Small SUV Mega Test: CarAdvice readers join us at MotorWorld to test 11 small SUVs

At the recent MotorWorld Sydney event at Sydney Motorsport Park, we assembled 11 small SUVs under $50,000 with the aim of comparing not only the cars, but the thoughts of the CarAdvice testing team with the thoughts of you – our readers – and other members of the public.

We wanted to report on what we thought of these compact crossover models, and compare that with what the car-buying public – most of whom were CarAdvice readers – made of them.

The vehicles were a bit of a mixed bag, with everything from the basic and tiny Citroen C4 Cactus to a base model version of the BMW X1. There were mainstream players like the Nissan Qashqai, Mitsubishi ASX, Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V and Subaru XV. And we had a couple of less-purchased models like the facelifted Suzuki S-Cross, cutesy Fiat 500X and chunky Jeep Renegade, and a newcomer to the segment, the premium Infiniti QX30.

With both petrol and diesel drivetrains sampled, eight vehicles running front-wheel drive and three with all-wheel drive, and some significant dimensional differences – not to mention extreme contrasts in design – there was no doubting that this cross section of the small SUV market had almost every niche covered.

It’s worth noting there was no Mazda CX-3 – which is the biggest selling vehicle in the segment – as Mazda didn’t want to be a part of the test. Other notable omissions include the Holden Trax, Renault Captur, Suzuki Jimny, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Haval H2, Skoda Yeti and Ford EcoSport. That just goes to show how much of a boom segment the small high-rider class is, and how spoilt for choice buyers are considering just a few years back the segment barely existed.

So, what did we do with the cars?

Well, they didn’t see an inch of sealed road during our testing, as we focused on a rocky dirt track, grassy hill climb and a series of dusty curves at the complex, all in order to meet one of our three key criteria for this test: does it drive how you’d expect a small SUV to?

The other criteria included whether the vehicle was practical enough – including boot space, rear seat room, storage in the cabin – and whether the vehicle is good value or not, the latter being something that most buyers will have front of mind when they go to test drive a new vehicle. We considered equipment, ownership costs and fuel use.

This isn’t like our standard mega tests or comparisons, in that we won’t be declaring a specific order of how the vehicles ranked. So the way you see them organised below is simply alphabetical order, not order of preference.

The comments from the testing team – including myself, Trent Nikolic, Mandy Turner and Tegan Lawson – as well as the feedback from people who drove the cars over the four-day event should speak volumes, though…

BMW X1 sDrive18d

Price: $49,500 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel turbo, eight-speed automatic, FWD
Outputs: 110kW at 4000rpm/330Nm at 1750rpm
Fuel claim: 4.7L/100km, diesel
Boot capacity: 505 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $1340 for a five-year/80,000km pre-purchase plan

What we thought

Matt: This is the most practical of the 11 SUVs assembled here. The rear seat space is like premium economy on a long-haul flight, with the sliding second row offering an innovative way of maximising space.

The traction control system almost stalled the car up a grassy hill, and this front-drive version clearly isn’t intended for off-roading. If you want a city-friendly SUV with premium nous, it isn’t cheap – but it definitely is primo.

Trent: Great interior, quality seats, plenty of room in both rows – lots of room in the second row, especially, and it has rear air vents. Like the electric seat release for quick folding, and the electric tailgate. The ride was hard over nasty bumps but on smoother surfaces it was excellent.

Plenty of usable power and the brakes and steering are excellent. It’s the best vehicle here by a mile. Premium Euro product for less than 50k is great value and it feels more expensive than it actually is.

Mandy: The road noise in the BMW was kept to a minimum: you couldn’t hear any gravel being flicked up under the wheel arches. Even though it’s FWD it got up that hill with some stick and not too much wheel spin. Front of the car feels a bit bouncy. Gearbox doesn’t work too hard. Massive door pockets, handy storage compartments. While it is the most expensive of the group, it has everything you need, including active safety aids.

Tegan: Smooth, very little loss of traction on the hills, good gear selection, quiet and comfortable, punchy turbo diesel engine and it steps up to the plate when pushed. The extra torque of the diesel engine makes it far better to drive than some of the others here.

It is expensive but you’re paying for a luxury-branded SUV. It has a lot of kit, a big boot, and reasonable ownership costs.

What you thought

Lin, Beaumont Hills, NSW: I thought it was practical enough for the purpose, and it drove all good for me. It’s just a bit expensive for me.

