CARS.COM — Compact SUV sales are hot right now. Cars.com decided to take seven contenders and evaluate them all against each other over three days with three expert judges. Let's see how they did.
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A far cry from its undersized predecessor, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan beat out the second-place 2017 Honda CR-V by the narrowest of margins thanks to plenty of seating and cargo space, with a good mix of ride and handling to match.
Falling just behind the Tiguan is the CR-V, a redesign with a tour de force of safety and family-friendly features, but a little bit of a pokey drivetrain.
In third place was the 2017 Mazda CX-5, a redesign with a knockout interior but a few questions on the drivability front.
Smack-dab in the middle, the fourth-place 2017 Ford Escape drove like a champ with an excellent multimedia system to boot, but a smallish interior hurt its case. Missing safety features also cost the Escape a lot of points: Our test car lacked important technologies like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and the Escape was the only model in this test not to even offer the automatic braking.
The redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox placed fifth. Judges lauded its powertrain and connectivity features, but they criticized cabin materials and handling. Like the Escape, our Equinox also lacked collision warning with automatic braking. The Equinox at least offers both features, but you have to go to the top trim level and then pay even more for options packages to get them.
In sixth place was the recently refreshed 2017.5 Nissan Rogue, an SUV with plenty of versatility but spotty cabin materials and an outdated multimedia system. The Rogue's car-seat accommodations also cost it some points, with hard-to-fit Latch anchors.
In last place? The redesigned 2017 Jeep Compass. The SUV's interior begged questions on quality, while its powertrain and cargo situation cemented the last-place finish. Like the Rogue, the Compass also struggled in our evaluation of car-seat accommodations, specifically with a rear-facing infant seat.