4-cylinder SUVs have become par for the course in the entry-level segment. In fact, most small suvs no longer even offer a V-6 option, with automakers preferring instead to turbocharge their fuel efficiency four-cylinders in order to better balance power with gas mileage. In some ways, choosing the best 4 cylinder SUVs is a little like casting a wide net over a school of tasty fish - you're bound to find something you like, even if you leave out a few very competent vehicles that just didn't make it into this particular round-up.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best 4-cylinder SUVs for 2014.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 01 - 2014 Nissan Juke
The 2014 Nissan Juke is a unique subcompact 4-cylinder SUV that has found a large audience amongst couples who want a vehicle with enough space to haul around their gear, but not one that's so big that urban parking will be a problem. The Nissan Juke fits this description quite well, and it also features bold styling that is like nothing else in its segment. In addition to the Juke's 36 cubic feet of total cargo space, it also offers a 188 horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes use of a turbocharger to produce 177 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between either a six-speed manual (front-wheel drive models) or a continuously-variable automatic (front and all-wheel drive editions) transmission, and fuel economy for the SUV sits at 27-mpg city and 32-mpg highway.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 02 - 2014 Ford Escape
The 2014 Ford Escape provides a dizzying array of four-cylinder engine options, starting out with a 2.5-liter that's good for 168 horses and 167 lb-ft of torque. Moving up to the 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo mill introduces 178 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the range-topping 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo provides 240 ponies and 270 lb-ft of twist. Of the three, the 1.6-liter returns the most optimistic fuel economy - 23-mpg city and 33-mpg highway - but in our experience, the 2.5-liter is just as frugal in daily driving. The Ford Escape is quite large inside, offering five passenger seating and almost 70 cubic feet of total cargo space, and it can of course be had with the option of all-wheel drive.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 03 - 2014 Mazda CX-5
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 makes it onto our list of the best 4-cylinder SUVs due to its higher-than-average fun quotient. The Mazda CX-5 drives much more like a hatchback half its size than an SUV, which means there's a good time waiting for you whenever you slip behind the wheel (along with an available automatic braking system and 65 cubic feet of cargo space). The CX-5 also delivers impressive fuel economy, with its 2.0-liter entry-level engine posting 26-mpg around town and 32-mpg on the highway on top of its 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. Even the SUV's 2.5-liter motor checks in at just one mile per gallon less in city driving, making its 184 horses and 185 lb-ft of torque that much more tempting. Transmission choices for the Mazda include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive can be paired with either engine.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 04 - 2014 BMW X1
The 2014 BMW X1 is for all intents and purposes the luxury version of the Juke: a small, wagon-like SUV that makes excellent use of four-cylinder power to motivate its light chassis and generate a few smiles when the roads get curvy. Although more expensive than most four-cylinder fare, the BMW X1's entry-level, 2.0-liter turbocharged motor generates 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which, when paired with its standard eight-speed automatic is enough to propel the SUV to 60-mph in just a tick over six seconds. All-wheel drive is available with the BMW, which sips fuel at the rate of 23-mpg city and 34-mpg highway, and the five-passenger vehicle offers 47.7 cubic feet of total interior storage space.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 05 - 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is all-new for the current model year, and it packs in a good amount of equipment at a reasonable price in an effort to draw in bargain-seeking family shoppers. With five passenger seating and 71.5 cubic feet of cargo space available with the rear row folded forward, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a very practical 4-cylinder SUV, and it offers both turbocharged and naturally-aspirated engines. The entry-level Santa Fe Sport comes with a 190 horsepower, 2.4-liter unit that's also good for 181 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.0T delivers 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged motor. Fuel economy for the two model is quite similar, with the base squeezing ahead thanks to its rating of 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway. A six-speed automatic is standard with the Hyundai, while all-wheel drive is optional.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 06 - 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek
The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek takes the brand's successful Impreza hatchback formula and given it the SUV treatment, creating a lifted family ride that can handle light off-roading thanks to its standard all-wheel drive. More aggressively-styled than the Impreza, the Subaru XV Crosstrek features the same generous cargo capacity (51.9 cubic feet in total) and five passenger seating as its platform-mate. The XV Crosstrek is also good for 25-mpg in stop and go driving and 33-mpg on the highway when ordered with its optional continuously-variable automatic transmission, which are outstanding numbers for an all-wheel drive SUV. It's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque and can also be paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 07 - 2014 Audi Q5
The 2014 Audi Q5 is another luxury 4-cylinder SUV that makes use of a modest motor in its base model. The entry-level Audi Q5's 2.0-liter unit has been turbocharged to provide 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and it's paired with standard quattro all-wheel drive along with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Slightly slower to 60-mph than the smaller BMW, the Q5 still turns the trick in 6.8 seconds and also posts fuel efficiency figures of 20-mpg around town and 28-mpg on the highway. Five passengers can ride in comfort inside the Audi, which also boasts 57 cubic feet of total cargo space.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 08 - 2014 Kia Sportage
The 2014 Kia Sportage is a stylish compact SUV that looks like it costs significantly more than its modest window sticker actually demands. The Kia Sportage combines its fashion-forward design with an excellent 10-year warranty as well as copious amounts of standard gear. The five-passenger Sportage starts out with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that’s good for 182 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, and it also offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter upgrade that lifts the SUV to 260 horses and 269 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the transmission of choice for all versions of the Kia, while all-wheel drive is optional. Fuel economy checks out at 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway for the 2.4-liter mill, and cargo space stands at 54.6 cubic feet with the rear row of accommodations out of the picture.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 09 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC not only happens to be the four-cylinder edition of the German premium brand's compact SUV, but it also presents a very efficient turbodiesel option for luxury buyers. The 2.1-liter turbodiesel engine under the hood of the Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC puts out 200 horsepower and a stiff 369 lb-ft of torque, all while returning 23-mpg city and 33-mpg highway. This is an exceptional all-around performance for any small SUV, and combined with the Mercedes-Benz's refined driving manners and 54.7 cubic feet of total cargo space, it's a legitimate contender in its class.
Best 4 Cylinder SUVs for 2014 - 10 - 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque stands apart from most other 4-cylinder SUVs, luxury or otherwise. For starters, it's one of the few that can be had in both two and four-door editions, with each version of the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque presenting a slope-roofed design that mimics the pleasing proportions of a true coupe. Of course, this means that the Evoque isn't quite as practical as some of its rivals - the two-door's 47.6 cubic feet of cargo space are not quite as easy to take advantage of due to its non-square proportions - but there's definitely a subset of buyers out there willing to make a few sacrifices for style. The Land Rover comes standard with a 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that's also good for 250 lb-ft of torque. Four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission are also included free of charge with the five-passenger Evoque, and fuel economy stands at 21-mpg city and 30-mpg highway.