1. 2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0i sedan manual, $19,355
Subaru might only be second to Audi in staking its reputation on the virtues of all-wheel drive (as well as many other values). In fact, all but one Subaru model in the U.S. comes standard with four driven wheels; the exception being, of course, the racy BRZ sports coupe. The most affordable of all Subarus is the Impreza, which starts at $19,355 in sedan form or $19,855 for the slightly more practical hatchback. Both of those prices, however, reflect the base trim level with a manual transmission; as with all of the cars on this list, you might need to pay more to get a more highly equipped model. The Impreza is all-new for 2018, and as we’ve written in our reviews, it’s a big improvement over the 2017 car.
3. 2018 Jeep Renegade
The least expensive new Jeep on the road is also one of the cheapest turbocharged vehicles you can buy. The Renegade compact crossover comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. For this price, it comes with a six-speed manual and front-wheel drive.
The Renegade shares a lot of parts with the Fiat 500x, but the Jeep comes at a lower price. It's arguably the better looking one of the pair, too.
3. 2018 Mazda CX-3 Sport, $22,300
In a lot of objective measures, the CX-3 crossover falls behind the Mazda3 hatchback: the CX-3 has less back-seat space, less cargo room, a higher starting price, and worse fuel economy. Yet its huge advantage is that it offers all-wheel drive, and for a very reasonable price. Pluses to the CX-3 experience include some of the best interior and exterior styling in the subcompact crossover class, plus a rather sporty driving experience from behind the wheel.
4. 2018 Ford EcoSport S 2.0L, $22,490
Ford is late to the subcompact crossover game in the U.S., although its EcoSport (pronounced “echo-sport”) has been available overseas for some time. The new model, which borrows much of its design from the larger Escape, will be built in India for the U.S. market. Though the base engine is a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, all-wheel drive can only be had on the optional, non-turbo 2.0-liter inline-four engine. As of writing, the EcoSport still has not reached dealerships, even though it was shown over a year ago at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show; Ford promises it’ll be available in early 2018.
6. 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i manual, $22,710
The Crosstrek is, essentially, a lifted-up and more rugged version of the aforementioned Subaru Impreza hatchback, albeit with unique bodywork and a more sloped rear window. It’s a fun and funky small crossover that we really enjoyed testing on dirt roads, finding the Crosstrek to be both practical and affordable. This base price is for the manual transmission; optioning the continuously variable transmission that will doubtless appeal to more shoppers costs $23,710.
7. 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i, $23,055
Subaru scores a hat-trick on this list with the Legacy, the company’s handsome midsize sedan that comes standard with AWD. That makes it a standout choice, as very few modern midsizers offer AWD even as an option. This price applies to the base 2.5-liter flat-four engine, which offers up a generous 175 hp and healthy EPA ratings of 25 miles per gallon city / 34 mpg highway. There’s also a 3.6-liter flat-six on offer, which dishes out an impressive 256 hp, though fuel economy falls to 20/28 mpg.
9. 2018 Chevrolet Trax LS, $23,495
Chevrolet’s foray into the subcompact crossover realm is the Trax, an affordable and reasonably well equipped model that’s related to the more luxurious (and thus more expensive) Buick Encore. While not necessarily our favorite entry in the class, the Trax delivers a lot of functionality for a reasonable price. It can even be dressed up in a glitzy, chrome-laden Premier trim level if you’re willing to spend more money.
10. 2018 Jeep Compass Sport, $23,590
The all-new Jeep Compass is a huge improvement over its predecessor, and it’s plenty capable in foul weather, too, thanks to the availability of all-wheel drive. Though this entry price applies only to the base Sport trim level, buyers can also option the crossover up in Latitude and Limited trims, as well as the more off-road-ready Trailhawk configuration.
10 / 10