The key to our current list, covering the best-priced crossovers, is that “best-priced” isn’t the same as cheapest. As a result, even though we kept absolute cost in mind when coming up with these crossovers, we also looked to factors like value and the price of comparable vehicles from within the same size class.
10 Best-Priced Crossovers
Photo Credit: Kia
1) 2016 Kia Soul
Since the 2016 Kia Soul is classified as a crossover by its brand, which also sets the price of admission here to a very practical $15,800, this funky compact can be considered the low-cost leader among the best-priced crossovers—and literally the least expensive crossover in the country. Now, some folks may doubt the Soul’s crossover credentials, but remember, it does deliver a high-capacity cargo hold that’s capable of containing more than 60 cubic feet of gear. Kia does skip out on a significant crossover cue, by not offering the Soul with all-wheel drive, but the 2016 model adds enough available safety equipment—including forward collision warning and lane-departure warning—to ensure Top Safety Pick status with the IIHS. The company didn’t stick with the status quo in terms of style, though, as it’s introduced a fresh Designer Collection package highlighted by two two-tone exterior color schemes.
2) 2016 Mazda CX-9
The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9 is one of the newest three-row crossovers on the market, complete with the first Skyactiv-G turbo engine, yet that’s not the reason it’s been voted as one of Autobytel’s best priced crossovers. For that honor, the CX-9 satisfies customers with an MSRP of $29,985. No, that’s not the pricing nadir for the segment, but that cost is lower than for the competition from Chevy, Ford, Honda and Toyota, to name a few. With its new turbo engine boosting output to 310 lb.-ft. of torque and 227 horsepower—or up to 250 horses with premium fuel—the CX-9 also boasts the highest city and combined fuel-economy marks in its class, along with an overall EPA line expected to hit 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined. The vehicle hits the mark with plenty of cargo space and driver-assistance measures, too.
3) 2016 Dodge Journey
Brand management rearranged the roster for the 2016 Dodge Journey, eliminating last year’s entry model and lowering the price of this year’s starter trim, the Journey SE, by $2,600. The resulting MSRP of $20,895, then, is thousands less than the Journey’s mainstream rivals, with comparable advantages throughout the lineup. For example, according to Dodge, the Journey stands out from today’s best-priced crossovers as the “most affordable V6 AWD seven-passenger crossover” in the industry; models so configured can cost as little as $26,195. Shoppers should know, however, that the standard seating capacity for the Journey is five, but that surely shows how versatile the vehicle is, as most competitors in the class don’t even offer a third row. Similarly, the brand brags that the Journey has best-in-class interior storage, as well as a best-in-class benchmark for available horsepower (283) and a top tow rating of 2,500 lbs.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
4) 2016 Fiat 500X
Those with a yearning for the best-priced crossovers with European design cues can find that in the 2016 FIAT 500X. The MSRP of the 500X is a financially friendly $20,000, and while the vehicle is a subcompact in size, at 167.2 inches in length, that also makes it more than two feet longer than a 500 proper. What the two do share is a distinct family resemblance that brings the original’s bold approach to color and curves to the crossover segment. Indeed, Fiat furnishes 12 exterior colors for the 500X, plus two Trekking trims that tout rugged-look front and rear fascias for a more robust, SUV-esque presence. There’s also some crossover substance beneath that style, thanks to an available all-wheel-drive system and a relatively roomy rear cargo area: The 500X can hold up to 50.8 cubic feet of gear despite its rather diminutive dimensions.
Photo Credit: General Motors
5) 2016 Chevrolet Trax
Conditions in the marketplace can sometimes make the best-priced crossovers even better buys. Take the subcompact 2016 Chevrolet Trax. Bolstered by the Bowtie brand’s increased attention to detail with its smaller products, the Trax has blazed a trail as one of the first mainstream entries in the segment, attracting numerous new customers to Chevy in the process. Particularly attractive, of course, is the fact that the vehicle starts at $20,300 with standard content like a turbocharged engine and a MyLink infotainment system, the latter leveraging voice recognition and a 7-inch touchscreen/rearview camera display. OnStar mobile Wi-Fi is available as well, and so are such upgrades as all-wheel drive. It’s a compelling combination of features, but here’s a reminder: Since a refreshed 2017 Trax—with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay—is coming this fall, dealers are likely to be eager to negotiate on 2016 units.
