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Top 13 Compact SUVs For 2013

by Ryan ZumMallen on

Whether you prefer the term “crossover” or “compact SUV,” this segment is perhaps the fastest-growing in the entire automotive industry. When customers want to have it all, this is where they turn for efficiency and performance mixed with utility and value. Manufacturers are racing to deliver the best overall package, and we parse through the competitors here with a list of the Top 13 Compact SUVs For 2013 to kick off your research.


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2013 Buick Encore: The great American success story continues its hot streak with another high quality vehicle that combines style, performance and value. Buick is officially back and while it may initially look a little bulbous, the 2013 Buick Encore sports sharp handling and a refined interior that will keep a smile on your face. Pricing runs between $24,200-28,190 for the FWD models that achieve 25/33 MPG, while the AWD models are a little more costly from $25,700-$29,690 but still manage impressive 23/30 MPG.
   

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 2013 Dodge Journey: It could use a refresh, sure, but the 2013 Dodge Journey has plenty to offer underneath that aggressive (if brutish) fascia. One of the only vehicles in its segment to offer an optional third row seat, and available with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 283 horsepower, the 2013 Dodge Journey is for moving people and cargo with plenty of grunt. Base models start at just $18,995 MSRP, while the fully-loaded AWD R/T weighs in at $30,795. Fuel economy isn't a strong suit, with an 18/26 MPG rating for the four-cylinder engine, and 17/25 for the AWD models.
   

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 2013 Ford Escape: The advantage of a compact SUV is its versatility, and the 2013 Ford Escape is perhaps the best example of a crossover done right from top to bottom. Quality interior materials and advanced tech are paired with dynamic handling and a wide assortment of Ford EcoBoost engines. Try to find a better looking car on this list, too. The 2013 Escape is very efficient for its class, with most models topping 30 MPG highway and the base 1.6L EcoBoost engine clocking in at 23/33 MPG. The Escape is priced from $22,470 while the 4WD Titanium tops the list at $32,120 MSRP.
   

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 2013 GMC Terrain: The bulked-up twin brother to the Chevrolet Equinox, the 2013 GMC Terrain makes no excuses for its aggro design but that doesn't mean it isn’t refined. The interior is top notch, and the four-cylinder engine is rated up to 22/32 MPG. Some customers may find it more polarizing than the Equinox and other competitors, but we call that character – a trait that’s not easy to find in the auto industry these days. One of the most luxurious vehicles on this list, the 2013 Terrain runs from $26,235-$34,280 while the Terrain Denali is closer to $35k territory.
   

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 2013 Honda CR-V: One of the most iconic names in the segment returns with the 2013 Honda CR-V and a new standard rear camera. You know what you’re getting from a CR-V by now: safety, comfort, lots of miles and driving fun. Maybe don’t get caught in the twisties with it, but the 2013 Honda CR-V can handle most anything that you – or a youth soccer team – can throw at it, and then beg for more. The same 2.4L four-cylinder engine is in every trim, achieving solid 22/31 MPG (you only lose 1 MPG if you opt for AWD, too). The 2013 CR-V starts at $22,795 and runs up to $30,295 for the AWD EX-L with Navigation, though there are tons of different choices between the two.
   

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 2013 Hyundai Tucson: Another member of the 30 MPG Club, the 2013 Hyundai Tucson brings a pleasant package to the table that includes a near-luxury feel and plenty of bang for your buck. Standard features galore mean you can find most of what you need without racking up a huge options list, something that most manufacturers can’t offer. The Tucson could use a new start to keep pace with its copycat competitors and the incoming 2014 model should be impressive, but for now the 2013 Hyundai Tucson is still a great value with a lot to offer. Surprisingly, only the FWD 2.4L four-cylinder engine reaches 30 MPG. So skip the base GL models and look at the $22,745 GLS or the $25,595 Limited for the most value.
   

