Canada’s Best Compact Crossover SUVs in 2020


Morgan Gregory

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You want enough room for you and 4 passengers to be comfortable. You want enough space for a couple of hockey bags or camping gear for the weekend. And you do not want to pay too much.   

Competition between manufacturers to make better and better small SUVs and crossovers is good for buyers. It means you get a great product at a great price, and that you have many vehicles — over 50 — to choose from.  

To be considered for this list, a vehicle had to be not too small (subcompact), not too big (full-size), and had to be affordable (base MSRP between $20,000 and $35,000). Over 30 models fit these requirements. 

These models were compared to each other based on performance, safety features, cargo space, interior features, and efficiency. The result is this list — the best small SUVs and crossovers in Canada for 2020 — starting with the best of all. 

Best compact SUV comparison

Note: Fuel economy is quoted in litres per 100 km, cargo capacity is in litres when second row seats are up/down and 2nd row legroom is in mm.

VehicleMSRPSeatsFuel EconomyCargo Capacity2nd Row LegroomCansumer RatingEnginesTransmissionDrivetrain
Chevrolet Equinox$27,09858.4847 / 180910133.81.5 turbo6 spd autoFWD
Ford Escape$28,54957.9870 / 185110343.71.5 turbo6 spd autoFWD
Honda CR-V$28,69057.71110 / 214610254.31.5 turboCVTFWD
Hyundai Kona$21,25057.9544 / 12978793.32.0 4 cyl / 1.6 turbo6 spd / 9 spdFWD
Hyundai Santa Fe$29,25059.61017 / 201910393.52.4 4 cyl / 2.0 turbo8 spd autoFWD
Kia Soul$21,20057.9663 / 17589853.52.0 4 cylIVT/CVTFWD
Maxda CX-30$23,95058.1572 / 128092142.0 / 2.5 4 cyl6 spd autoFWD
Mazda CX-5$27,95058.8875 / 168710073.52.5 / 2.5 turbo6 spd autoFWD
Subaru Crosstrek$23,79559.4588 / 15659263.32.0 4 cylManual/CVTAWD
Subaru Forester$28,69558.2818 / 2008100042.5 4 cylCVTAWD
Toyota RAV4$28,09057.91059 / 19779604.52.5 4 cyl8 spd autoFWD

1. 2020 Toyota RAV4

  • MSRP (base): $28,090
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 1059 / 1977
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 7.9
  • Cansumer Rating: 4.5

A Toyota at the top of a list is a common sight. Every RAV4 offers the same 2.5L 4 cylinder engine that produces more power, and somehow gets better fuel economy, than most rivals. It is truly an engine that gives you the best of both worlds.  

Stepping into the RAV4, you feel like you are in a small truck. The driving position is high, granting great visibility in every direction, the cabin is spacious, and there is lots of storage space for drinks and phones. Cargo space is far above average for the segment, so you can haul around larger items easily.  

Standard safety features include lane departure alert, pedestrian detection, automatic braking, and more. Around the city, on a road trip, and even off-road, you know you and your family will be safe in a RAV4. 

  • What Sets it Apart: a safe, reliable SUV that feels like a small truck

2. 2020 Honda CR-V

  • MSRP (base): $28,690
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 1110 / 2146
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 7.7
  • Cansumer Rating: 4.3 

At the moment, the CR-V offers only a 1.5L turbo CVT with only average power, but fuel economy is fantastic, meaning you will spend less time and less money at the gas station.

Standard convenience features include proximity key entry, push button start, and dual-zone climate control, which is about average for small SUVs. The back doors open very wide making passenger entry and child seat installation extremely easy. 

Honda has made a package of 6 great safety features standard, including lane departure warning and forward collision warning. These standard safety features and best-in-class cargo space set the CR-V firmly in second place on this list. 

  • What Sets it Apart: space and safety

3. 2020 Subaru Forester

  • MSRP (base): $28,695
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 818 / 2008
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 8.2
  • Cansumer Rating: 4.0

The Forester comes standard with a 2.4L engine that is average in power, but it is connected to Subaru’s excellent all-wheel drive system that will get you through rain, snow, and ice with ease and confidence.

Every Forester comes standard with EyeSight, Subaru’s package of safety features that includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and more. This excellent package is sure to help you keep your passengers extremely safe.  

Great cargo space and standard all-wheel drive make the Forester an excellent choice for Canadians who want good grip in the snow as they drive to hockey practice or a weekend of skiing. 

  • What Sets it Apart: excellent package of standard safety features. 

4. 2020 Mazda CX-30

  • MSRP (base): $23,950
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 572 / 1280
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 8.1  
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.7

Safety features are above average on the base CX-30. The standard advanced blind spot monitoring will alert you with lights and sounds if you steer toward a vehicle in a blind spot, and the rear cross traffic alert will let you know if you are about to back into moving vehicles.

The interior of the CX-30 is very comfortable. The driver’s seat is power-adjustable and the 8.8 inch infotainment screen is very large for a base model. Legroom is a bit tight in the 2nd row, but there is good cargo space for everything you need to run errands around town.

The CX-30 sits between the CX-3 and the CX-5 in Mazda’s line-up, offering a clever combination of comfort, space, and safety. It is quite quick and easy to maneuver, making it fun to drive. 

