The best Compact SUVs in the UK 2023

On the French car market, the compact SUV is gaining ground year after year. Now, 1 in 5 SUVs sold in the UK is a compact SUV. The public's interest is so great that manufacturers offer new models every year. We provide you with some practical advice to make the right choice of the best compact SUV in this comparison.

Ford Kuga Trend

Best value for money

Ford Kuga Trend

Best compact SUV in 2021

The Ford Kuga Trend has it all: consistency, versatility, and a comfortable ride. The dynamic chassis and ultra-calibrated damping system offer unparalleled handling. Negotiate the turns in all peace of mind.

21 840 £ on Ford

The Ford Kuga Trend benefits from a range of engines that can meet most of the needs of French customers, however demanding they may be. For optimum versatility, you can choose between a petrol engine with 120 to 150 hp or a diesel engine with up to 180 hp. Coupled with a 4-wheel drive transmission, driving comfort is very present.

In addition to these few details, this superior compact SUV, 4.53 m long, also benefits from a complete arsenal specific to safety. These high-tech accessories can be provided as an option or as standard depending on your needs. Among others, you will have a blind spot monitoring device, an emergency braking mechanism or a sign recognition system.

Renault Captur

Best value for money

Renault Captur

Best entry-level compact SUV

Practicality and livability are what best define the Renault Captur. This compact SUV takes care of its presentation with a very athletic design. It is available in 3 distinct engines: gasoline, diesel and plug-in hybrid.

17 400 £ on Renault

The Renault Captur's prowess is palpable, although it is less than that of the Peugeot 2008. It is infinitely customizable (inside and out) and will give you a unique driving experience. With a full tank, a Renault Captur has a minimum range of about 700 km.

This small car impresses by the quality of its equipment at the cutting edge of technology. As an example, you can take advantage of the Easy Link touchscreen compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay or the traffic sign recognition system. Convenient seats (heated, sliding or electric), keyless start capability... What more could you ask for to be on top of the trend without having to put a hole in your wallet?

Cupra Formentor

Best value for money

Cupra Formentor

Best premium compact SUV

With its powerful engine, the Cupra Formentor also seduces with its aggressive style. This superior compact SUV, the 4th generation of the brand, is very convincing on the road. This car was born for sport!

26 440 £ on Cupra Official

The future of the Cupra Formentor is all set thanks to its different engines. Considering its price, it is easy to see that it has a lot to offer. Indeed, its top speed reaches 250 km/h and it needs only 4.9 s to go from 0 to 100 km/h. Of course, this model shows a purely unbeatable performance as it comes with a powerful engine from 150 to 310 hp while taking advantage of the 4-wheel drive technology.

Better than the Ateca Coupe, this compact SUV doesn't blush alongside its brethren. Its long nose gives it strength. Moreover, its beautiful wide silhouette, its fearsome look and especially the atmosphere on board only reveal its sporty pretensions. The best part is that the Formentor is equipped with exclusive features such as a 12-inch touch screen that gives you access to a complete navigation service.

Mazda CX-3

A great choice

Mazda CX-3

Best mid-size compact SUV

The Mazda CX-3 is the ultimate mid-size SUV. With an impeccable finish, a stable and robust chassis, low fuel consumption and innovative equipment, this model can only appeal to big kids.

18 320 £ on Mazda

The Mazda CX-3 compact SUV has a modern and young look. Unlike some models in the same range, this one has readable meters and very well-made directional lights. Its speed and ability are comparable to those of a real city car. Even better, this luxury vehicle is equipped with firm damping and precise steering.

Weighing in at just under 1,200 kg, the Mazda CX-3 is a breeze to navigate on the fast lane. It takes only 9 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h. Here again, it can easily compete with a small sports car. That's one of the reasons why you'll love it. However, we regret a little the driving position which seems rather low because of the headroom.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best Compact SUV

Any specific needs?