Konstantin, Wolli Creek, NSW: It’s certainly practical for its class, and it drove okay but had a fair amount of wheelspin on the uphill section. You can tell it’s not AWD. Compared to the Infiniti, I don’t think it’s great value.

John, Kingston, ACT: The interior room was good for the size of the car. The driver’s seat offered good visibility, and the storage in the cabin was adequate but not class leading. The iDrive media system was intuitive and the screen was in an excellent position.

But it wasn't ideal on dirt, losing traction and there was some vibration and torque steer. You could tell it was FWD. All said and done, it was quite good value considering it’s a BMW – I expected a higher price tag.

Citroen C4 Cactus

Price: $26,990 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol, five-speed manual, FWD
Outputs: 81kW at 5500rpm/205Nm at 1500rpm
Fuel claim: 4.7L/100km, 95 premium unleaded
Boot capacity: 358 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $1410 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: This is probably – no, definitely – the most city-focused SUV of the assembled set. It was designed with the city in mind, including those air-filled door and bumper protectors. It was peppy and fun to drive, but scrambled for grip.

It’s pretty cheap, but it’s missing stuff: admittedly it has a rear-view camera and sat nav, but there is no active safety kit available, and it doesn't even have wind-down rear windows.

Trent: Most clever and comfortable interior here by some margin, I reckon. The seats are awesome, there’s heaps of room, but there’s not enough AC venting up front (only one vent for the passenger) and it has non-adjustable seatbelts. The seats are excellent in the second row too. Drives nicely but scrambles for grip a lot on loose surfaces, and can bottom out too.

It is extremely good value and interesting: a different option for buyers.

Mandy: I like the huge glovebox, and while the deep rear door pockets are good, the cupholders are too shallow. The boot lip is pretty high, too. One of the more fun SUVs – engine packs a punch and being manual it was easy to control. The ride isn’t too bad, but not the best in the group.

You’re buying a lot of ‘head-turning’ material here! Would love to see a more powerful petrol engine in the line up.

Tegan: There’s good headroom and knee room in the back, with comfy seats and cloth trim that’s not scratchy. The big rear door pockets are nice, but the lack of rear electric window sucks. The seats up front feel like lounge chairs.

As for driving, it struggled up the hill, it was quite bumpy but not too noisy and the steering was nice. It’s well priced, too.

What you thought

Fiona, Marrickville, NSW: I think this car would be good value for money – a small SUV for the city. It didn’t feel as solid as some other cars here.

Shaun, Sutherland, NSW: It’s roomier than a VW Golf. The ride is a little bumpy, and the clutch was so light that it made it a bit tricky. The price is good, but the resale might not be.

Matthew, Glenfield, NSW: I was happy with the way the car drove – it was better to drive than the Jeep.

Fiat 500X Cross Plus

Price: $38,000 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol, nine-speed automatic, 4WD
Outputs: 125kW at 5500rpm/250Nm at 2500rpm
Fuel claim: 6.7L/100km, 95 premium unleaded
Boot capacity: 346 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $1527 (estimate supplied by Fiat Australia)

What we thought

Matt: It has a perky little engine, and its gearbox isn’t as indecisive as the six-speed alternative in the Jeep. The control on offer from the on-demand 4WD system is great, with good traction.

Has blind-spot, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning – but it’s still too expensive and that’s its biggest flaw: if this spec were $34,000 it would be much more palatable.

Trent: Good interior with a good boot, too. I don’t like the sunroof, but there’s plenty of storage, and the U-Connect media system works well. Great AWD system, rides nicely and has comfortable seats for rough roads. The steering is good and it's practical for a young family.

I think this feels like good value and it's probably the one I'd take away from this test.

Mandy: Spacious front and rear and with a sizeable boot and double glovebox, but the back windows don’t go all the way down.It drove smoothly over bumps and had quite a soft ride. No issues climbing steep inclines with its three driving modes. I liked the fact it had all the extra safety kit, and the interior is plush, yet quirky. The twin sunroofs made it feel airy, too.

Feels more than $38K with all the features, but still a lot of money for a small SUV.

Tegan: It’s fun to drive, powers up hills, and bounds over bumps but isn’t harsh. Three drive modes – traction, auto and sport – shows that it’s a multi-purpose vehicle. There’s not a lot of rear seat legroom, and it’s cute inside with buttons on the centre console that look like giant Smarties.

