Best SUVs of 2022

Best SUVs of 2022

An SUV can basically be anything these days. They can be huge, they can be tiny. Cheaper than $20,000 or deep into six figures. They can be giant boxes or sleek "coupes." They can pack humble three-cylinder engines, 600-horsepower twin-turbo V8s or silently waft along on electricity. Then there's the matter of how they're constructed. Do they satisfy the literal SUV definition of a body-on-frame, truck-like vehicle? Or, more likely, are they crossovers with car-like unibody construction that most people generally identify as an SUV? In the end, you know one when you see one.

It can obviously be tough to sort through this sea of rugged(ish) vehicles, so we've compiled this grand list of the best SUVs. We've broken them down into size segments, plus EVs and a separate list devoted to the best luxury SUVs, providing at most three choices each to help you narrow down your shopping list. They are listed alphabetically within each segment.

Best Subcompact SUVs | Best Midcompact SUVs | Best Compact SUVs

Best Two-Row Midsize SUVs | Best Three-Row Midsize SUVs | Best Full-Size SUVs

Best Electric SUVs | Best Luxury SUVs

Best subcompact SUVs

Hyundai Kona

Why it stands out: Fun to drive; easy-to-use tech; powerful turbo engine upgrade; 258-mile EV option
Could be better:
Small back seat and cargo area; the EV looks pretty weird

Our full 2021 Hyundai Kona Review and check out what's in store for the updated 2022 Kona.

The Kona continues to prove that a subcompact SUV can be fun to drive. It's certainly not the most spacious model, but its sharp handling, distinctive styling and attractive cabin with user-friendly tech help it stand out from the crowd. Oh, and that's not even mentioning what's under the hood. The base four-cylinder is perfectly competitive, but the Kona offers two other distinctive choices: a 175-horsepower turbo engine that actually gets better fuel economy and an all-electric version that outdoes the Bolt EUV's range with 258 miles. Note that the Kona has been significantly updated for 2022, including with new styling, an updated interior (pictured above) and the addition of a sporty Kona N Line and full-throttle, hot-hatch-inspired Kona N (pictured above).

2021 Kia Soul X-Line in green
2021 Kia Soul X-Line in green
2020 Kia Soul EV
2020 Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul

Why it stands out: Ample space and abundant features for the money; unique style; strong turbo engine upgrade
Could be better:
All-wheel drive is not available

Our most recent full Kia Soul Review


The Kia Soul definitely didn't start off as a small SUV, and the term "crossover" is probably better applied to it. Still, what started life as an undefinable funky tall hatchback now finds itself in its third generation with numerous vehicles of similar shape and size that are dubbed "small SUV" or "small crossover." If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... Call it what you will, but the Soul delivers the goods with tons of equipment and space for its price and size, an agreeable driving demeanor, and an even more powerful engine upgrade than the Kona's. We also think it's pretty cool. All of the above helped it win our subcompact SUV comparison test. Now, if there's one area where the Soul does not satisfy a typical SUV requirement, it's the lack of available all-wheel drive. That there are more such vehicles in the segment, including our next entry, only seems to further secure the Soul's membership into the club.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport front in white
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport front in white

Subaru Crosstrek

Why it stands out: Best-in-class ground clearance; standard all-wheel drive; cargo space and functional roof rails
Could be better:
Slow base engine; CVT transmission; roly-poly handling

Our full 2022 Subaru Crosstrek Review

The Crosstrek proves just how all over the place this segment is. It's basically just an Impreza hatchback with some styling tweaks and a massive lift (its 8.7 inches of ground clearance is way more than most crossovers), but that's actually good enough to better many vehicles that were built from scratch to be a small SUV. Besides that ground clearance, the Crosstrek has become a darling of the outdoor adventure set for its manageable size, easy-to-use interior, sturdy and easily reached roof rails and a comfort-oriented driving experience that serves it well on longer drives. That it finally offers a more powerful engine option for 2021 satisfies a long-held complaint among owners that the base engine was just too darn slow.

