Despite the fact that SUVs have evolved from rugged off-roaders which never left the wilderness, mud and desert terrains, their successors are basically city vehicles. Most modern SUVs are made only to go on paved roads, highways and never to leave the comfort of the town. It is the same really since the SUV layout can offer so much more in terms of usability and driving than to be just a comfortable ride for soccer moms and big shopping trips. However, that is the market reality and the buyers are always right. That is why we have compiled a list of 20 best SUVs for city driving. There are few important aspects to consider when you are looking for an SUV which will be used in urban areas. First, the important thing is the size and a city SUV must have compact dimensions to be easy to park and maneuver in heavy traffic. Second, a city SUV must have enough room for passengers and luggage which consists of groceries or shopping bags. Third, since you are never going to leave the tarmac, you don`t need intelligent all-wheel drive systems and you are good with base front-wheel drive layout. Fourth, you don’t need a very powerful engine since you are not going to cruise or plow through the muddy rivers and jungles. All of that means that you concentrate on appearance packages and spend money on exterior options, creature comforts and infotainment systems to make your sitting in traffic more pleasant. Having all that in mind, here are 20 best city-oriented SUVs for you.
The small, practical and affordable Kia Soul is a starter city SUV model. It features two economical four-cylinder engines, with 131 or 160 hp powering front wheels through an automatic transmission. With its compact dimensions, the Soul is easy to drive and has enough space for all daily tasks. The trim levels are good and the best thing is the price. For $16,900 you can get 131 hp Soul with an infotainment system and 7-speed automatic.
The newest Honda’s compact SUV is a quite appealing, reasonably spacious and great handling HR-V. Under the hood is a 141 hp, 1.8-liter engine with CVT transmission, good performance, and fuel economy. At $20,000 base price, HR-V is affordable and in standard equipment, you will get 17-inch wheels, a backup camera, and Bluetooth system.
With great design, good handling and a 146 hp engine, Mazda CX-3 is one of the best compact SUVs. It even has respectable performance and decent space inside. For $20,900 base price you will not only get a potent 2.0-liter engine but also a cool looking interior, sports suspension, and a 6-speed automatic.
The Jeep Compass was always a pretty competent urban SUV but when it finally received Grand Cherokee styling, the package was complete. Under the hood is an 180 hp four cylinder which powers front wheels (AWD is optional) and you can get a 6-speed manual or automatic. The base equipment is pretty good and the base price of $20,950 is acceptable considering the available space, design, and quality.
Toyota’s compact SUV in form of the new C-HR with somewhat strange design and limited space due to low roof line is pretty hard to put in regular SUV class. It is a driver-oriented model with a 144 hp engine and automatic transmission. The trunk has decent space and its selling points are great equipment and modern interior. For $23,500 base price you will get a sporty looking SUV but without traditional qualities like lots of space or conventional design.
The new Terrain has dimensions in compact SUV class which could be a problem as well as its advantage. The biggest dimension means it takes most parking space, but also means it is the most comfortable and spacious. It is also among the best equipped with a very high level of creature comforts as standard. The power comes from 2.4-liter 182 hp engine but you can upgrade to 301 hp V6 power plant. Base price for this upscale compact SUV is $25,000.
Nissan Juke Nismo
If you are looking for performance in a compact SUV segment then Nissan Juke Nismo is the car for you. It has a 188 hp or 215 hp engine, good performance and aggressive look which make it look faster than it really is. The Juke is great for driving around town, small and responsive but you might find the space in the interior limited. For $25,700 MSRP there aren’t many SUVs that look this good and perform as well.
The Tiguan is a great compact SUV since it offers a decent amount of space, great styling, quality interior and materials, as well as respectable power. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers 200 hp and significant performance for the class. The interior equipment is pretty good as well, and the price is totally acceptable. The $25,800 MSRP will buy you a Volkswagen Tiguan in base trim level.