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 2013 Kia Sportage: It’s tough to make a high-riding small vehicle look good, but the 2013 KIA Sportage is a leap forward for the segment with an inviting design. Hiding beneath that bodywork is a fuel-sipping 2.4L four or a turbocharged 2.0L engine that pulls like few others. Beware the lacking interior and bumpy disposition, but if you’re into technology and infotainment plus safety and road performance, the 2013 Kia Sportage is your match. Fuel economy overs around the upper 20's, with some FWD models topping 30 MPG. The manual transmission Base starts at $19,000 while the fancier EX costs $24,200-25,700, and the 2.0L four-cylinder is available in the SX for $26,900-28,400.
   

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 2014 Mazda CX-5It wouldn’t be Mazda if they didn’t push the boundaries of driving excitement, and the 2013 Mazda CX-5 delivers with Miata-like steering with the space and comfort of an SUV. New for 2014 is a 2.5L SKYACTIV engine with 185 horsepower, 29 more than the 2013 model, both of which will exceed 30 MPG highway. It’s the only car on this list that we would rave about the six-speed manual, which is sublime and clocks in at 35 MPG. There are five different trims to choose from for under $26,000, while the fully-loaded Grand Touring models are priced from $27,620-28,870 if heated leather seats and a moonroof are more your style.
   

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 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: There’s a lot of Lancer in the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which is both an asset and a drawback. Handling is nimble and the 31 MPG highway rating is appealing, but the engine is underpowered and much of the outdated Lancer interior carries over to the Outlander Sport. However, seating is roomy and a fully loaded model is a relative bargain, so consider the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a dark horse that just might be the right fit for your needs. The 2013 Outlander is the most affordable of the bunch, with five different models priced between $19,170-23,695 MSRP.
   

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 2013 Nissan Juke: There’s no getting around that design – you either love it or you hate it. But even if you hate it, Nissan has done plenty to the 2013 Nissan Juke to possibly win you over anyway. It’s a crossover in the true sense of the word, adding extra space to a dynamic chassis that just begs to be set loose on the open road. It’s efficient, comfortable and game. Is it for you? That depends on whether you appreciate quirky or would rather play it safe. Keep in mind that the Juke runs on premium fuel, but but all models top 30 MPG with the FWD and automatic transmission combining for a 27/32 rating. Another truly affordable crossover, the 2013 Juke starts at $20,280 and the decked-out AWD SL tops the line at $26,940.
   

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 2014 Subaru Forester: New for this year, the 2014 Subaru Forester takes design in a new and interesting direction to compliment more risks under the hood. A turbo 2.0L four-cylinder provides impressive 250 horsepower with CVT transmission that offers Sport and Sport Sharp modes. True to form, the 2014 Subaru Forester is prepped for the outdoors but comfortable on the road with light electric steering. If you’re planning to get dirty, this is the one. All models are AWD, naturally, and the automatic transmission pushes economy into 24/32 MPG. A wide variety of engine and luxury options offer plenty of choices from the $21,995 2.5i model to the $32,995 2.0 XT Touring.
   

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 2013 Toyota RAV4: The O.G. itself, time has been hard on the RAV4 as the crossover segment has ballooned with competition from all over, but Toyota took major steps to make sure the 2013 Toyota RAV4 stands apart. Gone are the spare tire and third row, while cargo space and fuel economy have been soundly increased for a package that focuses first and foremost on practicality. Is it dynamic? No. But the 2013 Toyota RAV4 is built to serve and should be under consideration for any growing family. AWD models are rated at 22/29 MPG while the FWD pushes economy to 24/31. The 2013 RAV4 LE starts at $23,300 while the more luxurious Limited tops out to $28,410.
   

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 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan: The lone Euro on our list, the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan makes its bacon with a posh interior and handling on rails that’s tough for competitors to match. Of course, those factors also make the Tiguan more costly, but it simply delivers when it comes to power and comfort. Volkswagen hasn’t made the crossover that’s for everybody, but the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan bridges the gap between value and luxury while delivering sizeable portions of both. Like the Juke, the 2013 Tiguan also runs on premium fuel and all models deliver 26 MPG highway. It's actually available for as little as $22,995 but adding options can quickly bring you up to the $29,160 SE or the $34,865 SEL.