Kia, Honda, Chevrolet, and more make the list
You ready for the truth? Very few crossovers start under $20,000. But wait! Before you go, let us show you highlights from new crossovers youcanget for around $20,000 (including destination, before incentives). Although “crossover” and “SUV” would normally be defined by an impressive level of ground clearance or available all-wheel-drive—traits that many of these vehicles lack—in this case, we’ve applied a looser definition, leaving classification to the automakers.
Plus, we’ll reveal a few surprises—cars that deliver part of the subcompact SUV experience you crave for an equally affordable price. Curious? Let’s dive in.
A debate rages on about what distinguishes an SUV from a hatchback-pretender, but one thing’s for sure:Nissanis going for a crossover look with the front-drive Kicks. Serving as Nissan’s entry-level crossover, the Kicks is more spacious than you think and, unfortunately, louder than you may like. A CVT automatic is standard, but the SR’s available Bose sound system—one we said wasbetter than what you’ll find in an entry-level Bentley SUV—is out of reach.
Feature highlights on a $20,000Nissan Kicks: Automatic emergency braking, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and three USB ports.
What you don’t get at $20,000: Alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the awesome extra-cost two-tone paint options on higher trims.
More on cheap SUVs:
The2020 Kia Soulpicks up where the last-gen model left off, in a gray area between blocky hatchback and small crossover. However you classify this bold four-door, call it affordable. Because for under 20 grand, a base Soul LX comes with a more powerful 147-hp four-cylinder to the Kicks’ 122 hp. Then again, even though theKiahas a longer driving range, the Nissan is more efficient in the city and on the highway. The front-drive-only Kia boasts a higher seating position than you might get in other $20,000 hatchbacks.
Feature highlights on a $20,000Kia Soul: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an available interior color other than black.
What you don’t get at $20,000: Alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking.
Chevrolet Spark Activ
The Spark subcompact hatch is about as far away from SUV as you can get, but if all you really want at this price are SUV-like styling details, the Activ trim could do the trick. We might choose other cars at this price point, but the Spark Activ does come with black cladding all over, tall roof rails, and anadvanced four-wheel-drive systeminspired by the comparison-winningChevrolet Colorado. We’re just kidding, of course; the Spark Activ gets front-wheel drive and a raised suspension.
Feature highlights on a $20,000Chevrolet SparkActiv: Lots of color choices, leatherette seats, alloy wheels, and money in your pocket.
What you don’t get at $20,000: Respect from owners of real SUVs, a spacious interior, more than 98 horsepower.
All-wheel drive at $20,000 (before taxes) is a tough ask, butSubaruis up to that budget challenge. In sedan or hatchback form, the 2019 Impreza compact offers standard all-wheel drive at just $20,000. We hope you don’t mind shifting the car’s standard five-speed manual, however, as the $1,000 CVT automatic pushes the Impreza sedan and hatch above $20,000. Active safety tech including automatic emergency braking is alsojustout of the budget, but if AWD is a must-have and you can’t swing payments on the mechanically related Crosstrek—a MotorTrend favorite—the Impreza could work.
Feature highlights on a $20,000Subaru Impreza: Standard AWD, choice of sedan or hatchback body style, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto.
What you don’t get at $20,000: Subaru’s full suite of advanced active safety tech, SUV-like design cues.
Beforethe next-genHonda Fitarrives potentially with a Spark Activ-like trim, the current hatch offers way more space inside for people and stuff than you’d think. The interior is incredibly flexible, and because the 2019 Fit has absolutely no crossover curb appeal, you can get tons of standard equipment under $20,000. Plus,we’re fans of the Fit.
Feature highlights on a $20,000HondaFit: An available moonroof, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto on the Fit EX. Or sporty styling on the less expensive Fit Sport.
What you don’t get at $20,000: TheHonda HR-V‘s crossover styling, the upcoming Fit’s potential improvements.
New Crossovers Under $20,000 (Plus a Few Others)