The small SUV segment of the car market has been booming in recent years. Perhaps it’s because small SUVs are a great option for Aussies who are looking for a versatile car that’s just as comfortable on the city roads as it is in regional areas. They combine the best parts of small cars and SUVs to deliver a compact vehicle that’s great value and appealing to a wide range of drivers. You want some extra ground clearance for those awesome off-road tracks on the weekend but don’t need or want a giant 4WD? Get a small SUV!
Maybe you need a car with more space for the newest member of the family or something that offers more storage than your current small boot - get a small SUV!
We promise that these best-selling small SUVs will tick your boxes, just as they have been doing for thousands of other Aussies as we move into 2023! We hope this ultimate list will help you find the best small SUV for you.
Whether you’re looking for superior driving performance, SUVs with classic creature comforts or the brand that’s offering the best value for money, Driva’s 2023 list has it all.
Let’s get into it.
Best Small SUVs Hitting the Aussie Market in 2023
Price: $40,000 (Estimated)
- Hybrid or petrol-only powertrain options
- Stylish and comfortable interior with heated seats and dual zone climate control
- Great handling with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, + many more
- Infotainment hasn’t been updated enough and reduces potential of interior
Are you ready for Honda to bring you the latest generation CR-V? Whether you’re looking for a full-petrol or hybrid Honda SUV, you’ve got options with the CR-V. This stylish car is perfect for any SUV lover looking for a new ride. It’s reasonably priced, based on expectations, and from reactions around the world, it drives like a charm and is extremely comfortable.
Price: $21,900 (Estimated)
- Manual or Auto powertrain option, front wheel drive
- Better tech and equipment features like Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Roomy interior with ample space inside for a medium-sized family.
- Not as fuel efficient as it could be.
The Hyundai Venue is finally getting a much-needed facelift. This car is a staple for many Australians, and finally, they’re going to be able to enjoy a new and improved experience. The Venue models in 2023 will gain new tech features like wireless charging, USB ports, instrument cluster redesign, and a 4.2-inch driver display. Of course, the car will still drive well, still have that signature Hyundai style and comfort, and be an enjoyable driving experience. They’re not reinventing the wheel, just improving it!
Mercedes Benz GLA
- Exceptional driving performance - one of the best in small SUV segment of the car market
- Dual clutch transmission allows for a seamless driving experience
- Docile and subtle enough to pass as a regular SUV when you need to fit in!
- Fuel efficiency at 9.6L/100km needs to be improved, behind the BMW X1 in this field.
Mercedes has some of the best SUVs in the game, and the GLA series is no different. This new model, dual clutch small SUV is a German import with engines ranging between 1.3L to 2.0L while also having a turbocharged four-cylinder. It’s definitely not the most fuel-efficient model on the road, but it’s an amazing car from a great brand and it is a direct rival to anyone who loves what BMW has done with their BMW X1 - anyone up for changing teams? The interior, which can be accessed via keyless entry, is as stylish as the exterior while being incredibly comfortable. The performance of the car can be felt in the driving experience. It’s smooth and feels right at every turn. Overall, Mercedes has killed it with the GLA series. Now you have to just choose which version is for you!
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Price: Under $60,000 (Estimated)
- Some great design and styling features.
- Useful electric-only range.
- Even when it’s on track, it’s stable and agile.
- The ride can be too firm on poor surfaces.
This 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine is ready to take you places in style. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is a great-looking small SUV, and it drives like nothing you’ve ever driven before. It’s a plug-in hybrid SUV with a six-speed automatic with a 90kW electric motor in the back. This all-wheel drive can provide an 80km claimed electric range. So you can use the electric-only option for a fair amount of your day-to-day travels and errands. The colour options for this car are also what make it stand out even more. Overall, it’s a stunning car worth considering.
- Stylish and compact SUV with all standard equipment one could need.
- The engine in the Volkswagen T-Cross is stellar.
- Spacious inside with decent boot space.
