As silly as it sounds, overnight sleep in your vehicle could be an intentional or non-intentional event in your life. Sleeping in your vehicle as a part of your journey opens up flexibility and saves you both time and money. Even if you don’t plan to spend the night that way, you are still somewhat exposed to risks of getting lost or being unable to find a motel in the middle of the night.
Regardless of the issue, the necessary preparation won’t be a light one. Aside from survival tools/kits, you need a vehicle that can accommodate you—ideally, an SUV with a large cabin.
Nowadays, even compact crossovers have surprisingly large cabins. They are big enough that you can just fold down the rear seats flat, roll your sleeping mat and blanket, and be cocoon inside. Better yet, they tend to be fuel-efficient and have a touch of off-road capability due to their slightly taller ride height.
So, to help you make the right purchase decision, we have gathered the top-three list of reasonably priced compact crossovers ideal for an overnight sleep.
1. 2021 Honda CR-V
Starting price: $25,350
|Engine||1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine|
|Power||190 hp||Torque||179 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||28/34/30 MPG city/highway/combined|
|Cargo Volume||39 ft3 behind second row, 76 ft3 behind front row|
|Ground Clearance||7.8 inches||Passenger Volume:||106 ft3|
Interior space has always been the CR-V’s strong point, and it is easy to see why. Adopting the largest interior space in its class, the CR-V fits naturally in this list, especially with its tall and wide boxy design providing a very spacious space in the back.
The CR-V lets you fold its rear seats flat with the cargo floor, which is a must for your overnight stay situation. Folding the rear seat is not a chore either, just by pulling a lever accessible on the cargo area.
Although the absence of a cargo power socket and panoramic roof may annoy you, the CR-V is the only crossover in this list that has an optional $400 tent from its accessories lineup. Honda claims the tent sleeps 6 people inside, and they would have full access to the vehicle while inside the tent.
It is also worth noting that going for the hybrid models would slightly reduce the cargo capacity due to the battery placement. We suggest staying with the decently powerful and economical 1.5-liter turbocharged unit for maximum space.
2. 2021 Nissan Rogue
Starting price: $25,750
|Engine||2.5-liter 4-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine|
|Power||181 hp||Torque||181 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||27/35/30 MPG city/highway/combined|
|Cargo Volume||37 ft3 behind second row, 74 ft3 behind front row|
|Ground Clearance||8.2 inches||Passenger Volume:||105 ft3|
The previous-generation Nissan Rogue has already one of the largest cabins in the compact crossover segment. This time, the third-gen model is even bigger. The 105 cubic feet passenger space is a tight rival to the CR-V’s, as well as the similar size cargo space.
Despite being slightly smaller than the CR-V, the Rogue does add the convenience of a power socket in the back for charging a mobile phone or plugging a vacuum cleaner. The interior quality is superior to the CR-V, and so do the reclining rear seats for a more relaxed long journey. Moreover, a panoramic sunroof is also available starting from the SV trim.
Not to forget, with 8.2 inches of ground clearance, the Rogue has the tallest ride height on this list, making it the toughest to go camping out in the wild.
3. 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Starting price: $25,245
|Engine||2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine|
|Power||184 hp||Torque||221 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||23/29/24 MPG city/highway/combined|
|Cargo Volume||12 ft3 behind third row, 33 ft3 behind second row, 66 ft3 behind front row|
|Ground Clearance||7.9 inches||Passenger Volume:||124 ft3|
In other markets, the Tiguan presents itself as a 5-seater crossover with a short wheelbase. Fortunate enough, the U.S. market gets the 7-seater version of the Tiguan with 4.3 inches longer wheelbase, and we think that’s a good thing.
The VW Tiguan is already a handsome and well-built German crossover, making the added practicality particularly welcoming. It’s the only 7-seater in this list, meaning that folding all the back and middle seats create a deep and long flat floor. In fact, despite having the least maximum cargo volume of the bunch, it does provide the longest sleeping area, so you have more space for your head and feet.
Folding the rear seats is also easier by pulling the lever at the side of the trunk; a cargo power socket is available too. Furthermore, going for the SE trim would allow you to add a panoramic sunroof to the mix, enhancing your overnight stay experience.
Although staying in a hotel makes more sense most of the time, camping inside your small SUV can be a fun experience to share with your friends or loved ones. These compact crossovers also prove that you don’t need an expensive full-size SUV or motorhome to get the most out of the interior and fulfill your need for space.
Essentially, you are also looking at the most spacious compact crossovers you can buy at the moment. But, for an overnight stay, our choice still goes to the most spacious of all, the Honda CR-V. Despite lacking the cargo power socket and a panoramic sunroof, the CR-V provides:
the largest maximum cargo space
best fuel economy of the bunch
a handy optional tent accessory
Nonetheless, the Nissan Rogue and Volkswagen Tiguan are still highly recommendable. Some honorable mention also includes Toyota RAV-4 and Subaru Forester with their decent interior space and top-notch reliability record.