Winner: Toyota FJ Cruiser
Runner-Up: Ford Escape

For those who don't want a large SUV and don't need three rows, there are plenty of options. These value-packed SUVs and crossovers have wheelbases under 106 inches. 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 commutes. For the best combination, we chose the Toyota FJ Cruiser. It can tow 5000 pounds, provides plenty of power, has good fuel economy, seats five, and in regular form is great off-road -- and that gets even better with the Trail Teams edition. Still, its unique design means there are blind spots. Looking for a more traditional option? The Ford Escape gives you a choice of I-4, V-6, or hybrid powertrain (with up to 240 horsepower), 3500 pounds of towing capacity, comfortable seating for five, and some mild off-road capability.


Compact SUV, AWD/4WD (UNDER 106-in WB)
(Acura - Honda)
Vehicle Acura RDX Ford Escape Honda CR-V Honda Element
Base price $35,480 $24,975 $23,725 $22,855
Wheelbase 104.3 in 103.1 in 103.1 in 101.4 in
Engine 2.3L DOHC T I-4 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.4L DOHC I-4
Opt engines   3.0L V-6 $3085, 2.5L hyb $8830    
Power, SAE 240 hp 171 hp (240, 177) 180 hp 166 hp
Torque, SAE 260 lb-ft 171 lb-ft (223, 136) 161 lb-ft 161 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/drum, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 235/55R18 235/70R16 225/65R17 215/70R16
Fuel cap 18.0 gal 17.5 gal (15.1 hyb) 15.3 gal 15.9 gal
Fuel econ, city/hwy 17/22 mpg 20/26 (18/23, 30/27) mpg 21/27 mpg 19-20/24-25 mpg
Seating cap 5 5 5 4
Curb weight 3950 lb 3450 lb 3500 lb 3650 lb
GVWR 4800 lb 4200 lb 4560 lb 4450 lb
Payload 850 lb 750 lb 1060 lb 800 lb
Cargo cap 60.6 cu ft 67.2 cu ft 72.9 cu ft 74.6 cu ft
Towing cap 1500 lb 3500 lb 1500 lb 1500 lb


Compact SUV, AWD/4WD (UNDER 106-in WB)
(Hyundai - Nissan)
Vehicle Hyundai Tucson Jeep Wrangler Kia Sportage Land Rover LR2
Base price $24,440 $22,795 $22,490 $36,550
Wheelbase 103.9 in 95.4 in 103.9 in 104.7 in
Engine 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.8L OHV V-6 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.2L DOHC I-6
Opt engines        
Power, SAE 176 hp 202 hp 170-176 hp 233 hp
Torque, SAE 168 lb-ft 237 lb-ft 163-168 lb-ft 234 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Front Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 225/60R17 225/75R16 215/70R16 235/55R19
Fuel cap 14.5 gal 18.6 gal 14.5 gal 18.5 gal
Fuel econ, city/hwy 21/28 mpg 15/19 mpg 20-21/27-28 mpg 15/22 mpg
Seating cap 5 4 5 5
Curb weight 3350 lb 3750 lb 3350 lb 4250 lb
GVWR 4608 lb 5200 lb 4608 lb 5520 lb
Payload 1258 lb 1450 lb 1258 lb 1270 lb
Cargo cap 55.8 cu ft 56.5 cu ft 54.6 cu ft 58.9 cu ft
Towing cap 2000 lb 2000 lb 2000 lb 3500 lb
 
Vehicle Mazda Tribute Mitsubishi Outlander Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Nissan Juke
Base price $25,145 $25,275 $23,775 $21,240
Wheelbase 103.1 in 105.1 in 105.1 in 99.6 in
Engine 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.0L DOHC I-4 1.6L DOHC T I-4
Opt engines 3.0L V-6 $1000 3.0L V-6 $3300    
Power, SAE 171 hp (240) 168 hp (230) 148 hp 188 hp
Torque, SAE 171 lb-ft (223) 167 lb-ft (215) 145 hp 177 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 235/70R16 225/55R18 225/55R18 215/55R17
Fuel cap 17.5 gal 15.8 gal 15.8 gal 13.2 gal
Fuel econ, city/hwy 20/26 (18/23) mpg 22/27 (19/25) mpg 24/24 mpg 25/30 mpg
Seating cap 5 7 5 5
Curb weight 3500 lb 3600 lb 3250 lb 3150 lb
GVWR 4680 lb 5045 lb 4343 lb 4167 lb
Payload 1180 lb 1445 lb N/A N/A
Cargo cap 67.2 cu ft 72.6 cu ft 49.5 cu ft 35.9 cu ft
Towing cap 3450 lb 3500 lb N/A N/A


Compact SUV, AWD/4WD (UNDER 106-in WB)
(Nissan - Volkswagen)
Vehicle Nissan Rogue Subaru Forester Suzuki Grand Vitara
Base price $22,890 $21,220 $23,244
Wheelbase 105.9 in 103.0 in 103.9 in
Engine 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.5L SOHC flat-4 2.4L DOHC I-4
Opt engines   2.5L turbo; flat-4 $6500  
Power, SAE 170 hp 170 hp (224) 166 hp
Torque, SAE 175 lb-ft 174 lb-ft (226) 162 lb-ft
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/disc, ABS
Tires 215/70R16 215/50R16 225/70R16
Fuel cap 15.9 gal 16.9 gal 17.4 gal
Fuel econ, city/hwy 22/26 mpg 20/26-27 (19/24) mpg 19/23-25 mpg
Seating cap 5 5 5
Curb weight 3450 lb 3250 lb 3600 lb
GVWR 4526 lb 4000 lb 4630 lb
Payload 1076 lb 750 lb 1030 lb
Cargo cap 57.9 cu ft 68.3 cu ft 70.8 cu ft
Towing cap 1500 lb 2400 lb 3000 lb
 
Vehicle Toyota FJ Cruiser Toyota RAV4 Volkswagen Tiguan
Base price $27,280 $24,235 $27,595
Wheelbase 105.9 in 104.7 in 102.5 in
Engine 4.0L DOHC V-6 2.5L DOHC I-4 2.0L turbo I-4
Opt engines   3.5L V-6 $2035  
Power, SAE 260 hp 179 hp (269) 200 hp
Torque, SAE 271 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
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 265/70R17 215/70R16 215/65R16
Fuel cap 19.0 gal 15.9 gal 16.8 gal
Fuel econ, city/hwy 15-17/19-21 mpg 21/27 (19/26) mpg 18/24 mpg
Seating cap 5 7 5
Curb weight 4300 lb 3500 lb 3650 lb
GVWR 5570 lb 5015 lb 4740 lb
Payload 1270 lb 1515 lb 1090 lb
Cargo cap 66.8 cu ft 73.0 cu ft 56.1 cu ft
Towing cap 5000 lb 3500 lb 2200 lb

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