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What we like: The new generation of small SUVs

They are the biggest growth market in the automotive industry - but the sheer scale of their popularity could hardly have been predicted. SUVs continue to go from strength to strength and take the lions share of the market. The SUV market grew by 8% to 32% in September 2017. Thats a massive lead of 17% on 'Compact' cars in 2nd place. Their versatility and the wide range of cars that fall into this category is a huge plus point alongside the vast improvements being made for the vehicles; from the latest in-car tech features to better economy & cleaner engines. Thanks to all this, we saw more new SUVs than any other vehicle type in 2017, showing that manufacturers have clocked onto the changing tide of public opinion.

We think there's one area of SUVs thats particularly worth getting excited about; Small SUVs. Over the last 18 months, this sub-category has improved its popularity ten-fold. The growth and improved interest in Small SUV Leasing can be attributed to their affordability, practicality and safety. You get all the traditional benefits of an SUV without the bulky frame and incovenient presence on the road that these cars have traditionally offered. They also don't tend to be as gas-guzzling as their larger cousins and are able to offer engines that won't break the bank and have a far less detrimental effect on the environment.

SEAT ATECA

It seems appopriate to start with a vehicle that epitomizes the growth of small SUVs. Seat hadn't produced an SUV in their entire history before the Ateca rolled off the production line in 2016. Just in time for the small SUV boom that has helped the Ateca kickstart the new SEAT revolution and allowed the brand to become one of the most prominent in the UK market - SEAT new car registrations have climbed by a huge 19% on last year according to the latest data from industry aggregator SMMT.

The Ateca is able to offer fantastic handling, a great driving position as well as a set of highly economical engines to choose from. It was deservedly crowned 'Best Small SUV' for the 2017 WhatCar? Car of the Year awards and you wouldn't rule it out taking the trophy next year with a number of further improvements lined up. 

 

NISSAN QASHQAI

The Qashqai is another car thats no stranger to its share of critical acclaim. It won the Car of the Year? award on two separate occasions in the last 5 years and not without merit. Its practicality and interior is almost second-to-none - with a cavernous boot size of 430-litres and plenty of additional storage pockets. It'll comfortably sit three across the back, as well with no compromising on height and legroom.

 

PEUGEOT 3008

 

Nimble and good-looking, the 3008 has been a big hit for the historic French marque. It received a resounding 5 stars from AutoExpress, AutoCar & WhatCar, and 4.6 out of 5 from Carbuyer -  a great testament to the quality of product Peugeot have created. From the safety angle, the 3008 is very hard to beat - EuroNCAP gave it the full 5 stars, which is especially impressive following changes to their tests which have meant the grading processes is much tougher. You'll also get a raft of safety kit as standard, such as electronic stability control, tyre-pressure warning system and lane-departure warning.

 

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN

 

The Tiguan from VW is another popular car which has won plenty of plaudits. Its interior has been given special attention by the famous German manufacturer - with plenty of luggage space in the boot and a design that is clean, comfortable and easy-on-the-eye. The Tiguan from the inside out oozes class and there's lots to love about the engines, as well. Those that like their SUV to have a bit of mettle under the bonnet will enjoy the 237bhp twin-turbo option - its capable of 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds.

 

 

BMW X1


For those looking towards the luxury end of the scale, you can't go far wrong with the BMW X1. The X1 is the perfect answer to drivers who want a bit more of a punchy alternative to the safety, economy geared market leaders. Thats not to say the X1 doesn't offer either of those, but it really comes into its own with the quality of drive and range of engines. One key take-home from all the buzz surrounding the X1 is that it never really actually feels too much like an SUV to drive, the smoothness of drive and ride comfort is similar to a small hatchback and the engine is quiet but nippy. The 2.0-litre xDrive 20i derivative will give you a tasty 189bhp and go from 0-62mph in just 7.4 seconds. 

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