- Looking to buy a new small SUV?
- Parkers can help you choose the best SUV for your lifestyle
- What are the best small SUVs currently on sale?
Wanting an SUV doesn't have to mean buying a beast of a car that blocks sunlight from your living room windows.
There are plenty of small SUVs and compact cars on the UK market currently, offering good practicality and entertaining driving, as well as comfort and luxury.
Read on to find out the Parkers pick of the best small SUVs on sale in the UK - click on the links below to jump to your favourites.
The Arona is SEAT’s smallest crossover, but it packs a spacious interior into a small exterior. There’s space in this compact SUV for four adults to fit comfortably, plus its boot is a useful 400 litres – with two heights to choose from for the boot floor.
Inside, the dashboard doesn’t look especially exciting, but it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position, and the standard-fit touchscreen multimedia system is bright and easy to use. The plastics used inside could be more pleasing to the touch, but the Arona feels solid.
There are plenty of engines to choose from – with surprisingly perky 1.0-litre turbocharged petrols providing sufficient poke for most situations, plus decent economy that won’t see you filling up too regularly.
There are contrasting body and roof colour combinations to pick from across the range, and the best bit is you don’t have to pay extra for them like you would on many rivals.
New price: £16,905 - £25,120
Lease this car from new: From £165 per month
Used price: £12,090 - £20,565
The Citroen C3 Aircross is the funky choice in the small SUV sector. Not only does it have appealing, chunky styling, but it also has a super-comfortable interior that makes no pretention to sportiness. That in itself is a refreshing change in today’s market.
That makes the C3 Aircross an obvious choice for those looking for a stylish alternative to the more conventional offerings, especially if you live somewhere with potholes and poor roads.
Strong points are the roomy cabin with lots of storage space for all the family’s odds and ends, and excellent petrol and diesel engines that are both punchy and economical.
The choice of the range is the 110hp PureTech petrol version, which is quiet and refined in day-to-day driving, but capable of beating 50mpg without too much effort.
New price: £15,085 - £20,780
Used price: £9,355 - £16,555
Silly name, sensible car, VW has binned off its usual badging structure of just picking a wind (Golf, Scirocco, Jetta and Passat, for example) for this model but it’s no less functional for it.
Boot space is competitive in this category, with 445 litres with the seats up or 1,237 with them folded over. There are certainly more spacious options but also many that are smaller.
Like the Skoda Karoq you get a choice of VW Group motors including 1.0- and 1.5-litre TSI petrols and 1.6- and 2.0-litre TDI diesels, plus manual and automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive versions for junior mud-plugging enthusiasts and winterphobes. A T-Roc Cabriolet is also on the cards, believe it or not.
The T-Roc’s cabin is also much brighter than contemporary VW Group SUVs (Karoq included), with swathes of coloured plastic framing more traditional elements you’ll have seen elsewhere, like the multimedia screen and climate controls, which are straight out of a Golf.
New price: £19,270 - £33,850
Lease this car from new: From £194 per month
Used price: £14,380 - £27,155
The MINI Countryman is by no means mini. Whether you like the look of MINI’s largest model or not, there’s little to argue with when it comes to quality and interior space. Everything feels well-built with quality materials used throughout, and a quirky compact cabin design with plenty of high-end options available from higher up in the BMW range.
There’s also genuine room for five adults, and you can specify sliding seats in the rear to free up some extra room in the 450-litre boot, as well as other options such as a picnic bench and extra storage throughout the interior.
It’s not cheap, but there’s a range of impressive engines, manual and automatic gearboxes and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. There’s even a powerful-yet-efficient plug-in hybrid.
New price: £23,180 - £38,380
Used price: £14,800 - £34,010
One of the more compact SUVs in this sector, the Mazda CX-3 appeals with sharp looks and an equally sharp drive.
It’s fun to drive on a twisty road, but impressive refinement and a comfortable ride mean it’s just as effective at a more relaxed cruise, too.
The inside isn’t as spacious as other cars in this class, but four average-sized adults will fit, although the boot offers no more space than an average supermini.
Interior quality is good with an interesting, solid look and feel, plus a range of efficient engines make it cheap to run across the range.
All models come well-equipped, too – with mid-range models being the most appealing in terms of cost and equipment.
