Our 10 Best Small AWD SUVs for under $35,000 in 2021

Last updated Dec 18, 2019 | By Team FBZ

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Like it or leave it, SUVs continue to dominate the auto industry. 

With their spacious interiors, all-wheel drive, and jack-of-all-trades-like reputation, it’s no wonder why they’re so popular. 

From sub-compacts to compacts, to small SUVs, the categories and options are seemingly endless.

Another factor? The cost.

Today's average SUV ranges anywhere between $30,000 - $60,000. Hard to imagine forking over that much for your new ride? We agree. That's why we've rounded up this year's 10 best options for small SUVs under $35,000 to help guide your decision.

So whether you’re an adventure junkie who needs a nimble vehicle or a parent who refuses to give into buying a mini-van (hey, just keeping it real), we’ve got you covered.

1. 2019 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Up first, we’ve got this beauty known for its strong acceleration and responsive handling. This year’s model has been completely redesigned with 228 horsepower, a luxurious interior, and an EPA fuel economy rating of 26 mpg (22 city/32 highway). 

Pros:
1st in its class cargo capacity; quickest and most agile among its competitors; highest quality interior, build quality and attention to detail.

Cons:
The X1's sporty personality limits its fuel economy and lack of a six-cylinder engine option puts it a step back from the previous generation X1.

Overall: 
Car handles and rides effortless and has great a great finish!

Starting at: $34,800

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 BMW X1

2. 2019 Buick Encore

Buick has come a long way in the design, feel, and general spirit of their vehicles, and the Buick Encore is no exception. With its quiet cabin, user-friendly technologies, and an EPA fuel economy rating of 26 mpg (23 city/30 highway), it might be time to schedule a test drive.

Pros:
Quiet interior; good fuel economy; great crash scores; and an impressive list of tech and safety features.

Cons:
Lackluster performance; and its small size limits the interior room and cargo space.

Overall:
Comes very well equipped and for being a little SUV is comfortable and has a very quiet interior experience.

Starting at: $25,565

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 Buick Encore

3. 2019 Honda CR-V

What would this list be without mentioning one of the most popular SUVs in the US? This year’s newest CR-V model features a spacious cabin with ample cargo space, and gets 27 mpg (25 city/31 highway). 

Pros:
Amazing fuel economy compared to other crossover suvs; adults will love the leg room in both seating rows. The rear seatbacks fold flat with a pull of a lever adding to the exceptional cargo capacity. You’ll also enjoy a long list of tech and safety features.

Cons:
No engine upgrades hinder performance; the touchscreen interface is not intuitive and lacks separate knobs for volume and tuning. You may feel the interior materials look and feel cheap.

Overall:
This AWD SUV is great for the snow with plenty of cargo room but 50HP extra would have really rounded out the package.

Starting at: $25,045

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 Honda CR-V

4. 2019 Honda HR-V

The CR-V’s younger (and smaller) sibling, this subcompact SUV is fun to drive and extremely fuel efficient with a rating of 29 mpg combined (27 city/32 highway). Shiny new tires included with purchase if you ask nicely.

Pros:
This high fuel economy suv has a nice room interior and seating; unique rear seat allows you to load larger cargo and you’ll love the outward visibility.

Cons:

The acceleration is lacking and like the Honda CR-V the touch screen unintuitive and is missing full Android integration.

Overall:
This fuel economic AWD SUV is a great choice for the budget minded driver.

Starting at: $21,315

Click Here TO See Pricing On The 2018 Honda HR-V

5. 2019 Hyundai Tucson

This newly redesigned SUV is sure to turn heads with its sharp exterior, modern technology, and turbocharged performance. We're not huge fans of the lower mpg rating (21 city/26 highway/23 combined), but it sure is one sleek and roomy ride.

Pros:
The turbocharged 4 cylinder SUV delivers sporty acceleration and good fuel economy. The ride is comfortable with plenty of advanced safety and infotainment features available.

Cons:
The non-turbocharged SE trim models lack acceleration and the transmission in the turbo is a little clumsy at low-speeds. You need to go with the Limited model to get some of the highly desired options. 

Overall:
Combining the turbocharged model of this SUV with the impressive crash scores, electronics, and 10 year warranty is a winning combination.

