The modern crossover SUV is here to stay, and the compact crossover segment is the fastest-growing part of the segment, with almost every manufacturer either competing in the class or planning to.
On the whole, it's not a class made up of interesting or dynamically alluring cars, but rather high-rise superminis with added space and convenience – and, if you’re willing to pay for it, a premium badge to match. Even some of the best examples of the breed have slightly iffy rides and stodgy handling stemming from the extra weight and raised centres of gravity associated with the breed.
These, nonetheless, are the ten best compact crossovers money can buy, should you find yourself in the market. And right now, plenty of people are.
Volkswagen has watched and waited as its rivals have rushed to cash in on the popularity of cars like this – and the firm’s first compact crossover, the T-Cross, feels very much like the sort of car that’s been judged and executed with care.
Sitting right in the middle of the class on size and price, the T-Cross rises higher than some of its rivals, and has more SUV-typical styling than others. The engine range is limited, for now, to a pair of 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot petrols, with a 1.6-litre diesel likely to be added later in 2019.
We’ve driven both 94- and 113bhp tunes of the 1.0-litre TSI and, while the latter is a little bit faster and more drivable (thanks in no small part to having an extra cog in its manual gearbox than the former), neither version feels slow. Refinement is good, economy likewise (both cars are well capable of 50mpg on a longer out-of-town trip) and ride and handling are nicely resolved with a sense of pragmatic compliance and low-speed cushioning to the ride that should endear the car to owners.