Top 10 SUVs in Canada (a buying guide)

Tyler Wade
by Tyler Wade June 28, 2019 / No Comments

Thinking about buying an SUV? The top ten SUVs in Canada is a great place to start your research, but car buying is so much more than a simple list. What fits your budget? What suits your style? For those reasons, we put together a buying guide showing you the top ten SUVs in Canada and then break it down by cost categories including base price, fuel efficiency, and car insurance. Our goal at Ratehub.ca is to help you choose better, we hope this article helps you do that.

A quick note: While SUVs and Crossovers are different, there is a lot of grey area. The purest explanation is a crossover is built on a car chassis and not necessarily designed to go off-roading, whereas an SUV is built on a truck chassis and designed to go off-road. It used to be the term SUV made people think of a bulky vehicle with poor fuel efficiency. For that reason, many automakers started using the term “crossover” to market a more compact, gas-friendly version of the SUV. For that reason, our list is made up of both SUVs and crossovers since shoppers are often looking at both.

Best Selling SUVs in Canada 2019

 

  1. Toyota RAV4
  2. Honda CRV
  3. Ford Escape
  4. Jeep Wrangler
  5. Nissan Rogue
  6. Mazda CX-5
  7. Hyundai Kona
  8. Hyundai Tucson
  9. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  10. Volkswagen Tiguan

*according to wheels.ca

That’s just the list of the best selling SUVs in Canada, but, as promised, we’re going to dig deeper. Let’s start by rearranging this best sellers list on price. To keep our test fair, we’re going to look at the base model price. As you might have already guessed, the Hyundai Kona is a younger sibling of the Hyundai Tucson, and therefore the price is lower. However, because this is a buying guide, base model costs are a significant factor in your buying decision.


The cheapest SUVs in Canada

 

Model Base Price in CAD
Hyundai Kona Essential $21,099
Hyundai Tucson Essential $25,599
Ford Escape S $25,889
Nissan Rogue S $26,898
Toyota RAV4 LE FWD $27,990
Volkswagen Tiguan Trendline $29,225
Honda CRV LX-2WD $29,616
Mazda CX-5 GX $29,876
Jeep Wrangler Sport $33,695
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo $38,499

As suspected, the Hyundai crossover comes in at the lowest price, but it’s interesting to see the Tucson is the next most affordable. Hyundai is doing something correct here. However, remember these are base prices. This does not include all-wheel drive (AWD), all-leather interiors, so it’s not all you could possibly get with any of the vehicles. But, comparing them at their core is important because, without all the potential upgrades, and your rough budget is $30,000, well, you just crossed about half of these vehicles off the list.

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Of the top ten, that also make the list of the cheapest SUVs in Canada are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-5, and the pair of Hyundai’s. However, if you’re only looking at the cheapest SUV in Canada, then the Kia Soul, Chevrolet Trax, and the Nissan Kicks should be high on your list.

The Kia Soul and the Nissan Kicks are also great on gas. But, which one of the best selling SUVs in Canada is friendliest at the pump? Of course, the Kona has an all-electric version available which would obviously crush the competition in this category, but again, we’re looking at base models. So we ask the question, which SUV is the best on gas in Canada? Let’s look at the results.


The most fuel-efficient SUV in Canada

Model Kilometre per litre (combined hwy+city)
Honda CRV LX-2WD 7.8 L/100 km
Toyota RAV4 LE FWD 7.9-8.3 L/100 km
Hyundai Kona Essential 7.9-8.5 L/100 km
Nissan Rogue S 8.2 L/100 km
Mazda CX-5 GX 8.6-9.2 L/100 km
Hyundai Tucson Essential 9.1 L/100 km
Volkswagen Tiguan Trendline 9.5-9.8 L/100 km
Ford Escape S 10.2 L/100 km
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 11 L/100 km
Jeep Wrangler Sport 12 L/100 km

Now, if your number one priority is fuel efficiency, there are better options, but hey didn’t make the best sellers list. The most fuel-efficient SUVs are the Nissan Kicks, followed by the Lexus UX200, and then the Kia Soul. Honda’s HRV is next on the list of most fuel-efficient cars, but its big brother, The Honda CRV, ranks 4th for the most fuel-efficient SUV in Canada and it’s also in our best seller category, so it wins in this regard.

While gas prices are again on the rise, vehicles are adapting and becoming more fuel efficient. Arguably, the most significant monthly expenditure on your vehicle isn’t gas anymore, but the cost of insurance. If you’re filling up for $100 a month, then it’s likely cheaper than insurance, which is why shopping for car insurance quotes should be a bigger priority over hunting for fuel efficiency.

With that in mind, let’s look at insurance. Insurance varies by location (postal codes can make a difference), demographics like age and gender, and of course, the vehicle itself. Since we’re only looking at the SUVs themselves, we’ll eliminate the noise, create a control, and figure out which SUV is cheapest to insure.