It has a lot of features, but it's expensive.

What you thought

Fiona, Marrickville, NSW: Although I prefer manual, the auto was smooth and had good pick-up. It felt solid, and had very comfortable seats and good headroom. I would definitely consider this car when purchasing a new small SUV in the near future.

John, Camperdown, NSW: The room inside surprised me, and it drove more like a small hatchback – both in a good and bad way. Price a little high for the equipment you get.

Tristan, Frenchs Forest, NSW: It’s practical and there’s good storage, but I expected a nicer ride with more noise protection. I thought the gearbox was slow to react, so it mightn’t be good in the city. I have questions over Fiat reliability and servicing, too.

Honda HR-V VTi-L

Price: $33,340 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol, CVT automatic, FWD
Outputs: 105kW at 6500rpm/172Nm at 4300rpm
Fuel claim: 6.9L/100km, 91 unleaded
Boot capacity: 437 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $880 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: Immensely practical, with big storage in the doors and an excellent boot, and the Magic Seats in the second row. Hate the flimsy mesh parcel shelf (it doesn’t hold anything).

It’s not made for this terrain, crashing over hard ruts, but it gets away from the line quickly. Lots of noise intrusion, but good value – however for most buyers, the VTi base model would do the trick!

Trent: It is practical but it really does feel very average. Interior is well built as per usual for Honda, with plenty of room. Infotainment is fine. Not at home off-road – loud engine feels harsh and in combination with the awful CVT it felt like it had no power and seemed to have to work hard all the time.

It’s a good car for the money, with enough standard kit - just not ideal for anyone who wants to head off-road.

Mandy: The boot is deep but the parcel shelf is flimsy. I like that the rear seats fold up, and fold flat, too. The centre console is designed quite differently to the others, catering for the driver, but its infotainment system leaves a lot to be desired. I

ts suspension was among the roughest in the group, bottoming out on large holes or bumps, and it was begging for more traction.

Tegan: It was a bit rough over bumps but not uncomfortable, and it powered up the hil even though the tyres struggled for traction, with the CVT performing better than other vehicles here with the same sort of transmission.

Up front there are gorgeous piano black with leather (or fake leather!) finishes and the clever multi-level cup holders are great. Fairly roomy back seats.

What you thought

Therese, Bondi, NSW: I like the practicality inside the cabin – there’s lost of storage and it feels pretty nice in there. Looks nicer, too.

James, Smithfield, NSW: It isn’t really much like an SUV – it doesn’t go off-road very well. People who live in the city would probably love it.

Infiniti QX30 2.0 GT

Price: $48,900 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, automatic, AWD
Outputs: 155kW at 5500rpm/350Nm at 1200-4000rpm
Fuel claim: 6.9L/100km, 95 premium unleaded
Boot capacity: 430 litres
Ownership cost over three years: TBC

What we thought

Matt: The antithesis of the BMW for space. Terrible foot room when getting in and out and it has the worst backseat space of all the cars here. But it drives well, with good traction and comfort, punchy petrol engine with easily enough grunt. Plush inside – love the headlining – but as an unknown brand it should still be cheaper.

Trent: The interior does feel premium and it has rear air vents and a ski port. The boot has a flat floor with seats folded. Quite surprising in how it drives and it handles well and can also absorb bumps fairly well too. No one will be taking this off-road though, and I don’t think it is good value.

Mandy: It lacks practicality: there’s no legroom or footroom in rear, and headroom back there is tight, too. Sure it has a Bose stereo and suede headlining, as well as a 360-degree camera, but it lacks a spare tyre because its on run-flats. Being AWD definitely helped it off-road. The ride is softer than the others, but not as good as the X1. The steering is light, but 2.0-litre turbo engine doesn’t feel as powerful as it should be.

Tegan: The suede roof is awesome and the materials used throughout are nice, and it’s really well put together. The roof is low, so watch your head getting in and out. Nice steering feel but very bouncy over bumps, and the throttle was a bit oversensitive, as was the brake pedal. At this price the BMW X1 argues a stronger case.

What you thought

Brendan, Bella Vista, NSW: The interior felt really nice. It drove surprisingly well, with great steering that made it feel super agile. There was inconsistent feel between the brake and accelerator. The birds-eye-view camera is great.

