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Small SUVs Under $40k

Subaru XV
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  • Spacious back seats; Soft-roading credibility; Comfortable ride, sharp handling; Improved running costs

  • Shallow and small boot; Engine never better than average; All manner of chimes and beeps

Toyota C-HR
  • Beautiful, compliant ride; Fun to drive; Enjoyable manual gearbox; Striking exterior design with customisation options; Slick cabin presentation; Servicing only $195 per year (or 15,000km)

  • Shallow boot; Claustrophobic rear seat; Rear vision limitations; Modest performance

Honda HR-V
  • Magic Seats make the small HR-V feel bigger; Base model gets AEB; Won't offend anyone

  • Interior feels old; There are better engines available elsewhere; Won't offend anyone

Hyundai Kona
  • High-capacity battery, long range; Locally tuned ride and handling; Well-specified, safety in particular

  • Can’t escape the cost premium; Tyres don’t hide the asphalt ‘roar’; Interior belongs on a cheaper car

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
  • Distinct styling untouched; Tailored towards urban life; More affordable than before

  • Not a dynamic stand out; Price could still be a grand or two sharper; Polarising, particularly from the rear

Small SUVs Over $40k

Volvo XC40
1
  • Roomy interior with excellent visibility; All models packed with standard equipment; Dynamic engine and excellent to drive

  • Ride is quite firm and may be too firm for some on 20-inch wheels; Servicing costs almost four times more than the equivalent BMW

MINI Countryman
  • Roomier than expected; Perky handling and performance; Doesn’t take itself too seriously; Huge range of personalisation options

  • It’s not really a Mini, is it?; Options see the price escalate quickly; Behind the pack on standard safety

Audi Q2
  • Best levels of active safety features we could find in the segment; Solid build quality; Great ride comfort; Engine and transmission package work well together; Problem-free experience to date

  • No electrically adjustable seats; Options packages make it hard to satisfy your needs; Assistance package should be standard

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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