The best small SUVs in 2021

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...

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. 

Best small SUVs

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

2020 Suzuki Vitara mHEV hero

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.

Suzuki Vitara (cont.)

2020 Suzuki Vitara mHEV dash

What Car? Target Price £21,359 RRP from £21,758 to £26,559 save up to £772

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

Interior quality beaten by rivals
Entry-level infotainment system is basic
Panoramic glass roof seriously restricts rear head room
So-so resale values

9. Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V front three quarters

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.

Honda HR-V (cont.)

Honda HR-V - interior

What Car? Target Price £18,645 RRP from £20,735 to £29,670 Save up to £2,563

Interior and boot space
Flexible seating
Tidy handling

Engine refinement
Expensive compared to best rivals
CVT gearbox

8. Kia Stonic

Kia Stonic

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.

Kia Stonic (cont.)

Kia Stonic

What Car? Target Price £18,195 RRP from £18,195 to £22,205 

Punchy turbo petrol engine
Plenty of standard kit
Agile handling

Uncompetitive PCP finance deals
Firm ride
Rivals are more practical

7. Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke front tracking high street

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.

Nissan Juke (cont.)

Nissan Juke interior

What Car? Target Price £16,672 RRP from £17,860 to £25,960 Save up to £1,734

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

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

6. Seat Arona

Seat Arona 2020 RHD front wide tracking

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.

Seat Arona (cont.)

Seat Arona - interior

What Car? Target Price £16,074 RRP from £18,605 to £25,235 Save up to £3,791

Tidy handling
Roomier than most rivals
Well equipped

So-so interior quality
Top trims are too pricey
Rivals have more flexible rear seating configurations

5. Audi Q2

Audi Q2 2020 front cornering

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.

Audi Q2 (cont.)

Audi Q2 dashboard - blue 19-plate car

What Car? Target Price £21,580 RRP from £22,725 to £43,795 Save up to £2,506

Classy and user-friendly interior
Tidy handling
Excellent resale values

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

4. Volkswagen T-Cross

Volkswagen T-Cross front

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.

Volkswagen T-Cross (cont.)

Volkswagen T-Cross interior

What Car? Target Price £17,661 RRP from £18,360 to £27,785 Save up to £1,075

Spacious, flexible interior
Impressive for safety
Good to drive

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

3. Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc driving

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.

Volkswagen T-Roc (cont.)

Volkswagen T-Roc interior

What Car? Target Price £20,156 RRP from £21,440 to £40,735 Save up to £2,213

Comfortable ride
Impressive for safety
Good boot by class standards

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

2. Skoda Kamiq

Skoda Kamiq front cornering - red 69-plate 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.

Skoda Kamiq (cont.)

Skoda Kamiq interior

What Car? Target Price £15,791 RRP from £18,295 to £26,600 Save up to £2,979

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

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

1. Ford Puma

Ford Puma long term

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.

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Ford Puma (cont.)

Ford Puma 2020 dashboard RHD

What Car? Target Price £20,186 RRP from £21,630 to £26,940 Save up to £1,687

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

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

Find out what the small SUV to avoid is in the following slide >>

Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade

The Renegade has its merits: it’s roomy inside, the diesel engines sip fuel gently and it has some 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.

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