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10 Best Crossovers for the Money

Miles Branman
by Miles Branman
July 6, 2016
4 min. Reading Time
2017 Kia Sportage Driving Through Water Off Road 05 ・  Photo by Benjamin Hunting

2017 Kia Sportage Driving Through Water Off Road 05 ・ Photo by Benjamin Hunting

With car buying, almost everyone searches for the best possible deal. And these days, many folks are eyeballing crossovers, that increasingly popular breed of car-based sport-utility vehicle. With that in mind, we at Autobytel present the 10 Best Crossovers For The Money. Manufacturer discounts, off-color models and holiday deals can help, but sometimes it's best to simply find a great vehicle that comes straight from the factory with the right price tag.

Crossovers offer that perfect mix of practicality, car-like handling, and styling that resonates with drivers young and old. Here are 10 that offer lots of great features, but without breaking the bank.

Mazda CX-3

Crossover sales are booming, and the subcompact models within the category are among the most popular. The CX-3, Mazda’s subcompact crossover, earns its spot on our list of 10 Best Crossovers For The Money because of its handsome looks, fun-to-drive character, frugal engine, and long list of great features.

The base level 2016 Mazda CX-3 starts at $19,960, and it's powered by a peppy 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 146 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. The CX-3 weighs just 2,900 lb., so it feels quick. More significant, its well-sorted chassis loves to carve corners. If you order a higher truim level, you'll get large infotainment displays, advanced safety technology, and premium materials.

 Photo by Mazda

Photo by Mazda

Jeep Renegade

Our next two favorites share the same platform but go about offering their excellent crossover characteristics in two very different ways. The Jeep Renegade is the little brother to both the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and it acts like a true member of the family. While the entry-level Renegade can’t tackle much off-road, upscale versions can venture off-road with the best of them.

The Jeep Renegade Sport is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 160 horspower and is paired with either a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), seat-mounted side airbags, curtain airbags and a knee airbag for the driver. Besides 16-in. styled wheels, the 2016 Renegade boasts traction control and stability control, plus power windows and locks. The 2016 Jeep Renegade starts at $17,995.

 Photo by Jeep

Photo by Jeep

Fiat 500X

The Fiat-branded version of the Jeep Renegade is the 500X. This compact crossover doesn’t look as dainty as its 500 or 500L siblings, but offers the same great features. Premium 500X models have larger wheels, leather seats, and high-tech convenience features.

The entry-level Fiat 500X Pop comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 160 horsepower. As in the Renegade, the engine is paired with either a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features include anti-lock brakes and a full complement of airbags. Standard hardware includes air conditioning, traction control and 16-in. steel wheels. Prices for the 2016 FIAT 500X start at $20,000.

 Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Honda HR-V

Honda’s CR-V has been a crossover kingpin for years, but the Japanese automaker’s new entry-level model deserves a spot on our list of 10 Best Crossovers For The Money. Affordable, versatile, and stylish, the subcompact 2016 Honda HR-V is a perfect option for first-time crossover buyers or those wanting just a bit more practicality than is offered by a compact sedan.

The 2016 Honda HR-V LX comes equipped with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower. Buyers can choose either a manual or automatic transmission, both with six speeds. Standard features include air conditioning, ABS, seat-mounted side airbags, and curtain airbags. This new Honda, which rolls on 17-in. aluminum wheels, is also fitted with cruise control and traction control. Pricing for the 2016 Honda HR-V starts at $19,215.

 Photo by Honda

Photo by Honda

Chevrolet Trax

The next two of our 10 Best Crossovers For The Money are American. The Chevrolet Trax is a subcompact crossover with a smooth ride, around-town practicality, and fresh styling. Although other subcompact crossovers offer better performance at a lower price point, the Trax is loaded with standard equipment and has excellent interior volume.

The 2016 Chevrolet Trax is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder enigne making 138 horsepower. The only available transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Standard features include anti-lock brakes, traction control, 10 airbags, air conditioning, and a fold-flat front passenger seat that helps the Trax carry long cargo. The 2016 Trax, which rolls on 16-in. wheels and gets an impressive 34 mpg on the highway, starts at $20,300.

 Photo by General Motors

Photo by General Motors

Buick Encore

Based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Trax, the 2016 Buick Encore is an entry-level luxury alternative for those who have their hearts set on a subcompact crossover. With its available all-wheel drive, sumptuous leather interior and premium materials, the Encore represents luxury on a budget.

Like the Trax, the Encore is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, but in the Buick the 1.4-liter produces 153 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, as are air conditioning, 18-in. aluminum wheels, traction control, stability control, and 10 airbags. Prices for the Buick Encore start at $24,065.

 Photo by General Motors

Photo by General Motors

Toyota RAV4

Toyota’s RAV4 just works. While we’d all love to have a gorgeous, powerful vehicle, sometimes we simply need something reliable, practical, and efficient. The Toyota RAV4 is just that, and it’s only gotten better over the years.

Powering the 2016 Toyota RAV4 is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 176 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission available, and it helps the RAV4 achieve 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. While the standard RAV4 costs $24,350, spending a couple extra thousand on the XLE trim gets you a power liftgate, intermittent wipers, fog lights, a leather-covered steering wheel, alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential, keyless entry, a 6-speaker sound system, and a power moonroof.


Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai’s Tucson has been redesigned for 2016 and it looks superb. The Tucson boasts a roomy interior, peppy engine, comfortable ride, good fuel economy, and loads of standard equipment.

The base Tucson SE is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that sends 164 horsepower to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Upmarket Tucsons are available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter (producing 175 horsepower) and a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. In addition to a 5-star safety rating and abundant airbags, the Tucson is fitted with air conditioning, cruise control, 17-in. wheels, and electronic stability control. Prices for the new 2016 Hyundai Tuscon start at $22,700.

 Photo by Hyundai

Photo by Hyundai

Subaru Crosstrek

There are several Subarus that could have made it onto our list of 10 Best Crossovers For The Money, but the Crosstrek represents the best bang for the buck. Subaru’s sophisticated and durable all-wheel-drive system has found a good home in the Crosstrek’s rugged yet refined bodywork.

Making slightly more power than last year is a 2.0-liter boxer 4-cylinder engine, now rated at 148 horsepower. Base Crosstreks have a 5-speed manual transmission (a CVT is optional), ABS, air conditioning, 17-in. aluminum wheels and traction control. The Subaru Crosstrek stickers for $21,595. A Crosstek Hybrid is available, starting at $26,395.


Kia Sportage

Rounding out our Autobytel list of 10 Best Crossovers For The Money is the redesigned 2017 Kia Sportage. While Hyundai and Kia used to rely on an industry-best warranty and bargain pricing to attract customers, the brands have improved their products considerably, and the new 2017 Kia Sportage is a great example. It's handsome, spacious, and loaded with handy convenience features.

The LX trim retails for $22,990 and includes a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 181 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic is the exclusive transmission. Other standard features include ABS, keyless entry, split-folding rear seats, traction control, and daytime running lights. If you're looking for a significantly sportier Sportage, get the 2.0-liter turbo; it packs a 240-horsepower punch.

 Photo by Benjamin Hunting

Photo by Benjamin Hunting


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