You may be searching for an affordable vehicle with a 4-wheel drive and a relatively spacious passenger and cargo space.
If you sometimes engage in light off-road activities, you’d need a functional but affordable SUV.
We’ve carefully compiled some small SUVs with 4-wheel drives and other superb features that further make them more appealing.
Table of Contents
1. Toyota RAV4
It’s no argument that Toyota always secures a place among high-performing and reliable vehicles.
Here, it’s represented by the RAV4, which has fared well since its inception almost 30 years ago.
One reason it’s popular is; it’s one of the few small SUVs with 4WD across its different trims.
This well-built, 4-wheel drive SUV comes with ample interior and cargo space. Its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine coupled to an 8-speed automatic gearbox is standard today.
Also, its engine produces a moderate 203 horsepower at 6,000 rpm (revolutions per minute). It further has a torque of 184 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm.
It then boasts an up-to-date luxurious interior and infotainment technology. However, that’s not all there is under its belt and these features make the RAV4 an over performer.
Its gas mileage of 27 mpg (miles per gallon) in the city and 33 mpg on the highway is superb. With such appealing attributes, its price ranges from $26,975 to $36,915.
2. Mini Countryman
The Countryman is the biggest installment in the Mini Cooper family.
It has a unique exterior build and an unshared interior design that separates it from its rivals.
We have a list here of the best Mini Countryman models and some years to avoid.
This small SUV boasts comfortable passenger space; however, its small cargo capacity is a disadvantage compared to more roomy competitors.
It is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 207 lb-ft of torque at 1,350 rpm.
The Countryman’s mileage is 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on highways. This way, you’re sure of efficient gas usage even when you’re driving off-road.
If you’re considering it, its range of prices for different trims falls between $29,100 and $41,500. This is on the high side perhaps because of quality interior materials and its overall distinctiveness. Still, its 4-wheel-drive feature gives it an edge over other small SUVs.
Please also read our article about the best small SUVs with the best visibility.
3. Volvo XC40
Masculinity, boldness, and a stern look are what the Volvo XC40 greets you with. With decent engine power and a nicely crafted interior, it’s no SUV to underestimate.
This 5-seater vehicle comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Its engine churns out a remarkable 248 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and a torque of 258 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm. Its fuel consumption of 23 and 32 mpg for city and highway driving respectively is moderate for its size.
If you have $36,350 to $46,500 to spare, you could get an XC40.
This is a fair bargain considering its Powertrain and top-notch cabin quality.
However, make sure to educate yourself on which years are the best and worst for Volvo XC40.
4. Mercedes GLA-Class
Mercedes is known and appreciated for luxury and comfort, and the GLA-Class is no exception. Its starting price is placed at $36,400 and higher trims would reach $55,400 with added options.
This is reasonably affordable for a small 4-wheel drive SUV with such “class”.
Although the GLA-Class has some problems, it has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine which is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Its engine produces a massive 221-382 horsepower at 550 rpm and 258-354 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm.
Of course, 4-wheel drive vehicles need powerful engines to pull them through tough roads, so let’s talk engines.
It is imperative to note that the GLA-Class has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged base engine.
However, there are other available options like the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged and 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engines.
Its low gas mileage of 19-24 mpg (city) and 25-34 mpg (highway) is excusable because of its energetic acceleration. You may get 0 to 60 mph from the GLA250 4Matic in just 6.3 seconds.
5. Jeep Renegade
Jeep is revered for its off-road abilities; hence, the Renegade is a must on our list, sort of.
This box-shaped SUV is powered by a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine joined to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers a subpar 177 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and a torque of 210 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm.
The Renegade further has a poor gas mileage of 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on highways. Nonetheless, it compensates with good handling, sufficient cabin space, and user-friendly infotainment features.
The price for the Renegade ranges from $24,695 to $31,145.
6. Honda HR-V
The Honda HR-V has an admirable fuel economy of 26-28 mpg in the city and 31-34 mpg on highways. Thanks to its two-way adjustable rear seats, the HR-V is one of the SUVs with the most passenger room and cargo space.
