2013 Chevrolet Trax vs 2013 Kia Sportage vs 2013 Mitsubishi RVR vs
2013 Nissan Juke vs 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

Comparison Test: Mini-Crossovers
Comparison Test: Mini-Crossovers. Click image to enlarge
Related articles
Comparison Test: Compact Crossovers, Round Two
Test Drive: 2013 Kia Sportage SX
First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Trax
Long-Term Update 2: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
Test Drive: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE

Manufacturers’ Websites
Chevrolet Canada
Kia Canada
Mitsubishi Canada
Nissan Canada
Subaru Canada

Review and photos by Autos.ca staff

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Comparison Test: Mini-Crossovers

Introduction, by Peter Bleakney

To paraphrase Mr. F. Gump, booking vehicles for a comparison test is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.

The original inspiration for this comparison was to bring together the more diminutive and nimble offerings in the SUV/CUV segment, and with their smaller dimensions we expected smaller price tags. Cheap and funky fun.

Not so fast, KD-breath.

It seems our manufacturers were positioning their subcompact SUV press vehicles further up the price ladder. The first clue was the Chevy Trax LTZ with all-wheel drive and an as-tested sticker of $32,195. A far cry from its front-drive $18,495 base price.

The Nissan Juke was similarly juiced up with navigation and leather, and rang in at $31,373.

Time to change strategy. How about a comparison of puny utes with premium aspirations? Yeah, that’s it.

We scored a comprehensively equipped Mitsubishi RVR – it was the most expensive of this group with an eye-widening tag of $34,108. Kia scared up a very red and moderately loaded Sportage for $31,895, although it lacked navigation, leather and a sunroof. We invited the larger Kia because we wanted to have something at the smaller end of the traditional compact SUV segment to see if its practicality would trump the others’ attributes, and our previous Crossover Comparison winner, the Volkswagen Tiguan, was add yet another price factor.

Subaru didn’t have the more upscale XV Crosstrek Limited in its fleet, but not wanting to miss out on the fun they kindly provided a just-sold and yet-to-be-delivered customer car in an interesting Desert Khaki over black leather.

No Mini Countryman? A mildly optioned base Cooper would have fit the bill, but we’ll see a paisley unicorn before we see a mildly optioned BMW press vehicle. The Cooper S ALL4s we’ve tested would have been a conceptual match but they’re on the wrong side of 40 grand, much like the Tiguan Highline was.

Comparison Test: Mini-CrossoversComparison Test: Mini-Crossovers
Comparison Test: Mini-Crossovers. Click image to enlarge

Nonetheless, this was a very diverse group. We universally loved the look of the stylin’ Kia, yet the Juke, which can be fairly described as the demented love-child of a crocodile and a gummy bear, had us divided like the Hatfields and the McCoys.

There were more surprises in store. Halfway through the test day the Trax suffered a random malfunction that rendered it undrivable. This is the stuff of PR nightmares. However, GM delivered a replacement vehicle for us toute suite, and in a weird way this whole thing may have played in the Trax’s favour.

The original Trax was saddled with an unfortunate two-tone rental-car gray interior that looked horribly cheap and accentuated the large and uneven panel gaps. The replacement was all black, imparting a considerably more upscale ambiance. It completely changed the interior ratings and overall feel of the car for this writer.

Read on to see how this battle of the Tiny Tots played out.

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