According to Statista, since the mid-2020s’, small SUVs have been the most sold car class worldwide and the growth of this market is expected to continue in the future, due to the popularity of crossover vehicles.
It’s no surprise compact SUVs are dominating the UK market as well. This vehicle class offers ease of driving, more flexible manoeuvres and cheaper running costs when compared to regular 4x4s. Additionally, small SUVs still retain features, such as a higher driver’s seat which offers better visibility and additional legroom.
Here are our top five picks of the best compact SUVs:
SEAT Arona is one of the best in its class with affordable prices and no additional cost for personalisation. In fact, you can fully customise a SEAT Arona, picking a trim, colour and engine to suit your needs.
There are six trims available when it comes to this model – SE, SE Technology, FR, FR Sport, XCELLENCE and XCELLENCE Lux. All feature stylish alloy wheels with some coming with the benefit of additional equipment like wireless charging, SEAT Full Link connectivity technology, keyless entry and park assist.
With such an abundance of trims available, it’s easy to find the most suitable option. Basic SE trims are excellent for those looking for an affordable option and aren’t fussed about the latest features. Meanwhile, FR Sport and XCELLENCE Lux have a sportier and more stylish look with 18’’ performance alloy wheels.
The Arona is available with a range of engine variations – there’s the 1.6-litre diesel with 94bhp and 1-litre TSI petrol engine with two options – either 94 bhp or 113 bhp. However, the most powerful engine in the lineup is the 1.5-litre TSI 148 bhp petrol engine.
Fuel efficiency varies from 48-59 mpg combined in city driving conditions which, unfortunately, can make the insurance costs quite high.
The Volvo XC40 was designed for the city, which is apparent as soon as you see its smooth and modern styling. It has three trim options – Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. Each comes with a unique set of alloy wheels ensuring a distinctive look to each trim. There are two types of chassis -Dynamic and Sport, so this small SUV caters to various situations.
Volvo XC40 has a wide range of engines – from conventional fuel options to new hybrid and fully electric versions.
As always, Volvo takes safety seriously with the car equipped with some of the most advanced driver assistance functions, which gives you a peace of mind that Volvo XC40 is as safe as it gets.
It has between 37 and 130 mpg combined depending on the trim and driving conditions.
What sets it apart from the crowd of competitors is the angular and sportier, less clunky design.
VW T-Roc rivals the SEAT Arona with the number of customisation options available. You can pick the colour of your roof, door mirrors and even customise trapezoid-exhaust surrounds. It has an extensive trim variation – from the most basic and affordable S and SE to the more dynamic R and R-Line sports line.
There are a few choices when it comes to the engines too – there is a one-litre TSI and TDI, a 1.5-litre TSI EVO, a 1.6-litre TDI and a larger 2-litre TDI, TSI and TSI EVO options. So whether you’re after a diesel or petrol engine, you’re sure to find something to suit your driving needs.
As for safety, it has scored five stars from Euro NCAP and comes equipped with lane-keeping assistance, ISOFIX seatbelt points and automatic emergency braking among other essential safety features.
The boot space is generous between 392L and 445L depending on the trim, giving you room to pack in a host of equipment.
But it only has 32-53 mpg combined which is below average when considering other compact SUVs in this list.
The Suzuki Vitara is an excellent all-round compact SUV. It has a variety of trims to choose from – SZ4, SZ-T, SZ5 and SZ5 ALLGRIP. The fuel economy is 45-49 mpg combined, so the insurance isn’t too high for its class.
The 375L boot space is roomy enough, but its rival’s Volvo XC40 and VW T-Roc have a bit more space, so that’s something to consider if boot capacity is a priority.
Starting from SZ4 you get the most basic equipment while going up to SZ5 gains you more features and a larger engine. There are two petrol engine choices available when it comes to Suzuki Vitara; a one-litre and 1.4-litre Boosterjet.
Euro NCAP rated the 2015 Suzuki Vitara five stars for safety and for a reason – it’s equipped with electronic stability control and extensive frontal crash protection features like belt pre-tensioners, belt load limiter and front airbags.
Overall, Suzuki Vitara is cheaper than its competitors, especially if buying used. You can bag a deal for as low as £9,995 for 2015 1.6-litre SZ-T trim.
This model easily competes with SEAT Arona when it comes to customising – the GT-Line trim offers contrasting roof colours and a variety of colour-changing lights in the interior. Its exterior is even more impressive with sleek bumper lines and grille (whose colour you can customise depending on the model).
Once inside, you’ll notice that there’s plenty of legroom and headroom space. Plus, thanks to a spacious 434-litre boot you can fit all of your essentials in easily.
Meanwhile, a choice of engines means finding a Peugeot 2008 to suit your driving style is never an issue. The 1.2-litre petrol is available in a number of outputs or you can choose the 1.5-litre diesel or electric. The engine range may be more limited compared to other models, but rest assured they have plenty of power. You can also select a manual or automatic gearbox so that’s a nice added versatility touch.
If you’re concerned about CO2 emissions, Peugeot 2008 reassures with 47mpg combined which is quite low.
All in all, this car is superb for long road-trips and off-road adventures.
The compact SUV market is well-established in the UK and worldwide, so you shouldn’t have much trouble trying to find your perfect match.
If you want to purchase a small SUV for cheaper, then check out our range of car finance – we cater to all circumstances.
Hopefully, this quick list has been useful in helping you learn more about the different types of small SUVs, their features and quirks.
What was the first small SUV you’ve owned? Share it in the comments below!