  • What Sets it Apart: comfortable and fun to drive

5. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox

  • MSRP (base): $27,098
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 847 / 1809 
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 8.4
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.8

The Equinox comes standard with a 1.5L turbo engine that has average acceleration and above average fuel economy, even though this is a bigger, heavier small SUV. The Equinox feels huge inside, so you will be happy knowing you can haul around longer, heavier items for home improvement projects.    

Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. These standard features make the base Equinox a very safe vehicle for you and your family. 

Interior comfort is average due to a smaller infotainment screen and a driver’s seat that only adjusts 4 ways, but you do get keyless entry and remote start. Chevy has done well by building a base model with lots of space and great safety features for Canadian families. 

  • What Sets it Apart: lots of space and great safety features

6. 2020 Ford Escape

  • MSRP (base): $28,549
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 870 / 1851
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 7.9
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.7

New for 2020, the Ford Escape is a crossover that offers good space and the base model now comes with a 1.5L turbo 3 cylinder engine that produces very good power and very good fuel economy. You can zip around town in the Escape without spending much money on gas. 

A great feature of the Escape is the standard sliding 2nd row seats. They are very easy to use. Slide them back and you have lots of legroom for passengers or lots of space for child seats. Slide them forward and you have lots of cargo space for groceries or hockey equipment. 

Standard safety features are very good as well. You get blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and pre-collision braking assist. With its new combination of performance, versatility, and safety, the base model Ford Escape is now a great choice in the segment.

  • What Sets it Apart: sliding 2nd row seats

7. 2020 Kia Soul

  • MSRP (base): $21,200
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 663 / 1758 
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 7.9
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.5

The Soul continues to sell well in Canada. It comes with a 2.0L 4 cylinder engine that has average power but excellent fuel economy, and it offers great cargo space.

The base Soul is a bit short on features. A rear view camera is the only standard safety feature, and the absence of cruise control feels like an oversight. But the standard heated front seats are comfortable and the driving position offers great visibility. 

The Soul has a boxy shape that creates tons of space for friends and weekend adventures. The cargo area even has a dual level floor so that you can stow smaller items safely below the floor or drop it down to make extra room for suitcases or camping gear.

  • What Sets it Apart: roomy interior at an affordable price

8. 2020 Mazda CX-5

  • MSRP (base): $27,950
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 875 / 1687 
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 8.8 
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.5

The Mazda CX-5 base trim gets only average fuel efficiency and comes with only average standard safety features. Yet if you want interior comfort and power, the CX-5 is for you.

The only standard safety features of note are advanced blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert that combine flashing lights and warning beeps to keep you safe from other vehicles. 

Interior features are only average, as the base trim gets a small infotainment screen and only a 6 way adjustable driver’s seat. Even so, the cabin is very quiet and the smooth ride is far above average, so cruising in the CX-5 is a comfortable and relaxing experience. 

The 2.5L engine produces very good power and handling is crisp, even on twisty roads. Quick acceleration, good handling, and an interior that feels refined will have you finding excuses to go for a drive. 

  • What Sets it Apart: great driving dynamics and interior comfort

9. 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • MSRP (base): $29,250
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 1017 / 2019 
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 9.6
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.5

The Santa Fe gets below average fuel economy from the base 2.4L engine, and it feels a bit slow for anything other than normal, everyday driving. Also, standard safety features are below average for a small SUV. You get only basic features like a rearview camera and anti-lock brakes. 

The Santa Fe gets much better when you get inside. The infotainment screen is a bit small, but you get a standard leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel to go with your heated front seats. 

The amount of interior space is excellent. There is lots of room for passengers, even three across the rear seat is not cramped, and only the Honda CR-V has more cargo space. With 2019 litres of cargo space, you will be able to fit two child seats, two strollers, and still have room for your shopping.  

  • What Sets it Apart: interior features and cargo space

10. 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

  • MSRP (base): $23,795
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 588 / 1565
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 9.4  
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.3

The base Crosstrek comes standard with Subaru’s excellent all-wheel drive system and — believe it or not — a manual transmission. The manual transmission draws power effectively from the engine so that acceleration is quick, but fuel economy is below average. 

Most buyers will pay an extra $2000 for the optional CVT automatic transmission, which makes the engine feel weaker but improves fuel economy (7.9 L/100 km). Choosing the CVT makes the Crosstrek a lot safer because it comes standard with EyeSight, Subaru’s package of safety features that includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. 

Cargo space is only average, but there are standard roof rails for extra cargo, a bicycle, or a couple of pairs of skis. The Crosstrek is versatile and dependable and will get you through Canadian winters, up mountain roads, and down snow-filled back lanes with ease. 

  • What Sets it Apart: Subaru’s superb all-wheel drive system

11. 2020 Hyundai Kona

  • MSRP: $21,250
  • Cargo Space (2nd row up/down litres): 544 / 1297
  • Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 7.9
  • Cansumer Rating: 3.3

A smaller crossover, the Hyundai Kona has been a great success with Canadian buyers. Heated front seats will keep you warm during Canadian winters, and an alarm system will let you relax whenever you leave your Kona. 

Cargo space is below average, but there is enough room to make this small SUV very useful around town for daily errands and the occasional trip to IKEA. 

In its base trim, the Kona offers below average safety features, such as rear parking assist and traction control, and the engine has only average power for a small vehicle. Still, this little SUV offers great fuel economy and has enough utility and comfort to make everyday driving easy. 

  • What Sets it Apart: seems like it was made for Canadians

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