Best Subcompact Suv

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The Best Subcompact Crossovers and SUVs to Buy in 2021. Separating the good from the great (and the bad) in the small SUV space. Miguel Cortina Mon Jan 25 2021. Aug 03, 2020 Here are the best subcompact SUVs for 2020. Mazda CX-30 — 4.7/5 — $21,900 The Mazda CX-30 is a newcomer to this competitive segment and this rookie rightfully earns the top spot on this list.

In today’s article, we will be comparing the newly launched Kia Sonet with the Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue, and Mahindra XUV300. Find out below which compact SUV is the best for a budget between Rs. 8.00 lakh and Rs. 15.00 lakh. Find below Which is the best sub-4 meter sub-compact SUV.

Exterior: Nexon Sonet

The Tata Nexon is the oldest car in the segment, but it got an upgrade this year which provided more features. The base variant of the Tata Nexon itself comes with projector headlamps, ESP, Traction control which make it this SUV’s USP. The design after the upgrade looks more aggressive and bold. The Impact 2.0 design language of the car does have a strong appeal towards itself.

The new front grille looks sleek and stylish. The Tata Nexon has the best in segment 209mm of ground clearance with R16 alloy wheels. The white roof colour also adds a unique touch to the overall styling of the car. The centre Nexon badging at the rear of the car gives a rich look to the SUV. The tri-arrow design elements also look quite cool with the SUV.

The styling and road presence of the Kia Sonet is way better than everything else in this segment. Kia was already well known for its better looking Seltos and the new Sonet is no different. The aggressive tiger-nose grille, raised bonnet give it a much more aggressive look compared to the rivals.

All the modern equipments are present. From the side too, the Kia Sonet looks bigger than everything else of its segment. It gets 205mm of ground clearance. The GT line comes with red accents throughout the car. The horizontal reflector strip at the rear of the car makes the car stand out. The overall styling is quite aggressive.

Exterior: Venue XUV300

The Hyundai Venue has remained a best-seller in its segment for quite some time now. The new Sport variant comes with minor styling updates, red accents and iMT transmission. Square shaped headlamps of the Hyundai Venue are unique. More about best sub-compact SUV below.

The split between all the different lights make it stand apart. It has 190mm of ground clearance with R16 wheels. The rear look of the SUV is quite basic and looks a little dull compared to the overall aesthetics.

The rear look the Mahindra XUV300 is big and bulky, to say the least, something in wide contrast to the Venue. It only has 180mm of ground clearance. The side look of the car is the best with R17 wheels to support. The boxy look of the SUV, connecting headlamps and aggressive front grille give the car more road presence.

White light all across the SUV could have been the ultimate inclusion with the SUV. Styling highly depends on personal taste but in terms of road presence and sheer size, the Kia Sonet beats the competition. More about best sub-compact SUV below.

Interior: Sonet Venue

The interiors of the Kia Sonet are quite stylish and one of the most premium looking. The touch and feel of materials and build quality is impressive. The door thud sound is also quite good but lower than the Nexon and XUV300. The Kia Sonet when launched was already known to be feature-heavy and there is no shortage of features here. You get many small storage spaces. This was the most recent car in the segment has retained the best features from all of the rivals at an affordable price. You also get air purifier, ambient lighting, wireless charging, 10.25-inch touchscreen, Bose speakers and many more features.

The Hyundai Venue’s sport variant looks quite good from the interior. Hyundai cars are also known for their fit and finish and premium interior along with attention to details. You also get all the modern features in this car.

Interior: Nexon XUV300

The Tata Nexon’s interiors have improved quite a lot from the previous generation. The overall quality of the interiors has increased leaps and bounds over the previous Tata Nexon. Build quality of the Tata Nexon is best in segment. Flat bottom steering wheel and many more modern features make it a compelling buy in this budget. You also get a fully digital instrument cluster. The Tata Nexon is also the only car in the segment to get a 5-star rating in the Global NCAP. You also get multiple driving modes and the best speaker configuration from Harman.

The Mahindra XUV300’s interiors are quite different from the regular Mahindra cars and a has a premium look attached to it. The build quality and the toughness of the SUV is the best in segment. This is also the most safest car according to Global NCAP in the Indian car market. The comfort and visibility of the car are top class and comparable to cars of a segment higher. You also get many storage space. You get one of the biggest sunroof in the segment, dual-zone climate control, 7 airbags, steering modes, 4 Disc brakes and many more premium features. More about best sub-compact SUV below.

Marking

NameKia SonetHyundai VenueTata NexonMahindra XUV300
Touchscreen Quality9/109/108/108/10
Touchscreen Response9/109/107/108/10
Speaker Quality8.5/107/109/105/10
Camera Quality in Dark9/10 7/107/107/10
Seat Cushioning8/106/109/108/10
Rear Seat Comfort5/105/106/107/10
Boot Space392L350L350L257L

All of the cars except the Mahindra XUV300 get rear AC vents and charging points. All cars except the Kia Sonet get 60:40 split for the rear seat. Only the Tata Nexon and Mahindra XUV300 comes with full-size spare tires.

Verdict

If you want a spacious, comfortable and safe SUV, the Tata Nexon and the Mahindra XUV300 is the best choice for the above parameters. The Nexon has the edge over the XUV300 in the base variant safety features. If features are your only consideration, the Kia Sonet is best for you. The Hyundai Venue is also a great overall package if it fits in your budget.

Also read: Best and Cheapest Compact sedan

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Consumer Reports (CR) has published its annual vehicle reliability survey. The survey ranked cars, trucks, and SUV models on 17 potential trouble spots including engine, power equipment, body, and electronics. The cumulative score of a company’s models determines the brand’s overall reliability ranking for 2021 models.

