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Best Crossover SUVs for 2021

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Crossover SUVs combine the handling of a car with the cabin space of a larger vehicle. The main difference between this type of vehicle and other SUVs comes down to their body frame. In full-size SUVs, the body and frame are built as two separate pieces and attached during the production process. Crossovers, however, are assembled more like cars, with a body built as a single structure. This unibody structure helps enhance its ride, safety and fuel efficiency, but crossovers may not have the towing capacity or ruggedness of a larger SUV.

Best Crossover SUVs
Model Score MSRP
Kia Sorento 4.67 $29,390
Mazda CX-30 4.44 $22,050
Mazda CX-5 4.44 $25,370
Mazda CX-9 4.36 $34,160
Kia Soul 4.33 $17,590
Honda HR-V 4.30 $21,220
Kia Sportage 4.30 $24,090
Volkswagen Tiguan 4.26 $25,245

How we chose the best crossover SUVs

We chose the best crossover SUVs by scoring 12 new crossover SUVs according to how well they performed on expert and consumer reviews from Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book (KBB). We narrowed that list to the eight best crossover SUVs and ranked them from highest to lowest, based on average score. Our list includes subcompact, compact and midsize crossover SUVs.

2021 Kia Sorento

  • 4.67 out of 5
  • $29,390 starting MSRP
  • 26/24/29 MPG

Redesigned for 2021, the three-row Kia Sorento adds an all-wheel drive option to the base model, although it loses its six-cylinder engine. The base four-cylinder engine increases horsepower from the 2020 model, but those looking for a V6 might want to turn to the larger Kia Telluride. A 281-horsepower turbo-charged four-cylinder engine is available starting with the Sorento’s EX trim. The Sorento seats seven people, but optional second-row captain’s chairs cut that capacity to six. The SUV is offered in five trim levels, topping out with the $40,590 SX Prestige model. Standard features for this crossover SUV include an 8-inch touch screen (up from 7 inches in last year’s model), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, forward collision and lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking and rear occupant alert. The Sorento was also named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2021 Mazda CX-30

  • 4.44 out of 5
  • $22,050 starting MSRP
  • 28/25/33 MPG

Launched in 2019, the Mazda CX-30 subcompact crossover SUV bridges the gap between the smaller Mazda CX-3 and larger Mazda CX-5, which we’ll discuss in a minute. Like Mazda’s other SUVs, the CX-30 features sharp steering and a sporty, fun-to-drive quality. The five-passenger CX-30 has a standard 186-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but shoppers can upgrade to the new-for-2021 turbocharged engine, which delivers 227 horsepower with regular gasoline and 250 horsepower when filled with premium fuel. All-wheel drive is available, starting on the base trim. Named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, the CX-30 comes with standard stop and go cruise control, lane keep assist and driver attention alert.

2021 Mazda CX-5

  • 4.4 out of 5
  • $25,370 starting MSRP
  • 28/25/31 MPG

The Mazda CX-5 provides more cargo space and elbow room than the brand’s subcompact CX-3 and CX-30 crossovers, but still retains its sporty handling. Like the CX-30, the CX-5 gets a standard four-cylinder engine, or car buyers can opt for a more powerful turbocharged option. The CX-5 seats five people and comes with a 10.25-inch touch screen and leather-wrapped steering wheel, unusual for its $25,370 starting price. This crossover SUV comes in six trims: Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. The Carbon Edition, which starts at $28,955, is new for 2021, adding sporty flourishes like red leather upholstery. The CX-5 was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and comes with standard blind spot monitoring, stop and go cruise control and pedestrian detection.

2021 Mazda CX-9

  • 4.36 out of 5
  • $34,160 starting MSRP
  • 24/22/28 MPG

As the brand’s largest SUV, the three-row Mazda CX-9 seats seven people and boasts enough cargo space for suitcases or shopping hauls. The CX-9 comes standard with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s optional in its smaller siblings — it delivers between 227 and 250 horsepower, which will depend on the fuel type. The 2021 Mazda CX-9 comes in five trim levels: Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring and Signature. All-wheel drive is available starting on the base trim for an additional $1,900, though it’s standard on the range-topping Signature trim (the Signature also comes with heated, leather seats). Recognized as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 comes with standard blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and a lane departure warning system.

2021 Kia Soul

  • 4.33 out of 5
  • $17,590 starting MSRP
  • 27/25/31 MPG

Kia’s smallest SUV, the Soul features an eye-catching, boxy exterior that defies easy categorization — crossover or hatchback? Redesigned for 2020, the five-passenger Soul received upgrades to its standard engine, a four-cylinder good for 147 horsepower. If you want more power, the top-of-the line Turbo trim is capable of 201 horsepower for a starting price of $27,650. The 2021 Kia offers the Soul in six trims: LX, S, GT-Line, X-Line, EX and the aforementioned Turbo. Note that the base model is pretty bare bones: It has limited safety features and a six-speed manual transmission, though an automatic is available for an additional $1,500. Upgrading to the S trim brings automatic drive and standard advanced safety features, including blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and driver attention warning. In addition, the Soul’s newly-standard rear-seat alert, available on every trim, reminds you not to leave children or pets in the car.

2021 Honda HR-V

  • 4.30 out of 5
  • $21,220 starting MSRP
  • 30/28/34 MPG

As the brand’s smallest SUV, the 2021 Honda HR-V subcompact crossover has a tiny footprint that’s ideal for city driving, but provides enough cabin space to seat five people comfortably. The only available engine is a 141-horsepower four-cylinder that can make the SUV feel more sluggish than its rivals. Shoppers can add all-wheel drive for an additional $1,500 starting on the base LX trim. The 2021 HR-V is available in four trim levels: LX, Sport, EX and EX-L. Shoppers will need to upgrade to the Sport trim for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 7-inch touch screen. Plus, another disappointment of the HR-V is that the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies is standard only on the EX trims and above.

2021 Kia Sportage

  • 4.30 out of 5
  • $24,090 starting MSRP
  • 26/23/30 MPG

Falling squarely in the middle of the brand’s SUV lineup, the Kia Sportage is a reasonably-priced crossover with comfortable seating for five people. However, it has less cargo room and fuel efficiency than some of its competitors, like the Mazda CX-5. The 2021 Kia Sportage comes in four trims: LX, S, EX and SX Turbo. The standard engine is a 181-horsepower four-cylinder,  though the SX Turbo trim gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 240 horsepower. All-wheel drive is available for an additional $1,500. The Nightfall Edition and Nightfall Edition Premium packages are new for 2021, adding black badging and exterior trim to the Sportage’s S trim. All models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. The 2021 Kia Sportage was recognized as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, and its standard advanced safety features include forward collision warning, lane keep assist and driver attention warning.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

  • 4.27 out of 5
  • $25,245 starting MSRP
  • 25/23/29 MPG

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact SUV with a third row, which comes in at a lower price than the Kia Sorento. The 184-horsepower Tiguan is not as powerful as some rival models on this list, but it can tow up to 1,500 pounds when properly equipped. Volkswagen makes the Tiguan in five trims: S, SE, SE R-Line Black, SEL and SEL Premium R-Line. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 6.5-inch touch screen come standard, along with advanced safety features such as forward collision warning and side-assist blind spot monitoring.

Ways to finance the best crossover SUVs

If you’re in the market for a new crossover SUV, shop around for an auto loan the way you would shop for the car itself. When you finance your crossover SUV purchase through a dealership, you may pay a higher interest rate. Get a preapproved auto loan from your own bank, credit union or online lender, or fill out a single form at LendingTree.com, where you may receive up to five auto loan offers from lenders, based on your creditworthiness.

 

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