Small SUVs, also known as crossovers, are big business for automakers. Most models are based on supermini underpinnings, but offer the elevated driving position and added flexibility that many motorists crave. This combination of lower running costs and more space makes these small SUVs attractive not only as viable supermini alternatives, but also as rivals to more traditional family cars.
First-generation cars such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur set the benchmark for small SUVs, and today the market has evolved rapidly with a myriad of manufacturers now trying to attract buyers.
There’s a small SUV for just about everyone, so whether you prioritize comfort, practicality, sportiness or style – or a combination of the two – there’s something to suit you.
Our list is just the surface of what’s available in the small SUV market, but we think the models in our top 10 are the best of the bunch.
Top 10 Best Small SUVs For Sale
- Kia Niro
- Renault Captur
- Ford Puma
- Kia Soul EV
- Toyota Yaris Cross
- Skoda Kamiq
- Volkswagen T-Cross
- Peugeot 2008
- Citroen C3 Aircross
- Dacia Duster
1. Kia Niro
The latest Kia Niro takes the elements that made the first-generation model so popular – such as electrification options, interior space and overall value for money – and then improves on the overall package even further. In fact, we like the new Niro so much that we named it our small SUV of the year at the Auto Express New Car Awards.
Three variants of Niro are available – a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric model – and each has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of efficiency, running costs and ride quality.
Whichever Niro you choose, it will prove to be a sensible, affordable car with impressive cabin and boot space. It will also provide all this while being easy to drive and park. Admittedly, it’s not the most entertaining car to drive, but as a reliable family car that won’t break the bank, the Niro is very hard to beat.
Luggage space varies depending on the powertrain you choose, but all models should be sufficient for a small family. The generous amount of built-in technology has also been brought up to date – the connectivity is brilliant and the two inner screens offer high-quality graphics and fast response times.
2. Renault Captur
The original Captur was a resounding success for Renault and its successor is doing a fantastic job of continuing this legacy. Simply put, the Captur is better than ever. Based on the excellent Renault Clio hatchback, the Captur is a stylish and comfortable SUV that has earned a top position in this hotly contested class.
We tested it at home and abroad and loved it. Standout features include a well-designed and built interior, a large trunk and plenty of equipment; a decent range of petrol and diesel engines with great claimed economy figures also helps Renault’s case.
The Captur will appeal to drivers who want a little flair from their small SUV. The Renault looks good and drives well, with precise handling and a controlled yet comfortable ride, making it a bull’s eye in this class.
Renault has also made the second-generation version more refined and comfortable than the previous model, so the Captur is now a much more viable option for longer journeys.
3. Ford Puma
Just as the Renault Captur shares its platform with the Clio, the Ford Puma is based on the Fiesta supermini, which is very good news.
When Ford announced it would be re-using the Puma name on an SUV, it did some springs, but Ford has done a great job of ensuring that its new SUV lives up to the sporting heritage of the original car. The new Puma is one of the best driving cars in its class thanks to its great handling, refined chassis and slick six-speed gearbox; it feels a lot like a taller, roomier Fiesta.
Inside, Fiesta owners will all be familiar with design and quality: it’s not quite the best in class in both respects, but does a solid job, while the driving position and seats are exceptionally comfortable. Elsewhere, a 456 liter boot and good rear passenger space add to the credentials of Ford’s family car.
The Puma makes a lot of sense if you’re looking for a fun, practical, small SUV that does its job with a bit of flair. It offers a great all round package and is just a whisker behind the award winning Captur.
4. Kia Soul EV
The Kia Soul EV offers great performance, along with a decent level of refinement, comfort and technology. The high list price may prove to be a sticking point for some, but it offers the benefits of low running costs, no road taxes and no congestion charges to worry about.
Practicality is pretty good, with 315 liters of boot space, while there’s a massive 1,339 liters when you fold down the rear seats. You also have the option to lower the boot floor to free up some more space. Legroom and headroom are perfectly acceptable, and taller passengers will be able to travel in comfort, although the center rear seat is more suitable for children.
Plenty of power is available to ensure fast and smooth progress – a single electric motor sends 201 hp and 395 Nm of torque to the front wheels, fed by a 64 kWh lithium-ion battery mounted under the floor. The 0-100km/h benchmark is reached in 7.6 seconds and, on paper at least, the Soul EV will deliver a range of 280 miles on a single charge.
5. Toyota Yaris Cross
After the success of four generations of Yaris supermini, Toyota has now introduced the Yaris Cross SUV to its range.
