If there is one thing we've learned over the past few years, it's that Americans love their SUVs, and these days, compact offerings seem to be all the rage. To that end, we've gathered up some of our favorite small-ish utility vehicles that hit all the sweet spots, from utility, efficiency, luxury and yes, even sportiness.
The 2019 Crosstrek now comes with automatic emergency braking on all models, as well as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across all trims.
A strong engine lineup includes a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated base engine with 180 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, or a punchy 1.5-liter turbo with 190 horses and 179 pound-feet. The good thing about the turbocharged engine is that peak torque is available from just 2,000 rpm.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offers 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Whether in all-wheel or front-wheel-drive guise, the Mazda serves up genuine driving fun and excitement behind the wheel.
The smaller Mazda CX-3 can be had starting at $20,390. While it's been updated for 2019, Mazda didn't mess with the good stuff. The same 2.0-liter engine is under the hood as last year, though power and torque have increased just slightly.
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on all trims. The base Sport model can be had with an i-ActivSense Package, including such active driving aids as full-range adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and rain-sensing wipers.
Subaru's EyeSight driver-assistance package is among the best available in this category, and while the rest of the Forester's in-cabin tech is a little tame, support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mostly mitigates that in my book.