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Best Cars

Best Small SUVs and Crossovers for 2018

By Martin Pratt

Article 7 of 16

The best small SUVs and crossover cars combine practicality, fuel efficiency and reliability with a great driving position

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The best small SUVs and crossovers give you a commanding, high-rise view of the road and a practical, spacious interior. These crossovers are also more fuel-efficient and easier to manage around town than a full-sized large SUV.

Most car manufacturers now offer at least one compact SUV in their range, with models such as the Audi Q3, VW Tiguan, Vauxhall Mokki and Renault Captur. But the best-known by far is the ultra-popular Nissan Qashqai. 

Below are the very best small SUVs and crossovers that excelled in our tests. These cars offer a great driving position, won't cost you a fortune in fuel and will look fantastic outside your home. 

So you'll know which cars to avoid, we've also rounded-up three Don't Buy models. The three Don’t Buy compact SUVs lack safety equipment, have thirsty engines or poor build quality.

Read on to see the best and worst small SUVs available new and used.

Which? members can log in to see the small SUVs and crossovers we recommend. If you’re not already a member, join Which? to unlock our recommendations below and all of our expert impartial reviews.

Best new small SUVs and crossovers

Price from £23,504
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Nov 2014
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This electric car is a credible choice for anyone wanting the high driving position of an off-roader, but with zero tailpipe emissions. It offers similar levels of passenger and luggage space to the petrol model and the styling is sure to get you noticed. We struggled to match its claimed driving range, however.

Price from £26,086
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Nov 2011
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Exhibiting the strengths of larger models from the brand: excellent cabin quality, plenty of tech and a comfortable ride, this compact SUV is an accomplished and desirable model.

Price from £21,880
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Aggressive coupe styling hides a genuinely functional and easy to drive crossover. It's also backed by a five-year manufacturer warranty.

Price from £22,030
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This compact SUV is the brand's most practical model yet. It's also plenty of fun to drive and is available with a lot of scope for customisation.

Price from £21,605
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Decent passenger space, a comfy ride and the potential for decent fuel economy (at least around town) make this compact SUV one to consider.

Best used small SUVs and Crossovers

Price from £8,156
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Sep 2010
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The entertaining driving experience you'd expect from the brand, but with vastly improved passenger and boot space. One for those who like driving for fun.

Price from £7,559
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Oct 2009
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This uncompromising compact SUV certainly drives well, with assured handling and a range of eager engines to choose from. It doesn’t shine in the practicality stakes – the rear seats are a little too firm, and the boot isn’t as big as rival small SUVs. We also wish it were a little smoother. But there's plenty of space up front.. This is a driver’s car, in more ways than one.

Price from £10,774
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Mar 2013
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This two-door coupe-SUV is fun to drive and makes an impression with its funky styling. It's worth noting there's just two seats in the back, though.

Price from £10,162
Which? score 59%
Reviewed Feb 2012
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This mid-sized crossover sits at the more rugged end of the family SUV spectrum, with decent ground clearance and a strong diesel engine. The ride and cabin quality leave something to be desired, but it's not enough for it to be denied Best Buy status.

Price from £6,164
Which? score 58%
Reviewed Sep 2009
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

With a versatilie interior, the option of four-wheel-drive and a hugely satisfying driving experience, this compact crossover model should certainly be on your buying shortlist.

Not found the car for you? Go straight to all our small SUV and crossover car reviews

And here are three small SUVs and crossovers to avoid

The small SUV and crossover class is a relatively new one in motoring, but it has quickly become one of the most popular and is now responsible for some of the bestselling models in the UK. 

The boom in popularity meant every manufacturer wanted a slice of the action, releasing their own small SUVs with mixed results.  

Electronic stability control is vital on a tall car. Too many small SUVs and crossovers don't have it.

The high driving position is one of the major benefits of owning a crossover. It gives a commanding view of the road and helps make people feel safer while driving. Electronic stability control (ESC) is vital on a tall car to avoid body roll and to help the car feel stable round corners. Too many small SUVs either don’t have ESC or offer it as an optional extra, which means it could be missing from used models.

ESC factors into our safety checks. If it’s absent, we won’t recommend the car. 

Despite the SUV moniker, there are high expectations of how cheap a small SUV should be to run. Our testing found that crossover cars have one of the biggest disparities between the most and least-efficient models. 

Choose the right car, and you can expect up to 67.2mpg. But choose the wrong model and you’ll get just 21.9mpg – a difference of 45.3mpg.

Take a look at the models you should avoid.

Only logged-in Which? members can view the small SUVs and crossovers you should avoid, below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access to this and all of our online reviews if you join Which?

Small SUVs and crossovers to avoid

Price from £6,681
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Jan 2013
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This model has won plenty of fans with its no-frills approach to motoring. However, we don't think safety is one area that you should have to compromise on. With a three-star Euro NCAP safety rating, it's a definite Don't Buy.

Price from £15,679
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This compact Crossover has a lot going for it: it's nice to drive, comes with lots of kit and is backed by a lengthy warranty. Unfortunately, entry-level models don't get all the safety kit as standard. The result is a three-star Euro NCAP score and a Which? Don't Buy recommendation.

Price from £3,251
Which? score 36%
Reviewed May 2006
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Chunky styling, decent build quality and practicality, means this dinky SUV has plenty of appeal. Unfortunately it's slow, with sloppy handling and a thirst for fuel. There are much better compact SUVs available.

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Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track and on real roads – and we really clock up the distance, driving around 500 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us to determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs.

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

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