- Key safety features found in Volkswagen T-Roc models aren’t included
The T-Cross is a decent offering from Volkswagen. The 1.0L with turbocharged three-cylinder makes it a great driving experience with a decent kick to it. The design of the car is fine in terms of its exterior. While somewhat boxy, it pulls it off, and the interior is stylish, as expected. The car itself is comfortable and well-built, with a great driving experience to match the style inside the vehicle. Overall, this is a good car to have if you’re looking for an SUV on the smaller side of things. There’s a lot of space to bring the family along with decent space in the small boot too. The biggest complaint is that they’ve seemingly left out some good, some might argue necessary, safety features that can be found in its close relative, the Volkswagen T-Roc. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, but it seems like a missed opportunity.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Price: $47,290 (Estimated)
- The hybrid powertrain works seamlessly.
- 5-star ANCAP safety rating - speed sign recognition, reversing camera, parking sensors etc.
- Additional space in comparison to prior models.
- The interior seems far below what you’d expect in a car of its price, uncomfortable rear seats.
Across the whole Eclipse Cross range by Mitsubishi, you’ll find that they’re all, all-wheel drives. The turbocharged four-cylinder means this car can jog to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. The engine delivers its power smoothly, meaning when you’re driving, you’re getting a blissful and comfortable riding experience. With an exemplary safety record, this car is perfect for families or those who like to feel more secure on the road. With parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, lane sense assist, active cruise control and all standard equipment like satellite navigation, you’ll be hard pressed to find a safer car on the road! Safety-rating aside, aspects of the interior is where the car gets problematic. The interior at times can feel cheap and simply not up to the standard you’d expect in a car of its price. The rear seats and interior trim should be improved. Overall, it’s an excellent car, but the price point here may scare off budget conscious buyers.
- Nice new Sport Mode.
- Great ride quality with exceptional handling.
- The quality of the cabin is impressive, as is the insulation.
- If it were a full hybrid, it might be more efficient.
The rugged style of the Subaru XV makes this small SUV perfect for all-terrain travelling. It’s a good-looking car that’s great to drive and is available in petrol or petrol-electric hybrid models. The cabin of the car is great, thanks to its size and level of attention to comfort and style. It’s just a good-looking car that feels enjoyable to be in regardless of which seat you’re in. The infotainment graphics aren’t great, but it’s a small price to pay.
Great Small SUVs Available Now In Australia
Toyota Yaris Cross
Starting at $26,990 drive away, the Toyota Yaris Cross is the dream crossover between a compact hatchback and a larger SUV. It’s also available in a Hybrid model for those drivers who are looking to reduce their ecological footprint. Highly functional with a sleek, clever design and plenty of interior space, the Yaris Cross is a great option for any driver, including those looking for a reliable family car.
Kia Stonic GT-Line
If you’re after a reliable and affordably priced small SUV, you can’t go past the Kia Stonic GT-Line. Starting at $29,990, before on-road costs, this model has great fuel consumption and a generous warranty, with all the basic comfort and convenience features that you’d expect.
Next up is the Ford Puma, a dynamic small SUV with an efficient and highly responsive engine. The Puma starts at $25,540 and is perfect for those who are looking for a car that drives like a sports car but has all the functionality of a small SUV.
The Suzuki Ignis is Australia’s cheapest SUV, making it a great option for drivers who are on a budget, with the base model starting at just $20,490. Despite the low price, it retains a large range of technology and safety features and is an overall great car.
The Nissan Qashqai is perfect for drivers who are looking for a more luxurious feeling small SUV. Full of all the luxury, safety and technology equipment you could want, the QASHQAI is Nissan’s most sophisticated and versatile compact SUV yet, starting at $39,090.
If you’re looking for a compact SUV that can provide outstanding overall performance, the Hyundai Kona could be a great option for you. Starting at $38,000 before on-road costs, the Kona excels across the areas of technology, safety and comfort, making it one of the best small SUVs around.
