's $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout


One of the most popular segments in the auto industry is the compact SUV. Why? It's the mix of practicality, utility, price and now fuel economy. There are three all-new or redesigned compact utes on the market since the Chevy Equinox won our last match-up just 18 months ago.

This time out we set some new rules. The contenders had to get 30 mpg on the highway and have an as-tested price under $25,000, not including the destination charge. Battling it out were:

  • 2012 Chevy Equinox
  • 2013 Ford Escape
  • 2012 Honda CR-V
  • 2012 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2012 Kia Sportage
  • 2013 Mazda CX-5

Let us know which car you think won the day in the comments before you go check out the full story. $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout: Cargo Results
Most-Efficient Mazda CX-5 Has Least-Accurate Trip Computer



There is nothing you could do/say to convince me the Honda CR-V is a better car, especially compared to the Mazda CX-5.


Why is the Equinox dinged for having an Eco button but not the CRV? Can the "family" somehow understand it better on the Honda?

I'm with above. The CRV would be the LAST one of this group I'd buy. Why? Drop dead ugly.

They had the same thinking on the other three cars in the test with the Eco function as well. Mileage just wasn't a big concern for them since all six were already quite efficient.


Since the CR-V sells so well it must be people that actually buy these vehicles look at the total package and not just skin deep.

Personally, I like the CX-5 and would have one now if it had about 30 more HP and torque. I would give up a couple of MPG for something with more scoot. It handles beautifully and looks the best IMO.


From reading I've come to a few conclusions. First, the Escape is too expensive. In order to get a well equipped Escape, they would have to change the shootout to's $30,000 Compact SUV Shootout to get a good one. Second, this proves that most people don't cross-shop vehicles. A activity lots of Auto writers recommend. Even the family themselves said they wouldn't consider the Mazda CX-5 at first because they've never owned a Mazda before. The Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sporatage should be outselling the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. Lots of features for the money and crisp styling, who doesn't want that.


These are more borderline midsize CUVs now. Equinox, Escape and CRV are all headed toward 30k reasonably well equipped and are quickly catching up with the Rav4's size. There's been a resurgence in cheap, efficient awd micro-suvs (generally 2.0L or smaller) that might be a bit more interesting. CX5, Outlander Sport, SX4 crossover, Patriot or Compass, Juke and XV Crosstrek would be a more interesting comparison.


I concur with the results as we just traded our Equinox for a CR-V and couldn't be happier. After driving it for a few months we now see why Honda sells a lot of them.


I don't own a compact SUV/CUV, (I own a 2012 Grand Cherokee) but of this bunch in that class the CR-V AWD is the best all-around for the money. No doubt!

That may be a subjective choice, but it is backed up by the sales numbers, retained trade-in value after 3, 5 and 7 years, and continued owner loyalty.


the escape outsold the CR-V last year and regularly sells in volumes similar to CR-V. If you combine the GM twins, they outsell the CR-V. Saying that the CR-v must be great because it sells a lot is fine, but you should apply the same logic to all the high volume sellers in this class. Honda is great at packaging and the CR-V excels at being versatile. It doesnt really raise the bar anywhere else though.


If you take away the hundreds of small towns that only have a Ford and/or a Chevy dealership across America, the Honda would outsell them all, even combined, IMO. I have relatives that live in these type areas and they just won't go to the "big city" to buy cars because they don't want to drive that far for service or warranty work. They are used to alot of warranty work(lol) so it's important to them. There are probably twice as many Ford or Chevy dealers across the US than Honda dealers.
Given an easier choice, I think many of these people would buy a Honda, Toyota or Nissan drastically cutting into Detroit's numbers.

If you compare the big city only numbers I bet they highly favor the imports. Just my opinion cause I wouldn't know where to find the numbers broke down like that if they even are.

Volume Van

Can we include Prius V and Ford C-Max in this segment since the interior volume of these 2 vehicles is pretty close to the 6 vehicles mentioned above.



I am with you on that one. I lived in those places before and the whole town has 3000 people with a Ford and a Chevy dealer ONLY.


CRV is sold overwhelmingly through retail sales channels whereas the Escape and Equinox are very common rental cars. got the scoring right.

I own Honda CRV since last 1 year. This is my second CRV. I am now at 112,000 miles and still on the original clutch. Space inside is enormous, comfort guaranteed and roadholding surefooted even on Indian roads. Overall I've been extremely happy with this car and would recommend it to anyone thinking of buying one.


The CRV is the gold standard for small SUV's. It ranks near the top or at the top in all the comparatives. When you buy a Honda CRV you can be be sure of it's safety, reliability. comfort and resale value.

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