These small SUVs can haul, and really haul, compared to their competitors. Not so long ago we were happy when our SUVs had 150 or even 200 horsepower. But these five small SUVs for under $40,000 make the point that while we want a good runabout SUV, we don’t want to be left behind when the light turns green.
The RAV4 Prime is the hotrod of the bunch
The RAV4 Prime combines the best of Toyota technology to produce an astonishing 302 horsepower. The Prime version of the RAV4 is a plug-in hybrid, which means it combines both electric and gasoline to hit 60 in 5.7 seconds according to Toyota (or 5.5 if you’re Engine trend). That electric motor delivers extra juice to the rear wheels, which means it’s also all-wheel drive. The 2022 RAV4 Prime SE barely squeezes under the $40,000 limit, with a starting price of $39,800.
The Jeep Cherokee has two ways to make 270 horsepower
The Jeep Cherokee offers two engines of 270 horsepower or 272 horsepower. The big difference is how the two work, as it offers the standard Pentastar V6 or a new turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The Cherokee does more than move, however, it can tackle off-road trails with aplomb and it’s comfortable. The Cherokee, however, was last designed in 2017 and its design is starting to look dated compared to others on this list, like the new Ford Bronco Sport. The Cherokee starts at $34,895.
Forget the ST, the regular Escape makes 250 horsepower
The Ford Edge has been recently redesigned and it receives a powerful 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine producing 250 horsepower. The Edge brings lots of tech and lots of utilities for $37,945, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Ford’s easy-to-use SYNC 4A system. It also has a large 12-inch screen, good handling and a great grip. Of course, if 250 isn’t enough, you can get the ST with 335 horsepower, but that SUV costs $45,000.
The CX-5 256 has a sporty look
Mazda offers two engine options in the CX-5, but when looking for power, look to the two 2.5 Turbo versions. The 2.5 Turbo and Turbo Signature have 256 horsepower, but these are also the higher-end versions of the CX-5 that have leather, wireless charging, wood trim and more. The CX-5 also has a reputation for sporty handling and a capable all-wheel-drive system. The 2.5 Turbo starts at $36,850.
Bronco Sport 250 Badlands brings it
All Bronco Sports have standard all-wheel drive and plenty of ground clearance for a smooth ride. But upgrade to the top version, the Badlands, and you’ve got a full suite of off-road goodies. The Badlands come with metal skid plates, off-road tires, selectable terrain modes and an off-road suspension package. But more importantly, it comes with the 250-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and a different four-wheel-drive system that includes a rear differential lock. It starts at $36,590.
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