Best Small SUVs
Buyers in the small SUV segment have never had more choice and the talent pool has never been deeper, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a bad choice – whether you’re focused on value for money, practicality, performance, luxury, electrification, or just a specific budget.
With small SUVs now reaching up towards six figures at the top end, believe us, you’re going to want to get these buying decisions right.
We break down the vast compact-SUV market into 10 manageable, bite-sized sub-categories – delivering expert recommendations that will help you whatever your car-buying priorities.
Best Small SUV Winner: Volkswagen T-Roc
The Volkswagen T-Roc is the 2023 best small SUV in Australia, thanks to a well-considered range majoring on value, equipment and driveability.
Best Small SUV Under $45K
Looking for an SUV that offers plenty of features, for less than $45,000? We run the rule over eight contenders, including new-generation versions of the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Qashqai, and Subaru Crosstrek (formerly XV).
Best Small SUV Under $35K
Find out which Small SUV under $35k is the best in Australia between the Ford Puma and Hyundai Kona: The fun compact crossover versus a fresh-faced recruit.
Best Small SUV Under $25K
It's still possible – just – to buy a brand-new SUV for less than $25,000. Of the slim budget offerings around, it's a Hyundai that stands out.
Best Value Small SUV
If you're simply after Australia's best-value small SUV offering maximum bang for your buck, the entry-level 2023 Hyundai Kona is bang on the money.
Best Family Small SUV
Some small SUVs these days are plenty big enough, practical enough, and safe enough for a family. Find out which is the best family small SUV between the Hyundai Kona and Toyota Corolla Cross.
Best Premium Small SUV
A new-generation BMW X1 and a first-ever Alfa Romeo Tonale take on the 2019 Wheels Car of the Year Volvo XC40 in a battle of luxury compact SUVs.
Best Hybrid Small SUV
If slashing your fuel bill is an imperative for your next SUV, you’ve arrived at the right place.
Best Electric Small SUV Under $50K
Find out why we named the BYD Atto 3 as the best electric small SUV under $50k.
Best Performance Small SUV
Fast compact SUVs from the same house go head-to-head, but will it be the VW Group's German brand or Spanish brand that prevails?
Small SUV Prices & Specifications
|Model||Price||Fuel Type||Fuel Economy (city)||Power|
|Alfa Romeo Tonale||$49,900–$77,500||Petrol, Hybrid||1.5–5.6 L/100km||118–208 kW|
|BMW X1||$49,500–$90,900||Diesel, Petrol||4.7–7.2 L/100km||103–233 kW|
|BYD Atto 3||$48,011.35–$51,011.35||Electric||N/A||150 kW|
|Chery Omoda 5||$29,900–$32,900||Petrol||6.9 L/100km||108 kW|
|Cupra Formentor||$51,990–$66,490||Petrol, Hybrid||1.9–7.7 L/100km||140–228 kW|
|Ford Puma||$30,840–$36,390||Petrol||5.3 L/100km||92 kW|
|Haval Jolion||$27,290–$39,490||Petrol||5–8.1 L/100km||110–139 kW|
|Hyundai Kona||$28,500–$64,490||Petrol, Electric||3.9–7.6 L/100km||104–146 kW|
|Hyundai Venue||$22,000–$28,750||Petrol||7–7.2 L/100km||90 kW|
|Kia Seltos||$28,290–$44,900||Petrol||6.8–7.4 L/100km||110–146 kW|
|Kia Stonic||$22,290–$30,790||Petrol||5.4–6.7 L/100km||74 kW|
|Mazda CX-30||$30,610–$48,710||Petrol||6–6.8 L/100km||114–139 kW|
|MG ZS||$22,990–$55,990||Petrol, Electric||7.1 L/100km||84–130 kW|
|MG ZST||$25,990–$32,990||Petrol||6.9–7.3 L/100km||84–115 kW|
|Mitsubishi ASX||$23,990–$34,740||Petrol||7.6–7.9 L/100km||110–123 kW|
|Nissan Qashqai||$27,490–$47,890||Petrol||6.1–7.7 L/100km||106–110 kW|
|Skoda Kamiq||$34,690–$41,990||Petrol||4.9–5.6 L/100km||85–110 kW|
|Ssangyong Korando||$28,990–$39,700||Petrol, Diesel||6.4–7.7 L/100km||100–120 kW|
|Subaru Crosstrek||$34,990–$45,090||Petrol||6.5–7.2 L/100km||110–115 kW|
|Toyota Corolla Cross||$33,980–$50,030||Petrol||4.3–6 L/100km||126–146 kW|
|Volkswagen T-Roc||$35,990–$61,990||Petrol||6.3–8 L/100km||110–221 kW|
|Volvo XC40||$54,990–$85,990||Petrol, Hybrid, Electric||2.2–8 L/100km||145–300 kW|
Small SUV Reviews
2023 Volkswagen T-Cross review: Full range detailed
The Volkswagen T-Cross is based on the Polo hatchback and is the smallest and most affordable SUV to wear a VW badge.