Best midcompact SUVs

Ford Bronco Sport

Why it stands out: Off-road capability; cargo space; clever storage and cargo features; distinctive style
Could be better:
Fuel economy; some cheap interior bits

Our full 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Review

Although its exterior dimensions and back seat space fall in between the compact and subcompact segments, one of the great things about the new Bronco Sport is that it actually has as much or more cargo space than models that are considerably bigger on the outside. So it can hold a lot of stuff for a weekend away, but the "Baby Bronco" does so much more for those looking for something a little more Swiss Army Knife than the typical small SUV. There are numerous clever features throughout, like zippered map pockets and campsite lighting in the liftgate, plus a vast accessory catalog. Every version is much better than usual off-road (though the Badlands is definitely the one to get for those going further afield) with its standard all-wheel drive, ample ground clearance and "G.O.A.T. Modes" that set the vehicle for a variety of road and terrain conditions. It's also impossible to ignore the Bronco Sport's distinctive style inside and out, plus a driving experience that's a bit more SUV-ish ... and in this case, we do mean that in the traditional, body-on-frame truck-based SUV way.

2021 Kia Seltos SX in white
2021 Kia Seltos SX in white

Kia Seltos

Why it stands out: Surprising space; acceleration from Turbo models; user-friendly tech; distinct design details
Could be better:
Some cheap interior bits

Our full 2022 Kia Seltos Review

The surprisingly good Seltos proves you don't have to spend a lot of money for both function and fashion. Its price and exterior dimensions fall in between the subcompact and compact SUV segments, yet it boasts more interior volume than is expected and an abundance of special design details throughout that successfully counter some of the cheaper bits applied to keep the price down. It also looks pretty good, and the available turbocharged engine produces shocking acceleration for this segment. Basically, it provides even more value beyond Kia's usual extra-long features list and warranty. Like the Bronco Sport and CX-30, we'd actually consider the Seltos before many of the compact SUVs that didn't make the cut above.

2021 Mazda CX-30 Grand Touring in gray
2021 Mazda CX-30 Grand Touring in gray

Mazda CX-30

Why it stands out: Luxurious interior; best-in-class driving dynamics
Could be better:
Interior space is more hatchback than SUV; those plastic fender flares have to go

Our full 2022 Mazda CX-30 Review

If the Bronco Sport provides ruggedness and versatility, and the Seltos value and style, the Mazda CX-30 provides driving fun and luxury. We actually consider it a smarter buy than luxury subcompacts like the BMW X2 and Audi Q3, and not just because of its lower price. Its interior doesn't really give up anything to them in terms of luxury or features, and it can actually be more engaging to drive, especially with the new-for-2021 turbo engine. Despite all this luxury talk, though, the CX-30 price still starts in the low $20,000s, and only barely crests $30,000 when fully loaded. Basically, it's a bargain without looking or driving like one.

Volkswagen Taos

Why it stands out: Segment-leading back seat space; huge cargo area; strong power and fuel economy
Could be better:
Pretty bland to drive; looks more rugged than it is

Our full Volkswagen Taos Review

The Taos is the most family friendly of the midcompact SUVs thanks to a back seat that's shockingly big enough to fit rear-facing car seats without scrunching those up front into the dash. There's also a giant cargo area that only falls short of the Bronco Sport, which is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the Taos has more interior space than quite a few compact SUVs that are larger on the outside. When you can get that while enjoying the benefits of a smaller vehicle (better maneuverability and fuel economy, a lower price), that's called a win-win. We also like that the Taos isn't as conservatively styled, inside and out, than other recent made-for-America Volkswagens (Atlas, Passat, Jetta) and has VW's older, more user-friendly interior controls than the maddening ID.4 and GTI. Even its "could be betters" listed above are hardly what we'd call deal breakers. This is a winner.

Best compact SUVs

Honda CR-V

Why it stands out: Best-in-class space, strong-yet-efficient base engine, available hybrid, middle lower LATCH anchor
Could be better: Antiquated and glitchy tech interface, a bit dull

Read our 2022 Honda CR-V Review

Consider the CR-V the baseline for any compact SUV search. Objectively speaking, it's tough to beat due to its massive cargo capacity, voluminous back seat, strong-yet-efficient engines (including the CR-V Hybrid), well-balanced driving dynamics, competitive pricing and features, strong safety ratings and well-regarded reliability. It's easy to see why it continues to be such a best-seller: for the vast majority of compact SUV buyers, and especially families, it checks every box. Of course, people don't make buying decisions based solely on objective criteria, so you may find it dull to look at or drive, be frustrated by its tech interface, or some other reason only you can think of. That's why other choices exist, including the next pair of small SUVs that may satisfy those subjective wants a little better.