The best small SUVs

Today, the small SUV has the wind in its sails in urban areas. An ingenious blend of sedan and 4x4, it boasts beautiful, sporty lines that emphasize elegance and practicality. The customization options on small SUVs are only increasing the French craze for this type of car. Use our list to find the right small SUV for you.

Audi Q2

Audi Q2

From €28,760 on Audi

Over-equipped, the Audi Q2 urban SUV impresses with its refined lines and its friendly baroudeur look. You have everything to benefit from its range of equipment dedicated to infotainment. The driving assistance options are there, as well as connectivity. Its controlled damping allows it to adapt to all types of roads

Seat Arona

Seat Arona

From €17,990 on Seat

Following a major restyling in 2017, the Seat Arona now gets full LED headlights and the front fascias have been updated. Its most welcoming cabin is still part of the race. On top of that, you'll be able to drive safely thanks to Seat Connect and Travel Assist in-house technologies.

Peugeot 2008

Peugeot 2008

From 21 090 € on Peugeot

You will be able to configure its finish as well as its engine, color and comfort options. For those who like 100% electric cars, this small urban SUV offers a high range, up to 320 km. Whichever model you choose, it will always be a very pleasant ride in the city.

Citroën C3 Aircross 1

Citroën C3 Aircross

From 16 300 € on Citroën

The Citroën C3 Aircross has much more to offer than just a sporty look. This small SUV has several options that make it a refined and comfortable model. It remains, despite everything, particularly affordable. That's why it's so popular with young people.

Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke

Starting at €21,090 on Nissan

Reassuring and stable, the Nissan Juke does not lack originality. And despite the advent of many new, more sophisticated models, this small urban SUV still has many years ahead of it. We can only appreciate its ease of customization, from wheels to mirrors.

Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Kona

From €24,050 on Hyundai

The Hyundai Kona appeared on the market in 2017, stylish and dynamic. Its gasoline version, with a power of 120 hp, is wise in urban environments. The one with all-wheel drive guarantees you better traction and optimal grip. This small urban SUV is also available in electric and non-rechargeable hybrid.

Renault Captur

Renault Captur

17 400 £ on Renault

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.

Dacia Spring

Dacia Spring

From 17 090 € on Dacia

Even though the Dacia Spring is quite compact from the outside, you'll still enjoy plenty of living space on board. This small urban SUV features sporty lines, a 100% electric engine and remarkable driving comfort.

Opel Mokka

Opel Mokka

From €20,350 on Opel

Do you have a weakness for small allendered SUVs? Choose the Opel Mokka. It's certain that you won't be unmoved by its seductive look, muscular lines and dynamic performance. This urban SUV, also available in 100% electric, is a serious rival to the Nissan Juke.

Toyota CH-R Hybrid 2

Toyota CH-R Hybrid

From €26,500 on Toyota

And last but not least, here is the magnificent Toyota CH-R hybrid. This small SUV from the Japanese specialist shows a good reactivity in terms of motorization with 184 hp under the hood. A full hybrid that will seduce lovers of good sensations.

Buying guide - small SUV

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How to choose your small SUV

Choosing a small SUV should be done with great care. To this end, consider the following parameters so as not to throw money out the window:

Criterion n°1 : Style and design

Unlike large SUVs, small SUVs are more urban and less off-road. They sport sleek lines, dazzling LED accent lights and shiny chrome musculature. Either way, be sure to determine how high you'll need to get in and out of the SUV. Also note the lift height in the rear cargo area, which is how high you need to lift your cargo to get it into the SUV's trunk.

Criterion n°2 : Performance

Even a small SUV can put a strain on an engine, and automakers are constantly trying to balance power and fuel economy in this sense. So make sure you have a turbo system that makes it easy to generate low-end torque and limits fuel consumption enough.

In fact, today's turbo technology is fully advanced so that a small supercharged four-cylinder engine can generate the power needed to pull a lot of weight. But not all small engines were created equally, so it makes sense to test drive if possible. Test the vehicle in passing situations on the highway.

Criterion n°3 : Consumption

Today's SUVs are more fuel efficient than ever, but they're still bigger and heavier than their sedan counterparts. As SUVs get bigger, heavier, and more muscular, fuel efficiency decreases. The most fuel-efficient SUVs are hybrids, but only a handful of automakers offer these models.