2023 Nissan Qashqai review: Full range detailed
The third-generation Qashqai comes with a turbocharged petrol engine, spacious interior and class-leading cabin technology.
2024 Mazda CX-3: Quick review
The Mazda CX-3 is now relatively mature in Australia, but let's see what the 2024 update will bring to the table
2023 MG ZS EV Quick Review
Is the MG ZS EV the game-changer in making electric SUVs both stylish and affordable for the everyday driver?
MG ZS Excite Quick Review
2023 Hyundai Venue: Quick Review
2023 Best Small SUV Under $45K
2023 Best Small SUV Under $35K: Ford Puma ST-Line
Small SUV Comparisons
2023 Mitsubishi ASX vs Eclipse Cross: which should you buy?
Mitsubishi's two small SUVs have subtle differences, so which is right for you?
2023 Mazda CX-3 vs CX-30: what are the differences?
The CX-3 and CX-30 seem to compete in the same segment, so how do they differ?
MG 4 v ZS EV comparison: Budget electric cars, spec to spec
Which attainable Chinese-made electric MG’s fare better? The MG 4 seems like a no-brainer at first glance, but on paper, it’s not too dissimilar from the ZS EV.
2023 Hyundai Kona EV vs Kia Niro EV comparison review
Korea’s leading brands both offer electric cars for around $60-65K but should you choose Hyundai or Kia?
Best Electric Cars Under $65k: Cheapest EVs Rated
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 spec comparison
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross vs rivals: spec comparison
Small SUV News
2024 Jeep Compass hybrids confirmed for Australia
Jeep has confirmed that a hybrid version of its medium SUV will hit Oz next year
Toyota tells customers "there is no need to pay over the odds"
Toyota customers should not accept dealer mark-ups when buying a brand-new vehicle, says exec
Subaru Crosstrek and Impreza 2024: Bigger engine, sportier variants, hybrid on the cards
Subaru Australia expected to expand its variant offerings with larger-engined Crosstrek, sporty Impreza RS and a potential Impreza Hybrid on the cards for 2024
Recall roundup: Mercedes-Benz, BMW & Ram
New recalls issued for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and E-Class, BMW X1 and Ram 1500
2024 Kia Stonic pricing and features
Steady prices and new colours for the Kia Stonic, but the light SUV has lost its two-tone roof option
Audi introduces blacked-out special editions for seven models
Audi Australia has introduced new Dynamic Black editions for the A4, A5, Q2, Q3, Q5, Q7 and Q8
2024 Mitsubishi XForce small SUV revealed: This isn’t the new ASX
It could have all been perfect, but the XFC wasn’t developed with Oceania in mind...
Toyota Prado imagined as a Jimny-based 'LandCruiser 25'
Japanese icons Toyota and Suzuki have a product-sharing agreement in some markets. Here, we imagine a baby LandCruiser as a restyled Jimny
These Are Australia's Top 10 Best-Selling Cars in 2023
It's no surprise that Australians love the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, but rising EV demand and supply constraints write an interesting tale for the nation's top 10 best-selling cars
About Small SUVs
The small SUV is the most affordable entry into the world’s favourite vehicle type.
In Australia they are classified officially in the industry as either a Light SUV or a Small SUV, though there is often plenty of pricing overlap between these sports utility vehicles that are, respectively, typically based on city cars or small cars.
Some small SUVs are not especially practical for families, though many are more adept at fitting parents, kids and all their gear than you might imagine. The Kia Seltos, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross are good examples of small SUVs that are a genuine option for families looking for a roomy vehicle but can’t stretch their budget to a midsized SUV.
Such is the popularity of SUVs that several brands feature two compact SUVs. Stablemate pairings include the Kia Stonic and Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-3 and Mazda CX-30, Toyota Yaris Cross and Toyota C-HR, and Volkswagen T-Cross and Volkswagen T-Roc.
Petrol power dominates the segment, though electrification is gradually working its way into the segment. There are petrol-electric offerings available from Toyota’s Yaris Cross and C-HR and the GWM Haval Jolion, plug-in hybrids such as the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, while fully electric options include the BYD Atto 3, Hyundai Kona EV, and MG ZS EV.
Petrolheads aren’t neglected, though. The Hyundai Kona N and Volkswagen T-Roc R are both relatively affordable performance SUVs. Audi has the SQ2 and RSQ3, while the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is one of the fastest compact SUVs in the world.
Many luxury brands also offer compact SUVs. These include the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Volvo XC40.
Two of the aforementioned SUVs have won the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year award. The Volvo XC40 won in 2019 and the Mazda CX-30 won in 2021.