Record number of SUV choices for 2020, from hybrids to luxury models

A new compact SUV has arrived for 2020 with a name that is far from new: Ford Escape. It was nearly 20 years ago that the first Escape debuted at the 2000 Detroit Auto Show, getting an early start to the compact crossover segment. For this latest go-round, a return to optional hybrid power, which had been missing from the Escape for some time, even though it was the first SUV in its class to offer it many years ago. The base Ford Escape is priced around $25,000 while the hybrid version starts at just over $28,000.

Hybrid compact SUVs will be plentiful this year. Not just the Escape, in hybrid and plug-in hybrid (or PHEV) form, but now Honda is adding a hybrid option to its wildly popular CR-V model. And Toyota continues with hybrid power on the RAV4 if you want it, as well as a PHEV version coming along soon.

As SUVs become the dominant force in the passenger car arena, more choices for 2020, and in the coming years.

As an example, BMW now has the following SUVs (it calls them "Sports Activity Vehicles") in its lineup: X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7. Long-time German rival Mercedes-Benz has added the new GLB compact for 2020, so that's now crammed into a big SUV lineup as well. You can now get a Mercedes GLA, GLB, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS, and the big blocky one simply called the G.

That newest Benz, the GLB250, could be a big hit. Reasonably priced (starting at $36,600), compact on the outside, but surprisingly roomy inside. There's even an option for a third row of seating, though this would be a 7-seater for seven pretty small people.

Oh, and it's not just the upscale brands that are adding models. The compact Seltos, Kia's newest entry. It's not replacing anything in the brand's lineup, but serving as an additional choice, slotting in between the Soul and the Sportage.

"I remember vividly when I first heard about this vehicle, I thought 'How's it going to fit in? Is there more room?' and since that time, there's definitely room," said James Bell, director of corporate communications and public relations for Irvine-based Kia Motors America.

The Seltos, with a base price of around $22,000, bears a slight resemblance to the big Telluride, which has been a home run for Kia so far. This one should do well, even in the crowded arena of compact SUVs.

The SUV arena is crowded overall too. But as buyers continue to choose them, auto makers will keep adding more and more.
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