Best small SUVs 2020

Thinking of buying a small SUV? Then make sure you read our countdown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector, as well as the ones to avoid...


Author Avatar
What Car? team

Small SUVs are among the most popular cars on sale, because they usually offer the high-set driving position, practicality and muscular looks of more traditional off-roaders, but without the high purchase price or running costs. 

Here, we count down the top 10 you can currently buy – and reveal the small SUVs that are best to steer clear of. You'll see plenty of popular names here, including the car which started the small SUV craze, the Nissan Juke, as well as models from Audi, Ford and Volkswagen among others.

Finally, don't forget, if you decide one of the cars featured here is just what you're looking for, you could potentially save thousands without any haggling by using our New Car Buying service. You'll find links to our latest deals with each car.

10

Suzuki Vitara

What Car? Target Price from

£18,179

RRP from £21,758 to £26,559

Compare deals Save up to £3,710 with What Car?

The Vitara is roomier than a number of more expensive rivals, with a decent boot and enough space for adults in the back seats. It’s well equipped, too: our recommended SZ4 trim gets Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio, all-round electric windows and alloy wheels, plus luxuries such as cruise control and climate control. There's only one engine offered in the Vitara, a 1.4-litre petrol, but fortunately, it's a good one.

Read our review

Pros

  • Cheaper versions represent excellent value for money
  • Mild-hybrid engine provides decent performance
  • Spacious and practical interior

Cons

  • Interior quality beaten by rivals
  • Entry-level Infotainment system is basic
  • So-so resale values
  • Panoramic roof seriously restricts headroom
9

Honda HR-V

What Car? Target Price from

£19,694

RRP from £20,735 to £29,670

Compare deals Save up to £1,492 with What Car?

The HR-V might look expensive next to many of its small SUV rivals, but healthy discounts are available and it combines good interior space with clever folding seats and tidy handling. Go for the 1.5-litre petrol engine and you'll have plenty of power for pootling around town, while our favourite SE trim means you're well covered for goodies.

Read our review

Pros

  • Interior and boot space
  • Flexible seating
  • Tidy handling

Cons

  • Engine refinement
  • Expensive compared to best rivals
  • CVT gearbox
8

Kia Stonic

What Car? Target Price from

£16,741

RRP from £17,800 to £21,800

Compare deals Save up to £1,308 with What Car?

The Stonic is the smallest SUV in Kia’s extensive range, and although it's only available in front-wheel drive form, it does have a slightly jacked-up ride height, roof rails and black plastic wheel arches to give it a rugged look. It also handles tidily and is well equipped, but there's no bargain-basement entry-level version to tempt budget-conscious buyers. We reckon the 118bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine will suit most buyers well.

 

Read our review

Pros

  • Punchy turbo petrol engine
  • Plenty of standard kit
  • Agile handling

Cons

  • Uncompetitive PCP finance deals
  • Firm ride
  • Rivals are more practical
7

Nissan Juke

What Car? Target Price from

£14,545

RRP from £17,785 to £25,960

Compare deals Save up to £3,428 with What Car?

The original Juke sold in huge numbers, despite having a hard ride and horribly cramped rear seats, but the latest version is much improved in both areas, and has one of the smartest interiors of any small SUV. The 115bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is gutsy enough for most situations, while N-Connecta models get climate control, extra leather trim and keyless start, on top of the plethora of kit which already comes on Acenta cars.

 

Read our review

Pros

  • Strong safety rating and equipment
  • Smart interior
  • Lots of toys on our recommended trim

Cons

  • Choppy ride
  • So-so infotainment system
  • Nissan's reliability record
6

Seat Arona

What Car? Target Price from

£15,946

RRP from £18,330 to £24,795

Compare deals Save up to £2,608 with What Car?

Once the class leader, the Arona remains an appealing choice, thanks to precise handling, good practicality and affordable PCP finance deals. Although the 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine we recommend is the baby of the range, we reckon it's also the best performer, especially if you'll mainly be driving on urban roads. Team that with SE Technology trim and you'll get an upgraded infotainment system as well as rear parking sensors.