The Yaris Cross has the same single powertrain as its supermini sibling, a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol hybrid with 114 hp, mated to a CVT automatic transmission. While this doesn’t make the Yaris Cross blazing fast to drive, it does mean low CO2 emissions and over 50 mpg fuel economy.
When it comes to family chores, head to the back of the Yaris Cross and you’ll soon find it’s not the roomiest car on this list. The space in the back seat is better suited to children than adults. When it comes to boot space, the front-wheel drive model offers 397 litres, while the all-wheel drive version drops to 320 litres.
These more compact dimensions have their advantages, however, and they make the Yaris Cross a cinch to drive and park – it even handles quite well in corners.
6. Skoda Kamiq
The Kamiq may be Skoda’s smallest SUV, but it’s roomy, practical and powered by a range of efficient, proven engines. It shares most of its mechanics with the Volkswagen T-Cross and SEAT Arona elsewhere on this list, but outperforms both models in terms of value for money.
You’ll easily be able to tell the difference between the Kamiq and its kin – thanks in particular to the inferior interior plastics on the front – but it’s still well built and sensibly furnished. Top-spec cars have a great 9.2-inch infotainment system that pairs nicely with Skoda’s Virtual Cockpit display, while SE models have an eight-inch system with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay functionality.
The Kamiq is just as easy to drive as the T-Cross, rides comfortably and feels almost as nice on the inside. It lacks the VW sliding rear seats, but offers plenty of legroom in the back and decent cargo space with the seats folded down. The Skoda is a talented, practical car that is hard to beat.
7. Volkswagen T-Cross
Volkswagen’s offering in the small SUV class is one of the best. The T-Cross is broadly similar to the Skoda Kamiq, but adds a little more style and desirability to the mix over its Czech cousin.
The T-Cross is also an excellent choice if you want all the benefits of the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform, but want to express your individuality: Volkswagen offers a range of design packages, each adding a unique look to the already handsome SUV.
A well-known range of engines covers all bases, with the more powerful of the 1.0-litre petrol engines offering a particularly good blend of performance, economy and refinement. The Volkswagen SUV drives well, feels nimble and grippy, but doesn’t stop at providing real excitement, while the light handling is great around town and in tighter spots. Overall, the T-Cross is easy and relaxing to drive.
It’s broadly comparable to cheaper cars from sister brands Skoda and SEAT, but if you’re willing to pay a little more for the privilege, the T-Cross is a great choice. It’s not all about extra praise for the brand and customization options, though, as the Volkswagen brings a sliding rear seat for improved flexibility, plus marginally better residual values than its Skoda and SEAT rivals.
8. Peugeot 2008
After much SUV-related success for Peugeot with its 3008 and 5008, the smaller 2008 is now following the trend of its bigger siblings.
Sharing its platform with the latest Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa, the 2008 is offered with electric or internal combustion power – the e-2008 is the all-electric variant.
Both cars are worth considering, and the ICE car in particular stands out from its rivals. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is excellent (especially in 128bhp form) and the car feels planted, precise and comfortable to drive. It may be more expensive than some rivals, but it ticks a lot of boxes.
9. Citroen C3 Aircross
Citroën likes to do things its own way and its range of small SUVs is no exception. Where some rival manufacturers focus on performance and driver engagement, the C3 Aircross is refreshingly relaxed.
The Aircross’s engines are strong and offer respectable economy, and while not exactly sporty or precise, the Citroën remains largely refined and comfortable. The plush suspension can be easily overwhelmed by bumps in the middle of the turn, and the steering is a bit lifeless, though.
Still, some of the biggest reasons to prefer the C3 Aircross over its more rounded competitors are the amount of interior space and practicality on offer. The Citroën has sliding rear seats, a large trunk and plenty of space for passengers to travel comfortably.
10. Dacia Duster
Dacia has quickly established a positive reputation in the UK for its low prices, so if you’re willing to forgo the latest and greatest technology and some comfort, the Romanian brand’s range offers value that few other manufacturers can match.
An invader of the class above, the Duster is a mid-sized SUV that can be secured for a lower price than many of the smaller supermini-derived models on the market. Refreshingly, it is also a ‘real’ SUV; with its high suspension and optional four-wheel drive, the Duster is a truly capable off-roader that will appeal to those whose car has to cope with farming trails, bad weather or the odd jaunt across a field.
It may not be the most exciting model to drive, nor the safest or best equipped, but the Duster is simply impossible to ignore thanks to its sheer value for money.
Need a little more space? Check out our list of the best mid-sized SUVs…