Small SUV – What Car Criteria

Good small SUVs are comfortable, with spacious interiors and clever touches that make them more practical. Running costs shouldn’t be too much more than an equivalent
hatchback.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ4

DESPITE THE ARRIVAL of competition from a number of manufacturers, as well as Suzuki’s own Ignis, the Vitara remains our favourite budget SUV. The Vitara is bigger than a number of more expensive rivals, with plenty of boot space and enough room for adults in the back seats. It’s well equipped, too. SZ4 trim gets basics such as Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio, all-round electric windows and alloy wheels, plus a few luxuries including cruise control and climate control. The Vitara doesn’t disappoint on the road, either. Our preferred 1.6-litre petrol engine is willing if you don’t mind working it hard, and is smoother than most of the downsized three-cylinder engines in rivals. The Vitara even has enjoyable handling, resisting roll well and feeling keen to change direction.
In everyday driving, this version is capable of diesel-beating economy; it managed an impressive 47.7mpg in our True MPG test. Then there’s dependability: Suzuki ranked fourth out of 32 manufacturers in our latest reliability survey. All in all, the Vitara makes for a very compelling small SUV.

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