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The Best Compact SUVs Under $22,000 in 2022

4 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

Compact SUVs offer a good compromise between the space of an SUV or minivan and the easy handling of a sedan. They are perfect for shorter city drives. On the other hand, they also still work well for weekend getaways. There are many affordable compact SUVs on the market today, including some quality offerings for less than $22,000.

Read on to see some of the best low-cost compact SUVs for families. This list includes options from traditional favorites and some newer entries. Whether you’re looking for an economical little number or something with more power under the hood, there’s a good option for you.

Five of the Best Compact SUVs

Compact SUVs typically offer a cheaper price tag than their bulkier full-size counterparts. However, that doesn’t have to come at the expense of quality or handling. This article lists some of the best compact SUVs. They offer attractive and comfortable interiors, good performance and handling, and even some advanced driver aids and safety features too.

Some of these compacts offer impressive fuel economy given their overall size. That makes them an excellent choice for high-mileage motorists. If you’re looking for a brand-new compact SUV for an affordable price, any of the vehicles on this list should be on your shopping list.


1. Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is priced from just $19,290 for the base model. Don’t be discouraged, though. Even the cheapest Soul comes with an impressive array of features. The 2.0-liter engine offers 147HP, and the vehicle comes with remote keyless entry, a touchscreen display, and a rear camera as standard equipment. Stability control and hill start assist are also offered on all models.

The Kia Soul was completely redesigned in 2020. The new generation has a more modern interior and an impressive array of tech-related additions. Collectively, these upgrade the Soul from being a “budget compact for younger drivers” into a viable option for a family daily driver too.

Source: Kia

2. Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V has an MSRP that starts at $21,870. This is a compact SUV that feels spacious inside. The folding rear seats can add to the cargo space. It doesn’t look particularly flashy, but it feels great to drive. When it comes to fuel efficiency, it can get up to 34 mpg on highways. That makes it a great choice for long road trips.

If practicality and reliability are your main concerns, it’s hard to go wrong with a Honda vehicle, especially at this price point. They are one of the most reliable brands, according to multiple surveys and studies.

Source: Honda

3. Nissan Kicks

Described as a subcompact SUV, the Nissan Kicks is available starting from $19,700 and offers an impressive 31 mpg in cities and 36 mpg on highways. An array of safety features is offered as standard, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get some luxurious upgrades for the interior and extra assistive technology that makes driving a hassle-free experience.

Optional Intelligent Driver Alertness features monitor your steering and warn you if you appear to be getting tired and might need to take a break. The Nissan Kicks is available in a range of eye-catching colors for the fashion-conscious driver.

Source: Nissan

4. Hyundai Venue

Hyundai’s Venue is a $19,000 compact SUV built with performance and connectivity in mind. The signature feature is Bluelink, an app that keeps you connected to your car at all times. You can use your smartphone to monitor and control certain features of the car, and you can use navigation features and other controls via a touch screen on the dash.

The Venue’s 1.0-liter gasoline turbo engine is surprisingly powerful and economical. Intelligent manual transmission makes this SUV a joy to drive both in the city and for highway or off-road journeys, making the Venue an affordable yet versatile all-rounder SUV.

Source: Hyundai

5. Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona is an affordable, small SUV with a starting price of $21,150. This version offers good value for your money, comfortable interiors and some high-tech safety features, including a 360-degree monitoring and collision warning system that helps drivers avoid hazards.

The highway assist package is an optional extra on the basic models but comes standard on the Ultimate trim. This system combines cruise control with map data and sensors to keep you at the right speed and in the right position on the road. Headlight beam assist technology switches between high and low beams as required.

Source: Hyundai

Now Is a Great Time To Buy a Compact SUV

The compact and subcompact SUV markets are booming. Today, there are many options for people who want something large, spacious and fun to drive but that lets them handle tough conditions with confidence. You don’t have to spend $30,000 or more on an SUV if you’re planning the occasional trip away from home or want something for large family outings.

The options listed above are just a few of the affordable compact SUVs out there. If you’re willing to buy an approved used compact SUV, you can buy a luxurious trim for less than $20,000 in many cases and enjoy the reliability and peace of mind that comes from a nearly-new car.


Lesley Harrison


Lesley Harrison is a technical writer and open source software enthusiast with a passion for all things "data". In her spare time she coaches youth sports and loves exploring the English countryside.



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