It's worth asking whether you should really wait for a small hybrid SUV that costs more to buy when today's gasoline-powered SUVs get 7 to 9 L/100 km. However, hybrid SUVs tend to be better at stop-and-go driving than their conventional rivals. So if you spend a lot of time driving around town, a hybrid SUV could save you a lot of money on gas.

Criterion n°4 : Seats

Attention, many small SUVs can only comfortably seat 2 adults in the back seat, and if it's a very compact SUV, legroom in the back may be limited. Generally speaking, you'll need a small SUV with a fairly spacious cabin if you want to carry growing adults or teenagers in comfort. As always, your best bet is to visit the dealership and try it out for yourself.

Criterion n°5 : Off-road equipment

Given their elevated design, most SUVs can do off-roading, but only a handful are really capable of it. The mid-sized SUV can handle a modest dirt trail to a blacktop start. Only SUVs with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, reinforced suspensions and wide ground clearance can venture into more challenging terrain.

In this sense, look to classic SUVs from Toyota, Jeep and Land Rover, to name a few. But today, you can find impressive off-road capabilities even in small crossovers from Jeep and Subaru. Note that while most SUVs offer all-wheel drive, these systems are generally designed only for stability on slippery roads, not for serious off-road work.

Maintaining a small SUV

The maintenance of a small SUV is not so different from that of other cars. The SUV requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition and preserve its performance. To do this, you should

  • Change the brake fluid and oil regularly;
  • Check the brake pads and the condition of the tires;
  • Always inflate the tires to the correct pressure;
  • Always follow the manufacturer's maintenance and operating recommendations.
  • Wash your car regularly. This includes the body, chassis, all windows, the passenger compartment and the engine block.

Small SUV or mid-size SUV?

Small SUV

Small SUVs include compact SUVs and subcompact SUVs. A subcompact SUV is little more than a larger sedan. It's only when you move up to the compact range that you really feel like you've left the sedans behind.

A compact SUV carries a raised design, like other SUVs, but with a smaller frame. You'll enjoy more seating and cargo space in a compact SUV than in a sedan. Here are some examples of compact SUVs: Buick Envision, GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Trax, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, Kia Sorento, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, etc.

Mid-size SUV

A mid-size SUV is slightly larger than its compact counterpart. In this range, you usually have a minimum of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to power your commute. This is also where you'll start to find towing and off-road capabilities.

Some examples of midsize SUVs are Buick Enclave, GMC Acadie, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Passport, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Venza, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-9, and more. It goes without saying that the bigger the SUV, the more expensive it is.


Choose a small SUV if you have a small family, want the best fuel efficiency, only need a medium-sized trunk and are on a budget. On the other hand, if you can invest a lot more and have a large family, a mid-size SUV will probably offer you more comfortable space.

While the small SUV has the advantage of having a short chassis that can handle steep hills and very rough trails, the mid-size SUV has a lot more off-road features to allow you to venture out on the rough roads with confidence.

Why buy a small SUV?

For its ruggedness

Most small SUVs strive to offer the kind of ruggedness associated with true off-roaders. Their high ground clearance comes in handy when you're walking on broken surfaces. With their short chassis, you can simply navigate through the many speed bumps that can hit the belly of sedans. Finally, their plastic coating preserves their bodywork from minor scratches and bumps.

For a better view of the road

Since small SUVs are higher than minivans and sedans, you sit at a higher height. This gives you a better view of the road. This is especially beneficial when you're driving on a busy highway. An advantage that allows you to have a better view of your surroundings to easily make your way around town. This can help in emergency braking situations as the driver has a better view of surrounding vehicles and obstacles.

For added convenience

While most compact SUVs don't offer the same number of seats as an MPV, you'll still have the edge on practicality. You can simply fold the seats down to easily increase the vehicle's luggage carrying capacity. The interior of a small SUV is not only more airy, but also offers more room to load a large piece of luggage with a capacity of up to 380 liters. On the traffic side, the compact width of a small SUV greatly reduces the risk of bumping into another vehicle or an obstacle when you're parking or when the road is crowded.