Best compact SUV in 2021

Best entry-level compact SUV

Best premium compact SUV

Best mid-size compact SUV

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Comparison table of the best Compact SUVs

Ford Kuga Trend
Renault Captur
Cupra Formentor
Mazda CX-3
Ford Kuga Trend
Renault Captur
Cupra Formentor
Mazda CX-3
The Ford Kuga Trend has it all: consistency, versatility, and a comfortable ride. The dynamic chassis and ultra-calibrated damping system offer unparalleled handling. Negotiate the turns in all peace of mind.
Practicality and livability are what best define the Renault Captur. This compact SUV takes care of its presentation with a very athletic design. It is available in 3 distinct engines: gasoline, diesel and plug-in hybrid.
With its powerful engine, the Cupra Formentor also seduces with its aggressive style. This superior compact SUV, the 4th generation of the brand, is very convincing on the road. This car was born for sport!
The Mazda CX-3 is the ultimate mid-size SUV. With an impeccable finish, a stable and robust chassis, low fuel consumption and innovative equipment, this model can only appeal to big kids.
Gasoline, Diesel
Diesel, gasoline, gasoline-LPG and plug-in hybrid
Gasoline, Diesel and e-Hybrid
From 4.7 L/100 km
From 1.5 L/100 km
From 1.2 L/100 km
6.2 L/100 km
88 kW / 120 hp
From 67 kW / 90 hp
From 110 kW / 150 hp
89 kW / 121 hp
Maximum performance 0-100 km/h
12 s
8.6 s
4.9 s
9.1 sec
6-speed manual
Mechanical 6-speed, multi-mode clutch automatic, dual-clutch EDC automatic and 7-speed
Automatic or manual
6-speed manual

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Buying guide - Compact SUV

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How to choose your Compact SUV

Choosing a compact SUV, as with any other car, requires special attention. You are going to make an important purchase of several thousand euros. The choice will affect your daily life in terms of comfort, but also your budget, especially if you buy on credit. Considering the following criteria will help you find the model that suits you best.

#1 - The engine

Today, all manufacturers offer multiple engines on a single model. This expands the choice and possibilities for every compact SUV that catches your eye. THE engine is closely related to your driving habits. If you drive mostly in the city, a gasoline-powered compact SUV is best for you. If you drive more long-distance, a diesel engine will be more advantageous. You can also opt for hybrid models, which are more environmentally friendly.

#2 - The technology

Technology has improved the driving comfort of compact SUVs. Driving assistant (semi-automatic driving), digital on-board computer connected to the Internet, anti-theft device... are some of the on-board technologies that can make the driving experience much more enjoyable.

#3 - The budget

Although the compact SUV is more affordable than the premium SUVs, its purchase requires significant expenses. You'll need to shell out an average of €30,000 to afford this type of vehicle. Some basic models can still be bought for around 15,000 € like the Dacia Logan. The price can go up to 60 000 € and more for the top-of-the-range finishes. Choose according to your budget.

#4 - The transmission

For fuel economy reasons, all-wheel drive is offered less and less on compact SUVs. Many models in this class have simple two-wheel drive. They get much better gas mileage and are more affordable. However, if you regularly venture out on rough trails, a four-wheel-drive model is worth considering. Ideally, you want a compact SUV that can switch from four-wheel drive to two-wheel drive whenever you want.

#5 - The brand

Make is also an important consideration. However, this is a completely objective factor. While some people are keen on buying French brands, others will be more inclined to choose the German or Japanese ones. The Koreans Hyundai and Kia also occupy important places in the compact SUV market.

How to maintain a compact SUV?

Like other cars, the compact SUV requires regular maintenance. This allows to keep the car in good condition and to preserve some performances (fuel consumption, CO2 emission...).

Oil changes, checking and topping up brake fluids, replacing tires and brake pads are among the maintenance operations to be performed. The cleaning of the bodywork and the passenger compartment should not be neglected. This will keep the car looking its best for as long as possible.

You should know that each model has its own maintenance schedule. For this, you should refer to the manufacturer's recommendations to know the maintenance schedule of your compact SUV. These recommendations are usually written in the maintenance booklet that was provided to you when you purchased the vehicle.

