The current compact SUV market is a blossoming segment with manufacturers jumping into a relatively new corner of the car market.
Like the Crossover list we compiled a while back, there are a lot of vehicles that blend the crossover, compact and medium SUV market. We’ll do our best to confine it to the best compact SUVs, so expect the slightly bigger vehicles to feature in upcoming lists we put together. Click the names to see reviews and other information related to best compact SUVs.
Five Best Compact SUVs for South Africa
A late introduction to the SA market as the Duster is over three years old. SA’s Duster though benefits from an upgraded interior that has some top notch gadgetry inside for such a small price. The Duster’s rugged look – thanks to the contrasting plastic bumpers, roof rails and side plates looks the part and it actually deals with the off road stuff quite well. One of the best Indian built cars we get, the Duster is definitely a budget beater at R199 900-R249 900. With its good 1.5-litre diesel engine and ability, the Renault Duster is our best compact SUV.
Sharing its manufacturing location (India) with the Duster, the Ford Ecosport is based on the Ford Fiesta chassis. It’s a sleek looker and with a perky engine lineup that features the award winning 1.0 EcoBoost petrol, it can more than handle itself in the city. The Ford Ecosport is definitely more of a city slicker than the off road accessories suggest – spare wheel on the rear and the 200 mm ground clearance. It is good value though as prices start at R204 900 and end at R255 000.
The Subaru XV is the most car-like vehicle on this list and blends in from the crossover segment. It does have 220 mm of ground clearance to go with its interesting looks and boasts all-wheel drive. Subaru is still persisting with the flat-four cylinder (Boxer) engine layout and not going the downsizing route just yet. Fuel consumption is a little higher than the competitors (8.0l/100km) here but you do get quite a powerful 2-litre unit (110 kW) mated to either a six-speed manual or CVT. You can get one of these from R308 000 to R354 000.
Seven years on from the original Qashqai this new vehicle has grown a bit, but just fits into the compact market. The new styling is an improvement, as is the whole package. The interior has got the full treatment from the upgrade stick and the latest gadgets have been included. Engines for the moment are either a tiny turbo petrol 1.2 or two small diesel with 1.5 or 1.6-litres. The best new feature though is the ride, which is really comfortable and supportive. Pricing start from R281 900 to R410 500.
Volkswagen's Tiguan is the quiet kid of the bunch, not designed to stand out of the crowd or strike a pose. Instead the VW Tiguan gets the job done quietly without much fuss and that’s probably why it flies under most people’s radar. The Tiguan has a choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive variants and the 4-Motion equipped models are quite good off road, but the Tiguan shines brightest on the tarmac, where VW’s build quality, road holding and German-ness is on display. Yours from R325 900 to R483 000.