News & ReviewsLast 7 days

Small SUVs Under $40k

Subaru XV
  • 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
  • Styling still stands out in a crowd; Huge potential to grow the awareness of the GR sub-brand; Sharper handling, but still very easy to live with

  • Priced like a Koba, but missing some equipment; Down on power compared to the segment's top sellers; Styling forces a compromise to driver and rear passenger visibility

Kia Seltos
  • A ton of standard equipment wrapped into a surprisingly premium package; Cabin space falls on the larger side of the small-SUV segment; It feels sure-footed and substantial with ample power

  • The price is high enough to warrant a browse through other spec grades; The dual-clutch transmission can be jerky around town; The ride is not as comfortable on rough roads as it could be

Honda HR-V
  • Still looks sharp despite nearing the end of its cycle; Class-leading cargo area; Now with smartphone mirroring

  • Key safety tech should really be standard; Touchscreen looks like an add-on; Skinny 10,000km service intervals

Hyundai Kona
  • Practical and roomy cabin; Good visibility; Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well on dearer models; Extendable sun visors; Fair fuel economy; Runs on regular unleaded petrol

  • Caution: wireless Apple CarPlay on cheaper variants constantly disconnects and is in urgent need of a software upgrade; Small boot; Space-saver spare tyre; Short service intervals on turbo models

Small SUVs Over $40k

Volvo XC40
  • Smooth electric driving at variable speeds; Strong performance in hybrid mode; Cabin space and quality; Relatively short charging time on just a household socket;

  • Big premium over regular XC40s; Brake pedal feel; We couldn’t quite match claimed EV range; Hybrid loses clever folding boot floor;

MINI Countryman
  • Quiet, rapid performance; Typically cool Mini design; Toe-in-water future tech

  • Reduced boot space; Price impost over Cooper S; Is 40km EV range enough?

Audi Q2
  • Performance aplenty; Nice road manners...; ... and adroit handling; Silky smooth dual-clutch auto

  • Asks for Q3 money; Misses key safety tech; Second row not the last word in comfort



  • 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
  • Strong engine performance; Spacious and sophisticated cabin; Brilliant driver and infotainment displays

  • Poor country-road ride; Missing some key features as standard; More expensive than key rivals