Mini Cooper Countryman
It may be hard to comprehend that Mini is an SUV but in Countryman version it is. And it’s a quite good SUV at that. All the Mini’s sharp driving characteristics are preserved, along with more space and comfort for passengers. It may not be the most spacious compact SUV on the market but it is one of the coolest. The power comes from 121 hp engine but you can option for performance Cooper S and John Cooper Works version with more than 240 hp and all-wheel drive. The base price is slightly less than $27,000.
The new QX30 introduces stylish and premium design in the compact SUV market with elegant design and upscale materials. The QX30 is available with all-wheel drive and the power comes from the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine which delivers 208 hp and makes the QX30 a pretty agile car. The suspension set up makes this Infiniti drive like a regular hatchback and just by driving it you would never tell it is an SUV. The prices start at $30,000 for this luxury compact model.
Basically, the Mercedes GLA is CLA sedan with lifted body, fifth door and SUV looks. That is not a bad thing since that platform is pretty good but the cars made on it are not the most spacious and comfortable ones around. It is also the case with the GLA. It is a cool looking compact SUV but there isn’t much space for the passengers and it could be considered a hatchback with an SUV body. Under the hood is a 208 hp engine and all-wheel drive is optional. The base price is somewhat high at $34,000.
Audi is getting famous not only for its lineup of premium sedans but for its lineup of quality SUVs starting with compact but highly equipped Q3. It is powered by 200 hp turbocharged engine with optional Quattro system. The base price is $33,000 and for that, you will get infotainment system, leather interior, LED headlights, heated seats, and a panoramic sunroof.
Based on the Ford Escape platform, Lincoln MKC is an upscale compact sedan with good comfort and space paired with elegant design and decent performance. The 240 hp base engine is powerful enough to fulfill every task and still return good fuel economy. The base price is $34,000 which is appropriate for this luxury compact SUV.
Another interesting GMC product comes in form of the Acadia. This vehicle is bigger than Terrain and it offers more usability and space for 7 passengers with third-row seats. For just $30,000 you will have plenty of space, very good standard equipment, and a 200 hp engine. More power is available as an option as well as an all-wheel drive system.
Interesting and sporty design coupled with powerful 260 hp engine and lots of space makes the Murano a cool urban SUV that’s able to complete any task. With a luxurious interior, leather seats and a host of electronic gadgets it is hard to comprehend that the base price just $31,000.
Despite the fact that the BMW X1 is the smallest BMW`s SUV, it has the best driving characteristics due to its compact size and a powerful engine. The 2.0-liter turbo engine delivers 225 hp and great performance. The more powerful engines are available as well as all-wheel drive. The interior is reasonably comfortable and the base price is $35,000.
Range Rover Evoque
Luxury compact SUVs don’t get much better than the Evoque. With two body styles, two and four doors, convertible option and 240 hp base engine coupled with 9-speed automatic, Evoque is not only fast, but also very stable on the road. The interior is luxurious with quality materials but the lack of space compared to the competitors could be a problem. Of course, luxury is never cheap and Evoque prices start at $42,000.
The cool looking BMW X4 combines several interesting things: compact SUV body, sporty design with powerful engines, everyday usability, and reasonable comfort. You might think of it as an SUV coupe with four doors. The base engine has 240 hp but the 300 hp turbocharged six cylinder is optional. The base equipment is pretty good with leather interior and heated seats but the base price is pretty high at $47,000.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
In order to compete with the big boys on the SUV market, the newcomer Alfa Romeo introduced the Stelvio and equipped it with a 2.0-liter, 280 hp engine and intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The 505 hp QV version is also available but the base model is more than enough with great comfort, design, and space. The base price is $42,000 which is acceptable considering the performance and equipment.
The city SUV hot rod, in short, that is the description of the new Porsche Macan. With compact body, solid comfort and space, Macan excels in driving with all-wheel drive as standard, 252 hp engine, and 7-speed automatic. The 340 and 360 hp engines are available as well as a long list of additional extras and in the most powerful GTS version, Macan can accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. That is pretty fast for an SUV and with this car, you will be the king of stop light races. The base price is $48,000 which is pretty high but still understandable.