 and steps it up with a unique Hyundai spin to deliver one of the best experiences available for the price. The cabin is spacious, the seats are faux leather and comfortable, and the driver’s cubby is reasonably sized.

However, the performance, handling, and fuel efficiency seem to be the highlight of this exceptional car. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine outputs a reasonable 187-hp, and it is helped along by the four-wheel drive and smooth transmission. Turns are smooth, acceleration feels punchy and satisfying, and on hybrid trims, the handling is even better.

The standard trim with no electric motor delivers 28 MPG on average, while the limited hybrid gets 33 miles, and the plug-in hybrid can reach up to 80 miles on charge and fuel.

There are 12 trims available for purchase, ranging from the base SE to the plug-in hybrid priced at 43 MPG.

Rating

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Reliability
Fuel Economy
Performance
Design
3.8

Conclusion

Ultimately, we think all these cars are great, and you should pick one based on your budget and needs. If the range is important to you, then a high-specced Tucson might be your best bet, but if you’re looking for something functional yet compelling, then the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V might appeal more to you.