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Price, content, fuel economy and style: Which compact crossover has it all?

Compact crossovers are quickly becoming America’s one-size-fits-all automotive solution.

These practical, efficient, all-weather vehicles can haul a small family and their gear nearly anywhere. Customers are flocking to showrooms and snatching these high riding hatchbacks up; last year, sales totaled over 1.7 million units.

With a segment this big, manufacturers are locked in a constant battle to outdo one another with a barrage of new products vying for a piece of this profitable pie. Last year Honda brought out a new CR-V while Mazda created the CX-5; the manufacturer’s first in-house, completely independent compact crossover. Hyundai was also hard at work splitting the Santa Fe into two, creating the compact, five-seat Santa Fe Sport and the mid-size, six or seven seat Santa Fe.

THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Taking on this trio of sophomores are three new offerings from Subaru, Toyota and Mitsubishi. The Forester is the latest evolution of the compact crossover that helped define the segment over 15 years ago. Its four-speed automatic has been replaced by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and there still is the turbocharged XT edition. The Toyota RAV4 has received a more drastic overhaul this year, dropping its V6 engine and third row seats while gaining much more aggressive styling inside and out.

And then there is the Outlander. Yes, Mitsubishi still makes this crossover, but with fewer than 8,000 units sold last year, you can be excused if you forgot about it. For 2014 it is all new and, unlike the RAV4, retains the third row of seating and V6 engine option

To round out this grouping, we invited two old timers of the compact crossover segment that push the size boundaries on both sides. First, there is the diminutive Jeep Compass that this year has dropped its noisy CVT in favor of a six-speed automatic. On the large side of things is the Chevrolet Equinox. Which continues to be a strong seller for the General despite needing an update.

Unfortunately two key competitors could not make this comparison test. With our price focus set around $31,000 as tested, the only Ford Escape we could acquire was a fully loaded 2.0T Titanium AWD model that pushed the price envelope through the stratosphere at over $37,000. The other no show is the Nissan Rogue. With an all-new Rogue just introduced, including last year’s model seemed pointless, even if Nissan plans to continue selling it beside the new model.

But we did gather eight key products to do battle in an all-out comparison emphasizing price, content, fuel economy and style.
Click here to read the complete Compact Crossover Shootout
 

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Thanks for the link. I visit autoguide.com on occasion, but I hadn't seen this comparison. Personally, I don't think the Escape would have beaten the SFS. As a long time Ford shareholder and car owner, I was sure I was going to buy the new 2013 Escape. That was until, for comparison, I test drove the Santa Fe Sport. I didn't look at the winner, the Forrester, too boxy. And the Mazda was nice looking on the exterior, but too anemic under the hood. I know these suv's aren't sport cars, but I like to have enough power to get out of harms way.
 

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in my opinion your review was very biased. you took the most basic Santa Fe, while lining it up against cars with nav, leather, etc.

if you took a santa fe (without nav / roof) with leather & small touch screen & backup cam = it would have easily blown out the competition.

furthermore you failed to mention a lot of the key features in this car:

  1. the modularity of the rear seats (they recline and move fwd & bkwd)
  2. heated rear seats
  3. optional full panoramic roof
  4. optional nav system
 

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Gotta laugh at one of their "leave it" remarks for the SFS "thirsty" , and how, if they had driven it at 70 mph maybe the word "unquencable" would have been used. A couple of the other autos they at least used 3 words - "poor fuel economy"

But the SFS getting 3rd place would seem very respectable, I'd certainly agree with their no 1 pick as many cars reviewers have and judging by the sales numbers so do a good many auto buyers.
 

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In comparison, SFS finished in 2nd in the cars.com crossover shoot out (behind Cherokee):

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: State of the Midsize SUV - KickingTires
How does a Jeep ever beat a Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai is beyond me. It will be broke and in pieces on the side of the road after the warranty is up. Deported from Detroit I say. The Subaru is an awesome vehicle but it looks just terrible, sad that they don't spend just a little time on the exterior form on it.
 

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How does a Jeep ever beat a Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai is beyond me. It will be broke and in pieces on the side of the road after the warranty is up. Deported from Detroit I say. The Subaru is an awesome vehicle but it looks just terrible, sad that they don't spend just a little time on the exterior form on it.
Obviously you've never owned one. Can't saw much about the Compass, but I traded in my 2005 Grand Cherokee for my 2013 SFS 2.0T AWD. I was still looking to buy another GC, but when comparing pricing to the new SFS and features included - it was too hard to justify the higher price tag, and extra $120 or so in fuel per month....

At the end of the day, I like the SFS or I wouldn't have bought it - but I still have an itch for another GC - and I will be looking at them again 6 or so years down the road when it's time for a trade it.

I had 196,000km on my GC, and the only problem other then routine brake pads and oil changes... was a $800 heater core that went at 186,000 km.
This was/is a very solid SUV, and even my wife has said that she felt a more safe in the Jeep - that it felt more solid. It was... but it was also 2,000 lbs heavier....
 

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I had 196,000km on my GC, and the only problem other then routine brake pads and oil changes... was a $800 heater core that went at 186,000 km.
This was/is a very solid SUV, and even my wife has said that she felt a more safe in the Jeep - that it felt more solid. It was... but it was also 2,000 lbs heavier....
By all reports the Grand Cherokee has made big strides in reliability in the past 3 or 4 yrs . Ironically I just missed buying one, had a great deal worked out on a 2012 well equipped but it was at a dealer 60 miles away and sold before I could get to it.
My biggest concern was fuel economy for the V6 JGC, but ironically now it carries a higher EPA rating than the SFS 2.0T AWD . The JGC V6 I think now features an 8 speed auto which has helped fuel economy.

That comparison has a no of mistakes, I think it was titled Jeep Grand Cherokee but a Patriot was actually tested with a 2.4L and they listed the SFS with a 2.4L as well but with HP & torque of the 2.0T - so they couldn't even clip and paste properly, small wonder that Ford declined to pony up a test vehicles - bunch of amateurs IMO.
 

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Thanks for the link. I visit autoguide.com on occasion, but I hadn't seen this comparison. Personally, I don't think the Escape would have beaten the SFS. As a long time Ford shareholder and car owner, I was sure I was going to buy the new 2013 Escape. That was until, for comparison, I test drove the Santa Fe Sport. I didn't look at the winner, the Forrester, too boxy. And the Mazda was nice looking on the exterior, but too anemic under the hood. I know these suv's aren't sport cars, but I like to have enough power to get out of harms way.
Same thoughts and situation, we also looked at the Edge though not comparable. As a long term holder of Ford and Apple also I wasn't about to look at MySync and the Microsoft badging they've placed on their vehicles, funny how loyalty works sometimes.
 

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I agree, it is odd that they compared a base Santa Fe vs loaded other models. In the MPG they also compared the AWD vs FWD models. Not sure why they didn't stay consistent.

They also don't seem mention in the MPG tallies that the Santa Fe is by large the biggest of those cars.

Given the cars they compared it too not sure why they didn't use the Tucson.

With all that being said the CX5 is a great looking car, but I had the same complaint about the transmission. They get great economy by keeping the motor at low RPM. The motor sounds like its always under stress and when you need gas quickly it takes the motor a few seconds to catch up. Despite that I really did love that car, it was just to small for me. I almost bought the CX9 but it was just too big.

I never looked at the Forester. Personally I can't stand the look of them. Fun thing is I googled Forester Forum and MPG complaints are just as common there and they are here.
 
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