What Car?'s best small SUVs you can buy
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.
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
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.)
What Car? Target Price from £21,369
RRP from £22,009 to £26,808 Save up to £782
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 roof seriously restricts headroom
So-so resale values
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. 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.)
What Car? Target Price from £18,645
RRP from £20,735 to £29,670 Save up to £2,563
Interior and boot space
Expensive compared with rivals
8. 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.)
What Car? Target Price from £16,741
RRP from £17,800 to £21,800 Save up to £1,308
Punchy turbo petrol engine
Plenty of standard kit
Uncompetitive PCP finance deals
Rivals are more practical
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. 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.)
What Car? Target Price from £16,672
RRP from £17,860 to £25,960 Save up to £1,734
Strong safety rating and equipment
Lots of toys on our recommended trim
Nissan's reliability record
So-so infotainment system
6. 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 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.)
What Car? Target Price from £16,074
RRP from £18,605 to £25,235 Save up to £3,791
Roomier than many rivals
So-so interior quality
Rivals have more flexible rear seats
Top trims are too pricey
5. Audi Q2
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.)
What Car? Target Price from £21,580
RRP from £22,725 to £43,795 Save up to £2,506
Classy and user-friendly interior
Excellent resale values
More expensive than some rivals
Not as roomy as similarly priced SUVs
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.
Volkswagen T-Cross (cont.)
What Car? Target Price from £17,574
RRP from £18,360 to £27,785 Save up to £1,210
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
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 the 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.)
What Car? Target Price from £20,053
RRP from £21,440 to £40,735 Save up to £2,615
Good boot by class standards
Unexciting handling - the Ford Puma is a sharper drive
Upper trims and engine options are too pricey
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.
Skoda Kamiq (cont.)
What Car? Target Price from £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
No sliding or reclining rear seats
Other small SUVs have a higher driving position
Not especially well equipped
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.
Ford Puma (cont.)
What Car? Target Price from £20,196
RRP from £21,640 to £26,840 Save up to £1,792
Remarkable blend of performance and fuel economy
Big and cleverly designed boot
Great fun to drive
Rear space is adequate rather than outstanding
Volkswagen T-Roc is more comfortable and quieter
Visibility could be better
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
And the small SUVs to avoid...
The Renegade has its merits: it’s roomy inside, the diesel engines sip fuel gently and it has some 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 that can go virtually anywhere off-road, 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.