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Top 10 best small SUVs 2024

They’re more popular than ever, but which small SUVs are the best? We cover our top 10

Best small SUVs

Small SUVs are everywhere these days. Where superminis and hatchbacks were once the default small car of choice for families, small SUVs are now the more popular option. They provide the raised ride height and elevated seating position of larger SUVs, but they’re often just as efficient as their hatchback counterparts. Their small dimensions also make them well-suited to nipping around town, with more suspension travel to soak up potholes and speed bumps.

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Cars such as the Nissan Juke pioneered the small-SUV craze, but since then, many more small SUV rivals have come along to make a name for themselves, such as the Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro and Renault Captur among others. Many of these come in a choice of petrol, hybrid and electric versions, making them more versatile than ever. 

As nearly every manufacturer offers a small SUV, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for you. Our experts have tested nearly every model on sale and picked out the top 10, considering practicality, fuel economy, performance, comfort, price and more. 

The best small SUVs on sale today

Read on for our list of the best small SUVs. For a more general guide to SUVs, we’ve covered the top 10 best SUVs across all classes and sizes. We also have a list of the best used SUVs if you’re shopping for your next family car on a budget.

Hyundai Kona review – a class-leading small SUV

Best Small Family Car: Hyundai Kona
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £26,040
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The Hyundai Kona is our favourite small SUV and won our award for Best Small Family car in the 2024 Carbuyer Awards. It’s a massive improvement over the old model, with the South Korean brand listening to feedback by increasing practicality. The latest Kona comes as either a petrol, hybrid or fully electric model, making it appeal to a wide range of buyers.

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Our favourite version of the Kona is the electric model, thanks to its low running costs and smooth motor, but if you can’t spring for that version, the 1.0-litre petrol model is still a great buy. It feels peppier than its on-paper numbers might suggest, and it’s the sweet spot in the petrol lineup. It even feels well-refined at motorway speeds and the standard six-speed manual feels slick to use – we think it’s even better than the automatic transmission in the 1.6-litre version.

What’s most apparent about the latest Kona is the improved interior over the last model. It feels airy, pleasant and well put-together, with lots of physical buttons rather than virtual ones hidden away in the car’s infotainment system. The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system itself is great to use, and even entry-level Advance cars come with useful kit like front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Skoda Kamiq review - a practical, well-equipped small SUV

Skoda Kamiq facelift
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £24,040
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The Skoda Kamiq is the firm's third entry into the already packed SUV arena, and it could be its best yet. Featuring Skoda’s familiar design on a smaller scale, the Kamiq is a thoroughly modern, rugged-looking SUV. Beneath the sharp looks, it sits on the same platform as the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Skoda Scala hatchbacks.

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Inside the Kamiq features a solidly constructed interior with simple-to-use controls and plenty of soft-touch materials. It also has a 400-litre boot and smart features like an ice scraper stored in the fuel filler cap. Two petrol engines are available, with a turbocharged 1.0-litre in either 94 or 113bhp power outputs, while a more powerful 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine uses cylinder-on-demand technology, helping to save fuel. Even as standard, the Kamiq is well equipped with a touchscreen, DAB radio, LED headlights, air con and three sets of ISOFIX points.

Renault Captur review – a stylish, good-value small SUV

2021 Renault Captur
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £21,595

The latest model of the Renault Captur represents an upgrade from the previous one in almost every area. It’s slightly bigger, so space in the rear seats and in the boot is better than before, and the rear seats can slide fore and aft so you can prioritise room for feet or luggage. Between 422 and 536 litres of boot space is available.

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The interior is now much plusher and tech-filled, with a hi-res 9.3-inch portrait touchscreen on top-spec cars and optional elsewhere. Adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning are standard, though. Buyers have a choice between a conventional 1.0-litre petrol model or an E-Tech hybrid, the latter delivering impressive fuel economy figures of up to 60mpg. If you’re shopping on the used market, Renault previously offered the Captur with plug-in hybrid and diesel engines, which may appeal to those looking for maximum fuel efficiency.

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In 2024, Renault unveiled the facelifted Captur, which packs a revised infotainment system, engine upgrades, and a fresh exterior design.

Kia Niro SUV review

carbuyer best car awards 2023 hero
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £30,085

The new Kia Niro is not only our favourite small SUV, but it was also our Car of the Year for 2023. With a design that’s much more striking than its understated predecessor, the new Niro is still available with self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric powertrains, meaning there’s a model for you, no matter what stage you’re at on the transition to electric power. The Kia’s boxy shape means even adults can sit in the rear comfortably, plus the 451-litre boot should be sufficient for most family trips or pushchairs.

If you can afford it, we recommend stepping up to the top-spec ‘4’ trim as this gets the same curved, dual-screen infotainment setup as the larger Kia Sportage. Regardless of what model you choose, standard equipment is strong, with LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, and a reversing camera fitted to all cars.

Jeep Avenger review – a characterful and value-packed small SUV

Jeep Avenger petrol front 3/4
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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  • Priced from £23,859
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Despite being based on the same underpinnings as electric cars from sister brands such as the Vauxhall Mokka and Peugeot E-2008, the Jeep Avenger stands out thanks to its competitive price, added off-road capability and generous tech offering. Although originally offered just as an EV, Jeep later decided to introduce hybrid and petrol versions, lowering the Avenger’s starting price even further.

