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 Reviews
Chery Omoda 5 BX & EX: Quick Review
This sleek looking SUV has stepped into Australia representing the Chery name
2023 Toyota C-HR Koba: Quick Review
Ahead of the full-model change early next year, we take a look at the C-HR Koba in its current form.
2023 Mazda CX-30 review: Full range detailed
The Mazda CX-30 is a popular midsize SUV in Australia. Learn more about the CX-30 range including price, interior, boot space, safety assists and performance.
2023 Volkswagen T-Roc CityLife review
What does the new entry-level VW T-Roc CityLife concede to its more expensive siblings? As it turns out, not much
2023 BMW X1 sDrive18i review
2023 Kia Seltos GT-Line: Quick review
2023 Kia Seltos Sport: Quick review
2023 Volkswagen T-Cross review: Full range detailed
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
Chery Omoda 5 EV: Mid-2024 Australian launch confirmed
The electric version of Chery’s debut small SUV will arrive next year
2024 Toyota C-HR pricing and features: $10K-plus price climb for small SUV
Toyota has confirmed two hybrid variants of C-HR for Australian sale
2024 BMW X2 and iX2 pricing and features: Bigger SUV gets electric brother
Coupe-style version of X1 expands in size and range to take on petrol and electric rivals in luxury SUV market
Australia's most popular electric cars in 2023: September update
Australians have purchased more electric vehicles than ever before in 2023. Here's how every EV is tracking in Australia...
VFACTS September 2023: Yet another record-breaker, EVs continue to grow
More cars than ever were registered last month for the third month running as supply shortages ease
2024 Mitsubishi ASX pricing and features
New ES Street variant, minor tweaks and a small price bump for Mitsubishi’s small performer
Subaru debuts kitted-out Crosstrek Boost Gear Concept
Straight from the floor of the Tokyo Auto Salon comes a muscled-up version of Subaru’s smallest SUV, the Crosstrek
2024 Skoda Karoq pricing and features
Skoda's refreshed medium SUV gets treated to extra safety kit
Active safety features return to 2024 Skoda range
Skoda's sprinkled blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert back in
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.