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10 Most Affordable Compact SUVs

Compact SUVs are some of the most popular new vehicles sold in Canada; here are the least expensive to buy new.

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With room for up to five on board, and mid-size car-like fuel economy (with some models offering electrified versions that sip little to no fuel at all), compact SUVs possess an enticing alternative for buyers looking to move up from smaller cars and those downsizing from larger minivans, SUVs or trucks. And as one of Canada's most popular automotive segments, the competition is fierce among automakers, resulting in a high-value quotient for consumers. 

If you are in the market for such a vehicle, here are the 10 most affordable compact SUVs in Canada for 2022. Just a reminder that if you're looking for more details or ready to buy, click on the model name link to find the relevant Kelley Blue Book Value.

 

10th-place: Honda CR-V LX-2WD – Starting MSRP $31,470*

The 2022 CR-V was one of the original compact SUVs, and it’s still one of the best. It has one of the roomiest interiors in its class, with loads of space for passengers and cargo. The Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance tech features comes standard across the CR-V model range, making your daily drive safer and more convenient. All CR-Vs get a 190-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder gas engine. Power is routed through a continuously variable automatic transmission CVT) that gets a 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100-km) fuel economy estimate in the base LX 2WD front-wheel drive trim, with all-wheel drive available on higher trims.

 

9th-place: GMC Terrain FWD SLE – Starting MSRP $30,598

The updated 2022 Terrain takes an often-overlooked SUV and makes it more interesting. A new AT4 trim has been added, emphasizing off-road capability; the look has been applied to the whole model range, including the base FWD SLE trim (AWD is optional). The Terrain has one engine choice. It’s a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes enough power (170-hp) to get around but doesn’t offer much excitement. If good fuel economy is more important to you than performance, you’ll have no complaints about this engine, with FWD versions scoring a 7.7 L/100 km estimate.

 

8th-place: Mazda CX-5 GX – Starting MSRP $30,500

This is the second generation of CX-5, which debuted for the 2017 model year. For 2022, it receives a refresh—tweaking the looks and suspension and adding a few more standard features. A 227-hp turbo version is optional, but the base CX-5 GX engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder with 187 hp and a 9.3 L/100-km estimate. A 6-speed automatic transmission and AWD are also standard. Most compact SUVs, especially in this mainstream category, are not fun for drivers. The 2022 CX-5 operates differently. Sure, it meets the SUV needs of all occupants, but that includes the person behind the wheel.

 

7th-place: Hyundai Tucson Essential  – Starting MSRP $30,454

For the first time, the Tucson is available with hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains. But the most affordable is the FWD version of the base 2022 Essential trim, which has a 2.5L 4-cylinder gas engine (that produces 187 hp) matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The front-drive Essential is rated at 8.2 L/100 km; AWD is available. Thanks to its longer wheelbase, the latest Tucson sees more rear legroom compared to the outgoing version, which exceeds the space afforded by rivals like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue.

 

6th-place: Ford Escape S  – Starting MSRP $29,699

The 2022 Escape offers electrified hybrid and plug-in powertrains like the Tucson. But the least expensive Escape is the base S, which only comes with FWD. The engine in the Escape S is a turbocharged 1.5L gas unit with only three cylinders, as opposed to the customary four. It makes 180 hp, sending power via an 8-speed automatic transmission, making for a 7.8 L/100 km fuel economy estimate. Although the base S has a small display (4.2 in on the diagonal), the Escape retains a generally user-friendly dashboard and infotainment system.

 

5th-place: Nissan Rogue S FWD – Starting MSRP $29,498

Last year, the Rogue got high marks for its improved handling and comfort on the road, and those features carry on into the new model year. There’s a new turbocharged engine for 2022, but the base S trim (with FWD or AWD) remains powered by the carry-over 181-hp 2.5L 4-cylinder and CVT rated at 8.1 L/100 km. Inside, the Rogue’s Zero Gravity front seats are a highlight with a good blend of comfort and support. The Nissan SUV’s second row is appropriately sized for a compact SUV, with adequate headroom and legroom for average adults.

 

4th-place: Subaru Forester  – Starting MSRP $29,495

With a base price of just under $30K, the 2022 Forester is the most-affordable compact SUV sold in Canada with traction at four wheels as standard gear. Subaru’s AWD system shines, with active torque vectoring so the system can adjust how much power goes to each rear wheel. The outside wheel turns a little faster in corners, bringing the Forester sweetly around the turn. All Foresters get a 2.5L flat-4 gas engine that doesn’t produce a lot of shove (182 hp that goes through a CVT) and its fuel economy is average, estimated at 8.2 L/100 km.

 

3rd-place: Toyota RAV4 LE FWD  – Starting MSRP $28,990

For just under $45k, you can burn less fuel in the top-line 2022 RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD or no fuel at all in the Prime plug-in hybrid. Or you can save a lot of money upfront and get the same user-friendly package in the base LE FWD. This conventional version has a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine developing 203 hp with a 6.8 L/100 km combined estimate. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends this to the front wheels. Generous headroom and legroom in both seating rows equal the costlier RAV4 trims, and the infotainment system is easy enough to negotiate without referring to the manual.

 

2nd-place: Kia Sportage LX FWD – Starting MSRP $28,395

This all-new Sportage arrives in early 2022 as a 2023 model. It marks the fifth generation of the Sportage, and it’s based on the same chassis that underpins its Sorento sibling and Hyundai Tucson cousin. As such, the new Sportage is longer than the outgoing model. This added size helps differentiate the Sportage from its Seltos sibling while significantly improving the interior room, especially in the back seat. Initially, one engine will be available, a 2.5L 4-cylinder that sends an estimated 187 hp to the front (or all four) wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission and a Kia-estimated 8.4 L/100 km rating.

 

1st-place: Chevrolet Equinox FWD LS  – Starting MSRP $26,498

All 2002 Equinox trims get a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 170 hp mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and AWD is optional. That’s adequate for most tasks and gets reasonable (8.4 L/100 km) fuel economy. The Equinox has a cabin that is useful and roomy. The driver and passenger seats are supportive and comfortable. A touchscreen display sits in the center of the dash. Controls for commonly used functions like climate and audio are simple to use.

*Based on prices as of June 1, 2022. 
 

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