10 Best 4-Cylinder SUVs for 2020

The trends in the automobile industry seem to be changing lately. Engine size is probably far from being the most important feature for most potential car buyers, as it seemingly used to be a few decades back. Instead, there seem to have emerged a few new trends currently, and one of them is 4-cylinder SUVs, which seem to be growing increasingly popular lately.

In fact, many manufacturers don’t seem to bother focusing on V-6 engines anymore, and instead, prefer turbocharged fuel-efficient engines that are believed to offer a better balance of power and gas mileage.

With that being said, the 4-cylinder SUVs definitely seem to be one of the best types of vehicles to go for when it comes to entry-level SUVs. However, as all the technical details may get overwhelming and leave you confused, here’s a 4-cylinder SUV list that talks about some of the best options in the segment.

2018 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V has been one of the most popular SUVs on the market in recent years, and the 2018 model is keeping that trend alive. The 2018 Honda CR-V is one of the highest-rated compact SUVs, boasts incredible safety and reliability scores, and is an all-around star of its class. The base model sets you up with a 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. With this engine, you’ll be getting 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. If you buy any trim above the base, you’ll be getting a 190-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder with a lot more pep.

The great fuel economy, mixed with a quality driving experience, work together to create an SUV that’s perfect for daily driving. If you’re doing a lot of travelling, whether alone or with the family, the CR-V has you covered as well. With plenty of space for both passengers and cargo, this SUV is sure to deliver an amazing road trip experience for everybody! Unfortunately, the 2018 CR-V doesn’t come with many standard features, but because of its affordable price tag, you can easily get some nice additions if you need them.

2018 Ford Escape

The Ford Escape has always been a major competitor for SUVs, and the 2018 model is no different. With three different engine options to choose from, you’ll be satisfied with your purchase regardless of your budget. The base model comes with a 168-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which shouldn’t give you any problems. If you decide to upgrade, you can pick one of the next two trims up which offer a 179-horsepower turbocharged engine, giving you 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The final engine option is a 245-horsepower turbo-four, but it can only be found in the Titanium trim, which is the highest available.

The SUV handles extremely well for its size, and it comes with great safety and reliability scores. The interior is luxurious and comfortable, especially if you go for one of the higher trims. If you’re looking for plenty of cargo space, a lot of power, and a comfortable ride every time, the 2018 Ford Escape certainly won’t disappoint you.

2019 Kia Sportage

The 2019 Kia Sportage comes fitted with a 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine and gives drivers 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. While this isn’t the most powerful engine available, it will certainly get the job done well. If you feel like you need more power, the option to upgrade to a 240-horsepower turbocharged engine is available with the SX Turbo trim.

The Sportage performs well with both engines, with agile handling and good acceleration. As with most modern Sportage models, the compact SUV has phenomenal safety and reliability scores. This is an all-around great pick for an SUV as it offers comfort, speed, space, and a bit of luxury to go along with it.

2018 GMC Terrain

The base model of the 2018 GMC Terrain comes with a 170-horsepower turbo-four engine, and while it wouldn’t be called a bad engine, it definitely feels a bit underwhelming. If you go with the Terrain SLE trim and upgrade the engine, you’ll get a beefy 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, which feels much better under the hood. It will cost you a bit extra, but you’ll still be able to keep the price tag under $30,000.

The upgraded engine comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission while getting 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. This isn’t the most fuel-efficient car on the list, but the interior has plenty of great features that come standard. If the fuel economy doesn’t matter to you, the GMC Terrain has plenty of cargo room, a high-reliability rating, and a lot of space for passengers.

2018 Hyundai Kona Limited

The 2018 Hyundai Kona Limited trim easily beats out the standard Hyundai Kona. The base trim comes with a 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and it’s honestly pretty disappointing. The Kona Limited trim will set you up with a 175-horsepower turbo-four pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It has a lot more speed, great acceleration, and will still give you 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

The agility and speed of the Limited trim make the SUV ideal for people who prefer the feeling of driving sedans, but the smaller size of the Kona Limited creates less cargo space compared to competitors. Aside from limited space, the vehicle also comes with a quality infotainment system, a good reliability rating, and a very comfortable interior.

2018 Subaru Forester

If you’re trying to pick up a base model of the 2018 Subaru Forester, you can look forward to a 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine, as well as 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. If you don’t like the sound of that, you can bump yourself up to a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine, but the upgrade is only available in higher-level trims that are a few thousand dollars more expensive. The Forester comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, with the option to go with a continuously variable automatic transmission instead.

With a good fuel economy, great scores in safety, and all-wheel drive standard, this is a solid pick. If you’re doing a lot of traveling and never want to rent a vehicle for a road trip, the Subaru Forester has plenty of leg room for everybody, and the expanded cargo capacity is enough to fit all your suitcases.

2018 Hyundai Tucson

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson doesn’t reach its full potential until you start moving up the trim list a little bit. The lower-end trims will offer you a 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine, while the two highest trims will give you a 175-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The turbocharged engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and offers drivers plenty of speed and acceleration.

The Tucson doesn’t have much for standard features when compared to other compact SUVs, but it has incredible safety and reliability scores, as well as a top-of-the-line warranty. If you do move up to the higher trims (which I really recommend that you do), you’ll also be getting yourself a hands-free liftgate and a panoramic sunroof. You’ll also be looking at a decent fuel economy, with 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

2018 Kia Niro

The 2018 Kia Niro is a dream SUV for buyers looking for phenomenal fuel economy. The Niro is powered by the combination of a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, producing 139 horsepower. Together, the two are able to give the SUV quite a bit a zip, especially when driving in Niro Sport mode. The vehicle is able to get an incredible 51 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway, while a plug-in hybrid variation is also available.

The Kia Niro has plenty of room for its size, is one of the top-ranked in its class for fuel economy, and an all-electric version will be coming out later this year. With a high rating in reliability and good safety scores, the Niro is a phenomenal option for buyers who travel often or deal with long commutes.

2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Although the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid might not have as good a fuel economy as the 2018 Kia Niro, it’s still close to the top of the list. The all-wheel-drive vehicle comes with a four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that work together to produce 194 horsepower, which is a bit more than the non-hybrid version of the car. For fuel economy, you’re looking at 34 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is certainly nothing to scoff at. It has good speed and acceleration, despite being a hybrid, but the engine does get a bit noisy when you’re pushing the SUV’s limits.

The RAV4 Hybrid’s design gives buyers plenty of cargo space, a comfortable interior with room for all passengers, and a high-reliability rating. In addition, the SUV has a plethora of driver assistance technology, making highway driving an absolute breeze. This is a great pick for buyers who are new to driving SUV’s.

2019 Chevrolet Equinox

The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder base engine, capable of producing 170 horsepower, as well as a six-speed automatic transmission. With the base model, you’re looking at 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, giving it an average fuel economy compared to other SUVs. The Equinox also comes with the LT trim option, giving you a fuel-efficient 137-horsepower turbodiesel engine for an additional $2,400 or a more powerful 252-horsepower turbo-four engine for $2,500.

Your travelling habits and lifestyle will obviously play a major role in whether or not you put an emphasis on fuel economy with the engine choices, but they’re all extremely solid four-cylinder options. Engine aside, the Equinox also comes with Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a touch screen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. If you’re looking to teach somebody to drive in the near future, the Equinox also comes with GM’s Teen Driver safety system, which ensures all safety features of the car are enabled and even gives the driver report cards that track seatbelt usage, speed management, and braking efficiency. The Equinox seats five has plenty of room and is a good choice for SUV drivers.

Article Updated: January 3, 2020