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Best Small SUVs

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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.

Winner | Under $25K | Under $35K | Under $45K | Best Value | Family | Premium | Hybrid | Electric | Performance

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Best Hybrid Small SUV

If slashing your fuel bill is an imperative for your next SUV, you’ve arrived at the right place.

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Best Electric Small SUV Under $50K

Find out why we named the BYD Atto 3 as the best electric small SUV under $50k.

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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

ModelPriceFuel TypeFuel Economy (city)Power
Alfa Romeo Tonale$49,900–$77,500Petrol, Hybrid1.5–5.6 L/100km118–208 kW
BMW X1$49,500–$90,900Diesel, Petrol4.7–7.2 L/100km103–233 kW
BYD Atto 3$48,011.35–$51,011.35ElectricN/A150 kW
Chery Omoda 5$29,900–$32,900Petrol6.9 L/100km108 kW
Cupra Formentor$51,990–$66,490Petrol, Hybrid1.9–7.7 L/100km140–228 kW
Ford Puma$30,840–$36,390Petrol5.3 L/100km92 kW
Haval Jolion$27,290–$39,490Petrol5–8.1 L/100km110–139 kW
Hyundai Kona$28,500–$64,490Petrol, Electric3.9–7.6 L/100km104–146 kW
Hyundai Venue$22,000–$28,750Petrol7–7.2 L/100km90 kW
Kia Seltos$28,290–$44,900Petrol6.8–7.4 L/100km110–146 kW
Kia Stonic$22,290–$30,790Petrol5.4–6.7 L/100km74 kW
Mazda CX-30$30,610–$48,710Petrol6–6.8 L/100km114–139 kW
MG ZS$22,990–$55,990Petrol, Electric7.1 L/100km84–130 kW
MG ZST$25,990–$32,990Petrol6.9–7.3 L/100km84–115 kW
Mitsubishi ASX$23,990–$34,740Petrol7.6–7.9 L/100km110–123 kW
Nissan Qashqai$27,490–$47,890Petrol6.1–7.7 L/100km106–110 kW
Skoda Kamiq$34,690–$41,990Petrol4.9–5.6 L/100km85–110 kW
Ssangyong Korando$28,990–$39,700Petrol, Diesel6.4–7.7 L/100km100–120 kW
Subaru Crosstrek$34,990–$45,090Petrol6.5–7.2 L/100km110–115 kW
Toyota Corolla Cross$33,980–$50,030Petrol4.3–6 L/100km126–146 kW
Volkswagen T-Roc$35,990–$61,990Petrol6.3–8 L/100km110–221 kW
Volvo XC40$54,990–$85,990Petrol, Hybrid, Electric2.2–8 L/100km145–300 kW

Small SUV Reviews

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Popular SUVs

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.