Best Subcompact Suv

The CR survey, which includes over 300,000 vehicles, determines predicted reliability for new vehicles on a 0-100 scale, with the average vehicle being between 41 and 60 points. The fewer the problems, the higher the score. Due to insufficient data, or brands not having enough vehicles, some brands and models were not included in these ratings.

The Most Reliable 2021 SUV

In the survey findings, the Lexus NX. The NX is the company’s entry-level compact crossover with a starting price under $40,000.

The NX blends interior comforts, with lots of standard safety features, and great reliability. It was just one model that helped push Lexus to 3rd overall in brand reliability ratings.

Overall, the top 5 most reliable SUVs in the reliability survey were the NX, Buick Encore, Lexus GX, Honda HR-V, and Hyundai Kona. These models cover the subcompact, compact, luxury, and full-size SUV categories.

The Least Reliable 2021 SUV

The CR survey found that the Ford Explorer was the least reliable SUV. The Explorer was plagued with problems in its engines, electronics, power equipment, body, and transmission. It scored a paltry 1 out of 100 in the reliability survey.

The Explorer, which was redesigned for 2020, was plagued by a rushed production. More specifically, this caused problems with faulty seats, digital displays with buggy software, and loose wiring harnesses.

“The Ford Explorer, redesigned for 2020, is one of the lowest scoring models from any manufacturer — domestic or foreign — this year” – Consumer Reports

The redesigned Ford Escape compact crossover didn’t perform much better. And the subcompact Ecosport crossover was another downer. Overall as a company, Ford did poorly finishing in the bottom 5.

The other lease reliable SUVs based on the survey were the Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, Jeep Compass, and Volvo XC90.

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The Least Reliable Car Brand

Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln, finished as the lowest-rated brand for reliability overall. However, there were other manufacturers they didn’t have enough data to rank including Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, and Land Rover.

Lincolns were plagued with similar problems as described with the Explorer with the Aviator and Corsair having poor reliability.

Mazda Has the Most Reliable Cars

Overall, for the first time ever, Mazda ranked first as the brand with the most reliable vehicles. This is a big win for the Japanese automaker to dethrone Toyota and Lexus at the top spot of the annual vehicle reliability survey.

Mazda’s small CX-3, still subcompact CX-30, and compact CX-5 also performed well in reliability ratings, all scoring 85 or better.

These types of consistent results helped push Mazda into the most reliable car brand spot. We recently ranked the CX-30 on our best SUV list.

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The Top 5 Most Reliable Car Brands

In 2020, Lexus took the top spot in the survey. The LS model didn’t fare as well this year and that contributed to dropping the luxury automaker to the third spot. Lexus’ parent company Toyota finished second in the reliability survey for 2021 models.

Buick and Honda rounded out the top five most reliable car brands. Honda’s midsize crossover, the Passport, had reported reliability problems.

What Helped Mazda Have the Most Reliable Vehicles?

Based on the survey Mazda’s success with reliable vehicles is due in part to their use of more durable, six-speed automatic transmissions in lieu of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

CVT use is growing in popularity among automakers but they tend to be more fragile and less reliable. That means more repairs, more expense, and a lower reliability score.

Mazda has accomplished while still maintaining above-average fuel economy in their vehicles. And with their crisp handling and quality fit and finish, their vehicles are known to be fun to drive.

Best Subcompact Suv 2021

CR also noted that Mazda takes an iterative approach to vehicle design. Instead of making wholesale changes on models, they take a more gradual approach to change. This has lead to less flaws with defects and other unexpected flaws due to new technology.

Despite having less emphasis on cabin tech, Mazda still garners excellent safety ratings. It’s subcompact CX-3 model earned an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+ award for its crash test ratings.

However, if you like touch screens, large infotainment systems, or other advanced tech, Mazda may not be the brand for you.

The Most Improved 2021 SUV

Buick was the most improved brand for reliability, jumping up 14 spots to the 4th spot overall among carmakers. Its subcompact crossover, the Encore, showed significant improvements in reliability and came in as the second most reliable crossover model.

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Other brands that showed improvement in reliability included BMW, with its midsize X5 model making gains, Volvo, with its XC40 performing well, and Jeep with the Wrangler doing better.

German SUV Reliability

Porsche was the highest-ranked European automaker finishing 9th overall among automotive brands in the reliability survey.

Audi was in the middle of the pack. The A5 and A4 models both rated above average. However, its reliability rating was hurt by the subcompact Q3 crossover, the new tech-heavy midsize coupe crossover Q8, and its e-tron electric SUV. These models were found to have below or well below average reliability in the study.

Mercedes may do well on the innovation, comfort, and technology side but they didn’t fare well in reliability. Mercedes finished last among German automakers in the 20th spot.

Tesla Reliability

Tesla’s new Model Y crossover, unfortunately, didn’t fare so well in the CR reliability survey. Reported issues with fit and finish including misaligned body panels and mismatched paint tanked its rating.

Best Subcompact Suv 2021

The Model Y’s rating was much worse than average. It dragged the electric automaker down to the penultimate spot in the reliability rankings, ahead of only Lincoln.

Keep Reliability in Mind When Buying an SUV

Vehicle reliability is important as not only is it a major headache when your SUV is in the shop, it can be downright costly. Not only can it increase your maintenance and repair costs, but it also can decrease the resale value of your vehicle.

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Best Subcompact Suv

You can learn more about the CR reliability survey and get the overall brand ratings list here. To view how rating have changed over the past year, check out our most and least reliable 2020 SUVs article.

Had a good or bad experience with a 2021 SUV model? We want to hear from you. Please share your experience in the comments below.

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