Best small SUVs and crossovers on sale 2018

2 Oct, 2018 5:30pm Sam Naylor

There's a huge range of crossovers and small SUVs on the market today, and these are our top ten

The best crossovers really can do no wrong. After nearly a decade on the scene, buyers still can’t get enough of them, meaning that for manufacturers it is a lucrative sector of the market to be in. The Nissan Qashqai was probably the car that fired the crossover to prominence, combining family car space, running costs and road manners with a 4x4 body boasting chunky looks and an elevated driving position.

In today’s increasingly fragmented market the Qashqai is far from alone, with compact road-biased SUVs by brands from Mercedes-Benz to Dacia jostling for sales. At the smaller end of the scale (a class that was also pioneered by Nissan with the Juke) you have diminutive SUVs which are at home in the city and often even more adventurous in the style stakes.

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Further up the size scale, you can buy a crossover with seven-seats – there are even hot versions of a select number of crossovers with extra performance to call upon. Typically, crossovers deliver the same kind of space that you'll find in a more conventional hatchback, but buyers like the raised ride height of a crossover, as it gives them a better view of the road ahead.

This perceived safety benefit goes hand-in-hand with the latest range of electronic driver aids, while the newest models are as good to drive as their hatchback counterparts, too. And if you want a more SUV-like driving experience, most crossovers are available with four-wheel drive, usually on high-spec versions.

With so many makers vying for sales, the market can be a confusing mess to the uninitiated. There are assorted shapes and sizes of crossover, from tiny to huge, and the boundaries seem to blur even more with each new model that's launched.

At the smaller end of the scale, beyond a recent batch of off-road styled superminis, there's the Suzuki Ignis, which is one of the smallest crossovers on sale. Further up is the Juke class of supermini crossover. The Nissan has been joined by a few others, including the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Ford EcoSport, while new arrivals in the sector include the SEAT Arona and Citroen C3 Aircross.

Long-term test - Suzuki Ignis - front quarter

Moving up in size, cars like the Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X, Mazda CX-3 and Vauxhall Crossland X are marginally larger in size, while models like the Audi Q2, Mercedes GLA and Volkswagen T-Roc are of similar proportions, but are designed to offer a more premium feel inside.

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Next up is the Qashqai class. The Nissan is still a decent crossover, but there are a lot of competitors here, including the similar Renault Kadjar, and rivals such as the Peugeot 3008, SEAT Ateca, VW Tiguan and Kia Sportage. Then there's the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. Other newcomers in this class include the Skoda Karoq, Vauxhall Grandland X and Jeep Compass.

From here, you have the likes of the Skoda Kodiaq and Nissan X-Trail, which are well worth considering over full-size 4x4s like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.

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There are plenty of prestige crossovers on sale, too. BMW's X1, X2, X3 and X4 models all hold appeal, while Audi has its Q3 and Q5 models, and Mercedes offers the GLC in SUV and Coupe guises. Jaguar has hit the ground running in the crossover class, too, with the F-Pace and now E-Pace models on offer, and Volvo's XC40 and XC60 are great picks, too.

There really is a crossover out there for every size and shape of family. And if you don't like the idea of this kind of SUV, then there's a broader range of high-riding off-road estates than ever to choose from.

Top 10 best crossovers to buy now

  1. 1. Skoda Karoq
  2. 2. Citroen C3 Aircross
  3. 3. Volvo XC40
  4. 4. Peugeot 3008
  5. 5. Toyota C-HR
  6. 6. SEAT Arona
  7. 7. MINI Countryman
  8. 8. Renault Kadjar
  9. 9. Mazda CX-5
  10. 10. BMW X1

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