Eric, Maroubra, NSW: The headspace is tight due to the sunroof. The ride was smooth, and I think it’s at a good price point.

Donald, Mulgoa, NSW: I’d never been in an Infiniti, and I never want to go in another one. It had shithouse space, felt cramped front and back.

Konstantin, Wolli Creek, NSW: It was absolutely practical enough, and it drove softly and comfortably. There was good traction and it dealt with bumps easily. There’s adequate power and lots of inclusions. It’s good value for money.

Joe, Rosemeadow, NSW: It’s practical enough but there’s no spare wheel. It drove better than I expected, and was very comfortable on the track. It’s good value for what you get.

Jeep Renegade Longitude

Price: $32,000 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol, six-speed dual-clutch automatic, FWD
Outputs: 103kW at 5000rpm/230Nm at 1750-3250rpm
Fuel claim: 5.9L/100km, 98 premium unleaded
Boot capacity: 354 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $1830 (estimate supplied by Jeep Australia)

What we thought

Matt: Excellent headroom all around, with a more rugged and masculine interior that is playful but not immature. Cheap seat materials and narrow boot opening let it down. The suspension was bouncy and it would both understeer and then slide oversteer. Its rubbish transmission struggled with gear selection.

This should be the base model, and it should be $26,000.

Trent: Roomy enough for the segment and its entry and egress is almost perfect. Plenty of headroom and good luggage space but shitty materials on the seats and some plastics. The ride is firm but decent over larger ruts, and it understeered a lot if pushed. Good seating position and visibility and the interior is decent except for the infotainment. I think it's too expensive in this segment.

Mandy: There’s huge headroom in the Renegade, but not enough storage. The small infotainment screen isn’t great, nor is the smallish boot.

For a $32,000 car that’s not the base model there are a lot of button blanks on the dash. Even though it’s FWD it climbed the hills quite easily – with a big run-up! The brake pedal needs stepping on for it to come to a complete stop. The design is unique from the inside, out.

Tegan: Feels rugged and tough, and it’s fun to drive off-road despite the engine and transmission not being great. The material on the seats is shitty, and the infotainment screen is tiny. It’s missing a lot of features that the others have, doesn't have a lot of cabin storage, media isn’t up to par and there’s no sat nav or driver assist features.

What you thought

Keith, Newtown, NSW: I thought it was practical enough, but I didn’t fold the rear seats down. To me it was comfortable. But I’d probably go for the 4WD Trailhawk, which could be better value than this one.

Christopher, Blacktown, NSW: It seems like it would be good value for around town. It’s not for me, as I need to tow a large trailer, but it could be good for a small trailer. It felt good on the track.

Mitsubishi ASX XLS

Price: $31,500 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, CVT automatic, FWD
Outputs: 110kW at 6000rpm/197Nm at 4200rpm
Fuel claim: 7.6L/100km, 91 unleaded
Boot capacity: 393 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $795 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: It drives like a small SUV of a generation ago. Dynamically inferior and its drivetrain is coarse and exhibits CVT struggles, too. But makes up ground for interior space, despite having no loose item storage for those in the back seats.

You can get great deals on the ASX, and they’ll get sharper ahead of the all-new model, too. But they’d want to be scalpel sharp, because it isn’t great.

Trent: Good cabin packaging, plenty of space and storage, with a roomy second row but no storage, heated front seats are a plus and plenty of boot space, too. I wonder how many vinyls were killed to make this interior, though… Wide view camera for reverse but the image isn't great. Drove fine but could bottom out over larger ruts. Feels a little tinny and has very light steering.

It’s good value because it gets the job done easily enough.

Mandy: It doesn't stack up for driving: you feel every small bump, and the steering wheel jitters in your hand. With enough speed it can do hills but takes some effort. It has a rear-view camera (wide, but distorted and grainy) and sensors, but there’s no sat nav. Heated seats up front is nice, and the way the sunroof cover slides away is neat, but the seat materials are poor quality.

Tegan: It’s too expensive for something that's not nice to drive and not nice inside. There’s hardly any give in the suspension, it feels like you bounce along on top of your seat. It’s rattly, shaky, noisy, and the steering wanders with the road ruts. It just feels unsure of itself. I felt ill as a passenger, and it was the only car that did that to me.

What you thought

John, Wollstonecraft, NSW: I wouldn’t purchase a Mitsubishi ASX. It was horrible to drive, and not nice enough inside.

