Every New Subcompact Luxury Crossover SUV Ranked

Not all subcompact crossovers and SUVs sit at the bottom of the automotive food chain. Those from the luxury segment are nicer and pricier than their mainstream counterparts and hail from legitimate luxury makes. Want a fancy badge, a tall seating position, and hatchback utility for not a lot of money? Many of these models are among the least-expensive ways into a luxury vehicle, period. Of course, some subcompact luxury vehicles are better than others (and some are pricey enough that you might consider a one-size-up compact luxury SUV). So to help you in your search, we’ve ranked every entrant in ascending order—leaving the best for last. Click through to see how this segment is sorted.

13. Mini Countryman and Countryman John Cooper Works

The biggest Mini sold today received a bunch of updates for 2021. The Countryman’s improvements include a restyled front bumper with LED headlights, new wheels, and additional leather trim. Plus, every Countryman now has taillights with the Union Jack design. A 134-hp turbocharged three-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic are standard, but all-wheel-drive models come with an eight-speed automatic instead. The Countryman S gets a turbocharged four-cylinder with 55 extra horsepower, but the quickest Mini we’ve ever tested is the 301-hp Countryman John Cooper Works All4 with a 4.4-second sprint to 60 mph. There’s even a plug-in hybrid Countryman SE with an EPA-estimated 73 MPGe. Interestingly, the Countryman at the bottom of this segment shares the same platform with the BMW X1 at the top, but the Mini has poor ride quality and its most fun version might be a little too rich for most.

  • Base price: $27,350 (Countryman) $42,350 (JCW)
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 29/26/33 mpg (FWD)
  • Rear cargo space: 15 cubic feet


12. Lexus NX

The Lexus NX hasn’t changed much since its launch in 2014 but remains the most popular SUV in the segment. The NX has a few different powertrain options. The NX300 is powered by a 235-hp turbocharged inline-four with a six-speed automatic. The hybrid NX300h has all-wheel drive and a combined output of 194 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard on all gas-powered models, but all-wheel drive is optional. The NX300 F Sport has an adaptive suspension, sporty looks, and super-comfortable seats. The NX was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, making it one of the safest SUVs sold today. A redesigned 2022 NX is coming soon, and is expected to share its powertrain and chassis with the Toyota RAV4.

  • Base price: $38,635
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 25/22/28 (FWD) 31/33/30 (Hybrid) mpg
  • Rear cargo space: 17 cubic feet


11. Buick Encore GX

Buick’s newest crossover, the Encore GX, is the most affordable entry of this segment by $2000. It’s spacious and attractive but comes up short on the luxury side of the ledger. It’s the only one on the list with standard cloth seats. It has a smooth ride but we found its 138-hp and 155-hp three-cylinder powertrains to be sluggish. The Lexus UX, Volvo XC40, BMW X1, and others deliver better highway fuel economy with more horsepower. When we tested the Encore GX, it took 7.0 seconds to go from 50 to 70 mph. Still awake? Good, because despite its lack of excitement, the Encore GX’s cargo space, adjustable load floor, and a fold-flat passenger seat make it a surprisingly useful commuter.

  • Base price: $25,395
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 30/29/31 mpg (FWD)
  • Rear cargo space: 23 cubic feet


10. Jaguar E-Pace

New EVs could be automakers’ big chance to fix the troublesome model naming structure. Or not. The Jaguar E-Pace isn’t an EV, that would be the I-Pace. Because of course it is. The gas-powered E-Pace offers a choice between two powertrains: a 246-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and a 296-hp version for the top P300 trim. We liked the way the E-Pace drove, even though its hefty curb weight hurt acceleration. After tossing it around twisties and rural back roads, the E-Pace’s soul revealed itself, but its high starting price puts it in competition with larger, more useful compact luxury crossovers. Every E-Pace has all-wheel drive and an 11.4-inch infotainment touchscreen. The 22 cubic feet of rear cargo space is a plus too, but Jaguar had to sacrifice space for passengers in the back seat to pull that off.

  • Base price: $42,045
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 23/20/26 mpg (2.0L)
  • Rear cargo space: 22 cubic feet


9. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is the LR version of the Jaguar E-Pace. They ride on the same platform and use the same powertrains, but the Evoque tripled E-Pace sales in 2020 despite having the highest starting price on the list. Is it good? It’s good looking. The Evoque has a lavish glow big enough to make most forget it’s in a similar segment as the Chevy Trailblazer. We tested the 296-hp P300 model with 21-inch wheels on our 75-mph highway fuel economy loop, and it returned just 24 mpg. Every Evoque comes with a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, head-up display, and wireless smartphone charging.

  • Base price: $44,350
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 22/20/27 mpg
  • Rear cargo space: 21 cubic feet


8. Cadillac XT4

Cadillac’s first subcompact luxury entry is working as intended. It nearly outsold every Cadillac car combined in 2020. Every XT4 has a 237-hp turbocharged inline-four with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive is standard, but all-wheel drive can be added to any trim level for $2500. GM’s cylinder deactivation tech helps the XT4 get decent highway fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 29 mpg. The most expensive all-wheel-drive XT4 is still cheaper than a base Evoque and E-Pace, and it has more space inside. Thanks to a partnership with Amazon, you can get your shipment of essential oils and recyclable doggy-poop bags delivered right to your XT4 using the Amazon Key app from the infotainment screen.

