CARS.COM — It’s been little more than one year since we published our last Compact SUV Challenge, but much has changed within the market as several models have been redesigned or updated. So, we pit the previous winner — the Ford Escape — against five updated models plus the best-selling SUV in the U.S., the Nissan Rogue.
Our price requirement was a maximum of $35,000 including all options and destination charges, which yielded primarily all-wheel-drive SUVs (except for one) and mostly base engines. Competitors included the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, 2017 Ford Escape, 2017 Honda CR-V, 2017 Jeep Compass, 2017 Mazda CX-5, 2017.5 Nissan Rogue and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.
The 2017 Compact SUV Challenge
Results | What You Get | Family Features | Video
Three judges individually awarded points in 12 categories: interior quality, front-seat comfort, backseat comfort, cargo storage, in-cabin storage, handling, powertrain, ride quality, noise, visibility, worth the money and multimedia — the latter a category that accounts for the touchscreen-based interfaces that are, more than ever, the means to activate and adjust fundamental features of the vehicle itself, not simply ways of controlling audio sources and navigation systems.
Each model was also awarded points for the advanced active safety features with which the test vehicle was equipped as well as for its grades in our Cars.com Car Seat Check, which gauges the accommodation of various child-safety seats.
Judges for the Challenge were three Cars.com editors:
- Joe Bruzek, managing editor
- Kelsey Mays, senior editor
- Fred Meier, Washington, D.C., bureau chief
Read on to see how the vehicles ranked — and why — in the closest Challenge finish in Cars.com history.
7 2017 Jeep Compass, 591 points