After a compact SUV without losing out on a roomy interior? The MG ZS/ZST doesn’t sacrifice comfort for the price. With a starting price of $24,990 before on-road costs, this all-wheel drive is the perfect option for smaller budgets. The ZST still manages to impress with its suite of high-tech safety features.
On the more luxurious end of the small SUV market, the Swedish-designed XC40 continues to impress. With a sophisticated look both outside and inside, Volvo maintains its reputation for safety and style. Available with a hybrid or petrol engine, you won’t be compromising on fuel economy. The XC40 starts at $52,990.
Next up is the Kia Seltos, a relatively new addition to the compact SUV market. Plenty of high-tech features are built into a spacious interior, yet its compact frame is perfect for city or suburban driving. The Kia Seltos starts at a reasonable $27,290.
Smaller than the classic Toyota SUVs, the C-HR signals a new direction in Toyota’s lineup. The small SUV still packs in the impressive safety and tech features of the Prado, but in a compact frame suitable for the city or the outback. Available with a hybrid or petrol engine, the C-HR is amongst the best small SUVs in Australia, with an attractive starting price of $30,915.
What’s the best small SUV in Australia in 2023?
There are so many small SUVs to pick from that it’s almost difficult giving only one car the honour. However, if we were forced to pick, we’d go with the Volvo XC40. It’s a stylish vehicle that’s powerful, reasonably priced, tech and equipment heavy, and easy to drive, use, and love.
Take a look at our picks for the best SUVs in Australia!
What’s the best small SUV under $30,000 in 2023?
The winner is definitely the Kia Seltos. This newer model from Kia is true value for money. It’s got world-class tech that makes the car that much better to drive, and it’s also just a great-looking car. If you’re looking for fuel efficiency, a great driving experience, and a comfortable, stylish car, the Kia Seltos is the pick for you under $30,000.
Take a look at our list of the best SUVs under $30k!
What’s the best-performance small SUV in 2023?
The Mazda CX-30 is among the best-performing small SUVs launched in 2023. It’s a sporty car that’s small in size but powerful under the hood. Not only does the car drive phenomenally well, but it’s also very stylish and comfortable.
What’s the best small luxury SUV in 2023?
That honour probably needs to go to the Volvo XC40. It’s a stunning car that has a stylish design both inside and out. On top of that, it’s got a great reputation for being an extremely safe car to drive. Finally, you can choose between a hybrid or petrol-only model and the fuel economy, either way, is pretty decent!
Learn about some of the luxury SUVs from our best luxury SUVs ranking.
What is the cheapest SUV in Australia in 2023?
The cheapest SUV in Australia in 2022 is the Suzuki Ignis, which starts at just $20,490 drive away. The vehicle features a lot of included equipment and tech, making it a great choice for new buyers, especially ones with a lower budget.
Consider getting an SUV second-hand and look at our guide to the best-used SUVs in Australia.
Who is the winner of the compact SUV 2022?
Most will agree that the 2022 winner for best compact SUV 2022 was Hyundai for their SUV model Kona. This car features a lot of included features in the base model, looks great, feels great, and drives well. Of course, it’s not perfect. The car's engine is thirsty, and it does make a bit of noise, but that driving experience really is great.
What is the best small Australian SUV under 40k?
Taking this prize is yet again the Hyundai Kona. This SUV sits just below the 40k mark and has a lot to offer for its $38,300 price tag. It’s a great car despite its 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine being less fuel efficient than other models.
Which small SUVs have the least problems?
There are a lot of SUVs out there that have a low amount of issues that arise. Some of the best examples of this include the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Audi Q2, and numerous others. Sticking with reliable car makers is the first step to getting a car that doesn’t have many or any issues.
Learn more about SUVs in our article covering the bases.
What are the most affordable and reliable compact SUVs?
The MG ZS, Suzuki Ignis, Hyundai Venue, and Mitsubishi ASX are among some of the most affordable SUVs on the market. Most of these models are reliable and offer something different in terms of range, design, tech features, etc.