A very small percentage of the world’s consumers don’t need to worry about the concept of “value,” but for the rest of the population, finding a good deal, especially when it comes to big ticket purchases like automobiles, is essential. A few years ago, the majority of car shoppers would be traipsing from one dealer lot to another in search of the best value sedan, but times have changed. The automotive buzz word of the day is “crossover.”
Crossovers offer that desirable mix of practicality, car-like handling, and styling that resonates with drivers young and old. Fortunately, automakers have picked up on the trend and are producing better crossovers than ever before. Among the slew of new model entries, there are several “cheap” models, and many more than cost a pretty penny, but there are only so many that offer great features without breaking the bank.
To trim the fat on available models, we’ve assembled a list of the 5 best value crossovers.
Within the larger crossover craze, subcompacts have become favorites for their styling and affordability. Mazda’s contribution to this category is among our top picks based on its handsome looks, fun-to-drive character, frugal engine, and long list of great features.
All CX-3 trims employ a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 146hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. At a curb weight of just 2,900 lbs, the CX-3 loves to fling itself along twisty roads and doesn’t struggle to get up to speed when needed. Higher trim levels boast large infotainment displays, advanced safety technology, and premium materials, but the base CX-3 still has a generous list of standard features. Prices start at $19,960.
FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has used a single platform to take two spots on our list of 5 best value crossovers. The Jeep Renegade has introduced many shoppers to the brand by offering a taste of the ruggedness of its siblings, the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee at thousands less.
The Jeep Renegade Sport is powered by a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 160hp and is paired with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Standard features include 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, 16″ styled steel wheels, ABS and driveline traction control, electronic stability, power windows, and power locks. The Renegade retails for $17,995.
Baby brother to Honda’s acclaimed CR-V, the HR-V subcompact delivers legendary Honda reliability, refined styling, and build quality for those on a budget. With more versatility than a Honda Fit for only a bit more money, the HR-V has brought many buyers to the Honda brand for the first time.
The 2016 Honda HR-V LX comes equipped with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder motor that produces 141hp. Shoppers can choose either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), SmartVent side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS, and VSA electronic stability control. The Honda HR-V starts at $19,215.
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While shoppers still loved sedans, Hyundai was struggling to emerge from the label of cheap build quality and poor reliability. But it’s a new era in automotive, and Hyundai’s latest vehicles are incredible values. The redesigned Tucson crossover doesn’t just look good, it features a roomy interior, peppy engine, comfortable ride, good fuel economy, and plenty of standard equipment.
A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 164hp is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission in the entry-level Tucson SE. In addition to its 5-star safety rating, the Tucson includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS, and electronic stability control. Prices for the Hyundai Tuscon start at $22,700.
The luxury end of the subcompact crossover segment is represented by a few automakers, but Buick’s Encore is certainly the best value. Feature highlights include available all-wheel drive, a leather-wrapped cabin, and a handsome design.
Since the Encore is based on the Chevrolet Trax, it shares its 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic. The Buick Encore also comes with 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 18″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Prices for the Buick Encore start at $24,065.