Best small SUVs 2018 (and the ones to avoid)

Thinking of buying a small SUV? Then make sure you read our countdown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector...

Best small SUVs 2018 (and the ones to avoid)

Best small SUVs

Small SUVs are among the most popular cars on sale because they offer the high-set driving position, practicality and muscular looks of more traditional off-roaders, but usually without the high purchase price or running costs – so they can make great family cars.

Here, we count down the top 10 small SUVs you can currently buy – and reveal the models that are best to steer clear of.

Best small SUVs

Citroën C3 Aircross

10. Citroën C3 Aircross

Citroën has gone back to its roots with the superbly quirky-looking C3 Aircross, which stands out from rivals with its chunky bodystyling and colourful interior. It's the replacement for the C3 Picasso people-carrier, but it's morphed into a small SUV.

Our pick 1.2 Puretech 130 Feel

Read our full Citroën C3 Aircross review >

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Best small SUVs

Citroen C3 Aircross interior

10. Citroën C3 Aircross

Seating flexibility is one area where the C3 Aircross utterly shames its rivals. Reclining rear seats are standard, while a sliding rear bench is optional on mid-level Feel trim and standard on range-topping Flair, allowing you to prioritise boot space or rear knee room as you wish. The C3 Aircross is also available with a folding front passenger seat for those occasions when you need to carry really long items, such as flatpack furniture or a ladder.

Our pick 1.2 Puretech 130 Feel

Read our full Citroën C3 Aircross review >

See how much you could save on a Citroën C3 Aircross >

Best small SUVs

Renault Captur

9. Renault Captur

The Captur may look like a chunky SUV that shrunk in the wash, but it’s actually a cunningly disguised Clio on stilts. Like the Clio, a range of economical petrol and diesel engines are available and only the front wheels are driven.

Our pick 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique Nav

Read our full Renault Captur review >

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Best small SUVs

Renault Captur interior

9. Renault Captur

The Captur is good value, undercutting most of its rivals on purchase price and offering some of the lowest CO2 emissions in its class. It's not as sprightly or agile as the competition, though, and its interior quality is underwhelming compared with the best in class.

Our pick 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique Nav

Read our full Renault Captur review >

See how much you could save on a Renault Captur >

Best small SUVs

Kia Soul

8. Kia Soul

It's funny how people like things for different reasons, isn’t it? Take the Soul; in the US, college kids love its boxy but cool looks, while over here in the UK families and those needing a fair wedge of practicality enjoy the Soul’s decent interior proportions.

Our pick 1.6 GDi 130 3

Read our full Kia Soul review >

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Best small SUVs

Kia Soul interior

8. Kia Soul

The Soul offers plenty of space and decent driving dynamics. It’s commendable, although some rivals have quieter engines, better interior quality and a more accommodating ride.

Our pick 1.6 GDi 130 3

Read our full Kia Soul review >

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Best small SUVs

Mini Countryman

7. Mini Countryman

The Countryman has a well-appointed, h-looking interior and a decently sized boot. It handles well but the ride can be unsettled and there's more road and wind noise than in some rivals.

Our pick 2.0 Cooper S Chili

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Best small SUVs

Mini Countryman interior

7. Mini Countryman

The Countryman is large by small SUV standards and makes decent use of what space there is. A high roof and low seating position mean even the tallest of drivers will be able to get comfortable, while a wide body means you shouldn’t be rubbing elbows with your passenger.

Our pick 2.0 Cooper S Chili

Read our full Mini Countryman review >

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Best small SUVs

Kia Stonic

6. Kia Stonic

The Stonic is the smallest SUV in Kia’s portfolio. It’s spawned from the Rio small hatchback in much the same way Renault uses the Clio as the basis for the Captur. It's only availalbe in front-wheel drive form, so don’t buy one if you want to cross the Sahara. It does, however, have a slightly jacked-up ride height, roof rails and black plastic wheel arches to give the car a rugged look.

Our pick 1.0 T-GDi 2

Read our full Kia Stonic review >

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Best small SUVs

Kia Stonic

6. Kia Stonic

The Stonic handles tidily and is well equipped, but there's no bargain-basement entry-level version to tempt budget-conscious buyers. Instead, the range starts at a price slightly above the Renault Captur's and a little below that of the Seat Arona.

Our pick 1.0 T-GDi 2

Read our full Kia Stonic review >

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Best small SUVs

Suzuki Ignis

5. Suzuki Ignis

Suzuki has taken the 'small' part of the small SUV to the extreme – the Ignis is just 3.7 metres long and 1.7 metres wide. It's so small, in fact, that it’s about the same size as the Volkswagen Up and Kia Picanto city cars. However, with its flared arches, bluff nose and jacked-up stance, there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a radically designed and eye-catching baby SUV.

