Best Subcompact Crossover SUVs for 2021 Season

There will be some interesting changes in the 2021 subcompact crossover SUV segment. These small vehicles are in the shadow of their larger siblings, so the premieres sometimes are not getting too much attention. Well, the next season could change that, with some significant cuts.

Before we see which carmakers and models will be the most attractive in 2021, let’s mention a few reasons why you should consider buying a subcompact crossover SUV. First of all, these vehicles are very efficient. The fuel economy is at the highest level and they don’t use hybrid technology. Also, if you are commuting a lot in urban areas, the size and agility of small crossover are going to make your life easier. On the other hand, lack of power and interior space are the major downsides.

Many companies are dropping their vehicles from this segment. So, we won’t see Infiniti QX30 anymore. On the other hand, Kia launches the new model for the US market – Seltos, while Ford is about to replace the EcoSport with Puma. Audi is also active, and soon we could see a model smaller than Q3.

2021 Chevy Trailblazer Replaces the Best-Selling Vehicle in the Lineup

We can’t say too much about this 2020 season. So, the title of the best-selling model of 2019 goes to Chevrolet Trax. The GM delivered the most popular subcompact crossover and this year it arrived without changes. The reason is simple – General Motors is replacing it. The new 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is a fresh subcompact SUV. Still, we hope to see the 2021 Chevy Trax as the smallest vehicle, while the Blazer’s little brother could fit between two classes.

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer will use a pair of small engines that will improve the fuel economy of the Trax. A 1.2 and 1.3 displacements are providing power for the subcompact crossover. Trax will remain available with a 1.4-liter unit. The best thing about its replacement is the SS model. Rumors are not confirmed yet, but it is likely that both mini SUV and its larger sibling are getting the SuperSport edition.

Full review: 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is Ready for Comeback

2021 Honda HR-V Will Improve the Gas Mileage

The second generation of the subcompact crossover was launched in 2015 and it received the first update last year. This was the right move since the interest in this model jumped a lot. After a year of break, Honda will bring more novelties for its smallest crossover. Still, the redesign of Pilot is a priority, so the new model of its smaller sibling could arrive after the 2021 Honda HR-V.

The vehicle is using a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine capable of producing 140 hp and 127 lb-ft. With the FWD, the 2021 Honda HR-V delivers 28/34 mpg. The new edition might use lighter materials to improve the overall gas mileage. An all-wheel drive is an option, while the company is not considering a hybrid drivetrain. The unchanged trim level lineup will offer five different packages, and most impressive features are coming with 2021 Honda HR-V Touring crossover. The base MSRP shall remain under $21,000, but you will have to pay another grand for a destination fee.

Full review: 2020 Honda HR-V Mugen Tuning, Hybrid, and Turbo Engine

Want to Go Off-Road? 2021 Jeep Renegade Is the Right Choice

Another vehicle from the top of the sales charts in the US. It is more expensive and more powerful than its rivals, so this might be a reason why it is so popular. The FCA will update the 2021 Jeep Renegade with a more aggressive appearance, picked up from the new Wrangler. Optional features are making this crossover one of the most advanced in the segment. Definitely, 2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk will be the #1 choice if you want to go off-road.

Well, the Tigershark engine will help it perform better in tough situations. The vehicle is producing way more power than the average values for the small segment. A naturally-aspirated model is out with 180 hp, while the new turbocharged 1.3 displacement is 3 ponies short. On the other hand, it creates 35 lb-ft more. Besides the Trailhawk, there are other cool models in the lineup, and the most features you will get with the 2021 Jeep Renegade Limited and High Altitude packages. However, the price will exceed $30,000.

Another Replacement – 2021 Ford Puma Substitutes EcoSport

Ford is not focusing on the subcompact segment. The electrification and larger SUVs are the priority. Still, that doesn’t mean the Blue Oval company won’t show in this class. All contrary, unhappy with EcoSport, chiefs are ready to introduce the new vehicle. The 2021 Ford Puma will debut next season in the US as the all-new subcompact crossover.

