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Best compact SUVs for the money in 2019

Roadshow logo Roadshow 3/21/2019 Roadshow staff
a car parked on the side of a dirt field© Greg Jarem/Subaru

If there's one thing we've learned over the past few years, it's that Americans love their SUVs. And these days, compact offerings seem to be all the rage. To that end, we've gathered up some of our favorite small-ish utility vehicles that hit all the sweet spots, from utility, efficiency, luxury and yes, even sportiness.

Subaru Crosstrek

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek starts at $21,895, offers standard all-wheel drive, and hey -- you can even get it with a six-speed manual transmission. Equipped with the continuously variable transmission, the Crosstrek is pretty darn efficient, returning 27 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway.

The 2019 Crosstrek now comes with automatic emergency braking on all models, as well as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across all trims.

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is rugged, practical and affordable

a close up of a car: The Subaru Crosstrek is based on the Impreza but raised, slightly reshaped and protected by plastic fender cladding.

The Subaru Crosstrek is based on the Impreza but raised, slightly reshaped and protected by plastic fender cladding.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar

Starting at $49,950, the 2019 Velar is clearly not cheap. But this compact SUV feels far more expensive than it really is. Its minimalist design inside and out makes it one of the most aesthetically pleasing vehicles on the road.

The Velar delivers a comfortable, quiet ride with reasonable athleticism and more off-road ability than any owner will ever ask of it.

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar stuns in Scandinavia

a car parked on the side of a mountain: The Land Rover Velar is named for the company's original 1969 Range Rover prototypes, which were given a code name, "Velar," from the Latin word that means "to hide."

The Land Rover Velar is named for the company's original 1969 Range Rover prototypes, which were given a code name, "Velar," from the Latin word that means "to hide."
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Porsche Macan

The Macan does the small-sporty-SUV thing better than pretty much any of its rivals. It's handsome, spacious and super fun to drive. Plus, that Porsche badge ain't for nothin' -- the Macan will outdrive any other sporty crossover on the road today.

For 2019, the Macan S got a brand-new turbocharged V6 engine, and some slightly refreshed style. It's an SUV we'd love to drive every day -- and on some of our favorite roads, too.

2019 Porsche Macan S: As lovely as ever

a green car parked on the side of a road: The Porsche Macan gets a number of updates for 2019.

The Porsche Macan gets a number of updates for 2019.
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Honda CR-V

The latest-generation CR-V features a lot more style, has a roomier backseat, boats class-leading cargo space, and starts at a reasonable $25,000.

A strong engine lineup includes a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated base engine with 180 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, or a punchy 1.5-liter turbo with 190 horses and 179 pound-feet. The good thing about the turbocharged engine is that peak torque is available from just 2,000 rpm.

The CR-V provides a well-damped ride quality, while also being competent through corners.

2018 Honda CR-V is one of our favorite compact crossovers

a car parked in a parking lot: The 2018 Honda CR-V is available now, priced from $25,245.

The 2018 Honda CR-V is available now, priced from $25,245.
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Volkswagen Tiguan

The Tiguan is softer than it used to be, but it's also much more spacious, comfortable and quiet than the previous generation. The new look is bold, but also very classic VW.

VW's Car-Net and Digital Cockpit are basically scaled-down versions of the amazing Audi tech we've been raving about for years.

A rare thing among compact SUVs, the Tiggy can actually be optioned with a third row of seats.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan: VW's small SUV now available in "family size"

a car parked on the side of a road

© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Mazda CX-5

Starting at under $25,000, the Mazda CX-5 offers tons of style, inside and out.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offers 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Whether in all-wheel or front-wheel-drive guise, the Mazda serves up genuine driving fun and excitement behind the wheel.

The post-refresh model is now considerably quieter and better riding than earlier models, with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard across all trim lines. 

2019 Mazda CX-5 adds premium style with new Signature trim

a car parked on the side of a building: The Mazda CX-5 now has a range-topping Signature trim level.

The Mazda CX-5 now has a range-topping Signature trim level.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Mazda CX-3

The smaller Mazda CX-3 can be had starting at $20,390. While it's been updated for 2019, Mazda didn't mess with the good stuff. The same 2.0-liter engine is under the hood as last year, though power and torque have increased just slightly.

The rear glass is thicker, which should result in a quieter cabin. The LED taillights out back get a new design as well. 

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on all trims. The base Sport model can be had with an i-ActivSense Package, including such active driving aids as full-range adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and rain-sensing wipers.

2019 Mazda CX-3 is brimming with personality

a close up of a car: The 2019 Mazda CX-3 is a stylish, capable contender in the subcompact crossover class.

The 2019 Mazda CX-3 is a stylish, capable contender in the subcompact crossover class.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Volvo XC40

A brand-new Volvo for $32,000? Sign us up.

The XC40 doesn't scrimp on kit, even though it's the cheapest Volvo, coming standard with the Sensus Connect infotainment system and the always-great "Thor's Hammer" LED headlights.

Not only does it look good, the XC40 drives really well, too. Fuel economy isn't the best, but life is full of tradeoffs. 

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design has black exterior accents and lava on the floor

a person driving a car: In addition to traditional buying and leasing methods, Volvo will offer the XC40 via the Care by Volvo subscription service .

In addition to traditional buying and leasing methods, Volvo will offer the XC40 via the Care by Volvo subscription service .
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Nissan Kicks

Starting at just under $18,000, the Nissan Kicks is a lot of car for the money, and can be had with a truly outstanding Bose Personal Plus audio system.

The Kicks is a great, honest little crossover -- and it's not too shabby to drive, either.

Aside from moderate noise over bumps, this budget crossover is a lot quieter than many of its competitors.

2018 Nissan Kicks: Appreciating the unconventional

a car parked in a parking lot: The Kicks isn't a replacement for the now-defunct Nissan Juke, but you can certainly see its influence in the short wheelbase and sloping roofline.

The Kicks isn't a replacement for the now-defunct Nissan Juke, but you can certainly see its influence in the short wheelbase and sloping roofline.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Subaru Forester

The Forester still has enough of its tall-wagon DNA to make it enjoyable to drive, yet it offers all the practicality of an SUV, starting at $24,295.

Subaru's EyeSight driver-assistance package is among the best available in this category, and while the rest of the Forester's in-cabin tech is a little tame, support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mostly mitigates that.

A number of 2019 model-year upgrades make the Forester an even better offering in the compact SUV space.

2019 Subaru Forester: Welcome improvements for an already solid SUV

a car parked in front of a brick building: The new Subaru Forester is... a lot like the old one.

The new Subaru Forester is... a lot like the old one.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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