Peugeot 2008 side view red

7 best small used SUVs

Want something bigger but not too big? Here are our favourite small SUVs.

The SUV, or Sports Utility Vehicle, combines the tall, high-riding design of a 4x4 with the fuel efficiency and driving style of a modern family car. British families love SUVs for their spacious interior, feeling of safety, and commanding view of the road.

But while SUVs are generally larger - or at least taller - than hatchbacks, saloons and estates, you can still find relatively small SUVs. A small SUV is generally based on the design of a hatchback, but with added height, which enhances the appearance of the car without making it feel too large to drive. Here’s our pick of the seven best small SUVs.

1. Ford EcoSport

The Ford EcoSport is a compact SUV based on the popular Fiesta hatchback. It feels like a small car to drive, which makes it easy to park and straightforward to manoeuvre around tight city streets. Storage space is a bit limited though and its boot opens outwards like a front door, which can be a problem if you reverse into a parking space.

Ford’s robust and efficient petrol and diesel engines make the EcoSport very cheap to run. In Zetec trim the EcoSport has good levels of standard equipment and Titanium is even better. The four-wheel drive system is only available on top-spec ST-Line models.

Read our Ford EcoSport review

2. Peugeot 2008

The Peugeot 2008 is a nice-looking car with its eye-catching styling and futuristic interior that make it stand out from the crowd. The French manufacturers have always put an emphasis on design, and the 2008 is a great example of that.

But the Peugeot 2008 is about more than just good looks. With its efficient, powerful engines and its low running costs, it’s a great choice for value-conscious families. It’s extremely quiet on the motorway too, so if you regularly go on long trips then it’s one of the best small SUVs you can get.

Read our Peugeot 2008 review

3. Nissan Juke

Nissan’s best selling Qashqai is one of the most popular cars in the UK, and is credited with creating the SUV phenomenon as we know it today. The Juke is smaller but closely related and similarly popular with British families who want an elevated ride height but don’t need the space of the larger car. 

It’s famously reliable, extremely efficient and fairly comfortable over long journeys. It doesn’t have the largest boot, and its back seats are compact, but it’s overall size makes it easy to drive in town and in crowded car parks. A new version of the Juke has just been released, so prices for the old one are excellent.

Read our Nissan Juke review

4. Skoda Karoq

The Skoda Karoq is one of the best small SUVs you can buy. Its compact dimensions, comfy interior and stylish design make it popular with young families, especially those who want the added practicality and ride height of an SUV without having to drive a massive car. It’s a little bit more expensive than cars like the Nissan Qashqai, but feels more upmarket inside and out. 

The petrol engines, which are powerful and efficient, will be best for almost all drivers. If you tow a large trailer or caravan then you should consider the four-wheel drive diesel versions, which are less sporty but give the car more power for pulling big loads.

5. Seat Ateca

The Seat Ateca is a good value and stylish SUV aimed at young people. Seat is one of the most fashionable car brands in the world and the Ateca is very much a part of that, with its distinctive exterior design and simple, robust interior. If you think cars like the Nissan Juke or Ford EcoSport are a bit dull, the Ateca could be one to choose. 

In terms of its engines and running costs, it’s about average, with reasonably powerful and efficient Volkswagen engines powering the range. We think the low-spec Atecas are the best value, though all are inexpensive compared to key rivals. If you do a lot of driving on bumpy roads, pick the cars with the smaller wheels, as the larger alloy rims can give the car a less comfortable ride.

6. Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen’s T-Roc is a smart, upmarket SUV. Its neat exterior design and technologically advanced interior make it a popular choice with families who want a premium feel without paying for a Volvo XC40 or Jaguar E-Pace. The T-Roc is generally more expensive than the Skoda Karoq or the Seat Ateca, though versions with the smaller 1.0-litre petrol engine can be among the best value used family SUVs. 

Low running costs and generous interior space make the T-Roc particularly popular with young families, who love its large boot. If you want more space though, a larger Volkswagen SUV like the Tiguan doesn’t cost much more.

7. Vauxhall Mokka X

The Mokka X is a smaller version of the Crossland X. Both cars are popular with families due to their low purchase price, low running costs and comfortable interiors. The Mokka X is one of the bestselling new small SUVs thanks to favourable rates as a company car, but as a used buy it’s even better value thanks to its rapid depreciation. 

Vauxhall has a reasonable reputation for reliability and all its cars have good fuel economy. The Mokka X is an inexpensive car to buy and its efficient engines will save you money at the pump. 

Read our Vauxhall Mokka X review

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