That is not all since spy photos are showing more reasons for the excitement. The 2021 Ford Puma ST was spied with a more aggressive look. Compared to its sibling from Europe, the US version comes with a larger bumper and exhaust tips, 18-inch wheels, and lower stance. On the other hand, the standard edition will be the same as the one the buyers can purchase across the ocean. The powertrain will probably be a turbocharged inline-three will be tuned for 235 horsepower. This is the same engine we see under the hood of the Fiesta ST. The price will be pretty high, having in mind that we expect the base 2021 Ford Puma under $22,000.

Source: TopSpeed

2021 Hyundai Kona – The EV Crossover

If you are looking for clean energy, the 2021 Hyundai Kona EV is the right choice. It emits zero gases, and the crossover is able to cover 260 miles in a single charge. Well, the lack of charging stations is the main downside. But, in 2021 we will see more plugs across the US, making the Kona EV more attractive to buyers and a step ahead of the competition. The all-electric subcompact crossover will cost $37,000 and its buyers are eligible for the federal tax refund.

If you are not living in one of 10 states where this model is available, then the 2021 Hyundai Kona offers engines with internal combustion as well. A pair of four-pot units won’t disappoint. Five trim levels are offered. The base unit is not so equipped, but there are still a few headlights, such as a huge infotainment screen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SEL and SEL Plus are the mid-range options, while the turbocharged engine can be combined with the Limited or Ultimate packages.

Full review: 2021 Hyundai Kona Review (Range, Specs)

Debut of the Year – 2021 Kia Seltos

It is already available in a few Asian countries and Australia. But, the new 2021 Kia Seltos makes its way to the US market as well. The vehicle is already available for the purchase and it comes with two engines and four trim levels. The base model is LX. Like its Korean sibling, Hyundai Kona, it offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay services. The price of the entry-level Seltos is $22,000. The EX version is combining naturally-aspirated engine with the most options. The S package is the mid-range offer and it is also available with a turbo engine. The SX is the most luxurious version.

The US market won’t see the 2021 Kia Seltos Diesel. Instead, the company is exploiting a 2.0-liter engine as the base solution for 145 hp and 130 (class averages) and a 1.6-liter turbo-four, with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft. The fuel economy is excellent when the 2021 Kia Seltos sends power to the front wheels. Still, we recommend the all-wheel drive with the independent rear suspension. Besides the better traction, drivers will experience more precise handling. 

Build Kia Seltos

2021 Nissan Kicks Pros and Cons

Kicks replaced a fancy-looking Juke. After a slow start, the crossover is finding more buyers every season. This nameplate is also available in China, Brazil, Mexico, and since 2019 in India. The new season is the third one in the major stage in the world. It is known that the Japanese company is preparing a lot of new vehicles for 2021, and Kicks might be one of them. Compact Rogue is already spied and it is definitely the priority for the carmaker. The 2021 Nissan Kicks will probably borrow some solutions from its bigger brother.

The vehicle is using a 1.6-liter engine, which underachieves with power output. The 2021 Nissan Kicks will allow only 122 hp and 115 lb-ft of torque. The lack of energy is made up of a 31/36 mpg. But, the subcompact crossover is not going to offer too many options. The upcoming model could bring a new engine, possibly hybrid, or at least an all-wheel drive. The base price starts under $20,000, which is a rarity nowadays in the US market.

2021 Toyota C-HR Needs a Lot of Improvements

The sales show that something is not right about the C-HR. Toyota is a leader in sales in compact and mid-size segments. But, the subcompact vehicle was not accepted by fans so great. So, the mid-cycle update is enhancing expectations from the 2021 Toyota C-HR. Attractive styling is still futuristic and modern, but everything else needs improvements.

The sloping roof is cutting headroom from rear-seat passengers and cargo space. Even the leftover is pretty high. The engine is a 2.0-liter 145 hp rated unit. Still, the acceleration is not great, but the handling is definitely one of the reasons you should buy the 2021 Toyota C-HR. Still, an all-wheel drive is not an option and the crossover could bring the hybrid unit. Like every Toyota vehicle, the C-HR has an excellent resale value. So, if you don’t like it, you will lose less than on other models.

