How Do I Choose the Best Small SUV?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Choosing the best small SUV depends on whether you plan to drive it off-road frequently.
Choosing the best small SUV depends on whether you plan to drive it off-road frequently.

If you are in the market for a small SUV, you will first need to determine how the SUV is likely to be used on a regular basis. SUVs are popular because they can often be driven both on-and off-road, and they have a larger storage capacity than cars, but some models of small SUV are designed more for one type of driving than the other. If, for example, you know you will be driving the SUV only on-road, and you will be driving your kids around frequently, it will be more important to choose an SUV with good safety ratings and better on-road capabilities.

Families should choose an SUV with excellent safety ratings.
Families should choose an SUV with excellent safety ratings.

Conversely, if you intend to drive the small SUV off-road frequently, you will need to choose a vehicle intended for this purpose. The small SUV in this case will be built with different suspension, drivetrain, and engine components that will make the vehicle more adept at driving off-road. It will help to choose a small SUV that is easily customizable, as well as one that will still have adequate capabilities for driving on-road. You may want to do some research online to find reviews of certain vehicles designed for this purpose.

Certain SUVs are better suited to driving off-road.
Certain SUVs are better suited to driving off-road.

One of the drawbacks of SUVs of all size has historically been the vehicle's handling while driving on-road. Most manufacturers have improved the handling of SUVs over the years, though it will still be very important to test drive several small SUV models to ensure you choose one that handles well. This is more than just a preference concern; the handling should be nimble enough to keep the vehicle stable in emergency situations, and the turning radius should not be large enough that simple turns are difficult to execute.

Off-road SUVs tend to be smaller and lighter than those built for mostly on-road driving.
Off-road SUVs tend to be smaller and lighter than those built for mostly on-road driving.

If storage capacity is important to you, be sure to examine the different storage options in the vehicle. This may include removable seats, hidden storage compartments, adequate trunk space, and so on. More importantly, be sure there is plenty of room for passengers, not just for sitting, but for sitting comfortably. Leg room in the back seat is important, especially if you will be driving with passengers frequently. Try to find a small SUV with plenty of adjustability that will allow you to carry a fair amount of cargo while still allow for plenty of leg room and comfort space for passengers, both in the front seats and in the back seats.

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    • Choosing the best small SUV depends on whether you plan to drive it off-road frequently.
      By: algre
      Choosing the best small SUV depends on whether you plan to drive it off-road frequently.
    • Families should choose an SUV with excellent safety ratings.
      By: Tom Wang
      Families should choose an SUV with excellent safety ratings.
    • Certain SUVs are better suited to driving off-road.
      By: Patrick Poendl
      Certain SUVs are better suited to driving off-road.
    • Off-road SUVs tend to be smaller and lighter than those built for mostly on-road driving.
      By: Robert Wilson
      Off-road SUVs tend to be smaller and lighter than those built for mostly on-road driving.