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Small SUVs Under $40k

Subaru XV
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  • Good ride, with great bump absorption; No-cost paint options; Good ground clearance for basic off-roading; Quality, comfortable and spacious interior

  • Engine lacks power; Power problem compounded by that CVT; Smallish boot

Toyota C-HR
  • High levels of standard equipment; Fantastic handling balance; Upmarket interior presentation; Infotainment has been brought up to date, finally

  • Turbo performance a little timid; Hybrid reserved for the top-spec only; Higher starting price than many competitors; Rear seat for occasional use or short trips only

Kia Seltos
  • Great infotainment system; Impressive CVT auto; Fantastic Aus-tuned ride; Major safety systems covered with the optional safety pack

  • Interior shows signs of being built to a price; Cargo blind, rear air vents, where are you?; Not up to Kia's usual value standards

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
  • Plenty of driver-assistance tech; Well suited to urban driving; Turbo/AWD option is available; Love or loathe the looks, they're certainly distinctive...

  • It's less car for more money than i30 hatch; Less back seat and boot space than several rivals; The interior lacks a Mazda CX-3's or Toyota C-HR's 'premium' feel and materials

Small SUVs Over $40k

Volvo XC40
1
  • Excellent ride quality; Practical and beautifully designed cabin; Willing performance; Silky eight-speed auto

  • Sub-par warranty; Thirsty on fuel

MINI Countryman
  • It's properly quick; Still looks unique; Standard equipment list is better than before

  • Can't replicate the Clubman's handling; Expensive; Ride is still firm

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

4

BMW X1

BMW X1
  • Muscular and frugal diesel engine; Super-smooth auto; Cabin space and quality; Big boot for a compact SUV; Agreeable servicing costs for a luxury SUV

  • Doesn’t steer as well as the original X1; Big price premium for the diesel engine; Far from generously equipped; Missing some key driver aids, and no highway/freeway-speed AEB

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