2021 Kia Niro – Hybrid, PHEV, or All-Electric

Niro is very similar to the Hyundai Kona, but it upgrades the offer of power sources. The company enhanced the electric model with the latest update, so the 2021 Kia Niro will return 240 miles. The battery is pretty powerful with 200 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. If you are not keen on the modern sources of power, the plug-in hybrid is combining electric motors with petrol unit. It combines an old-school type of drive but still leaves the option for an EV drive. The lightest combination is a 1.6-liter petrol engine and a small battery. With 140 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque, and 51/45 mpg, this is a vehicle you need for everyday commuting.

The pricing is pretty attractive. The most affordable is the 2021 Kia Niro Hybrid with a price tag of $24,000. Of course, higher trim levels will reach $30,000, which is where the PHEV model starts. Again, where it ends ($37,000) the EV starts ($38,000). Again, a federal tax refund is there and there are only a few states which will offer a network of charging stations.

New Kira Niro concept

2021 Mazda CX-3 and CX-30 Hybrid

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is one of the rare hybrid versions. Niro and Kona are not upgrading the conventional engine. Well, the CX-30 is marketed as the separate model, but it is obvious that hybrid crossover found inspiration in CX-3. Yes, there are a few changes to make these two different. As always, Mazda is well-known for its attractive styling and the famous SkyActive engine technology.

The subcompact crossover was introduced in 2016. We can say the company is late with the first update, so the expectations from the 2021 Mazda CX-3 are pretty high. The vehicle is aging and it is time for a replacement. A hybrid model is a good start, but the CX-3 needs a lot more. Its design is unique and still attractive, but other companies are updating their models every now and then and a five-year period in this class is way too long.


The subcompact crossover class is the most budget-friendly segment. It costs the least among SUVs, and its maintenance cost is not as high as for larger vehicles. Plus, these won’t waste too much fuel.

But, you can always upgrade the offer with the premium packages – or even better, with the luxury crossover. Not too many carmakers are producing separate models, besides the high-end trim levels. Here is what will you will find in dealerships though 2021 season.

2021 Mercedes GLA Class Offer 300 hp-rated AMG Model

The GLA is already the best-selling luxury crossover and Mercedes announced plans for its improvements. The entry-level version will be even more enhanced. It arrives as the 2021 Mercedes GLA250. Top of the range versions will combine elements of the German premium carmaker and the AMG. The result is the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA35 crossover with 300 horsepower.

The company also updated the infotainment system. MBUX is one of the best things you will get in the market. The base offering includes a 7-inch screen, while a 10-inch display is a highlight of the AMG version. the standard edition will get power from a 2.0-liter engine capable of delivering 220 hp and nearly 260 lb-ft of torque. New transmission and 4Matic AWD will make the crossover sprint to 60 mph in 5 seconds. The AMG is boosting outputs and drop sprint time to 4.3 seconds. The price breaches $50,000, and it is not affordable if you are after the base version. For $35,000 you can consider many larger vehicles.

Source: Motor1

2021 BMW X1 – iX1, Coupe X2, X1 M

The Bavarian carmaker updated its smaller SUV with new styling, infotainment screen, colors, and transmission. Still, the 2021 BMW X1 is not offering Android Auto, and even the Apple CarPlay is not working properly for the luxury vehicle. Still, we recommend this crossover because of its handling and cargo space. The price is hefty, but as said, we expect it from the premium model.

The only engine available for the 2021 BMW X1 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 230 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The small crossover offers both FWD and AWD. Next season, we might see upgrades based on the X1. The first one is the M model. The performance edition will get on the line with the Mercedes AMG GLA. Also, we can hear that iPerformance is developing an electric version, which is could miss the US market. Finally, there is a coupe-crossover, BMW X2. However, this one might arrive as a concept in 2021.

Full review: 2021 BMW X1 Will be a Small X5

2021 Audi Q3 Changes Will be Based on the A3 Sedan

The 2021 Audi Q3 is the final part of the big-three German subcompact crossover class. Compared to its rivals, Mercedes GLA and BMW X1, the four-ring carmaker creates the same amount of power from a 2.0-liter turbo engine. Still, the Q3 is not offering the famous Quattro system. This engine is not using premium fuel, but it is recommended by the company for the best performance.

