Best small SUVs 2022

Thinking of buying a new small SUV? Then make sure you read our countdown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector – plus, find out which ones we'd avoid...


Author Avatar
by
What Car? team

Best small SUVs 2022

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, if you want to read more about a particular car or see what deals are currently available on it through our free New Car Buying service, just click on the relevant link.

10

Hyundai Bayon

Based on the i20 hatchback, the Bayon is decent to drive, with a comfortable ride and quieter cruising manners than most rivals. It's roomy in the back and well equipped, too, so it's a pity that Hyundai hasn’t made more of an effort to lift the perceived quality of the interior.

New car deals
Save up to £1,324
Target Price from £19,495
Save up to £1,324
or from £200pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £227pm

Pros

  • Relatively smooth ride
  • Good rear space
  • Low CO2 emissions

Cons

  • Low driving position won’t appeal to everyone
  • Interior is far from plush
  • No flexible seating options
9

Nissan Juke

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.

 

New car deals
Save up to £3,143
Target Price from £19,694
Save up to £3,143
or from £218pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £238pm

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
  • Hybrid isn't as fuel efficient as a Toyota Yaris Cross
8

Seat Arona

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 is the baby of the range, we reckon it's also the best buy, especially if you'll mainly be driving on urban roads. Team it with SE Technology trim and you'll get an upgraded infotainment system as well as rear parking sensors.

New car deals
Save up to £1,747
Target Price from £19,167
Save up to £1,747
or from £210pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £203pm

Pros

  • Tidy handling
  • Roomier than many rivals
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • So-so interior quality
  • Top trims are too pricey
  • Rivals have more flexible rear seats
7

Peugeot 2008

Not only does the Peugeot 2008 look the part (both inside and out), it's well equipped and has a range of punchy, efficient petrol engines. The 129bhp 1.2 Puretech 130 is particularly good; in fact, it's strong enough to make the pricier Puretech 155 feel pointless. It's just a pity all 2008s are more expensive than most of their mainstream rivals.

New car deals
Save up to £2,136
Target Price from £21,376
Save up to £2,136
or from £263pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £307pm

Pros

  • Classy interior
  • Well equipped
  • Punchy, frugal petrol engines

Cons

  • More expensive than mainstream rivals
  • Relatively heavy deprecation
  • Average to drive
6

Toyota Yaris Cross

The Toyota Yaris Cross makes a strong case for itself against the crowd of small SUVs, especially if your top priorities are reliability and low running costs. Indeed, the Yaris Cross is the most efficient car we've ever put through our True MPG fuel economy test. Just bear in mind that it's quite cramped in the back.

New car deals
Save up to £1,294
Target Price from £23,354
Save up to £1,294
or from £245pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £334pm

Pros

  • Very efficient
  • Lofty driving position
  • Uncluttered dashboard is easy to use

Cons

  • Could be more spacious in the back seats
  • Vocal engine when accelerating
  • Not as fun to drive as the Puma
5

Audi Q2

Audi's Q2 was one of the first small SUVs to combine its compact dimensions with a premium badge. The handling is tidy and it holds its value well, but it’s the quality of the interior that will really blow you away. It also has one of the best infotainment systems around – better than those in bigger, more expensive Audi SUVs, in fact.

New car deals
Save up to £1,480
Target Price from £24,115
Save up to £1,480
or from £267pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £276pm

Pros

  • Classy and user-friendly interior
  • Tidy handling
  • Slow depreciation

Cons

  • More expensive than some rivals
  • Mini Countryman is more practical
  • Firm ride with 19in alloys
4

Volkswagen T-Cross

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 surprisingly roomy, 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.

New car deals
Save up to £950
Target Price from £21,439
Save up to £950
or from £213pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £240pm

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

Skoda Kamiq

In contrast to the T-Cross, 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. That interior feels classier than the T-Cross's, too.

New car deals
Save up to £1,386
Target Price from £20,758
Save up to £1,386
or from £206pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £182pm

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
2

Ford Puma

Thanks to agile handling and surprisingly nippy performance, the Ford Puma will put a bigger smile on your face than most rivals. 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 was our 2020 Car of the Year, even if it no longer leads this class.

New car deals
Save up to £1,752
Target Price from £22,772
Save up to £1,752
or from £263pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £282pm

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
1

Volkswagen T-Roc

As good as the other cars in this top 10 are, it's the Volkswagen T-Roc that's the best small SUV you can buy today. 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.

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

 

New car deals
Save up to £1,486
Target Price from £24,877
Save up to £1,486
or from £263pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Leasing deals
From £247pm

Pros

  • Comfortable ride and quiet on the motorway
  • High-set driving position for a small SUV
  • Good boot by class standards

Cons

  • Touch-sensitive controls can be fiddly
  • Upper trims and engine options are too pricey
  • Unexciting handling (the Ford Puma is a sharper drive)

And the small SUVs to avoid...

Ford Ecosport

Ford's Ecosport is as bad as its Puma is good, suffering from disappointing handling, a poor ride and limited rear space. The side-hinged tailgate is pretty impractical, too. Read our review

Jeep Renegade

The Renegade has its merits: it’s roomy and has genuine off-road ability, while the diesel engines sip fuel. However, it's comparatively expensive to buy, the ride is unsettled and refinement is woeful.  Read our review