Thanks to today's high gas prices, 4-cylinder SUVs are becoming a popular choice for their combination of versatile utility and fuel efficiency. Here are some of the most popular compact SUVs and Crossovers on the market for 2012, in alphabetical order by make, as well as a complete list of vehicles that fit in this category.

Chevy Equinox

This five-passenger crossover, in its second generation, earns rave reviews for its style, refinement, comfort, and roomy backseat. However, cargo space is limited, and the steering and controls feel awkward.

The Equinox is powered by a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter flex-fuel engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as well. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg city/32 highway with front-wheel drive and 20/29 for all-wheel drive.

Depending on the trim level chosen, notable features include heated power side mirrors, wheel locks, pass-through rear seat, remote starter, rearview camera, power sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, memory for driver's seat and mirrors, and navigation system. The standard audio system features a CD/MP3 player, six speakers, and satellite radio; this can be swapped for an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with iPod/USB interface and a touchscreen. Chevrolet eliminated the DVD system for this model year. MSRP starts at $23,450.

Chevrolet Equinox(80884)
Credit: © GM Company.

GMC Terrain

This cousin to the Chevy Equinox also seats five passengers. The Terrain wows reviewers with its spacious backseat, sophisticated ride, plentiful features, and attractive, quiet cabin. However, cargo space, visibility, and steering are lacking.

Power is generated by a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic gearbox. Optional upgrades provide the ability to accept flex fuel or to use all-wheel drive. Towing capacity is 1,500 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg city/32 highway for the front-wheel drive and 20/29 with all-wheel drive; however, some reviewers have been unable to reproduce such fuel efficiency during test drives.

Notable features include an engine block heater, heated side mirrors, power sunroof, power liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rearview camera, navigation system, heated front seats, remote starter, Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, and IntelliLink. The standard audio system consists of six speakers, CD player, USB port, and satellite radio; this can be upgraded to a Pioneer audio system with eight speakers and a touchscreen navigation system. Additionally, a rear DVD system can be added. MSRP starts at $25,560.

GMC Terrain
Credit: © GM Company.

Ford Escape

Also a five-passenger compact SUV, the Ford Escape offers a hit with its numerous high-tech features and automated parking, but it misses with the poor refinement and functionality compared to competitors.

The standard options are a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 171 horsepower and front-wheel drive. A choice is given between a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive and a hybrid four-cylinder engine are offered as well. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city/28 highway for front-wheel drive, 20/26 for all-wheel drive, 34/31 for the front-wheel drive hybrid, and 30/27 for the all-wheel drive hybrid.

Available features include liftgate flip-up glass, integrated side step bars, power moonroof, heated side mirrors, rearview camera, Active Park Assist, reverse sensing system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, battery saver, split folding rear bench seat, retractable cargo cover, eco-friendly seats, remote starter, heated front seats, navigation system, and dual-zone automatic climate control. For entertainment, passengers can enjoy the four-speaker CD sound system, satellite radio, and voice-activated SYNC. MSRP begins at $21,440.

Honda CR-V

As one of the first small crossovers on the market, the five-passenger CR-V has built a solid reputation for its well-rounded offering, family friendly features, spaciousness, agile handling, and admirable safety record. The firm ride quality and elevated road noise might detract from the vehicle's luxury and power for some drivers, but many reviewers feel that these are minor issues.

The CR-V is powered by an in-line 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed automatic gearbox. Both front and all-wheel drive are available. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city/28 highway for the front-wheel drive and 21/27 with all-wheel drive.

Significant features include folding power side mirrors, power moonroof, retractable center tray table, split folding/reclining second-row seats, trip computer, Maintenance Minder System, dual deck cargo shelf, dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver's seat, heated leather seats, navigation system, voice recognition, and rearview camera. A four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with speed-sensitive volume control can be upgraded to a six-disc in-dash audio system with seven speakers and satellite radio. MSRP begins at $22,295.

Toyota RAV4

Another founder of the compact crossover segment, the standard RAV4 seats five passengers; an optional third-row expands the load to seven, a rare feature among this class. Reviewers praise its refined driving quality, spaciousness, and ease of converting between a passenger vehicle and cargo hauler. Some report that the cargo door feels awkward though, and the interior quality lags behind that of competitors.

The RAV4 is driven by a 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic gearbox. A choice of front and all-wheel drive is offered. Fuel economy rates at 22 mpg city/28 highway for the front-wheel drive and 21/27 with all-wheel drive.

Notable features include power side mirrors, a side-opening rear door with hold-open feature, Hill Start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control, power moonroof, split folding second-row seat, trip computer, second-row one-touch fold-flat levers, split folding third-row seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror with incorporated backup camera monitor, navigation system, heated leather seats, and power driver's seat. A six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system comes standard; this can be traded for a nine-speaker 6-disc CD changer system with satellite radio. MSRP starts at $22,650.

VW Tiguan

This five-seater earns praise for its sophisticated handling, turbocharged engine, and upscale interior. Drawbacks include small cargo space and high pricing.

The Tiguan is powered by a turbocharged 200-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine used with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard but can be swapped out for all-wheel drive. Rated fuel economy ranges from 18 mpg city/26 highway for the front-wheel drive base model with a manual transmission to 22/27 for the automatic front-wheel drive.

The features of most interest include heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, tinted and heat-insulated glass, heated windshield washer nozzles, power panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, mirror and driver's seat memory, brake pad wear indicator, split folding rear seat with backrest adjustment, multi-function trip computer, heated leather seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, navigation system, and rearview camera. The audio system offers eight speakers, a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, and a touchscreen interface. An optional upgrade substitutes the Dynaudio premium sound system. MSRP begins at $22,840.

Complete List of 4 Cylinder SUVs

Below you can find a list of all the currently (2012) available 4 cylinder SUVs and Crossovers.

4 Cylinder SUVs and Crossovers
Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford Escape
Nissan Juke
Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Honda CR-V
Hyundai Tucson
Jeep Compass
Jeep Patriot
Nissan Rogue
Chevrolet Equinox
GMC Terrain
Kia Sorento
Kia Sportage
Subaru Outback
VW Tiguan
Ford Edge
Chevrolet Captiva
Ford Explorer
Hyundai Santa Fe
Audi Q5
Mazda CX-7
Toyota Highlander
Dodge Journey
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Acura RDX
Land Rover Evoque