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We were really impressed with the original electric version, though – it feels great to drive, with enough power for most drivers, and felt comfortable and smooth to ride in as a passenger, too. Cheap running costs certainly add to the appeal, and the Avenger has a reasonable range of up to 248 miles to a charge, making it very usable for most drivers. In our time with the car in cold, wintry conditions, we achieved a respectable range of around 220 miles. We found the Avenger to be surprisingly roomy inside despite its small size, being capable of seating up to four adults in comfort, which can’t be said of some other rivals.

Ford Puma SUV review

Ford Puma SUV driving
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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  • Priced from £25,650

The Ford Puma has returned as a small SUV, with a style-led design like the original coupe but now with more space for families. Like the revered coupe, the Puma also boasts class-leading handling, so if you want your crossover to be a fun steer this is the one to choose. There's even a range-topping Puma ST model.

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Its sharp chassis is complemented by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol with either 124 or 153bhp and, as well as peppy performance, both also offer impressive fuel economy of around 50mpg. This is partly thanks to clever mild-hybrid technology that stores energy as you drive to give the engine a helping hand in traffic and when accelerating. Ford hasn't ignored the interior, either, giving the Puma a sizeable 401-litre boot that's bigger than you'll find in the Ford Focus. Not only this, but a washable 80-litre storage box under the boot floor adds to its everyday practicality. Families can also be confident in the Puma's safety thanks to a five-star Euro NCAP rating, with a 94% score for adult occupant protection.

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It’s certainly proved a hit with buyers, regularly topping sales charts as the best-selling car in the UK. Ford has capitalised on the Puma’s success and introduced a facelifted model for 2024, with tweaked styling and some new interior tech.

Peugeot 2008 review – more sophisticated than before

Peugeot 2008 facelift
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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  • Priced from £24,180

The Peugeot 2008 is a great small SUV and the most recent version has proved very popular among buyers. In 2023 it underwent a facelift, bringing a more upmarket look and Peugeot’s latest branding.

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The interior is a standout feature of the latest 2008 – not only is the design futuristic, but it’s high quality too, with piano-key buttons, a 10-inch HD touchscreen and Peugeot’s impressive i-Cockpit dominating the dashboard. Interior space is also impressive, with good legroom and boot space. Equipment levels are good across all trim levels, but the 2008 does cost slightly more than other small SUVs like the Renault Captur. A 1.2-litre petrol engine is available in three power outputs (98bhp, 128bhp and a 136bhp model with mild-hybrid assistance). There’s also an electric model called the E-2008 with 154bhp.

All models are front-wheel drive but Peugeot’s ‘Advance Grip Control’ is offered to help in slippery conditions. The latest E-2008 comes with a 54kWh battery capable of a 252-mile range, compared to 214 miles on pre-facelift cars.

Toyota Yaris Cross review - economical and reliable small SUV

Toyota Yaris Cross
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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  • Priced from £25,530
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As one of the smallest of the small SUVs on this list, the Toyota Yaris Cross will appeal to buyers who want supermini proportions but with an elevated view of the road. It’s essentially a Yaris hatchback in SUV costume – you get similar interior tech and the same 1.5-litre hybrid engine, with impressive fuel economy and Toyota’s rock-solid reputation for reliability. The hybrid system and E-CVT gearbox feel well-suited to urban driving, with the electric motor taking over from the petrol engine entirely at low speeds.

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However, its small size does impact practicality. There’s plenty of space for the driver and front passenger, but rear seat room feels slightly cramped when compared to the Renault Captur or Skoda Kamiq. The boot is a reasonable size at 397 litres, but the Ford Puma can easily carry more cargo with its 456-litre boot. That being said, the Yaris Cross will be plenty big enough for some families, and its small dimensions make it easier to park and drive in town.

Volkswagen T-Cross review – a well-equipped small SUV

Volkswagen T-Cross
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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  • Priced from £23,975

The Volkswagen T-Cross has a smart looking design, with some sleek detailing that makes it stand out. From any angle, it's easy to spot that it's from the VW range, with a wide front grille and black bodywork detailing providing contrast to the bright palette of paint colours. Inside, the T-Cross offers space for five adults, a modern eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and smartly designed sliding rear seats to help create more luggage space when you need it.

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VW has prioritised comfort over sporty handling, but the T-Cross is still refined at speed, keeping its composure over rough road surfaces. Power comes from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, with the 108bhp version providing enough punch for most buyers. You can also specify a T-Cross with a DSG automatic gearbox, which adds a premium to the price but could prove useful for commuters. The strongest all-round spec is the SE trim, which represents good value with an excellent level of standard kit – Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control amongst other things.

Fiat 600e review – a stylish and charming small electric SUV

Fiat 600e front quarter dynamic
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £23,975

If you’re a fan of the Fiat 500 city car’s cute styling but need something more practical, the Fiat 600 should be on your small SUV shortlist. It’s closely related to the Jeep Avenger and Peugeot 2008, and is offered with the same choice of mild hybrid or full-EV powertrains. The former uses a 1.2-litre petrol engine with a small electric motor, allowing for some limited electric-only driving around town. The electric 600e gets a 54kWh battery and 154bhp motor, good for up to around 250 miles of range.

Around town is where the Fiat 600 feels most at home. The tall suspension does well to soak up the worst of our British potholes, riding more softly than the Jeep Avenger. Even on faster roads, the 600 feels comfortable and the electric motor has more than enough power for merging onto the motorway with confidence. The 600’s cabin isn’t quite as unique or playful as the 500 city car’s, but it’s sensibly laid out and has all the tech you could want, including a central infotainment touchscreen and a digital driver’s display.

Now why not read our list of the best hybrid SUVs?

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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