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...
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.
10. Suzuki Vitara
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.
9. Honda HR-V
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. We recommend the turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine.
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.
7. 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.
6. Seat Arona
Once the class leader, the Arona remains an appealing choice, thanks to precise handling, good practicality and affordable PCP finance deals. Just bear in mind that the closely related Audi Q2, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross are even better.
5. Audi Q2
Speaking of the Q2, this pint-sized SUV was one of the first such cars 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.
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 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.
3. Volkswagen T-Roc
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.
2. Skoda Kamiq
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.
1. Ford Puma
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.
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. Unfortunately, its shortcomings outweigh these good points. Not only is it comparatively expensive to buy, but 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, 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 count against it.
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