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Used Car of the Year Awards contenders: small SUVs
You’ll have to wait until 30 September for the winners of the 2021 What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards to be announced, but you can get a preview of the top contenders here...
Less than £8000
Few small SUVs are as flexible inside as the Renault Captur, thanks in no small part to its sliding rear seat bench, which caters for those who need more leg room, or a bigger boot if not. Most used examples will be an economical 1.5 diesel, but the 0.9-litre turbo petrol is also a fine choice.
Cute styling, plenty of kit and stellar fuel economy make the Ignis easy to recommend if you want a cracking small SUV for not much money. The SZ-T is the one you'll want, because it gets a touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity.
So many of these have been sold that it shouldn't take much searching to find a tidy example of a 2008 within our budget. Most examples are in mid-range Active or top-spec Allure and have lots of goodies, plus a cheap-to-run diesel engine.
Less than £12,000
For those coming out of a small car into an SUV, the Seat Arona is a great stepping stone, because it handles almost as well at the Ibiza upon which it is based, yet it has the additional practicality that SUV buyers are after. Go for an SE Technology car with the 93bhp 1.0-litre engine and you won't feel short-changed.
Citroën C3 Aircross
If buying the newest car you can is a priority for you, the C3 Aircross should go right to the top of your list. Not only does it look great both inside and out, but it is also spectacularly good value for money, with a year-old example in either mid-range Feel or top-spec Flair easily obtainable within this price limit.
The Suzuki Vitara feels the most SUV-like to drive with a higher seating position than most, and it has a long bonnet to look out over, as per most Land Rovers. It's also pretty spacious inside and well equipped if you go for an SZ-T model.
Less than £16,000
Unlike a lot of other small SUVs, the Audi Q2 can be had with four-wheel drive, although our budget will mostly get you a more economical front-wheel-drive version with either a capable 1.0-litre turbo petrol, a frugal 1.6 diesel or our favourite 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine.
Early versions of the current Mini Countryman can be found within our budget. The entry-level 138bhp 1.5 petrol is really strong, plus most first owners plump for an optional pack or two when specifying a new one, so many will have additional creature comforts.
Perhaps other small SUVs don't look distinctive enough for you. If that's the case, try a Hyundai Kona. Despite the exterior, the inside is entirely sensible and our price limit allows you to go for a top-spec trim such as Premium SE, which gets you big-car luxuries such as heated and cooled front seats, plus a heated steering wheel.