  • Base price: $36,990
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 26/24/29 mpg (FWD)
  • Rear cargo space: 22 cubic feet


7. Lexus UX

The Lexus UX is a little bit of everything. It shares its underpinnings with the Toyota C-HR and uses a powertrain from the Corolla hatchback. But its plastic cladding, all-wheel drive, and hybrid drivetrain make it more than just a Toyota with LED lights and leather seats. UX200 models use a 169-hp turbocharged inline-four with a CVT and are front-wheel-drive-only. The hybrid UX250h has 181 horsepower and all-wheel drive. We’d suggest the UX250h F Sport because of the fuel economy bump, all-wheel drive, and because the F Sport version has a sport-tuned suspension and better seats. Every UX comes with a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation and wireless charging, but it still uses that funky touchpad controller that makes moving about the menus a chore. Although it’s not the most spacious, the hybrid UX does offer the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy in the segment with a combined 42 mpg.

  • Base price: $34,025
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 32/29/37 (FWD) 42/43/41 (FWD Hybrid) mpg
  • Rear cargo space: 17 cubic feet


6. Audi Q3

The same company that makes a 591-hp wagon that gets to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds and a 5469-pound SUV that can do it in 3.6 also brings you the Q3. Even if it’s not the fastest horse in Audi’s stable, the Q3 drives well and has plenty of tech. Every Q3 comes with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed transmission behind either a 184- or 228-hp turbocharged inline-four. An optional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster puts your navigational needs behind the steering wheel, and there’s also an available 10.1-inch infotainment screen if you’d rather share the map instead. A panoramic sunroof, heated leather seats, and 19-inch wheels are all standard equipment.

  • Base price: $37,095
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 25/22/30 mpg
  • Rear cargo space: 23 cubic feet


5. Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class

The Mercedes-Benz GLB-class is the only one in the segment with an available third row—albeit one that’s advertised for only “occasional use.” There’s only one trim level for the GLB, but if the standard front-wheel drive isn’t enough for you, all-wheel drive is available for an extra $2000. It has solid driving dynamics, comfy seats, and its longer roof makes it more practical than other options. The five-passenger two-row GLB matches the larger GLC for rear cargo space behind the second row. Every GLB is powered by a 221-hp turbocharged inline-four with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s also a 302-hp AMG version that starts at $50,550.

  • Base price: $39,100
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 26/23/31 mpg
  • Rear cargo space behind second row: 27 (two row) 24 (three row) cubic feet
  • Rear cargo space behind third row: 5 cubic feet


4. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

At the start of Mercedes-Benz’s SUV alphabet is a slightly smaller, slightly slower, GLA-class. Like the GLB, the GLA-class shares its platform with the more affordable A-class sedan. It’s powered by a 221-hp turbocharged inline-four with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Its good looks and lower roof sacrifice an inch of second-row headroom versus the GLB, though it is significantly more spacious than the previous-generation GLA. Two 7.0-inch displays come standard, one for the driver’s display and one for infotainment. Dual 10.3-inch screens are optional.

  • Base price: $37,280
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 28/25/34 mpg (FWD)
  • Rear cargo space: 15 cubic feet


3. BMW X2

Though it shares its underpinnings with the more mature-looking X1, the BMW X2 is third in this ranking because a podium has three steps. The base X2 is powered by a 228-hp turbocharged inline-four with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is an extra $2000. A zestier 302-hp engine is offered in the X2 M35i, the same one that comes on the 2-series Gran Coupe M235i xDrive, and that model gets to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, nearly two seconds quicker than the base engine. The fast version adds over $10,000 to the base price, so if you can stomach that, you’ll be rewarded with a strong powertrain and zesty exhaust note.

  • Base price: $37,945
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 27/24/32 mpg
  • Rear cargo space: 21 cubic feet


2. BMW X1

The BMW X1 is more practical than the X2 with a lower base price and more passenger and cargo space. Unlike the X2, there’s no 302-hp version. But the 228-hp turbo inline-four is smooth. An infotainment system with a 6.5-inch display and Bluetooth is standard; navigation, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and a self-parking feature are optional.

  • Base price: $36,395
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 27/24/33 mpg (FWD)
  • Rear cargo space: 27 cubic feet


1. Volvo XC40

Excitement is important and the Volvo XC40 is like the guy at the party who showed up just to cannonball into the pool from the roof. Compared to what others in this segment offer, or don’t, the Volvo is extra. The base price is reasonable, you can choose a contrasting roof color, and the available Lava carpeting is crazy in a good way. A 184-hp turbocharged inline-four and front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel-drive models get a power boost to 248 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic is standard. The XC40’s 3500-pound towing capacity is an unexpected plus in this segment, too. To make the most out of its size, there are a number of nooks and crannies to store phones, books, magazine, garbage, or takeout boxes. A 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is on every model, and is mostly a replacement for physical buttons and knobs. The XC40 is also one of nine 2021 Volvo models with an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

  • Base price: $34,795
  • EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 26/23/32 mpg (FWD)
  • Rear cargo space: 20 cubic feet


Every 2021 Mid-Size Luxury Crossover and SUV Ranked from Worst to Best

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