Starting at: $24,100

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 Hyundai Tucson

6. 2019 Jeep Renegade

Are you a Jeep addict? (hint: if you've ever looked up #jeeplife on IG then you probably are). 

This subcompact model is receiving lots of praise for its unique design and usability. With a 1.4-liter engine and combined mpg of 27 (24 city/31 highway), it’s a practical vehicle that will have fellow Jeep fanatics drooling.

Pros:
The agile handling and tons of character resemble the Jeep Wrangler; loaded with simple to use technology; best-in-class off-road capabilities in the Trailhawk model - just like you would expect in a Jeep.

Cons:
Fuel economy is middle of the road; and like other Jeeps, the transmission is clunky. Rear-seat legroom and cargo capacity is limited.

Overall:
The Beats-branded nine-speaker premium audio option adds great sound and for a little SUV, this Jeep is quite roomy with an engine peppy enough to get you where you want to go.

Starting at: $19,995

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 Jeep Renegade

7. 2019 Mazda CX-5

The latest model of the Mazda CX-5 is making a grand entrance into the SUV world. With its roomy seating, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and 26 mpg combined (24 city/30 highway), it’s giving other models a run for their money. 

Pros:
You’ll feel safe and secure in the corners driving this sporty suv; great fuel economy; plenty of room in both seating rooms; loaded with desirable safety features.

Cons:
The upgraded Bose stereo is still lacking, and there's sub-par acceleration with the base engine.

Overall:
The 2018 model features improved interior materials and revised suspension making this a fun car to drive with plenty of options including LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and other features normally only found in luxury suvs and sedans.

Starting at: $24,445

Click here To See Pricing On The 2018 Mazda CX-5

8. 2019 Nissan Juke

The Nissan Juke perfectly embodies the qualities of a hatchback with a crossover in this subcompact SUV - usually in loud, bold colors. Packing a punch with its fuel economy of 28 mpg (26 city/31 highway), this SUV shows promise, but could stand to be a tiny bit roomier. 

Pros:
Sporty performance and handling with unique interior/exterior color options for those who want to stand out. 

Cons:
Limited cargo capacity and rear head and legroom.

Overall:
In 2018, two special edition “Stinger” models became available with fun black with yellow colors. Siri Eyes Free is now a standard feature in most trims. This zippy car is fun yet economical but a bit small if you're looking for a family car.

Starting at: $22,100

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 Nissan Juke

9. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru fans have given mixed reviews on this year’s Crosstrek, but if you’re looking for year-round versatility in a small, sturdy package, it may be just the right fit for you. Featuring a five-speed manual transmission and a fuel economy of 26 combined (23 city/31 highway), this 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will get you to where you want to go and over all of those potholes that spring up out of nowhere. 

Pros:
The tall ride height and standard all-wheel drive let the Crosstrek take on strong off-road capabilities; better than most fuel economy and plenty of room for adults in front and rear seats.

Cons:
It's one of the slowest in its class from its underperforming engine to its sound system. Also, the huge hike in price for the hybrid option isn’t justified.

Overall:
The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek received a minor front-end makeover and added Subaru’s Starlink telematics suite with emergency services. This crossover suv or hybrid crossover suv trim come well optioned for under $30,000.

Starting at: $21,595

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

10. 2019 Toyota RAV4

And last but certainly not least on this list, this year’s RAV4 model has been significantly updated with more space, more utility, and more features (which usually means a higher resale value). With a fuel economy rating of 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway), we Ican't think of a reason not to jump for joy. Wouldn't you?

Pros:
Well balanced between secure handling and ride comfort; well-loaded tech that is easy to use and plenty of room for people and cargo on the inside.

Cons:
Lacks the option for an engine upgrade and misses the mark on fuel economy compared to other class leaders.

Overall:
Toyota updated the styling in 2018 including a much sleeker front and the SE model features extra sporty handling and plenty of added options inside and out including LED headlights. Add on safety options including the Toyota Safety Sense package help you stay accident free. Also check out the brand new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for extra fuel efficiency.

Starting at: $25,750

Click Here To See Pricing On The 2018 RAV4

Which SUV would you choose? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!