Compact SUVs are arguably one of the hottest car models on the market today.
With their higher ride, sporty designs and smaller engine sizes, they’re pushing out hatchbacks in popularity and are more affordable than larger SUVs. New Zealander’s lead dynamic lives and need a dynamic vehicle that can easily manoeuver from inner-city commuting to weekend off-road adventures. A compact SUV can do it all. With so many crossover models available, it’s important to know what features to look for so you get the best small SUV for your lifestyle and budget.
The Top 5 Features to Look For
Smaller SUVs are often front-wheel drive with some AWD or optional 4WD. Are you likely to be taking your compact SUV off-roading or to the snow? If so, having the extra traction that a 4WD can offer is a good idea. Also, consider the transmission and fuel you want. Most smaller SUVs use petrol and are automatic up to 6-speeds, with some having Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which optimises the acceleration but may not be strong enough for towing. Fewer models use diesel or are hybrid.
They’re smaller, but compact SUVs are just as mighty as a mid-size SUV. They share the same higher ride appeal but their smaller size makes them great city cars with easier parking. Most compact SUVs offer a comfortable 5-seats with good leg-room, with select models offering a foldable third row of seating. Cargo space is more relative to a hatch so it’s good to consider the boot space you’ll need for transporting work supplies or sporting equipment.
You’re spoilt for choice with the impressive array of tech features available in new model SUVs. Larger infotainment touch-screen consoles, device connectivity for music with Bluetooth, ApplePlay and Android Auto, Wifi hotspot, built-in GPS navigation and USB charging ports are not only convenient but make short and long trips a treat.
With most compact SUVs and crossovers having a lighter car frame, the engine size is smaller which means better fuel efficiency that’s almost on par with a sedan. Many have a four-cylinder engine which has enough pep to be practical without hurting the wallet. If you’re looking for extra performance, it might be best to upgrade to a larger six-cylinder or turbo-charged engine.
Newer SUVs boast a variety of safety features that differ between car manufacturer; from blind-spot alerts, lane departure warnings to autonomous emergency braking. Prioritise the features for your family and be sure to review the vehicle’s safety rating. The shorter length and higher ground clearance of small SUVs aid driver visibility and improve accessibility getting in and out.