Therese, Bondi, NSW: Good space in the back and the boot, but it feels cheap inside and doesn’t drive as well as the others.

Nissan Qashqai ST

Price: $28,490 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, CVT automatic, FWD
Outputs: 106kW at 6000rpm/200Nm at 4400rpm
Fuel claim: 6.9L/100km, 91 unleaded
Boot capacity: 430 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $695 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: There’s good headroom and legroom, and great toe room in the back. But there’s lots of hard plastic, a lack of rear seat loose item storage. It drives more like a hatchback, meaning it didn’t feel up to the task on our track. The front suspension clanged over bumps, it felt like it might break. Long overdue for a newer/better media system.

It’s good value, but it looks and feels cheap in this spec.

Trent: There’s enough room to be practical, but it feels basic and old in this company. Plenty of headroom, and the full-size spare is clever too. The drive is very average: tinny engine and CVT combination is garbage, the engine seems noisy and unrefined. It’s noisy inside the cabin, too.

In the context of this comparison it is cheap, so I can't say it isn't good value, but it isn't a great car either.

Mandy: I’m not alone in not liking the interior: there’s a tiny screen, it feels dated and cheap inside, and it lacks rear seat storage. There’s good headroom, a deep armrest console and a sizeable boot, but it’s basic. There’s not a lot of traction at high speed, even though it felt pretty powerful. It creaked and groaned off-road and the ride was rough.

Tegan: Lots of space inside but its old infotainment system and the finishes and design meant everything inside just felt a little cheap. It had a jittery ride, but felt pretty peppy on the move, and there was a lot of hesitation up the hill.

It’s cheap to buy, it’s cheap to service, and it feels a bit cheap: but that’s what you get for the money.

What you thought

Ron, West Dundas, NSW: Unless you’re actually planning to go off-road, a hatchback could prove better value than something like this. And it won’t go far off-road anyway.

Paul, North Ryde, NSW: It’s more of a city car. It’d be better than a Pulsar for most people.

Subaru XV 2.0i-S

Price: $35,290 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, CVT automatic, AWD
Outputs: 110kW at 6200rpm/196Nm at 4200rpm
Fuel claim: 7.0L/100km, 91 unleaded
Boot capacity: 310 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $2245 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: It drives almost exactly how I would expect a small SUV to. Softer than most, but feels assured because of the AWD system. A little bit sluggish with four adults on board, and while the back seat is decent (it even has dual USBs! – but no rear vents) it has two serious problems: the boot is tiny and it’s ridiculously expensive to maintain.

Trent: More car-like to drive than anything else in this test. Interior is small but typical Subaru but the load floor is too high, which limits storage space but there is a full size spare. It's lower and firmer than some in this test, but has much sharper steering, brakes and overall balance is excellent.

I think this is good value, especially so if you enjoy driving. But at this price why wouldn’t you just buy a Forester?

Mandy: Three USBs (two rear, one front) is good for kids, and there’s decent headroom, as well as good vision from the driver’s seat – I like the quarter windows. I liked the heated seats and orange stitching, but it didn’t go too well with the blue exterior paint.

Even though it feels dated, the XV is more than capable of being a small SUV. The suspension is soft and the AWD is there if extra grip is needed. The steering can be heavy, though.

Tegan: The expensive servicing makes it hard to consider “good value”. However, it is a spacious and confident car on the road with lots of room in the back, and lots of light and visibility. It’s solidly finished, with nice chrome-look finished controls up front, and the AWD is great: it’s quiet, rides well and was confidence inspiring.

What you thought

Peter, Carseldine, Qld: I loved the feel of how it drove, and thought it was very roomy and good value.

Helena, Ngunnawal, ACT: The Subaru drove like a small SUV should. And it’s good value.

Steven, Coogee, NSW: Ticked the practicality box, and it drove very good – more comfortable than expected, and the CVT gearbox was very smooth. Good value, too.

Peter, Winmalee, NSW: The Subaru handled much better, with all-wheel-drive giving it a better driving experience than the front-drive Vitara. Much better value than the Vitara, felt more premium.

John, Wollstonecraft, NSW: There was adequate room – enough for a six-foot tall man in the back seat. It drove as I’d expect, and to the right buyer it would be good value.