The different types of Compact SUVs

There are three main types of compact SUVs: city models, the mid-size compact SUV and the premium compact SUV. The classification is mainly based on the dimensions of each model.

Compact city SUV

This category includes compact SUVs that are no longer than 4.2 meters. The Citroën C3 Aircross, the Volkswagen T-Cross and the Peugeot 2008 are among the compact city SUVs. The dimensions of this type of vehicle are reduced, thus offering more maneuverability. With a more affordable cost, it has a lower fuel consumption. Note that its biggest drawbacks are its less spacious interior and storage space as well as its moderate power.

The compact city SUV is mainly aimed at households of less than 4 people who travel mainly in the city. They are affordable and yet provide a very good level of comfort and pleasant urban driving.

Compact mid-size SUV

The intermediate compact SUV is recognized by its length, which is between 4.20 m and 4.30 m. The best known models in this category are the Mazda CX-3, the Fiat 500X and the Opel Mokcha X. Affordable, this type of compact SUV offers a wide range of features and options.

Despite its elegant and sporty look, the car has limited performance. Like city cars, mid-size compact SUVs are best suited for drivers in urban areas.

Compact hybrid SUV

Upper compact SUVs consist of all models that are longer than 4.40 m. The Volkswagen Tiguan, the Nissan Quashqai or the Renault Kadjar are part of this category. Performing and luxurious, it promises you wider driving options. Offered at a higher price, this type of car, with a better finish, has a more spacious interior and storage spaces.

The superior compact SUV meets the needs of uncompromising drivers for comfort and performance. Its purchase requires greater means due to its higher price compared to other categories.

Compact SUV or Crossover?

Compact SUV

The compact SUV is a cross between an MPV and an SUV, with a spacious interior and a rather imposing size. It gets its high ground clearance from the 4WD. In fact, 4-wheel drive is generally offered as an option on all compact SUVs. Unlike minivans, this type of vehicle has a hatchback body.


The crossover, on the other hand, is a fusion of the 4 x 4 with a sedan. Its design is mostly similar to that of a sedan, or a raised station wagon. Comfort and space are emphasized. The emphasis is less on performance. Some crossovers are therefore only offered with front-wheel drive.


The choice between a compact SUV and a crossover depends inherently on your needs. The crossover may be right for you if you need space and only drive in the city. The compact SUV also performs well in urban areas. It's a serious option if you regularly get off the beaten path.

Why buy a compact SUV?

Much more space

To ensure greater comfort for its occupants, the compact SUV is particularly more livable. It can accommodate four to five people in its spacious and well-kept interior. It also has a generous trunk that can easily accommodate your luggage.

More versatility

Most compact SUVs have 4-wheel drive. This gives it a certain versatility on the ground. It's suitable for all roads and can even take on steeper routes. Equipped with more developed side protections, it is very robust and resists impacts very well.

A greater sense of security

In terms of driving, this type of sports car offers a very high position allowing a better visibility towards the rear. This high driving position gives some people a feeling of dominance. For others, it gives a sense of security. All compact SUV models have the distinction of having optimal ground clearance, a very imposing appearance and functional protective devices, which appeals to all users, both young and old.

More originality

In terms of aesthetics, the compact SUV is becoming increasingly popular with buyers thanks to its successful and well-groomed design. Manufacturers are showing their creativity by producing models that are even more original than the previous ones. With its dynamic lines, the look of the compact SUV makes many people dream and adapts to all circumstances.

Lower consumption

Even if they are considered more fuel-efficient, the fuel consumption of compact SUVs has been reduced to a minimum thanks to the progress made in engines. So are their CO2 emissions. Europe has imposed rules that manufacturers are required to respect. Some compact diesel or gasoline SUVs have fuel consumption of less than 6 liters per 100 kilometers.

The best brands of Compact SUVs

In our opinion, the best brands of Compact SUVs in 2022 are :


The Ford Motor Company, commonly known as Ford, is an American multinational automobile manufacturer that was founded 117 years ago. Ford is a popular manufacturer in the automotive market: reliable, efficient, durable, its compact SUVs are among the best-selling SUVs today.