Read our review

Pros

  • Tidy handling
  • Roomier than most rivals
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • So-so interior quality
  • Top trims are too pricey
  • Rivals have cleverer rear seats
5

Audi Q2

What Car? Target Price from

£21,635

RRP from £22,725 to £43,795

Compare deals Save up to £2,506 with What Car?

The pint-sized Audi Q2 was one of the first small SUVs to combine its compact dimensions with a premium badge. The boot and rear seats are adequate, but it’s the quality of the interior that will really blow you away. It also has one of the best infotainment systems around.

Read our review

Pros

  • Classy and user-friendly interior
  • Tidy handling
  • Excellent resale values

Cons

  • More expensive than some rivals
  • Not as roomy as similarly priced SUVs
  • Firm ride
4

Volkswagen T-Cross

What Car? Target Price from

£17,618

RRP from £18,360 to £28,580

Compare deals Save up to £1,162 with What Car?

Volkswagen's T-Cross is exactly what many small SUV buyers are looking for. It’s comfortable and easy to drive, without feeling like a wallowy barge. It’s very roomy for its size, yet small enough that it’s easy to handle in town. And it's competitive on running costs, whether you’re a company car driver or a private buyer.

Read our review

Pros

  • Spacious, flexible interior
  • Impressive for safety
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Only slightly cheaper than the superior T-Roc
  • Interior is hardly plush
  • SEL and R-Line trims too pricey
3

Volkswagen T-Roc

What Car? Target Price from

£19,911

RRP from £21,400 to £40,735

Compare deals Save up to £2,809 with What Car?

Stick to the cheaper engines and trims, and the T-Roc is an even better buy than its T-Cross sister. Its cosseting ride, superb refinement and practical boot will appeal to families, plus it has one of the best driving positions of any car in the class.

Read our review

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • Impressive safety
  • Good boot by class standards

Cons

  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Upper trims and engine options are too pricey
  • Unexciting handling - the Ford Puma is a sharper drive
2

Skoda Kamiq

What Car? Target Price from

£17,204

RRP from £18,295 to £26,600

Compare deals Save up to £1,607 with What Car?

In contrast to the T-Roc, the Kamiq puts you quite low to the ground; in fact, its driving position is barely any more elevated than that of Skoda's Scala hatchback. However, in every other respect it's a brilliant choice, with its supple, controlled ride and remarkably spacious interior particular highlights.

Read our review

Pros

  • Remarkably roomy seats and boot
  • Better-finished interior than many of its rivals
  • Comfortable ride

Cons

  • No sliding or reclining rear seats
  • Not especially well equipped
  • Other small SUVs have a higher driving position
1

Ford Puma

What Car? Target Price from

£20,303

RRP from £21,640 to £26,840

Compare deals Save up to £1,659 with What Car?

As good as the other cars in this list are, it's the Ford Puma that's the best small SUV you can buy today. Thanks to agile handling and surprisingly nippy performance, it will put a bigger smile on your face than any rival. But it’s also a car you can buy with your sensible hat on, thanks to its low CO2 emissions, excellent real-world fuel economy, clever boot and attractive monthly PCP costs. No wonder it's our 2020 Car of the Year.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read our review

Pros

  • Great fun to drive
  • Remarkable blend of performance and fuel economy
  • Big and cleverly designed boot

Cons

  • Rear space is adequate rather than outstanding
  • Visibility could be better
  • Volkswagen T-Roc is more comfortable and quieter

And the small SUVs to avoid...

Jeep Renegade
Jeep Renegade 2018 front right close tracking

The Renegade has its merits: it’s roomy inside, the diesel engines sip fuel gently and it has genuine off-road ability. Unfortunately, its shortcomings outweigh these good points. Not only is it comparatively expensive to buy, but refinement is woeful, the ride is... Read our review

Suzuki Jimny
Suzuki Jimny front

If you’re after a small SUV with genuine off-road ability, the Jimny may fit the bill. However, in most respects the little Suzuki feels like it belongs in a different era. Its woeful refinement, feeble performance and shortage of safety and security equipment all... Read our review

Spinner