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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
  • 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
  • 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

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
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  • Superb ride quality; Effortless steering; Interior’s clever practicality; Spacious cabin; Ample performance from the T4 engine

  • Stratospheric servicing costs; Fuel consumption on the high side; Inscription’s polarising crystal gear lever; Auto’s lack of neutral lock-out

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
  • 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