Audi updated the A3 sedan with the E-Tron sportback edition. This could mean the carmaker’s next target is the subcompact crossover. The S3 rumors offer even more options. For example, if the 2021 Audi Q3 borrows its drivetrain, it will challenge the AMG GLA with 300+ horsepower. The price will stay put since the company sells its model for $36,000. Top of the class versions adds $10k. The good thing about the Q3 is the resale value. The new 2021 YM will keep this advantage.

2021 Volvo XC40 Gets an EV Version

The debut of the 2021 Volvo XC40 EV is the major novice in the luxury subcompact crossover segment for the upcoming season. This vehicle didn’t offer the T8 PHEV configuration. Now, the Swedish carmaker is ready to make a huge step and deliver a green model. The pre-order is already available, but the sales won’t start until the last quarter of 2020. The motor is a 78-kWh battery that creates 400 hp. The range of the XC EV will be 248 miles and the price will go over $55,000. Of course, you can count on a tax refund and a $1,000 refund if you make a pre-order.

The rest of the lineup is unchanged. A 2.0-liter mill is the heart of the engine room. Turbocharged, it creates 187 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. The T5 replaces it with 250 ponies and 260 pound-feet of twist. The upcoming EV is not going to use the alphanumeric nomenclature. If you are looking for this one, search it under the Recharge nameplate. The base vehicle with the petrol engine will cost $35,000 and it goes up by $20,000 heavily loaded.

Read more at KBB

2021 Lexus UX, The Youngest Lexus On the Market

Toyota and its premium branch will have a lot of work. These carmakers are trying to obtain rights on the LX 600 nameplate. Also, the GX mid-size vehicle is pretty old, so we can expect the redesign of this one as well. That means the subcompact 2021 Lexus UX is coming without any serious change. The crossover debuted in 2019. We still expect the first complete year at dealerships. The UX is a promising model with standard and hybrid drivetrains.

Lexus offers this model with a 2.0-liter drivetrain in the 2021 Lexus UX 200 edition and the price below the competition. Still, it lacks power with only 170 hp and 150 lb-ft. a boost comes from a 24-kW battery, which pushes the power output to 180 hp. Still, the fuel economy is the highlight of 41/38 mpg. Android Auto is now available alongside Apple CarPlay. The company corrected the price, which is now $32,500. One of the best upgrades for the 2021 Lexus UX is the F Sport. The cosmetic package costs about $3,000.

2021 Range Rover Evoque Is One of the Most Popular JLR’s Products

The Range Rover Evoque is a versatile subcompact crossover. Stylish design and exceptional off-road features are making it so special. However, this is one of the most expensive vehicles in the class with the starting price of $44,000. The company delivered an all-new version for this season and we expect the complete results and the first resale value details in a year or so.

The biggest novelty for the new Evoque is a hybrid engine. It boosts the power output from 245 hp on the standard configuration, to 295 hp for the R-Dynamic crossover. On the other hand, we won’t get a better fuel economy. On the other hand, the 2021 Range Rover Evoque Hybrid will cost pretty hefty, especially with options. Do not be surprised if you find versions close to $60,000. For this sum, you can get a mid-size luxury SUV.

2021 Jaguar E-Pace Changes

JLR reshuffled options for the current E-Pace. Basically, the same entry-level engine is there, while the higher-output version returns the equal outputs as the hybrid for Evoque. But, the new 2021 Jaguar E-Pace might bring a surprise or two. The spy photos are confirming the first big update, although details are not available yet. Reports suggest a minor facelift is taking place.

We believe the crossover will re-introduce the S trim, dropped for the 2020 model. Also, it is possible that 2021 Jaguar E-Pace will borrow the hybrid unit from its Range Rover sibling. Sleek styling and details are something that makes this vehicle special. The E-Pace costs less than Evoque, starting at $40,000. The R-Dynamic HSE is top of the class version with the price tag over $53,000.

See spy photos HERE

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