Our pick 1.2 Dualjet SZ-T

Read our full Suzuki Ignis review >

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Best small SUVs

Suzuki Ignis interior

5. Suzuki Ignis

The 1.2 Dualjet’s 89bhp may sound modest, but the Ignis certainly doesn't lack power. We managed a very respectable 10.1sec in the 0-60mph sprint – that's better than a 1.0-litre Kia Picanto or any Dacia Duster could manage.

The Ignis is a dinky SUV that’s well priced and neatly packaged. Only its stodgy handling and so-so interior quality let it down.

Our pick 1.2 Dualjet SZ-T

Read our full Suzuki Ignis review >

See how much you could save on a Suzuki Ignis >

Best small SUVs

Volkswagen T-Roc

4. Volkswagen T-Roc

At the cheaper end of the line-up, the T-Roc competes with the likes of the Seat Arona and Kia Stonic, even though it's fractionally bigger than those models. However, move up the T-Roc range and you'll quickly find yourself in Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman territory. To help it stand out, the T-Roc has a more raked rear end than most rivals, aluminium exterior detailing and a distinctive front-end design.

Our pick 1.0 TSI 115 SE

Read our full Volkswagen T-Roc review >

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Best small SUVs

Volkswagen T-Roc interior

4. Volkswagen T-Roc

The turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine is surprisingly punchy and can hold its own on motorways and A-roads – we reckon it's the pick of the line-up. It should be frugal, too, averaging more than 55mpg in official tests.

On the inside, the T-Roc's interior lets the side down a little, feeling rather low-rent for one of the pricier small SUVs. It's also a shame that only the top trim level gets sat-nav as standard.

Our pick 1.0 TSI 115 SE

Read our full Volkswagen T-Roc review >

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Best small SUVs

Suzuki Vitara

3. Suzuki Vitara

The latest Vitara is a very different car to the original model, which was both smaller and more rugged. The newcomer shouldn't be overlooked, though, because it's a compact five-seat SUV that’s designed to be affordable, practical and easy to live with. In fact, it's so good that we named it our 2018 best small SUV for less than £16,000.

Our pick 1.6 SZ4

Read our full Suzuki Vitara review >

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Best small SUVs

Suzuki Vitara interior

3. Suzuki Vitara

The Vitara is bigger than a number of more expensive rivals, with plenty of boot space and enough room for adults in the back seats. It’s well equipped, too. SZ4 trim gets basics such as Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio, all-round electric windows and alloy wheels, a few luxuries including cruise control and climate control.

Our pick 1.6 SZ4

Read our full Suzuki Vitara review >

See how much you could save on a Suzuki Vitara >

Best small SUVs

Audi Q2

2. Audi Q2

Although there's nothing new about pint-sized SUVs, the Q2 was one of the first to combine compact dimensions with a premium badge on its snout. We think it's a great option – in fact, it's our favourite small SUV for more than £20,000.

Our pick 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport

Read our full Audi Q2 review >

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Best small SUVs

Audi Q2 interior

2. Audi Q2

If you live in a crowded city or just like the benefits of a smaller and more frugal motor, you can swap space for a touch of luxury with the Q2. The boot and rear seats are adequate, but it’s the quality of the interior that is seriously impressive. It’s also good to know that the Q2 has one of the best infotainment systems around.

Our pick 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport

Read our full Audi Q2 review >

See how much you could save on an Audi Q2 >

Best small SUVs

Seat Arona

1. Seat Arona

Until recently, Seat had as much experience of building SUVs as Ferrari did mobility scooters. However, the Spanish brand’s first effort, the Ateca, was so good that it won a major gong at our 2017 Car of the Year Awards. Now there's a second, smaller offering: the Arona – and it's so good that we've named it our 2018 Small SUV of the Year.

Our pick 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology

Read our full Seat Arona review >

See how much you could save on a Seat Arona >

Best small SUVs

Seat Arona interior

1. Seat Arona

While the Arona is pricier than the Suzuki Vitara to buy outright, great finance deals mean the Seat small SUV is actually the more affordable car if you’re paying in monthly instalments. And the Arona’s interior may not be as classy as the Audi Q2’s, but it’s still a comfortable and nicely designed place, with all the equipment you really need. The cherry on top is a range of personalisation options that allow you to make your Arona feel special.

Our pick 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology

Read our full Seat Arona review >

See how much you could save on a Seat Arona >

The small SUVs to avoid

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler is excellent off road but unsophisticated on it, with roly-poly handling and a jittery ride. Vague steering and uncomfortable seats only add to the disappointment.

Read our full Jeep Wrangler review >

The small SUVs to avoid

Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny

Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Jimny feels like it belongs in a different era. Its woeful refinement, feeble performance and shortage of safety and security equipment all count against it.

Read our full Suzuki Jimny review >

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