2016 Honda HR-V - Exterior - Front Passenger Three-Quarter View
These are some of the best small crossovers for 2016, not necessarily the smallest choices overall, so people will be able to pick from subcompacts and compacts alike. Indeed, the entries on our list have vehicle lengths that vary by about 15 inches, and they differ in terms of market positioning, too, so that readers have choices across the pricing spectrum. That being said, there’s also a notable focus on newer products here, in recognition of today’s quickly growing crop of crossovers.
You could say the 2016 Honda HR-V is an excellent Fit among the best small crossovers of 2016. That’s because Honda’s new crossover also happens to share its platform and more with the brand’s award-winning subcompact hatchback, including a “Magic Seat” second-row seating system. As a result, the interior of the HR-V provides more than 100 cubic feet of passenger volume, or up to 58.8 cubic feet of cargo space, with dozens of configurations in between. Nor does the HR-V come up short in terms of standard equipment, including a multi-angle rearview mirror, Bluetooth calling and audio-streaming technology, a 5-inch color LCD screen, 17-inch wheels, and LED taillamps. Meanwhile, many of Honda’s premium amenities are on the HR-V’s options list, allowing owners to upgrade to heated front seats, navigation, next-gen HondaLink connectivity, Honda LaneWatch and more. Yet all that fits into a footprint that’s only 169.1 inches in length.
Photo by Honda
The 2016 Mazda CX-5 isn’t the Zoom-zoom brand’s smallest crossover—that would be the new CX-3—but the bigger sibling is still compact in size, and it also manages to get the same standard 35 mpg in highway fuel economy as its subcompact sibling. And while the CX-5 needs a six-speed manual transmission to do it, this can be seen as a bonus for some drivers, as the CX-5 doesn’t offer the enjoyment of a DIY transmission at all. Further, the CX-5 brings a strong track record of critical success to our collection of the best small crossovers of 2016, backed by a best-in-segment honor in the most recent J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. Mazda also retooled the CX-5 for the new model year with a noticeable design freshening both inside and out, then ramped up the driving experience with suspension upgrades, improved seating, and measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness.
When it comes to the best small crossovers for 2016, the Subaru brand offers an embarrassment of riches, all with the good fortune to provide standard symmetrical all-wheel drive. If we had to choose, it’s the 2016 Subaru XV Crosstrek that really gets our attention, especially now that the brand has managed to freshen the vehicle’s exterior, add LED accent lighting for the center console, and fine-tune the details of the up-level models without raising the price of admission. Thus, the XV Crosstrek once again starts from $21,595 and continues to serve up standard features like a rear-vision camera, a multi-function steering wheel, a StarLink infotainment system with 6.2-inch touchscreen, USB port for iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth for handsfree calling and audio streaming. Remember, too, that even with the advantage of AWD, the XV Crosstrek has earned EPA grades of 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway/39 mpg combined.
Photo by Subaru
The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport puts a new emphasis on its sporting nature with a newly available 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that increases output to 164 hp and 167 lb.-ft. of torque. This represents healthy increases of 20 hp and 22 lb.-ft. over the Outlander Sport’s standard engine, a 2.0-liter choice as the the model's efficiency leader with EPA estimates of 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined. The subcompact Outlander Sport also turns up strong safety grades, with a 5-Star Overall Safety Score from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. True, the Outlander Sport might not deliver the same level of high-tech driver-assistance features available on some of the other best small crossovers of 2016, but it does provide a particularly affordable starting price of $19,595.
Photo by Benjamin Hunting
On its own, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 might not seem like it stands out from a crowd that also offers pleasiong blends of versatility, fuel economy and technology. Unlike its mainstream rivals, however, the Rav4 is now available also as a hybrid model. The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid boasts a 2.5-liter gas engine and a two-motor hybrid setup in which one motor is dedicated to powering the rear wheels as part of an intelligent all-wheel-drive system. At this stage, Toyota doesn’t have exact specs for the vehicle, but the automaker claims the hybrid edition will be both more powerful and more efficient than the standard gas model; in fact, owners can expect “by far” the best fuel-economy ratings in the segment, says a Toyota spokesperson.