Our control, in this example, is a 30-year-old female, with a clean driving record, living in the suburbs just outside of Ottawa. We’re going to pick a comprehensive auto insurance quote that includes comprehensive, collision, and $1 million in third-party liability. It’s her first time getting insurance, meaning she has no history, so her rates may be slightly higher.


Cheapest SUV in Canada to insure

Model

Best Ontario car insurance quote

Mazda CX-5 GX

$133/month

Hyundai Tucson Essential

$137/month

Hyundai Kona Essential

$138/month

Jeep Wrangler Sport

$204/month

Honda CRV LX-2WD

$231/month

Volkswagen Tiguan Trendline

$257/month

Nissan Rogue S

$260/month

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

$265/month

Toyota RAV4 LE FWD

$270/month

Ford Escape S

$280/month

The winner in the insurance category of Ontario car insurance quotes goes to the Mazda CX-5 GX

cheapest-suv-in-canada-to-insure

Mazda CX-5 GX

The car you choose carries with it some insurance factors. The more the vehicle is stolen, the higher the insurance price because there is a greater associated risk. The more claims against the car, the more your insurance will cost. It sounds odd, but think of it this way – a minivan costs less to insure than a 4 door sedan, why? The drivers of a minivan are often safer, more defensive drivers because they’re typically carrying family members.

If you’re wondering which cars have a high number of claims against them, you can look it up with the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s “CLEAR” table for collision, comprehensive, and direct compensation property damage (DCPD) to see which cars may have cheaper insurance.

On the topic of claims, another factor you might consider in your purchase is the safety of the car. A safer car, one with more sensors, more cameras and other safety technology should reduce your chances of getting into an accident which may force you to make a claim. That said, let’s look at SUVs with the highest safety ratings.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) uses two factors when it comes to safety. For one, they look at “crashworthiness,” or how well a vehicle protects its driver and passengers in a crash. The other factor is  “crash avoidance and mitigation,” which, as I mentioned earlier, is the technology that could help prevent a collision. Let’s look at how the top ten SUVs in Canada did with their IIHS safety ratings. With this list, it’s black or white. Even if they are a safe car, if they didn’t get a top safety pick, they’re not on the list.

 


The safest SUVs in Canada 2019

  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Honda CR-V

safest-suvs-in-canada

Hopefully, this list helps you choose better when shopping for a top ten SUV in Canada.

For those skimming, I thought I’d add one more factor to help narrow your decision.

Let’s look at all these lists – the cheapest to buy, the most fuel-efficient, the cheapest insurance, and one of the highest safety picks and decide which of the top ten SUVs in Canada is the best to buy. We’ve removed the idea of purchasing a “lemon.” No matter what SUV you buy, of any mentioned in the list, you’re making a smart choice, but at the end of it all, which is the best SUV to buy in Canada?

I created a point system – 10 points for a #1 position, 9 points for a #2, all the way down to 1 point for a #10 spot. A bonus point was given to to the safest SUVs. Here’s the breakdown.


Best SUV to buy in Canada

 

Model

Points

Total

Hyundai Kona Essential Cost:10
Gas:8
Insurance:8
Safety:1

27

Hyundai Tucson Essential

Cost:9
Gas:5
Insurance:9
Safety:1

24

Honda CRV LX-2WD

Cost:4
Gas:10
Insurance:6
Safety:1

21

Mazda CX-5 GX

Cost:3
Gas:6
Insurance:10
Safety:1

20

Nissan Rogue S

Cost: 7
Gas: 7
Insurance: 4

18

Toyota Rav4 LE FWD

Cost:6
Gas:9
Insurance:2

17

Volkswagen Tiguan Trendline

Cost:5
Gas:4
Insurance:5

14

Ford Escape S

Cost: 8
Gas:3
Insurance: 1

12

Jeep Wrangler Sport

Cost:2
Gas:1
Insurance:7

10

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

Cost:1
Gas:2
Insurance:3

6

The bottom line

Hyundai has made steady improvements over the years. The Kona essential is more of a crossover than an SUV, but its bigger brother, the Tucson is with it at the top. I wonder where the Kona Electric will rank in a best selling electric cars list? I know the point system is a little skewed. We’re looking at overall pricing (a $20,000-$40,000 factor), against insurance and gas (a $50-$100 factor), so it’s not entirely fair. With all the information presented, the idea is you can choose better for yourself. If you really want the style factor of the Wrangler or the power of the Volkswagen, so be it. Remember, they are still the top ten SUVs in Canada. It’d be hard to call any of them the wrong choice. Go out and test drive which ones are your favourites and let us know what you like best.

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Top Ten SUVs in Canada (a buying guide)
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