2 of the Best Economical SUVs

The economical and compact SUV category was initially brought to the forefront of consumers with the introduction of the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. Since their introduction there have been a number of candidates for the consumer to choose between in their shopping process. None of these vehicles are geared toward serious off road use. They do offer the size and versatility of an economical SUV that will provide the added safety of all wheel drive with high gas mileage ratings.

The RAV4 has continued its’ evolution as a front runner in this category. It brings to the table the legendary reputation of a Toyota all wheel drive vehicle. In recent years it has also added considerable performance with the optional six-cylinder engine. They have also chosen to stick with the side hinged back gate. It allows easy access to a large cargo area, but requires the owner to consider how the load will be brought to the vehicle as well as parking considerations and the proximity of other vehicles behind the rig. The RAV4 has excellent drivability, but the driver’s compartment is snug for larger frame individuals.

Honda has a solid reputation with their CR-V with an excellent balance of power to weight. While they may not have an engine upgrade option, their standard choices work quite well for everyday driving. The most common negative is that there is considerable road noise in the cabins of these vehicles. Typical of a Honda, it has exceptional ergonomics in driver’s cockpit. Pairing that with easily accessible cargo space and a roomy cabin makes the CR-V an industry standard that will be in place for quite some time.

Subaru wrote the book on all wheel drive applications for sedans and wagons, and the Forester is no exception. With higher seating and better visibility than the Subaru wagons, the Forester is an excellent consideration in the economical SUV category. The Forester offers competitive gas mileage and good drivability due to a slightly lower center of gravity. It trails behind other vehicles with the outdated four speed automatic transmission, but the flat four-cylinder engine keeps it as a viable entry in this class.

The Santa Fe from Hyundai is another excellent choice for an economical SUV. Typical of Hyundai, they offer excellent features in a well-built vehicle. The gas mileage of the Santa Fe is comparable, cargo space excellent and detail work tolerable to good. It has a heavier feel than other choices, but not in a good way. Acceleration is a slower, turns are a little more work, and stopping distances requires wariness.

One of the most date entries in the economical SUV segment is the Tribute by Mazda. They do offer high safety ratings and decent gas mileage. Drivability is okay at best and interior space is limited compared to the other choices. Mazda has been building their reputation for a great driving experience, but it appears to have been overlooked in the Tribute. It is a solid vehicle, but lacks somewhat in the zoom-zoom aspect.

The economical SUV choices in the market are many, varied, and likely to offer great results for the diligent consumer.

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