The compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) or Crossover is rapidly becoming the car of choice for many. They’re designed for people who enjoy a raised driving position without the hiked running costs. And they appeal to drivers who are likely to spend more time negotiating city traffic than hard-to-reach trails.
Apart from one, our choices come in two and four-wheel drive. They are all new models that are reasonably priced for drivers who want to pay monthly for their motoring.
1. Renault Captur 0.9TCe Nav (£15,395 or £199/month)
If you’re after a small family hold-all with low running costs, but a little more machismo than a regular supermini, the Captur could be it.
It’s based on the Renault Clio, hence being cheap to run, yet has an elevated driving position and a spacious, versatile cabin. There are a variety of engines but, unlike the rest of this group, there’s no four-wheel drive option.
Road testers at What Car? rate the 0.9 TCe as the best within the Captur crowd, with a decent blend of economy, performance, equipment and price.
2. Mazda CX-3 2WD SE (£18,255 or £239/month)
In certain guises, specifically two-wheel drive petrol, the Mazda is the pick of the small SUV bunch. It’s based on the excellent Mazda2 and combines the cheeky fun-to-drive nature of the supermini with raised crossover looks.
However, a young family might struggle to do much growing in the claustrophobic cabin and Auto Express testers criticised it for being noisy at speed.
But the CX-3’s good looks, high standard equipment, flexible 2-litre petrol engine and fun handling make it well worth a test drive.
3. Vauxhall Mokka Exclusiv 1.6i (£18,723 or £189/month)
The Mokka isn’t the best car in its class but it’s one of the best selling. It makes this list because it straddles the ground between smaller Nissan Juke-sized models and the larger Qashqai.
Unlike some other rivals, it has a masculine look to it and is well-equipped with every model getting climate control, cruise control and DAB radio. It’s also practical and easier to access than others with big wide doors.
However, the Mokka is a very narrow car and Autocar suggests it would struggle to accommodate more than two passengers across the rear seats in any comfort.
4. Dacia Duster Ambiance dCi 110 (£11,995 or £169/month
The Duster holds its value well and offers a cabin that will seat five people in comfort and a boot that is bigger than many hatchback cars.
The bargain-basement price means you can trade up and buy a model you really want, with all the extras, and still have a car that’s cheaper than others on this list.
Beneath the butch bodywork, the Duster is a Renault and it uses the French firm’s well-proven engines. A five-year warranty comes as standard, rather than the typical three years. But while it’s not super economical or, quite frankly, super to drive… it is competitive with other small SUVs, according to Carbuyer.
5. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SZ3 1.6 petrol (£13,999 or £149/month)
The Japanese carmaker is brilliant at producing small cars and has plenty of experience designing 4x4s. So it’s entirely predictable that a small Suzuki crossover would be a good choice.
The looks of the S-Cross are an acquired taste but it’s solidly built, has true off-road ability when in four-wheel drive, and is decent to drive on the road.
Testers at Parkers rate it as a class leader in terms of interior and luggage space. And for drivers that don’t need the all-terrain abilities of a mountain goat, it’s also available in two-wheel drive.