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Small Suv

6 Best small SUVs

How to pick the best for your needs

There are some truly great cars on the road today, in a diverse array of styles. We Aussies can wander through a big car dealership anytime, and find vehicles from all four corners of the globe.

But if there’s one downside to all these choices, it’s that it’s harder to make a decision about which vehicle is best for you.

It’s hard to go wrong with an SUV. Small SUVs are a popular choice of ride in Australia, and around the world. There are so many great models on the market, though, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. Check out 6 of the best small SUVs available today, and some tips on how to find your ideal vehicle.


1. MINI Countryman

MINI make fantastic small vehicles, but when people think SUVs, this British car manufacturer may not be the first one that comes to mind. That’s a shame because the Countryman is a great vehicle.

The Countryman is a small SUV that’s sleek enough to navigate city streets, but rugged enough to take on tougher roads too, with easy switching between standard, green, and rugged modes. It also features an Easy Opener for the boot‚ Comfort Access System‚ and a sporty 170kW of power at the top end of the range.

2. Toyota C-HR

While Toyota isn’t the world’s biggest car manufacturer any more (that distinction was nabbed by Volkswagen in 2016), they are still producing truly tremendous vehicles in Japan from start to finish, like the Toyota C-HR.

Then C-HR has all the trimmings you’d expect in a good SUV. With ABS, Vehicle Stability Control, HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, this Toyota provides a comfortable driving experience for anyone who loves a smooth ride. Its very roomy interior is the icing on the cake.

3. Subaru XV

Another iconic Japanese manufacturer, Subaru has produced an outstanding vehicle with the XV. Essentially a clone of the legendary Impreza in SUV form, the XV comes with a 2.0 L ‘boxer engine’, a tilt and telescoping adjustable steering wheel, automatic stop-start, and electronic stability – all the trimmings an Aussie driver needs to ride in comfort and style.

Possessing an engine capacity of 1995cc and 115kW, this Subaru will handle regular driving and off-road equally well. With its rugged construction‚ it’s surely at its best out in the bush – and its performance will ensure you find an excuse to get it on the trails each weekend.

4. BMW X1

The BMW brand has built an enviable reputation for delivering pure precision, and the BMW X1 is a continuation of this. For those who love an SUV that delivers all the goodies ready to go – and backed by a powerful 2.0 L, 4-cylinder diesel turbo engine – this BMW is for you. While the X1 is designed to be ready to roll once purchased, the add-on M Sport Package is very enticing.

Providing upgraded alloy wheels, custom sports seats, and a specialised ‘M bend’ steering wheel‚ the XI with this booster pack is sure to add an extra-special experience to every single drive.

5. Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Trendline

The Tiguan has twice won Drive’s Car of the Year in its class‚ in 2016 and 2017. So what does the Tiguan offer that’s so fantastic? It’s a simple answer based on the old saying “Good things come in small packages”.

The Tiguan isn’t actually the roomiest vehicle in its class; nor, as an all-wheel-drive, is it intensely powerful. Yet it still feels spacious, is quick off the mark, and has a first-class digital dashboard that makes every drive a pleasure. For those looking for a brilliant SUV, this champion is worth an in-depth look.

6. Kia Soul

When it comes to an award-winning brand, the team at Kia has plenty of experience. Having won multiple awards in previous years for the Picanto and Stinger, it’s no surprise that the Soul is another outstanding vehicle.

Central to all Kia vehicles is a focus on seamless, user-friendly design, and the Soul is faithful to this vision. Its boxy design may not be beloved by every car fan‚ but it’s very practical, offering tons of space to shuttle kids‚ sports equipment‚ business goods‚ and anything else you can imagine. Its slide-out rear seats‚ sleek interior‚ and beautifully responsive steering show the Soul has a whole lot of heart, and is perfect for buyers of all ages and needs.

Sizing it up

If you’re thinking of buying a small SUV, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind as you look. Small SUVs pack a punch, but they also won’t replace a real heavyweight. If you’re buying an SUV with plans to drive on rough roads every weekend, a large SUV may be best – not only due to performance but simply because longer journeys mean greater storage needs.

That said, it’s important to remember that the big gaps that once existed among car types have shrunk. Today, the world has huge Hummers that are environmentally efficient; small cars that also boast immense power; and electric cars that are among the fastest on our roads. A large SUV may be ideal, but you might find a small SUV can deliver the goods with an easy add-on or two.

Small SUVs offer a great mix of style and performance – and given that they represented 42.8% of new vehicle sales in Australia in 2017, they’re the best-selling vehicle type across the nation.

There will always be lots of great SUVs to choose from, but finding the perfect vehicle for you will always depend on your personal needs. The 6 SUVs above prove that great manufacturers each focus on delivering different offerings to their buyers, meeting the need for SUVs that are powerful but also compact, or that can go off-road but also into the shopping centre. If you’re looking to buy and have found one on this list you know you’ll love, take the leap – you’re sure to enjoy it for many years to come.

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Posted 11/04/2023