Suzuki S-Cross Turbo 2WD

Price: $27,990 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, six-speed automatic, FWD
Outputs: 103kW at 5500rpm/220Nm at 1500-4000rpm
Fuel claim: 5.9L/100km, 95 premium unleaded
Boot capacity: 430 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $1408 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: It’s cheaper and better than the ASX, so it does argue well for decent value, but you can’t option any extra safety stuff. The space inside is similar to the ASX but more classy, and the media screen has CarPlay and nav but is slow to load. The ride is a bit firm, but the turbo engine and six-speed auto are great.

Trent: Roomy enough despite being hideous to look at. Decent headroom, adjustable seatbelts, and a large boot space with 12V socket. Drove pretty well despite feeling a little tinny and cheap. It didn’t bottom out though even over a harsh dip that caused some cars to crash.

I'd say it is good value simply because it is so cheap.

Mandy: It’s $1000 cheaper than the Vitara, but it’s also a bit blander. The hard plastic dash feels cheap, and there’s plastic just about everywhere. The white stitching on the seats was a nice touch, though, and the seat height was ideal. It has a zippy engine but not enough traction uphill. The ride is more comfy than the Vitara, soaking up those bumps better.

Tegan: It wasn’t great up the hills as it lost traction, and the steering pulled side-to-side over bumps. It was very noisy inside, but the engine had enough pull and the gear selection seemed good.

It’s cheaper than the Vitara and much more pleasant inside for me. There’s more boot space, too.

What you thought

David, Forestville, NSW: I thought it was definitely practical enough, with a good boot and back seat. It drove better than the Jeep on the test track, and the price is hard to ignore.

Sara, Ingleburn, NSW: I don’t like the look of it as much as the Vitara, which means I’d choose the Vitara.

Suzuki Vitara S Turbo 2WD

Price: $28,990 plus on-roads
Powertrain: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, six-speed auto, FWD
Outputs: 103kW at 5500rpm/220Nm at 1500-4000rpm
Fuel claim: 5.9L/100km, 95 premium unleaded
Boot capacity: 375 litres
Ownership cost over three years: $1408 capped-price

What we thought

Matt: The interior feels cheap: there are hard plastics all around but the seat material and stitching help it out. No centre arm rest or covered centre storage is a bit poo. Great space in the back. It drives very well for a high-rider: perky drivetrain, great steering. Struggles for grip a bit. Could be even cheaper, and lacks safety smarts.

Trent: Roomy despite being small outside – better than I expected. Adjustable belts are a plus with some decent underfloor storage in the rear too. It drove better with one person than it did with four in the cabin up the hill. Rode nicely despite firmness.

Very good value considering how capable it is in reality. Feels cheap inside the cabin, but then the price is low, too.

Mandy: It doesn’t feel like you’re driving an SUV, it just doesn’t have the roughness that you would expect. The engine is peppy, but works overtime on inclines with FWD. It is light too, so it bounces around on large bumps. The seats have a nice feel to them, and while there’s lots of storage, it’s all uncovered. The boot has a nice double floor – handy. Hate that the doors are light, and may require a few attempts to close.

Tegan: There’s not quiet as much knee room in the back as the BMW, and it is louder inside. The ride is a bit bumpy, but it felt really light and energetic up the hills. Lots of nooks but a lack of covered storage. Red stitching and perforated leather on the steering wheel are nice. It’s cheap and capable, but a bit rough around the edges

What you thought

Shaun, Sutherland, NSW: It’s practical enough, and it feels more like a small SUV than the Cactus, which was more like a high-riding hatch. Would likely hold its value well, too.

Peter, Winmalee, NSW: It coped with this track easily, but the automatic transmission was a bit sluggish. I think the value is so-so.

Chris, Florey, ACT: I didn’t like the auto gearbox, but thought it drove okay. It’s good value, and fine for practicality, too.

Bowen, Sanctuary Point, NSW: It spun the wheels on the steep hill, but it was a good car to drive. It’s good value and practical enough for its size.

Christopher, Caringbah, NSW: The space on offer is sufficient for a car of this size, and it drove and handled better than expected – the brakes and gearbox were good. I believe it’s a fairly priced small SUV.

So, there you have it. It was interesting for us to see just how many people wanted to try the Infiniti QX30, and just how few were interested in the Nissan Qashqai and Mitsubishi ASX, despite the fact those two still sell quite well.

Click the Photos tab above for plenty more detailed images by Tom Fraser.

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