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[Solved] Thoughts on subcompact SUV's, which one is best?

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I'm looking for something a bit bigger than a hatchback (like the Honda Fit) but smaller than an SUV (like the RAV4 or CRV). So I've thought about getting a subcompact SUV.

What are your thoughts on sub compact SUV's in general? Are they problematic? Or are the car companies doing a good job matching the engine to the car bodies?

Which sub compact SUVs are best (make, model, and years)? Which ones are best to avoid?

From my research so far:

Honda HRV: I've seen some reports of it having an underpowered engine, unrefined powertrain, and below-average predicted reliability ratings. How true or untrue are those things in your experience?

Toyota CHR: It's got critics for having a weak acceleration and a noisy powertrain, with lower expected reliability

Mazda CX-30: I've seen that it has poor acceleration, and isn't super reliable

Mazda CX-3: I see things saying that the engine struggles at highway speeds, and is also not as reliable as the Honda or Toyota

Subaru Crosstrek: weaker engine, poor acceleration

It looks like the subcompact SUVs have weaker engines/acceleration/powertrains and are less reliable than the larger compact SUVs. So what are your thoughts on the engines and reliability of these cars?

Thanks!

3 Answers
4

Which is the most / least reliable? Are the subcompacts about as reliable as the compacts

Here's my ranking and opinion on the models you mentioned (current generation cars)

 

Very dependable:

1. Mazda CX-3 (1.5 / 2.0), a Mazda2 in SUV form.

  • Positive: Old proven platform. No serious known issues with the 2.0 engine and 6 speed automatic.
  • Negative: It's really small. The infotainment and driver assistance technologies are weak. Handling is very poor.

2. Toyota RAV4 (2.0 / 2.5), a Camry in SUV form.

  • Positive: It's big, beautiful, comfortable, inexpensive for its size - a phenomenal car in all its configurations
  • Negative: The engine has issues in cold climates. Non-hybrid tranny is mediocre but better than CVTs. Handling.

3. Toyota C-HR (1.8 / 2.0), a Corolla in SUV form.

  • Positive: The ZR engines are bulletproof, comfortable, and overall good in all aspects. 
  • Negative: The styling is odd. slightly weak CVT. The rear seats and boot are better than CX-3/HRV but Medicare.

 

Almsot good:

4. Subaru Crosstrek (2.0), an Impreza in SUV form.

  • Positive: It's a proven design, offers rugged looks.
  • Negative: The engine is subpar. The Transmission is questionable. The interior is subpart. CVT is subpar.

 

The rest:

5. Mazda CX-5 (2.5 *), in previous generations it used to share a platform with the Mazda6.

  • Positive: It's big but still sporty and has a touch of luxury.
  • Negative: Has cylinder deactivation. a bit outdated. Turbocharged engines are not good at all

6. Mazda CX-30 (2.5 *), a Mazda3 in SUV form but lacks the engine choice.

  • Positive: SUPER safe. super modern. Good looks. It's sporty and it has some luxury to it.
  • Negative: Has cylinder deactivation. Too new to know much. Turbocharged engines are not good at all

7. Honda CR-V (1.5T outgoing), a Civic in SUV form.

  • Positive: It's a popular car with a reasonably good interior.
  • Negative: Engine issues. Not the best transmission. Is an outgoing model.

8. Honda HR-V (Outgoing generation), a Fit in SUV form.

  • Positive: It's the only popular tiny SUV in North America as far as I know.
  • Negative: TINY car. Engine issues. Widespread transmission issues. Is an outgoing model.

 

* does not apply to 2.0L engines, they're better - but are not available in all regions.

 

Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful.
I'm surprised to see Mazda CX-3 at the top, above RAV4. I always assumed no one best Toyota reliability, so I've been totally overlooking the CX-3.
Is this a list ranked purely in terms of reliability, or in terms of what you like the most overall?
Regardless, this is a super informative list thanks so much again.

Also why is the CX-3 so much more reliable than the CX-30?

It’s only reliability, the CX-3 is higher than the rest cause it has a proven engine and a solid transmission - in today’s world that’s rare (shares the power train and tech with the previously generation Mazda3 and that was a wonderful car)
If the CX-30 would have been offered in North America with the same 2.0L engine than it would have been much higher, but the 2.5L with cylinder deactivation or a turbo has a lot of potential for things to go wrong.
If it would’ve been overall, the CX-3 would’ve been much lower on the list, cause it’s just minuscule.

3

Mazda CX-3: I see things saying that the engine struggles at highway speeds, and is also not as reliable as the Honda or Toyota

It has the euro-Miata powertrain, and in most regions can be equipped with a 2.0 making it fast.

This one IS more reliable than competition

 

The only issue, it doesn't handle well in sharp turns and is small

Mazda CX-30: I've seen that it has poor acceleration, and isn't super reliable

What? 8.something seconds for the 2.5 non-turbo is not slow.

Toyota CHR: It's got critics for having a weak acceleration and a noisy powertrain, with lower expected reliability

8.2secs 0-60 when equipped with a 2.0 , even the 1.8L is not slow.

Subaru Crosstrek: weaker engine, poor acceleration

9.2 sec 0-60, not fast not slow.

 

Any of these would be fine, they're all good enough if equipped correctly.

Thank you! Which is the most / least reliable? Are the subcompacts about as reliable as the compacts (RAV4 and CRV and CX5)?

what happens when you make a sharp turn with the CX3?

(When looking at moose test look at the speeds)
In the case of the CX-3, Understeer.

In the case of the RAV4 hybrids, Oversteer

Here’s that compared to what I drive:

Unlike the one in the video, Mine has also been lowered at the factory by an inch and fitted with thicker tires making - it sticks like glue to the road although it’s a crossover SUV with a soft suspension.

But it’s unavailable in North America and it’s hard to find one with a good powertrain.

1
Posted by: @ampere

Honda HRV

Toyota CHR

Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

They’re all solid choices. Test drive them all extensively and make your own decision. 

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

All the best & congratulations!

Hi there. Thanks. About half of those aren't available in my area because of the car shortage. So I'm kind of having to do some guess-work here.

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