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2018 Subcompact SUV Challenge: Will History Repeat or a Newcomer Prevail?

Automakers have responded to the SUV boom by creating more and more offerings, even among the tiniest of vehicles. When we first compared the then-new subcompact SUV class in 2015, the Subaru Crosstrek came out on top in a field of seven vehicles.

2018 Subcompact SUV Challenge
Results | How We Tested | Video

Now we’re back to do it again in 2018. Subaru has redesigned its Crosstrek, and we have three new entries in the class: the all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona, and the (all-new-in-2017) 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport. Our requirements for vehicles for this test included a price of no more than $26,000, including destination fees, and the availability of all-wheel drive on the vehicle — sorry, Toyota C-HR and Kia Niro.

Our judges put the vehicles through a variety of tests. They compared everything from safety features to cargo space to interior material quality — and everything in between. They also spent significant time driving each competitor to get a clear feel for on-road performance.

Was the redesigned Crosstrek able to retain its title of top tiny SUV? Could any of these newcomers knock the Crosstrek from its top spot? You’ll have to watch the video above or read the results to find out which vehicle won — no spoilers here.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Brian Normile
Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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