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Best Luxury Subcompact Crossover SUVs for 2021

By Andra DelMonico | July 9, 2021

Subcompact (small) crossover SUVs are among the most popular vehicle type in the U.S. and it's easy to see why.

They give you the tall seating position of larger SUVs, plus better fuel economy, and the small hatchbacks’ convenient functionality.

Opting for a luxury subcompact SUV means you can enjoy driving and owning a luxury vehicle at a more affordable starting price.

We've ranked the best luxury subcompact SUVs based on their styling, performance, features, and cargo space.

1. Volvo XC40


One of the best luxury subcompact SUVs you can buy is the Volvo XC40. This subcompact SUV may be classified as little, but it makes a big impression. Do not let the base price fool you; it is packed with standard features. These include unique options like Lava carpeting and contrasting roof color.

Interior features include a 9-inch touchscreen and infotainment system. Under the hood of the front-wheel-drive model is a 184-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine.


Despite both engines being powerful, it achieves an EPA combined 26 mpg. Then for storage, it has 20 cubic feet behind the rear seats. You can also employ its 3,500-pound towing capacity.

Browse Volvo XC40 listings here.

2. BMW X1


This practical car may not be the most modern or stylish subcompact luxury SUV, but that does not mean it should be overlooked. It has one of the lowest starting price points on this list and some of the most passenger and cargo space.

Powering the X1 is a 228-horsepower turbo inline-four engine that delivers a smooth performance. It also has plenty of standard features, including adaptive cruise control, self-parking, navigation, and automatic emergency braking.


You get a combined EPA estimated 27 mpg, which is one of the highest in the category. The cargo space behind the rear seats is 27 cubic feet.

Browse BMW X1 listings here.

3. BMW X2


Similar to the X1, the X2 is its more stylish -- and less practical -- cousin. There are a few engine options, including the 302-horsepower Gran Coupe M235i xDrive. However, the base engine is still an impressive 228-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine paired with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel-drive.


Opting for the base engine gives you an EPA estimated combined 27 mpg. Both models have a decent amount of cargo space behind the rear seats at 21 cubic feet.

Browse BMW X2 listings here.

4. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class


If you're looking for an affordable entry-level luxury vehicle, then the GLA-Class is your subcompact SUV. Powered by a 221-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine that's paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the interior feels smaller than other vehicles on this list.

To make up for it, Mercedes packed it with innovative technology, including two seven-inch displays -- one for the driver and the other for the infotainment screen. You can upgrade them to 10.3-inch screens.


Its small size enables it to get an EPA estimated combined 28 mpg. If you don't need a lot of storage space, you won't mind the 15 cubic foot cargo area.

Browse Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class listings here.

5. Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class


The GLB stands out on this list as the only subcompact SUV with an available third row of seats. However, this back seat is quite small and is not meant for regular use by adults. If you prefer a roomy feel, then stick with the two rows of seats. There is only one trim level available that comes with a 221-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine and front-wheel-drive. However, you can upgrade to an all-wheel-drive.


The two-row model has 27 cubic feet and the three-row model has 24 cubic feet behind the second row. The three-row model has five cubic feet behind the third row.

Browse Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class listings here.

6. Audi Q3


You will appreciate the stable handling and responsiveness of the Q3. It comes standard with all-wheel-drive and two engine options. It has a 184 or a 228-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine.

What makes the Q3 stand out is the massive 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. This puts your navigation map directly in front of you, which is behind the steering wheel. If you prefer the standard center dashboard placement, then opt for the 10.1-inch screen instead.

Other unique standard equipment includes heated leather seats, 19-inch wheels, and a panoramic sunroof.


You get a decent EPA estimated 15 mpg. It also has a nice amount of cargo space behind the rear seats at 23 cubic feet.

Browse Audi Q3 listings here.

7. Lexus UX


Buyers looking for a solid, all-around vehicle have a lot to like in the tidy UX. It comes with the reliable bones that Toyota builds into all of its vehicles. The Lexus UX uses the same powertrain as the Corolla hatchback and the same platform as the Toyota C-HR.

However, this subcompact SUV is more than just a Toyota with a few luxury touches. It comes with a 169-horsepower inline-four engine with a CVT and front-wheel-drive only; the hybrid version has all-wheel-drive and a 181 horsepower engine. A large 10.3-inch infotainment screen elevates the look of the interior.


