Best small SUVs 2019
Thinking of buying a small SUV? Then make sure you read our countdown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector...
Small SUVs are among the most popular cars on sale because they offer the high-set driving position, practicality and muscular looks of more traditional off-roaders, but usually without the high purchase price or running costs – so they can make great family cars.
Here, we count down the top 10 small SUVs you can currently buy – and reveal the models that are best to steer clear of.
10. Renault Captur
Like the Clio on which it is based, the Renault Captur offers a range of economical petrol and diesel engines and is front-wheel drive only. It's good value, too. undercutting most of its rivals on purchase price and offering some of the lowest CO2 emissions in its class. It's not as swift or agile as the competition, though.
9. Mini Countryman
The Countryman has a well-appointed, plush-looking interior and a decently sized boot. It handles well, but the ride can be unsettled and it has more road and wind noise than in some rivals. A high roof and low seating position mean even the tallest of drivers will be able to get comfortable.
8. Suzuki Ignis
Suzuki has taken the 'small' part of the small SUV to the extreme – the Ignis is just 3.7 metres long and 1.7 metres wide – but even so, there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a radically designed and eye-catching baby SUV. The Ignis is also well priced and neatly packaged. Only stodgy handling and so-so interior quality let it down.
7. Suzuki Vitara
The Vitara is bigger than a number of more expensive rivals, with plenty of boot space and enough room for adults in the back seats. It’s well equipped, too. Our recommended SZ4 trim gets basics such as Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio, all-round electric windows and alloy wheels, plus a few luxuries including cruise control and climate control.
6. Honda HR-V
The HR-V might look expensive next to its small SUV rivals, but healthy discounts are available and it combines good interior space with flexible seating and tidy handling. Every version is also well equipped. We recommend the turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine.
5. Kia Stonic
The Stonic is the smallest SUV in Kia’s portfolio, 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. The Stonic handles tidily and is well equipped, but there's no bargain-basement entry-level version to tempt budget-conscious buyers.
4. Volkswagen T-Roc
The Volkswagen T-Roc competes with everything from the Seat Arona and Kia Stonic through to the Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman. To help it stand out, the T-Roc has a more raked rear end than most rivals, aluminium exterior detailing and a distinctive front-end design. On the inside, the T-Roc's interior lets the side down a little, feeling rather low-rent for one of the pricier small SUVs.
3. Seat Arona
Seat's second SUV, the Arona, is so good that we've named it our 2019 Small SUV of the Year. While it's pricier to buy outright than the Suzuki Vitara, great finance deals mean it is actually more affordable on a PCP deal. And the Arona’s interior may not be as classy as the Audi Q2’s, but it’s still a comfortable and nicely designed place.
2. Audi Q2
Although there's nothing new about pint-sized SUVs, the Q2 was one of the first to combine compact dimensions with a premium badge on its snout. The boot and rear seats are adequate, but it’s the quality of the interior that is seriously impressive. It also has one of the best infotainment systems around.
1. Volkswagen T-Cross
The T-Cross is the best small SUV you can buy right now – it's great to drive, spacious inside and comes with an impressive array of safety equipment. Plus it's competitive on running costs, so whether you're a company car driver or private car buyer, it deserves to be on your SUV shortlist
And the small SUVs to avoid...
The Renegade has its merits: it’s roomy inside, the diesel engines sip fuel gently and it has genuine off-road ability. But its shortcomings will outweigh the good points for many buyers. Not only is it comparatively expensive to buy, refinement is woeful, the ride is unsettled and the gruff-sounding engines make it feel positively agricultural to drive.
If you’re after a small SUV with genuine off-road ability, the Jimny may fit the bill. However, the little Suzuki feels like it belongs in a different era. Its woeful refinement, feeble performance and shortage of safety and security equipment all count against it.
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