Geraldine Herbert on the best buys in the fastest-growing segment
Competition in the fast-growing compact crossover sector shows no sign of slowing down with five new entrants in the past couple of months alone. If you’re in the market for a high-riding family friendly car then the choices are mind-boggling, petrol or diesel, front or four-wheel drive, chic or rugged?
SUZUKI VITARA: The new Vitara builds on Suzuki’s strong reputation in the four-wheel drive sector with sleek looks and keen pricing. Two and four-wheel drive versions are offered with a 1.6 petrol or 1.6 diesel offering 4.0 l/100km or 67.2 mpg and just 106g/km emissions. The diesel has plenty of power, yet is quiet enough not to bother you. Given Suzuki’s track record in the 4×4 market you’d be a foolish not to consider it.
Starting price; €19,999
FIAT 500X: Fiat may be late to the small crossover market but with the 500X they have certainly introduced a good dollop of retro style. With rounded lights and chrome detailing that mirrors the original 500, the new Fiat is instantly recognisable. There are two different styles to choose from, one is like a grown up version of the 500 while the other boasts a rugged and aggressive look and is available with four-wheel drive. There are also 3 engines to choose from a 1.4 Turbo Multiair Petrol, 1.6 Multijet Diesel and a 2.0 Multijet Diesel. The 500X is certainly our pick of the extended Fiat 500 family and retains the same nostalgia.
Starting price; €19,750
JEEP RENEGADE: With it’s chunky go-anywhere looks, the Renegade gets a choice of four engines (two petrol and two diesel) boasting 120g/km and 4.5 l/100km or 62.7mpg. The diesel and 140bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol models are the ones to go for. Both are available with two or four-wheel drive. All Renegades come loaded with goodies from air-con, alloy wheels, electric windows and a tyre pressure monitoring system. There are extras galore, for a price and if you opt for the Trailhawk you get even more off road ability, a powerful 2.0 litre engine plus all of the range topping extras. With plenty of iconic Jeep styling touches, the Regenade is arguably the most distinctive in the class.
Starting price; € 22,950
SSANGYONG TIVOLI: SsangYong’s new compact crossover, the Tivoli is a very attractive addition to their range and we reckon the best-looking SsangYong yet. Prices start at €19,995 for the 1.6-litre petrol (125PS) while the 1.6-litre diesel (115PS) will cost €21,495. The diesel has the edge over the petrol versions with only €190 for road tax and good fuel economy but won’t be here until August. Standard on all models is air con, cruise control, alloys, fog lamps, smart steering and Bluetooth. Inside there is plenty of space for four and the Tivoli’s 423-litre boot is good when compared to rivals.
Starting price: €19,995
MAZDA CX-3: Based on the recently launched 2 Supermini, the CX-3 combines rugged looks and a high-riding driving position. With prices starting from €20,695, four trim levels are available – SE, Executive, Executive SE and GT. The range topping GT adds 18” diamond cut alloy wheels and a Bose surround sound system. The CX-3 is available as a 2.0L petrol Skyactiv-G (120ps) in front wheel drive and 1.5L diesel Skyactiv-D (105ps) in both front and 4 wheel drive versions. This is an increasingly competitive market and the arrival of the CX-3 just made the choice a whole lot harder.
Starting price; €20,695
30th June, 2015