Winner: Toyota FJ Cruiser
Runner-Up: Ford Escape

Vehicles in this category are expected to do everything: carry gear, go off-road, tow a small trailer or a boat, and provide a comfortable ride during the week. It's no easy task, but the Toyota FJ Cruiser achieves much of what a compact SUV should. It can tow 5000 pounds, provides plenty of power, good fuel economy, and seating for five, and in regular form is great off-road--and that capability gets even better with the Trail Teams edition. However, there are rumors it will be going away in the near future, and its cool design means there are blind spots.

Looking for a more traditional option? The Ford Escape gives you a choice of three powertrains (with up to 240 horsepower), 3500 pounds of towing capacity, comfortable seating for five, and some capability off the beaten path. As long as you aren't tackling the Rubicon Trail, the Escape (and Mazda Tribute/Mercury Mariner sibs) is an excellent all-around vehicle.


Compact SUV, AWD/4WD (UNDER 106-in WB) -- A to F
Vehicle Acura RDX Audi Q5 Ford Escape
Base price $35,330 $38,175 $24,705
Wheelbase 104.3 in 110.5 in 103.1 in
Engine 2.3L DOHC T I-4 3.2L DOHC V-6 2.5L DOHC I-4
Opt engines     3.0L V-6 $2815, 2.5L hyb $7630
Power, SAE 240 hp 270 hp 171 hp (240, 194)
Torque, SAE 260 lb-ft 243 lb-ft 171 lb-ft (223, 136)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/drum, ABS
Tires 235/55R18 235/60R18 235/70R16
Fuel cap 18.0 gal 19.8 gal 16.5 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 17/22 mpg 18/23 mpg 20/26 mpg (18/23, 30/27)
Seating cap 5 5 5
Curb weight 3931 lb 4244 lb 3504 lb
GVWR 4800 lb 4800 lb 4200 lb
Payload 900 lb 1400 lb 1080 lb
Cargo cap 60.6 cu ft 57.3 cu ft 67.2 cu ft
Max towing cap 1500 lb 4400 lb 3500 lb

Don't agree with our winner? Then tell us which vehicle would you have picked as the 2010 Best in Class Compact SUV, AWD/4WD in the comment box below.


Compact SUV, AWD/4WD (UNDER 106-in WB) -- H to M
Vehicle Honda CR-V Honda Element Hyundai Tucson Jeep Liberty
Base price $23,505 $22,485 $23,990 $25,610
Wheelbase 103.1 in 101.4 in 103.9 in 106.1 in
Engine 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.7L SOHC V-6
Opt engines        
Power, SAE 180 hp 166 hp 176 hp 210 hp
Torque, SAE 161 lb-ft 161 lb-ft 168 lb-ft 235 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 225/65R17 215/70R16 255/60R17 225/75R16
Fuel cap 15.3 gal 15.9 gal 14.5 gal 19.5 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 21/27 mpg 18-19/23-24 mpg 21/28 mpg 15/21 mpg
Seating cap 5 4 5 5
Curb weight 3503 lb 3624 lb 3203 lb 4076 lb
GVWR 4560 lb 4450 lb 4607 lb 5400 lb
Payload 1059 lb 850 lb 1000 lb 1150 lb
Cargo cap 72.9 cu ft 74.6 cu ft 55.8 cu ft 60.9 cu ft
Max towing cap 1500 lb 1500 lb 2000 lb 5000 lb
 
Vehicle Jeep Wrangler Kia Sportage Land Rover LR2 Mazda Tribute
Base price $21,915 $21,190 $36,350 $24,950
Wheelbase 95.4 in 103.5 in 104.7 in 103.1 in
Engine 3.8L OHV V-6 2.0L DOHC I-4 3.2L DOHC I-6 2.5L DOHC I-4
Opt engines   2.7L V-6 $2000   3.0L V-6 $4715, 2.5L hyb $6380
Power, SAE 202 hp 140 hp (173) 230 hp 171 hp (240, 177)
Torque, SAE 237 lb-ft 136 lb-ft (178) 234 lb-ft 171 lb-ft (223, 136)
Airbags Front Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 225/75R16 215/65R16 235/55R19 235/70R16
Fuel cap 18.6 gal 15.3 gal (17.2) 18.5 gal 17.5 gal (15.1 hyb)
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 15/19 mpg 19/24 mpg (18/23) 15/22 mpg 20/26 mpg (18/23, 30/27)
Seating cap 4 5 5 5
Curb weight 3760 lb 3411 lb 4255 lb 3483 lb
GVWR 5200 lb 4850 lb 5520 lb 4680 lb
Payload 1000 lb 1263 lb 1100 lb 1125 lb
Cargo cap 61.2 cu ft 66.6 cu ft 58.9 cu ft 67.2 cu ft
Max towing cap 2000 lb 2000 lb 3500 lb 3500 lb

Compact SUV, AWD/4WD (UNDER 106-in WB) -- M to Z
Vehicle Mercury Mariner Mitsubishi Outlander Nissan Rogue Subaru Forester
Base price $26,035 $23,955 $22,340 $20,990
Wheelbase 103.1 in 105.1 in 105.9 in 103.0 in
Engine 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.5L SOHC flat-4
Opt engines 3.0L V-6 $1000, 2.5L hyb $6545 3.0L V-6 $3200   2.5L turbo flat-4 $6200
Power, SAE 171 hp (240, 177) 168 hp (230) 170 hp 170 hp (224)
Torque, SAE 171 lb-ft (223, 136) 167 lb-ft (215) 175 lb-ft 170 lb-ft (226)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/drum, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 235/70R16 215/70R16 215/70R16 215/50R16
Fuel cap 16.5 gal 15.8 gal 15.9 gal 16.9 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 20/26 mpg (18/23, 30/27) 21/25 mpg (18/24) 21/26 mpg 20/26-27 mpg (19/24)
Seating cap 5 7 5 5
Curb weight 3493 lb 3527 lb 3435 lb 3250 lb
GVWR 4640 lb 5181 lb 4504 lb 4000 lb
Payload 1047 lb 1048 lb 1053 lb 900 lb
Cargo cap 67.2 cu ft 72.6 cu ft 57.9 cu ft 68.3 cu ft
Max towing cap 3500 lb 3500 lb 1500 lb 2400 lb
 
Vehicle Suzuki Grand Vitara Toyota FJ Cruiser Toyota RAV4 Volkswagen Tiguan
Base price $22,879 $26,160 $23,875 $30,155
Wheelbase 103.9 in 105.9 in 104.7 in 102.5 in
Engine 2.4L DOHC I-4 4.0L DOHC V-6 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.0L turbo I-4
Opt engines 3.2L V-6 $3500   3.5L V-6 $2035  
Power, SAE 166 hp (230) 259 hp 179 hp (269) 200 hp
Torque, SAE 162 lb-ft (213) 270 lb-ft 172 lb-ft (246) 207 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f side ,f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 225/70R16 265/70R17 215/70R16 235/55R17
Fuel cap 17.4 gal 19.0 gal 15.9 gal 16.8 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 19/23-25 mpg (17/23) 15-17/19-21 mpg 21/27 mpg (19/26) 18/24 mpg
Seating cap 5 5 7 5
Curb weight 3611 lb 4290 lb 3494 lb 3433 lb
GVWR 4630 lb 5570 lb 5015 lb 4740 lb
Payload 1019 lb 1277 lb 1041 lb 1352 lb
Cargo cap 70.8 cu ft 66.8 cu ft 73.0 cu ft 56.1 cu ft
Max towing cap 3000 lb 5000 lb 3500 lb 2200 lb
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