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The right combination of style, comfort and go-anywhere personality.

3 Best Compact SUVs | CarMax

The best compact SUVs pack all your favorite sport utility vehicle features in a nimble and responsive package. Smaller than midsize SUVs, the best compact SUVs combine comfort, performance and fuel economy with handling that's reminiscent of a car. Looking for a way to spend less time at the gas pump this year? You can also check out our best hybrid SUVs.

According to our sales data from January through August 2017, the best compact SUVs overall were the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox and Nissan Rogue.

  1. Nissan Rogue
  2. Chevrolet Equinox
  3. Ford Escape

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Nissan Rogue

3 Best Compact SUVs: Nissan Rogue | CarMax

The 2017 Nissan Rogue is available in your choice of either all-wheel or front-wheel drive. It boasts a hybrid option and a host of available features. The Rogue offers seating for either five or seven people, depending on the trim you choose.

Trim Options

The 2017 Nissan Rogue offers three trim levels: the S, SV and SL. The base model, the S, comes with features like a rearview camera, 17-inch steel wheels and an infotainment system with smartphone integration.

Opt for the SV trim level and you'll enjoy heated seats, keyless entry and start, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and more. Also available at the SV trim level is the Midnight Edition. This gets you blacked-out body pieces like splash guards, roof rails, mirror caps and more.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue SL trim level offers access to even more features. These include driver seat memory functions, foglights, Nissan Connect emergency and convenience telematics and leather upholstery.

Best Features

One option that's available on the S and SV models of the 2017 Nissan Rogue is the option for a third row of seats. This boosts the number of passengers from five to seven -- a boon for families who want plenty of room for their kids' friends. You can also fold the rear seats down and enjoy 70 cubic feet of cargo space.

Fuel Economy

.The 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid with 2.0-liter engine, all-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission has an estimated 33 mpg combined.1


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Chevrolet Equinox

3 Best Compact SUVs: Chevrolet Equinox | CarMax

The Chevrolet Equinox was the second best-selling in our lineup of the best compact SUVs. The vehicle has undergone minor tweaks since 2010. According to General Motors, the Chevrolet Equinox was one of their best-selling vehicles in December 2017.

Trim Options

With four trim levels to choose from, you'll find a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox to suit your needs. The base model, the L, is custom-made, while the LS and LT models are more widely available. A turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine is the standard engine.

LED daytime running lights, heated mirrors and a stop-start engine are standard on the base L trim level of the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox. The next trim level, the LS, adds an expanded range of exterior color options, a digital compass and the option for all-wheel drive. 

Choose the LT model if you want more features such as rear privacy glass, satellite radio, eight-way power driver seat and xenon headlights. Upgrade to the Premier trim level if you want standard features like a touchscreen display, power driver's seat, hands-free liftgate, rearview camera, roof rails, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel and Bluetooth capability. 

Best Features

You'll love the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox for its spacious interior. Even tall occupants will enjoy lots of head- and legroom. Need more cargo space? Simply pull the lever to fold the back seats so they're flat, and you'll marvel at the increased amount of cargo space and comfort.

Fuel Economy

A 2017 Chevrolet Equinox with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive allows you to enjoy an estimated 24 mpg combined.1

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Ford Escape

3 Best Compact SUVs: Ford Escape | CarMax

The Ford Escape underwent a style and power upgrade for 2017. It offers standard features, like a backup camera, tire pressure warning system and auto parking assist that you'll want in a family vehicle in its base S model. You'll have the option of adding more creature comforts and/or power with other trim levels.

Trim Options

The 2017 Ford Escape is available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. The S trim level comes with standard features such as a rearview camera, automatic headlights, cruise control, MyKey® parental controls and smartphone integration. Its base engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The SE trim level comes with a 1.5L turbocharged engine, rear air vents, keyless entry keypad, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and more. You can also opt for a 2.0L turbocharged engine at this – and the Titanium - trim levels. Spring for the Titanium model if you want leather upholstery, a power liftgate that opens via foot sensor, driver seat memory settings and ambient cabin lighting.

Best Features

Inside, you and your family will revel in comfort and style. The 2017 Ford Escape offers a spacious interior with lots of room for passengers and small items. Its cargo space provides 68 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. A new interface for its infotainment system gives you access to features like Android Auto®, Apple CarPlay™, Bluetooth® and advanced voice control. Rear bench seats, auto climate control (available on the SE and Titanium trims), an optional panoramic sunroof and lots of USB ports and power plugs make any drive comfortable and allow you to stay connected. The front-wheel drive, all-wheel-drive options (on the SE and Titanium trims) and small turning radius of the Ford Escape give it the nimble responsiveness of a car, with the peppiness of a compact SUV.

Fuel Economy

A 2017 Ford Escape Titanium outfitted with a 1.5L four-cylinder engine, six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive gets an estimated 26 mpg combined.1


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Looking for more? You can also check out our list of the best SUVs overall. If you're not quite sure you want an SUV, we've got you covered with this best family cars list.

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.