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News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

Small SUVs Under $40k

Toyota C-HR
1
  • Excellent interior presentation and class; Great material quality; Really well sorted suspension; Road manners a highlight; Smooth small-output turbo engine

  • Some more grunt wouldn't go astray; Rear-seat occupants might feel hemmed in; Lacks the latest in-car connectivity; Media system not up to scratch

Honda HR-V
  • Flexible cabin with class-leading space and flexibility, and an upmarket feel; decent list of standard equipment; willing drivetrain

  • Notable NVH levels; middling dynamics; some rivals have sat-nav and modern software such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Suzuki Vitara
  • Peppy new 1.4 engine; funky design stands out from the crowd; nimble and fun to drive; long list of features including standard sat-nav and Apple CarPlay

  • Some cheap-feeling cabin plastics, super-light doors feel a little tinny; excess road noise; $4000 jump to the 4WD is high

Nissan Qashqai
  • Diesel/CVT proves a surprisingly good combination; upmarket feeling cabin; comfortable space for passengers in first and second rows

  • Diesel pricing almost pushes it into medium SUV category; ride a little firmer than it should be; running costs significantly dearer for diesel

Mazda CX-3
  • Sexy design inside and out; Lots of kit; Comfortable front seats; Engaging dynamics; Zippy 2.0L petrol

  • Too expensive; Doesn't feel 'premium' enough inside; Tight rear seat; Small boot; Firm ride can get jittery around town; No adaptive cruise control or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; Tyre roar can get intrusive over rough roads; All-wheel drive seems redundant in this type of car

Small SUVs Over $40k

MINI Countryman
1
  • Willing and flexible turbo petrol engine; Great transmission at speed; Terrific ride comfort for a sporty SUV; Lots of fun to drive, even in the wet; Practical cabin space

  • Can be noisy on the road; Eight-speed auto busy at lower speeds; Lacking some safety items; On the pricey side

Audi Q2
  • All-new styling turns plenty of heads; Premium-class cabin except for a few cheap plastics; Plenty of tasty features as standard; 1.4 turbo petrol engine is peppy, refined and efficient; Light and agile; Space

  • All the really cool features like Virtual Cockpit, electric tailgate and head-up display are options; Steering is quick but lifeless; Ride comfort suffers over sharp edges; No quattro model with petrol Q2 – yet

3

BMW X1

BMW X1
  • Long list of standard equipment at long last; the driver’s choice as the 2.0-litre petrol is a fun little unit; smart looks and practical interior just what buyers want

  • Front-drive platform and cheaper-feeling components make the price-parity X3 seem like a better value proposition; need to roll in the M-Sport pack to score dynamic suspension – it’s a start

Mercedes-Benz GLA
  • Sprightly turbocharged engine; Plenty of traction on offer; Has the latest Smartphone connectivity; Good standard safety equipment; New LED headlights are really good

  • Still a bit expensive compared with rivals; Not as practical as most competitors; Cramped back seat; Suspension can be upset by sharp edges; Some low-speed quibbles

Audi Q3
  • Petrol engine is punchy and rapid while remaining relatively efficient; steering and handling are both excellent; interior has more room than you expect

  • Options pricing can push the buy-in price up alarmingly; not enough standard equipment for the price; misses out on next-gen central control pad and rotary dial