If you’re looking for a family car, you might want to consider a small SUV instead of the traditional estate or hatchback. Small SUVs have lots of interior space and their high driving positions give a better view out and a greater feeling of security. What’s more, that extra height makes it easier to fit child seats and eases access for less mobile passengers.
Think you might need something a little larger? Read our lists of the best SUVs and best seven-seat SUVs on sale or click ‘login’ in the top-right-hand corner to sign in and configure a brand-new car, or browse our extensive range of pre-reg, ex-demo, new, nearly new and used in-stock cars.
[2018 update: The new SEAT Arona joins our list of the best small SUVs in sixth place while the sporty Suzuki Vitara clings on to the top spot, just ahead of the recently released Citroen C3 Aircross. More upmarket models are represented by the Audi Q2 in fourth and VW T-Roc just behind it in fifth.]
Here are the best small SUVs and crossovers on sale:
- Suzuki Vitara
- Citroen C3 Aircross
- Mazda CX-3
- Audi Q2
- Volkswagen T-Roc
- SEAT Arona
- Ford Ecosport
- Renault Captur
- Toyota C-HR
- Peugeot 2008
1. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is a compact SUV that still has enough space inside for a family of five and most of their luggage. It has a big boot and plenty of handy storage but some materials in its cabin feel slightly cheaper than in some alternatives. Thankfully, the sporty Suzuki makes up for this by being surprisingly fun to drive and well equipped as standard across the range.
2. Citroen C3 Aircross
There’s a lot of choice if you’re after a funky looking small SUV and the Citroen C3 Aircross is a great option – even without Citroen’s quirky Airbumps that help stop dings in supermarket car parks. It’s highly customisable, eye-catching and seriously comfortable, making it a strong proposition in a sector that’s full of talented rivals. It might not be the car for you if performance is near the top of your priority list, but it does offer some handling verve nonetheless.
3. Mazda CX-3
The Mazda CX-3 wades into this crowded category with eye-catching styling and a sporty driving experience. Its direct, accurate controls combined with sporty suspension mean it good fun to drive quickly. This does mean it’s on the firm side over bumps, but it’s not so uncomfortable that you couldn’t face a long journey in it. The interior is well screwed together although some of the plastics lower down in the cabin feel a bit cheap.
4. Audi Q2
Fourth place on our list is the excellent Audi Q2. It almost has it all – a premium badge, a luxurious cabin, plenty of space, powerful engines and a relaxed driving experience. Equally, handsome looks dominated by its large upright grille and a contrasting patch behind the rear door help it stand out in a car park. You might think it’s priced out of reach but it’s surprisingly affordable, with entry-level cars costing £20,230.
5. Volkswagen T-Roc
VW’s T-Roc might be late to the party, but it’s one of the best small SUVs on sale. The interior, lifted from the Polo, has slabs of colour that makes it feel funky and a million miles from some of VW’s other, plainer interiors. It also has a larger 445-litre boot than the Q2 it shares some of its components with. A wide range of efficient engines and the optional high-tech Active Info Display that replaces traditional dials with a beautiful screen make the T-Roc a seriously strong proposition.
6. SEAT Arona
The SEAT Arona is based on the latest Ibiza, which itself is also based on the Polo. So it’s got great underpinnings that are backed up by a sharp design and sweet handling. The boot might be smaller than the VW T-Roc’s but, at 400 litres it’s still big enough for most needs, and the Arona has more rear-seat space than the Ibiza.
7. Ford Ecosport
The Ford Ecosport blends funky SUV looks with a surprisingly fun driving experience. There’s enough space in its high-riding cabin for four adults and its various materials feel posher than in alternatives such as the Kia Stonic and Hyundai Kona. Unfortunately, the Ecosport’s not particularly comfortable over rough roads but it comes with a range of efficient engines and you can get it with four-wheel drive for extra grip in slippery conditions.
8. Renault Captur
The Renault Captur is a small family SUV with a funky, easy-to-use interior and space inside for four adults. Mid-range models come with a decent amount of standard equipment and there’s more than enough room in the boot for a weekly shop. There aren’t many engines to choose from, but it’s pretty comfortable and easy to see out of – perfect if you do lots of city driving.
9. Toyota C-HR
You won’t mistake the C-HR for many other SUVs – its distinctive styling is more noticeable than most other cars on sale. Its style is backed up with substance too – it’s good to drive, safe and available as an environmentally friendly hybrid. There are some cheap plastics and it’s not as practical as some other cars in this list, but it’s worthy of your shortlist if you’re after something a little bit different to the norm.
10. Peugeot 2008
The Peugeot 2008 has quirky French looks, good build quality and a handful of unique design features such as its odd small steering wheel which, Peugeot says, helps it feel more agile on the move. Its bulging body means there’s lots of passenger room and enough headroom in the back for six footers to feel comfortable. The 2008’s diesel engines are efficient but the smoother, quicker petrols make a better choice unless you cover very high mileages.
Save money on your next car
See how much you could save on your next new car by heading over to the new car deals page. If you’re still not sure which model is the one for you, take a look at our car chooser. To get an idea how much your new car could cost per month, check out our PCP calculator.