Choosing the FWD option gives you an EPA estimated combined fuel economy of 32 mpg. The hybrid model is even more efficient, with a combined fuel economy of 42 mpg. The cargo space in the UX is tight, with only 17 cubic feet.

Browse Lexus UX listings here.

8. Cadillac XT4


The XT4 model is Cadillac’s first attempt at a luxury subcompact SUV. It has proven to be a success with its 237-horsepower turbocharged inline-four with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It comes standard as a front-wheel drive, but you can opt for the available all-wheel drive.

What makes the XT4 stand out on this list is that you could buy a top-of-the-line XT4 for less than the E-Pace or Evoque and still have more cabin room. It also comes with an Amazon Key, which allows you to have orders delivered right to the back of your vehicle.


Affordably drive your XT4 with its combined EPA estimated 26 mpg. You will also have plenty of room for those Amazon orders, with a total of 22 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.

Browse Cadillac XT4 listings here.

9. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque


Land Rover is the elite car maker known for producing some of the best vehicles for off-roading luxury. Because Land Rover and Jaguar are owned by the same parent company (Tata), the Evoque is Land Rover's version of the Jaguar E-Pace (see below); both vehicles use the same platform and powertrains.

While it has head-turning good look, there's more to the Evoque than that. It has a sizeable 10-inch infotainment touchscreen with a heads-up display, wireless smartphone pairing, and navigation.

Powering the Evoque is a 246-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This is enough to make driving fun with sprightly acceleration.


The EPA estimated fuel economy is impressive, with 22 mpg combined. Cargo space is also impressive at 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats.

Browse Land Rover Range Rover Evoque listings here.

#10. Jaguar E-Pace


This all-wheel-drive subcompact SUV packs a lot into a small package. It has an 11.4-inch infotainment touchscreen nestled into the dash.

While its overall weight is one of the highest, it also has a powerful engine to help: a 246- or 296-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Its modern styling helps it to stand out while on the road.


The cargo space behind the rear seats totals 22 cubic feet. However, this does mean the passenger space for the rear seats is a bit smaller than other models. It gets an EPA estimated 23 mpg.

Browse Jaguar E-Pace listings here.

11. Buick Encore GX


The Buick brand was once associated with older car buyers looking for an understated and mature vehicle. However, modern Buicks appeal to younger buyers with competitive pricing for near-luxury features, innovative technology, and classy styling. The interior of the Encore GX is spacious with plenty of leg and headroom. Under the hood is either a 138- or 155-horsepower three-cylinder engine.


The standout feature of the Encore GX is the cargo capacity. It features an adjustable load floor, fold-flat passenger seats, and an impressive 23 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats. While the engine may not be the most responsive, it delivers an EPA estimated 30 mpg combined.

Browse Buick Encore GX listings here.

12. Lexus NX


The Lexus NX is one of the most popular models in the luxury subcompact SUV market. It is easy to see with multiple powertrain options, impressive safety ratings, and attractive sporty styling.

Front-wheel-drive comes standard, but you do have the option of all-wheel-drive.

The standard engine is the 235-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine (there's also a 194 horsepower hybrid). For buyers looking for something more aggressive, the F Sport trim offers sporty looks, plush seats, and adaptive suspension. The driving dynamics of the NX make it one of the safest and popular SUVs on the market today.


Opting for the FWD model gives you a combined EPA estimated 25 mpg, and the hybrid delivers a combined 31 mpg. The rear cargo space gives you 17 cubic feet of carrying capacity.

Browse Lexus NX listings here.

13. Mini Countryman and Countryman John Cooper Works


The largest model in the Mini lineup is the Countryman. It received an update for the 2021 model year. It features new wheels, LED headlights, leather trim, and Union Jack taillights.

Powering the compact Countryman is a 134 horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine. It comes standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. An optional AWD version with an eight-speed automatic is also available.

The performance-oriented John Cooper Works boasts an impressive 301 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, if you're looking for more power.


If you opt for the FWD model, you will enjoy an EPA-rated combined fuel economy of 29 mpg. For cargo storage, the mini has 15 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats.

Browse Mini Countryman listings here.