Santa may have his magical flying sleigh, but even Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick would be jealous of these stylish subcompact crossovers and their surprising present-carrying ability. Models like the Fiat 500x, which we examine in more detail below, might seem small, but a spacious cargo area combined with folding seats means it has no problem hauling a serious shopping spree. And as a bonus, the junior footprint means they’re better on fuel and a hoot to drive, too. Check out three of our favorites below.
It was only a matter of time before even the auto manufacturer selling the tiniest products on the market was going to upsize. And that’s exactly what happened in 2015 when Fiat released the 500X, a shrunken SUV version of the popular diminutive three-door hatchback. It’s not all form and no function here, however. Thanks to the boxy shape, over 30 cubic-feet of storage capacity is available once the rear seats are flipped down. When carrying all those gifts home, opt for the windy side road route because the grade-topping trim boasts a 2.4-liter turbocharged mill producing 180 horsepower and a grippy all-wheel drive system, all while delivering 26 MPG of fuel economy in the city and 36 on the highway. Delightfully, a six-speed manual transmission is also optional for customers choosing the 1.4-liter powertrain.
Subaru likes to say it was ahead of the curve with the whole mini crossover thing when they launched the Crosstrek five years ago. The essentially jacked-up Impreza might be stretching the definition of the segment, but it nevertheless is very much a vehicle that does almost everything. The Crosstrek features the company’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, BOXER engine configuration offering a lower center of gravity for better handling, and 8.7-inches of ground clearance so drivers can get to their destinations regardless of the road conditions. Standard roof rails are a nice touch for those items that simply won’t fit in the back (think Christmas tree), and the included pull-out privacy cover is a great way to keep prying eyes from precious on-board goodies.
Choosing to go subcompact doesn’t mean having to give up creature comforts and premium looks. BMW’s X1 is an affordable luxury so-called “Sports Activity Vehicle,” and attributes such as the long hood and wheelbase, large 18-inch alloy wheels, flared arches, and rugged body cladding certainly lend credence to the nickname. Inside, the leather-wrapped surfaces and upscale materials are classic BMW. Like all SUVs, the rear bench folds — 1° away from being completely flat — and has the added versatility of reclining as well, providing next-level passenger comfort. In the fully stowed position, 47.7 cubic-feet is ready and waiting to swallow up anything from two 46-inch golf bags stowed lengthwise to skis, snowboards, televisions, and anything else the job requires this holiday season. The X1 is no slouch either: the xDrive35i, exclusive to North America, churns out 300 horsepower via a twin-turbo inline six cylinder.