For its affordability

Small SUVs generally cost less than larger models. Basically, you get all the comfort and safety features of such a vehicle for a much lower price. So, anyone with a limited budget is better off buying a small, feature-rich SUV with off-road options rather than a large SUV or 4x4 pickup costing tens of thousands of euros but with the same handling.

For its low fuel consumption

Today, the ingenious design of small SUVs offers all the practical benefits of an SUV without excessive fuel consumption. The usual off-road capability, which is not frequently used, has been almost rejected by these small SUVs, to offer buyers an affordable, environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient SUV. In short, the perfect family car.

The best brands of small SUVs

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


Peugeot was rather late in entering the SUV segment. Despite this, the French manufacturer has been able to catch up by offering reliable, powerful and comfortable models like the 5008. Its 2008 model has been a best-seller in the UK since 2020.

Toyota was first known for its automated looms, before trying its hand at cars. An attempt that will be crowned with the success it is known for today. Toyota's compact SUVs are particularly appreciated for their handling, robustness and comfort.

Renault's attempts to produce 4x4s have not always been convincing, but its SUVs (including the Renault Capture) have been rather well received. Better received than its SUVs, anyway. They have the reputation of being comfortable, safe and easy to drive.

Ford is a safe bet when it comes to SUVs. The brand was born 117 years ago. Ford is an appreciated manufacturer on the automotive market: reliable, performing, durable, its compact SUVs are among the best-selling SUVs today.

Allied to Renault, the Japanese manufacturer prides itself on being one of the inventors of the SUV with models like the Terrano, the X-Trail or the Qashqai on the crossover segment. Today, Nissan still offers several models in the air of time, always as powerful.

What is the price for a small 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.

16000 £ to 20000 £
20000 £ to 25000 £
more than 25000 £
Price range diagram


Check plug compatibility if you're buying a plug-in hybrid model

In case you buy a small plug-in hybrid SUV, make sure that the charging socket present the vehicle is compatible with your home socket or a Wallbox. Also, don't forget to check the accepted charging power.

Learn to brake properly to save fuel

Frequent use of the brakes increases fuel consumption. To limit the amount of fuel consumed, prefer gradual deceleration to braking when you plan to stop or slow down. This will reduce your fuel consumption by 10 to 20%.

Inflate tires to the right pressure

Inflating your small SUV's tires to the right pressure will ensure a stable, safe ride and reduce your fuel consumption by 4%. This way, you'll also extend the life of your tires, knowing that under-inflated tires wear out faster.

Use driving aids

Once you're behind the wheel of your car, when you're dealing with difficult, slippery or snowy trails, don't hesitate to use virtual assistants. Most small SUVs on the market are equipped with them.

Clean and wash your SUV regularly

When washing the windows, use only suitable products. As for the bodywork and chassis, high-pressure water is enough to remove mud and moisture that promote rust. Finally, use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust residues from the interior, seats, floor and dashboard.


What is the smallest SUV on the market?

The smallest SUV on the market is the Dacia Spring. This electric SUV has a nice jovial look of a small crossover measuring 3.73 m long, 36 cm less than a Sandero, slightly larger by only 10 cm than a Twingo (3.61 meters) and 35 cm less than the Renault Zoe. The 4WD is an all-terrain vehicle that is generally driven off-road. It is less ideal for city driving because it is more difficult to drive and consumes a lot of fuel. The SUV is an urban adaptation of the 4 x 4. This makes it perfect for city traffic. However, the SUV is less efficient than the 4WD on inhospitable roads. Not to mention that 4WDs have technical features not found in SUVs, such as independent axles, a short gearbox, and a differential lock.

What is the difference between an SUV and an SUV?

Yes. A small SUV is safe because it provides a pleasant ride and has an ultra-protective design. In the event of a frontal collision, the SUV will better protect its passengers thanks to its more massive chassis. In addition, it is equipped with a better calibrated braking system that significantly reduces the risk of death.

Is a small SUV safe?

Aside from the various tips already formulated in this guide to reduce the fuel consumption of your small SUV, closing the windows (front, rear and sunroof) of your vehicle when you drive will also help you in this sense. Indeed, this will allow you to gain in aerodynamics to save up to 5% of energy.

How can I significantly reduce the fuel consumption of my small SUV?


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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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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