The small SUV and crossover sector has rapidly grown in recent years making choosing the ideal car harder than ever. Many manufacturers offer practical and versatile cars that could make ideal family transport, but which should you choose?
We’ve put together a list of the 10 best cars in the class, from functional SUVs that’ll hold their own off-road to attractive style-driven crossovers – you’ll be sure to find something to suit your every need.
1. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is a rugged-looking compact SUV that’s both cheap to run and reasonably capable off-road. It’s slightly smaller than the Nissan Qashqai but boasts a more spacious interior than the Nissan Juke and comes with an attractive price tag of less than £14,500.
It certainly isn’t the biggest crossover on the market but it’ll seat four comfortably and boasts a decent 375-litre boot. The ride and handling have been hugely improved over the old Grand Vitara and its high-tech cabin, although a little cheap-feeling in places, comes well equipped.
2. Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster, costing just £9,495 in entry-level trim, is by far the cheapest small SUV currently on sale. Don’t let the bargain-basement price tag fool you, however, the Duster has decent off-road abilities and has plenty of room for passengers and their luggage. Fold the rear seats down on two-wheel drive versions the 475-litre boot swells to a cavernous 1,600-litre load bay.
Its interior might be basic but it’s easy to use, clutter-free and feels fairly solid. Thanks to a spacious cabin, an efficient range of Renault-sourced engines and an unbeatable asking price, the Duster is undoubtedly one of the best small SUVs on the market.
See how much you can save using our Dacia Duster configurator to view the best current carwow deals.
3. Citroen C4 Cactus
Quirky styling certainly helps the Citroen C4 Cactus stand out from the crowd. It looks suitably rugged thanks to chunky black trim pieces and comes with a huge range of personalisation options, too.
The interior is both comfortable and relatively spacious but does feature some poorer-quality materials in places and taller passengers may find rear head and legroom a touch too cramped. It does, however, come with a generous amount of equipment as standard and it’s one of the most economical crossovers available – its 1.6-litre diesel engine can return fuel economy of 83.1mpg.
Configure your perfect Citroen C4 Cactus to view the best deals currently on offer.
4. Renault Captur
It’s not difficult to see why the Renault Captur has become one of the French manufacturer’s top-selling models – it takes the handling of a conventional supermini and adds a bundle of SUV practicality, including a capacious 455-litre boot.
Not only is it offered with a range of efficient engines but its high driving position and roomy cabin make it a great family car – the sliding rear seats offer enough legroom in the back for adults, too. Materials quality isn’t class leading but the smart-looking dashboard, with its funky minimalist design, is particularly easy to use.
Our Renault Captur configurator will show you the best deals currently available on this funky French crossover.
5. Mazda CX-3
The Mazda CX-3 is a stylish small SUV with a high-quality cabin, cheap running costs and excellent handling thanks to its accomplished chassis and range of powerful engines. It’s certainly no hot-hatch, but it’s rare to find a car in this class that’s such a treat to drive.
The CX-3 does cost slightly more than some rivals but it comes with plenty of equipment and a smartly styled cabin, reminiscent of the Mazda 2 supermini. Its 350-litre boot might not be the biggest in its class but its flat floor does make loading bulky items a breeze.
If this sounds like your ideal SUV, use our Mazda CX-3 configurator to view the best carwow deals available.
6. Audi Q2
The eye-catching Audi Q2 combines attractive angular styling with a stunning cabin and a reasonably spacious 405-litre boot. As an added bonus, passengers over six feet tall will comfortably fit in the back seats, even in models with an optional panoramic sunroof.
There’s a decent range of modern engines on offer, including an excellent 148hp 1.4-litre petrol unit, and the Q2 comes equipped with Audi’s new progressive steering to make it feel planted on the motorway and suitably manoeuvrable in town. Some optional extras are prohibitively expensive but the Q2’s smart looks, impressive build quality and spacious cabin make it a stylish alternative to the C4 Cactus or Captur.
Our Audi Q2 configurator will help you find your ideal new SUV at a great carwow price.
7. Mercedes GLA
The Mercedes GLA offers an impressive blend of decent handling and a comfortable ride – despite its soft suspension and raised ride height. Take it off-road and you’ll find it reasonably capable, if far from ground-breaking, but it’s certainly a car more at home in the city than the countryside.
The interior has been inspired by the smaller A-Class and boasts similarly high build-quality and an equally charismatic design. The boot can carry an impressive 481-litres of luggage but for the odd trip to the tip you can fold the back seats down to open up a giant 1,235-litre load-bay.
Use our Mercedes GLA configurator to view the best carwow deals currently on offer.
8. Fiat 500X
The Fiat 500X combines the rugged looks of a crossover with the 500 supermini’s retro design flavour. The funky interior feels fairly well-built and there’s a decent amount of space, although tall rear-seat passengers may feel slightly cramped.
Not only does it ride fairly well, but a good range of engines helps make the 500X surprisingly sporty to drive. It may not boast the most practical boot – 350-litres is far from class-leading – but its flat load lip makes carrying bulky items as easy as possible.
9. Nissan Juke
The Nissan Juke’s looks might not be to everyone’s taste but its eye-catching design certainly helps it stand out from the fairly generic SUV crowd. Unfortunately, cabin space does take a hit as a result of its curvaceous rear end and attractive sloping roofline.
The Juke boasts a high driving position but handles like a normal hatchback – its efficient 1.5-litre diesel engine can deliver fuel economy as high as 70mpg, too. Its 345-litre boot isn’t as spacious as some rivals, however, but the Juke is still a reasonably practical alternative to the less quirky-looking crop of SUVs.
Use our Nissan Juke configurator to see how much you could save on a new car when you buy through carwow.
10. Jeep Renegade
Off all the small SUVs on this list, the Jeep Renegade is one of the few that can boast some genuine off-road credentials. Its boxy shape means there’s loads of interior and boot space for everything from hiking gear to Ikea purchases, too.
All models come with a selection of good engines, borrowed from the Fiat 500X, but Trailhawk trim adds rugged bumpers and a nine-speed automatic gearbox with a special low-range mode for more serious off-roading.
If this sounds like your perfect SUV, use our Jeep Renegade configurator to find a great deal on your next new car.
Save money on your new SUV or crossover
Head over to the new car deals page to view the best carwow deals on every car in our top 10. If you’re not sure what to buy, our car chooser tool is there to help. If you’ve already picked your perfect new car, our PCP calculator will help you get a better idea how much it could cost.