The Renault Group is a French multinational automaker founded in 1899. The company produces a wide range of cars and vans, and even trucks in the past. Its attempts to produce cars entering the 4x4 segment have not always been convincing, but its SUVs (including the Renault Capture) have been rather well received. Better received than its 4x4s, anyway. They have a reputation for good comfort, safety and easy driving.

Cupra or Seat Cupra is a Spanish car manufacturer that has been around since 1950, previously run by the Spanish National Institute of Industry, Cupra has now become one of many Volkswagen brands. It produces mainly sports cars, moreover it prides itself on having a contemporary vision of sportiness.

Mazda is a Japanese manufacturer that was born in 1920. It is a manufacturer that still has a very good reputation, regarding the practicality and robustness of its cars. And this is still the case with its Cx-3: whether it's in terms of comfort, driving, safety, quality of the car's finish or originality of the design, this SUV has rather excellent marks from users.

The Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational car manufacturer that was born in 1937. The brand was first known for its automated looms, before trying its hand at cars. A try that will be crowned with the success we know today. Toyota's compact SUVs are particularly appreciated for their maneuverability, robustness and comfort.

What is the price for a Compact SUV

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

20000 £ to 35000 £
35000 £ to 50000 £
more than 50000 £
Price range diagram


Less braking to save fuel

The use of brakes increases energy consumption. To limit this consumption, it is therefore important to reduce braking as much as possible. Use gradual deceleration when a stop is in sight. This can reduce your fuel consumption by 10% to 20%.

Choose a compact hybrid SUV for city driving


you drive almost exclusively in the city, consider a compact hybrid SUV. This type of engine is designed primarily for urban travel. This will help you limit your car's energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Maintain your SUV properly

Maintenance of your compact SUV should be regular and according to the manufacturer's recommendations. This will extend its life and optimize its performance and fuel economy.

Get driver assistance tools


vast majority of today's compact SUVs carry driver assistance technologies. Use these virtual assistants especially when driving on rough, slippery or snowy roads.

Buy your compact SUV on credit


you're buying a new compact SUV, paying cash is not the best option. Buy on credit instead. Banks and consumer credit organizations offer many interesting solutions adapted to all needs to finance the purchase of your compact SUV.


What is the best compact SUV?

The best compact SUV depends on your needs and your budget. Read our buying guide for the best products out there.

What does SUV mean?


acronym SUV comes from the English word "Sport Utility Vehicle.


It can be loosely translated as sport utility vehicle in French.

How can you tell an SUV from a 4WD?


4 x 4 is the all-terrain vehicle par excellence. It is mainly driven off-road. In the city, the 4 x 4 is difficult to drive and consumes a lot of fuel. The SUV is an urban adaptation of the 4 x 4. It offers more comfort options and is more docile and adapted to city driving. On the other hand, the SUV is less able to venture into difficult terrain despite its sporty nature.

What are the differences between an SUV and an MPV?


minivan has a single-body design. The passenger compartment and the rear end are an extension of the hood. The SUV, on the other hand, has a two-body design. The front part, which houses the hood, and the middle part are clearly distinguishable. The SUV also has a high ground clearance and sporty characters. The minivan remains low-slung and displays no sportiness.

Is a compact SUV safer than another vehicle?


some ways, an SUV is safer than a small city car, although the latter is better at braking because of its much lower weight. Nevertheless, in the event of a head-on collision, the SUV has a more massive chassis and a better calibrated braking system. This can significantly reduce the risk of death.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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  15. Comparative of - Comparison of the best SUVs 2021,
  16. What is the best compact SUV - Hintigo,
  17. The 5 best compact SUVs on the market 2019 | VIVACAR,
  18. CAPTUR - The compact urban SUV - Renault,
  19. SUV and Crossover: car buying guide | Fiat France,
  20. Jeep® Compass | The refined compact SUV | Jeep® France,
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Ford Kuga Trend
Ford Kuga Trend
Renault Captur
Renault Captur
Cupra Formentor
Cupra Formentor
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3


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