New price: £18,995 - £25,645
Lease this car from new: From £184 per month
Used price: £8,915 - £22,345
Next on the list of the best small SUVs, the 500X is a cheerful small family car with a fashionable interior and entertaining handling.
Since its facelift in 2018 it features an impressive array of safety and multimedia technology as well as new colours and cabin styling to keep it current. But we like it best for its character, which sets it apart from many other cars of this type.
It's built on the very same production line, using many of the same mechanical parts, as the Jeep Renegade. But while it might look like an off-roader, it's at its best driven around town where you can enjoy the responsive steering and take advantage of the clever on-board tech, such as the traffic sign-reading speed limiter.
New price: £18,995 - £23,195
Lease this car from new: From £220 per month
Used price: £6,240 - £18,590
Named after a district in Hawaii, the Kona slots neatly into the Hyundai range below the larger Tucson and Santa Fe, signalling the South Korean brand’s entry point to SUV ownership. It was designed to take a piece of the big-selling Nissan Juke’s generous pie, yet the truth is the Kona is the far superior car.
Boasting tonnes of kit, a comfortable drive and an array of propulsion options, it reminds us why compact SUVs became so popular in the first place. And if that wasn’t enough, the brilliant Kona Electric is also the Parkers Best Eco Car of the Year 2019.
New price: £16,900 - £36,295
Lease this car from new: From £208 per month
Used price: £11,105 - £28,475
Although not as quirky or likeable as the Yeti it replaced, the Karoq’s core strengths of comfort and pragmatism are perfectly aligned with its predecessor.
To that end you get a 521-litre boot and Varioflex rear seats that are removable to allow for a maximum loadspace of 1,810 litres. It’s also possible to leave the fifth chair out, then push the outer two towards each other, and create huge passenger space for four.
Engines range from a 1.0-litre petrol all the way up to a 2.0-litre diesel, with manual and automatic gearbox options and the availability of all-wheel drive if that’s your thing.
Ergonomic ease of use and durability are the key themes in the cabin, although it’s tasteful in its restrained design, rather than workaday or boring. Plus where cheaper materials are used, they’re generally out of sight, lending a pleasingly upmarket feel overall.
New price: £21,255 - £33,095
Lease this car from new: From £250 per month
Used price: £16,050 - £29,065
Somewhat closer to the other end of the spectrum is the BMW X2, a curious mix of off-roader and coupe that leaves you with a car bigger than a 1 Series Sports Hatch, but less practical than an X1 SUV.
Overall though it’s still reasonably sensible, with 470 litres of boot space (boosted to 1,355 litres with the seats down), even with that rather aggressively tapering roofline.
Performance and handling are a strong point, although there are no rear-wheel drive versions as you might expect of BMW, rather the choice of front- and all-wheel drive. There’s also a restricted engine choice – simply 2.0-litre diesel and petrol options, and the former is our pick for its flexibility and running costs.
Inside the X2 is a bit more eye-catching than other small BMWs thanks to some snazzy patterns and coloured accents, although it’s a shame the techy and more modern layout we’ve seen in the X5 and 8 Series hasn’t found its way this far south yet.
New price: £30,720 - £39,140
Lease this car from new: From £322 per month
Used price: £20,625 - £32,520
Mirroring the swoopy styling of the BMW X2, the Toyota C-HR is another SUV where practicality takes a back seat. Assuming you’re tall enough to reach the hidden rear door handles tucked away in the rear pillars, that is.
Boot volume is the least competitive here too, with just 377 litres on offer and even with the seats folded the loadspace isn’t completely flat, so your boxed Billy bookcase will be doing its best see-saw impression on the trip home.
So why is the C-HR in this list of the Best Small SUVs, you ask? Well, for a start it’s the only car available with a self-charging hybrid powertrain, borrowed from the Prius in fact, as are the underpinnings. Surprisingly the C-HR is a great thing to drive and features what must be Toyota’s best interior design in ages, all striking lines and geodesic patterns.
Those in the back don’t fare so well though, a high window-line means it’s dark back there and possibly a bit of a travel-sickness hotspot. Still, a fine car from the front seats.
New price: £21,880 - £30,765
Lease this car from new: From £222 per month
Used price: £13,470 - £25,310
*Prices correct at time of writing