If you want a small car with a small price tag, several automakers have rolled out an affordable new breed of vehicle they're marketing to millennials.
Prices for these subcompact SUVs start at around 20-thousand dollars. Consumer reports has checked out four of them.
The Jeep Renegade sets itself apart with boxy styling and is the only subcompact SUV that Consumer Reports found is competent off-road. Unfortunately, the Renegade's ride proved choppy and its acceleration slow.
The Chevrolet Trax delivers decent fuel economy at 25 miles per gallon, but it's also slow and noisy with a bouncy ride.
"These subcompact SUVs are built on the same platform as cheap, small hatchbacks," said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports' Cars Editor. "That's great for keeping the price down, but it also can hurt performance."
And once you start adding popular features like all-wheel drive and a backup camera, prices for the Renegade and Trax jump to around $26,000.
"For that kind of money, you're probably better off getting a top-rated Subaru Forester or a Toyota RAV4," Rechtin said. "They have more room, they have more power, and similarly equipped, they cost around $27,000."
How about the Honda HR-V? You can get a well-equipped version for around $22,000. It fared better in Consumer Reports' tests, though it still lacks refinement and has an uncomfortable ride.
But keep your eyes open for the Mazda CX-3, which will be hitting showrooms soon. On an initial drive in a borrowed prototype, Consumer Reports' engineers were very impressed with how fun it is to drive.
The Mazda CX-3 will cost about $23,000 for mid-level trim and $26,000 fully loaded. Consumer reports' ratings will be available later this year.