Photo by Benjamin Hunting
Buick helped create the subcompact crossover segment with the Encore, and the Tri-shield brand has put much work into earning a spot as one of the best small crossovers for 2016 despite an ongoing flood of rivals. In past years, that’s meant the launch of high-tech infotainment features like 4G LTE connectivity and a mobile wi-fi hot spot. This time, the focus is on performance in the athletic form of the Encore Sport Touring model. The new member of the Encore family showcases a new, 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that touts roughly 11 percent more horsepower and 20 percent more torque than the vehicle’s standard engine. The new tale of the tape shows 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, handled by a standard six-speed automatic transmission. And the Encore’s relatively roomy cargo hold can handle up to 48.4 cubic feet of gear.
Faced with expanding competition in the premium small crossover segment for 2016, Mercedes-Benz has refreshed and renamed its recently introduced subcompact “SUV.” It’s the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL A-Class, according to the automaker’s completely revised naming strategy. Of course, as indicated, the vehicle welcomes a variety of new standard features as well, highlighted by a next-gen infotainment system with a bigger, 7-inch touchscreen. Other additions to the standard package for 2016 are keyless start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a multi-mode drive system and, for improved seating comfort, adjustable cushion lengths. There’s also a little something extra for enthusiasts—an extra 20 horsepower and 18 lb-ft of torque in the AMG version. Leveraging new transmission gear ratios, 375 horses and 350 lb-ft of twisting power—and supplying a specific “Race” mode in the available Dynamic Plus package—the 2016 edition cuts its 0-60 time down to 4.3 seconds.
On the one hand, the 2016 Jeep Renegade can deliver EPA grades north of 30 mpg with two different engine choices, along with next-gen safety systems ranging from a blind spot monitor to forward collision warning with automatic braking to the brand’s LaneSense technology. On the other hand, and configured as the Renegade Trailhawk, it’s ready to take flight as one of the brand’s typically trail-rated adventure vehicles. And folks also should know that the Renegade adds some very atypical upgrades for the new model year, such as premium “Beats” audio, rain-sensing wipers and two new exterior colors, Granite Crystal Metallic and Jetset Blue Metallic Clear Coat. The Renegade even pays tribute to the traditional open-air driving experience offered by the Wrangler, courtesy of two “My Sky” roof-panel systems. This combination of attractive characteristics clearly makes the Renegade one of the best small suvs for 2016.
VW’s compact crossover is right on the cusp of big changes, since an all-new generation is expected to go on sale early next year. That 2017 model is highly anticipated, as it will come with an available plug-in hybrid powertrain and advanced occupant- and pedestrian-protection technologies. VW also showed a performance-oriented R-Line model and another version modified for off-road use when it premiered the upcoming vehicle in Germany. Remember, though, that’s the next-gen, 2017 model. The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguanl, however, still does make a viable value proposition, because the automaker reduced pricing for the new model year, by almost $1,400, and it also increased standard content levels by supplying heated seats with V-Tex “leatherette” surfaces, along with keyless entry and push-button start. The MSRP for the 2016 Tiguan should be right around $23,500.
Much like the vehicle itself, demand for the 2016 Porsche Macan shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. It's hard to know which is quicker, its climb up the sales charts or its rush from 0-60 mph, in 4.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 164 mph—all owing to a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 that can unleash 400 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The Macan is no mere crossover poser, either, as evidenced by a 53-cubic-foot cargo capacity and decent off-road capabilities. But if that’s not enough to qualify as one of the best small crossovers for 2016, consider the Macan’s newly available rear-seat entertainment system, which provides a wealth of capabilities including mobile wi-fi access, an integrated DVD player, dual USB ports and an HDMI port, and a pair of high-res, 10.1-inch touchscreen displays mounted in the front-seat headrests.