8. Nissan Rogue SV:
Don’t expect sporty handling or class-leading cabin-materials quality. Do, however, enjoy enough ride comfort, passenger and cargo room, and value pricing to qualify as a solid Best Cheap SUV. In fact, our budget accommodates the nicely equipped SV model, the middle of the three trim grades, and allows for some excellent options.
It starts at $26,295 with all-wheel-drive and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat, keyless entry with pushbutton start, a backup camera, and a touchscreen infotainment system with full Bluetooth phone/music/data connectivity.
7. Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring:
Putting Mazda in the subcompact-crossover fray is this new-for-2016 raised-suspension hatchback that’s the most stylish entry in this rapidly expanding category. The upscale-feeling cabin includes an elegant knob-controlled multimedia system with full smartphone connectivity. Based on the overseas-market Mazda 2 subcompact car (and the Scion iA car), the CX-3 is sufficiently roomy up front for tall riders, but back seat legroom is prohibitively tight and cargo space is near worst in class.
The CX-3 shines for entertaining road manners, with sharp response in cornering. Ride quality, though, is rougher than average. The sole engine, a 148-horsepower four-cylinder linked to a six-speed automatic transmission, delivers snappy enough acceleration.