If you like the idea of running an SUV, but don’t fancy the running costs or the idea of trying to squeeze one into a city parking space, then a small SUV or compact crossover is just the car for you.
Indeed, it’s one of the fastest growing areas of the car market, and it’s easy to see why.
Here are our top 10 picks of a very competitive bunch.
It might not look like it’ll be up to much dynamically, but the Suzuki Vitara is actually one of the best handling SUVs on the market today. It’s packed with safety kit, too, along with modern driver aids and infotainment systems. It doesn’t have the brand appeal of some of the cars in this group, but the Vitara is a quality product and is also great value.
There are small SUVs that are better made and there are small SUVs that are better screwed together, but there are very few with the character, not to mention the heritage, of the Jeep Renegade. With funky retro-inspired looks and chunky interior details, the Renegade is a car for those who like a bit of fun in their lives.
One of the first true small SUV models, the Nissan Juke is also one of the strangest. The curvaceous roof and chunky profile make it look like nothing else on the road, while the weirdness is carried through to the interior as well. Class-leading safety kit and surprisingly agile road manners are huge plus points, as is the fact that it’s made here in the UK.
The Duster is the cheapest small SUV on the market in the UK, but just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s nasty. Indeed, it’s anything but. Even in its most basic form, the Duster is fun to drive, while the plusher examples offer unbeatable value for money when you look at the standard kit they come equipped with.
You’ll need at least £21k to get behind the wheel of one, but the Audi Q2 is still pretty good value for a small SUV, with excellent quality and refinement. It’s a little cramped, and the looks are subjective, but it’s an inexpensive way of owning both an Audi and an SUV. And those elements make it very hot property indeed.
The latest incarnation of Honda’s HR-V is more of an all-wheel-drive coupe than a compact SUV, but that’s part of its appeal. Its sleek roofline and sloping tailgate give it less of a bulky appearance than most of its rivals, while it also benefits from car like dynamics. It’s a great car, though some of the controls are a little fiddly and the interior a bit plain.
Dynamically, the CX-3 is exceptional, with fabulous steering, a composed ride and terrific levels of grip. As a driver’s car, it’s about as good as a small SUV can get. It’s also quite handsome. The only downside is that it isn’t as practical as some of its rivals, with quite a small boot and limited rear legroom.
For a while, the Renault Captur was arguably the best compact SUV on the market, with striking looks, great dynamics and an impressive standard equipment list. It’s still a very enticing package, while a vibrant colour palette and washable zip-off seat covers are huge selling points, especially for families.
It may have only just been launched, but the Volkswagen T-Roc goes straight into the top two choices here, with attitude-laden styling, great interior design, high levels of build quality and terrific driving characteristics. It’s also practical and laden with high tech features. It’s already available to order, from a very reasonable £20,425 on-the-road.
SEAT’s new Arona is a fantastic package for the small SUV or crossover buyer, offering tremendous value at £16,555 upwards. All models come with Park Assist and keyless start, while both interior and exterior styling are modern and striking. Funky, practical, well made and fun-to-drive, it’s everything a small SUV should be – and more.
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