The HR-V comes with a 1.8-liter turbo engine with a 4-inline cylinder paired with a CVT transmission. Its engine delivers a meager 141 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 127 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm of torque.
Hence, with that in mind, this small SUV falls short of engine power and standard technology compared to competitors.
From one angle, its downsides outweigh its upsides. So a price range of only $21,870 to $28,170 seems like a fair compensation. The CR-V might be a better alternative if you are a Honda lover.
7. BMW X1
If you want luxury simultaneously with performance, the BMW X1 is a great choice. The X1’s enticing price ranges from $35,400 to $37,400. Seeing what it brings to the table, it seems like a fair price.
This small 4-wheel drive SUV is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The engine generates an impressive 228 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,450 rpm.
It then has a manageable gas mileage of 23-24 mpg in the city and 31-33 mpg on highways.
The X1’s powerful and quick-to-respond engine can come in handy when climbing hills or just overtaking.
Furthermore, its spacious passenger and cargo room with plush interior materials and a standard infotainment system is a plus.
8. Mazda CX-30
The Mazda CX-30 is a small SUV with unparalleled grandeur and beauty in its category. Its sporty exterior can hardly go unnoticed while the elegant interior complements its overall design.
The CX-30’s sound handling and polished ride quality plus standard safety features make the CX-30 almost too good to be true.
This posh SUV is roused by a 2.5-liter 4-inline cylinder turbocharged engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine generates an above-average 186 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a torque of 186 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm.
The CX-30 has an acceptable fuel efficiency of 24 mpg in-city and 31 mpg on highways.
The price for this loaded small SUV range from $22,200 to $34,400, which is very affordable. At this point, it seems like paying less money for more value.
However, if the CX-30 seems too good to be true, it’ll lag behind its peers in some other areas. You’ll find other small SUVs among the cheapest SUVs with all-wheel drive.
9. Volkswagen Taos
This German automobile is the smallest in the Volkswagen SUV lineup. The irony is that the Taos is one of the biggest SUVs on our list. Just by reviewing its specs, it’s safe to say it’s quite versatile.
The Volkswagen Taos has a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It produces a relatively low 158 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 184 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm of torque. However, it has a remarkable fuel economy of 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on highways.
The price for the Taos starts at $23,495 and can get to $33,645. We’d let you decide whether or not it’s worth it. Just consider features like its good ride quality and enjoyable ride with modern tech features.
10. Audi Q3
This list would be incomplete without the Audi Q3. It’s a luxurious SUV with high-end interior quality that delivers a smooth and comfortable driving experience. The Q3’s price starts at $36,400 with some trims as pricey as $42,000.
It is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine joined to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The turbocharged engine gushes out an impressive 228 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. However, it has an underwhelming 21 mpg city mileage but a remarkable 29 mpg on highways.
In comparison with some SUVs listed here, the Q3 has less passenger and cargo space. Still, its overall interior and ride quality make up for its limited space.
11. Ford EcoSport
The Ford EcoSport doesn’t have the performance of its peers, which is an irony because of its name “EcoSport”. It has subpar ride quality and could use a more modern infotainment system. However, the upside is its spacious passenger and cargo area.
It is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The EcoSport produces 166 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a torque of 149 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm.
City gas mileage stands at 23 mpg while highway mileage is about 29 mpg. Its maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds is fair for its size. With 7.8 inches of ground clearance, the EcoSport may just be a great off-road beast after all.
Hence, although the EcoSport isn’t at the top of its class, it is affordable and delivers good results. That’s why it’s worth considering. The cost of purchasing an EcoSport ranges from $22,040 to $28,395.
12. Subaru Forester
The Forester comes with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine mated to a CVT automatic tranny.
Its engine generates an above-average 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. It has a satisfactory gas mileage of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on highways.
With a standard 4-wheel drive, the Subaru Forester has better off-road capability compared to many of its rivals. The average price for the Forester ranges from $25,895 to $35,995.
The Forester is also one of the few compact SUVs with rear air vents.
It is imperative to mention that some of the listed crossovers have both 4-wheel drive and front-wheel drive drivetrains. Of course, this depends on the trim that a car buyer would pick.
Also, while there are slight differences between 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, they both perform the same function once engaged.