Photo Credit: Ford
6) 2016 Ford Escape
The same sort of scenario mentioned previously is playing out with another of the best-priced crossovers in the country, the 2016 Ford Escape—but in the next segment up. The compact Escape currently comes with an MSRP of $23,100, which is at the lower end of the pricing spectrum for the class. Yet because the Blue Oval is coming out with a refreshed 2017 edition this spring, dealers are going to have to do something to move out the 2016 models, and that means good news for buyers. After all, those 2016 Escapes can supply some serious benefits, including the next-gen Sync 3 in-car communications and entertainment, Ford’s Curve Control and Torque Vectoring Control for enhanced handling, and a pair of EcoBoost powerplants. Ford customers who wait for the new 2017 Escape, due in the spring, will enjoy stop/start technology with those engines, along with restyled designs and more driver-assistance measures.
Photo Credit: FCA Media
7) 2016 Jeep Renegade
The Jeep brand has three of the nation’s best-priced crossovers, if only because the 2016 Jeep Renegade, Patriot and Compass all open with MSRPs below $20,000. And of that trio, it’s the Renegade with the superior selling advantage—although, to be clear, it’s not the lowest priced pick. The Renegade actually retails for $500 more than the Patriot, with the difference being that those five C-notes provide a next-gen entry instead of the Patriot’s past-its-prime packaging. Further, Jeep keeps restocking the Renegade with more and more new features, such as a new-for-2016 Beats premium audio system. This junior Jeep also serves up two engines, both of which can hit at least 30 mpg highway, and it carries the brand’s trail-rated torch, too, in the Renegade Trailhawk edition. In that model, rock crawling and river fording can be accomplished with ease—and some help from Jeep Active Drive Low 4X4 technology.
8) 2016 Nissan Pathfinder
The best-priced crossovers for larger families—or any owners who need a full-size, three-row vehicle—are more expensive, so the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder helps set the pace with a starting price of $29,830. Other leadership roles for the Pathfinder include best-in-class passenger volume—per Nissan—and segment-leading fuel economy. In fact, Nissan’s newest Pathfinder leads for highway EPA ratings for both front- and all-wheel-drive models, which each earn the same 27 mpg in that measure. Additionally, the vehicle does just fine for traction when leaving the beaten path; a notable benefit from Nissan’s available “ALL-MODE 4x4-i” technology, since that system delivers a driver-selectable 4WD Lock mode for full-time four-wheel drive. Finally, for high levels of hauling ability, the Pathfinder’s standard 3.5-liter V6 engine, packing 260 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, can pull up to 5,000 lbs.
Photo Credit: Christian Wardlaw
9) 2016 Honda HR-V
Like a number of Autobytel’s best-priced crossovers, the 2016 Honda HR-V can best its rivals in a wide variety of comparisons. Just ask the editors at the Green Car Journal: When they compared the HR-V to the rest of the industry’s new crossovers and SUVs, it was Honda’s brand-new subcompact that was named 2016 Green SUV of the Year. Needless to say, an EPA line of 28 mpg city/35 mpg highway/31 mpg combined was vital to that achievement, yet the subcompact HR-V isn’t short on crossover versatility, either. By relying on the same kind of Magic Seat cabin setup as in the Honda Fit, the HR-V can stow surprisingly long and tall items within its 58.8 cubic feet of available cargo space.
10) 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Despite operating in the increasingly competitive subcompact segment, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport still more than holds its own, sales-wise. It’s exactly the kind of success you expect from the best-priced crossovers, and that’s an apt description of the Outlander Sport. Not only was it refreshed inside and out for the new model year, it also maintains both an MSRP of $19,595 and an emphatically value-laden list of equipment. A new leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, Mitsubishi’s Fuse hands-free technology with Bluetooth, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, LED combination taillights and heated exterior mirrors are but a few of the standard goodies, while the available premium options include Rockford-Fosgate audio, navigation with 3D mapping, All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive, a rearview camera system, LED daytime running lamps and push-button start. A total of 49.5 cubic feet of cargo space caps off the Outlander Sport’s high-versatility specs.