Compact SUV

Car manufacturers have come up with a novel way to keep sports utility vehicles popular at a time when smaller, more efficient cars are flying out of the showrooms: they've streamlined them, marrying together the classic bulky look with a much more economical drive.

There are several reasons why one might favour a compact SUV over a traditional one - the most obvious being price. In most cases, they tend to be around £3,000 to £7,000 cheaper than their larger counterparts, despite being just as durable and long lasting.

Running costs are similarly favourable. Compact SUVs are fitted with much smaller, less punchy engines, with service appointments and replacement parts - including tires - often proving less expensive too.

Crucially, they're also great for those living in the city, combining a spacious interior large enough for a four or five-person family while being small enough to slip into cramped parking spaces in town.

If you fancy downsizing, here are our top picks for 2020.

Audi Q2

Audi had the wind knocked out of its sails somewhat by the emissions scandal a couple of years ago, but cars like the Q2 show why customers have largely remained loyal. It's super stylish and easy to handle, with one of the best dash layouts on the market.

Kia Soul

If budget is your primary consideration, the Kia Soul is perhaps the leading car on the compact SUV market. At under £15,000 new, it's currently selling at a figure you'd be happy to part with for a simple hatchback - and the interior here is far more generous.

Ford Kuga

The redesigned Ford Kuga is a good SUV to pay attention to as apart from its impressive driving experience it offers a good mileage for a plug-in hybrid. Performance on the motorway could perhaps be better, but you're getting a super comfortable family car - perfect for a busy town centre.

Mazda CX3

Mazda entry into the compact SUV market has been overlooked in the UK. The CX3 is geared more toward a morning school run than it is a cross-country trek, but it drives like a dream. The prices start from £19,000 and up offering a decent driving and good fuel economy.

Volvo XC40

Volvo's XC40 has brilliantly personified everything that makes the German brand so popular. It's hugely reliable on the road, replete with innovative safety features and a frugal diesel engine. It even looks super stylish - particularly with a glossy white finish.

Seat Arona

The Seat Arona is available at the relatively cheap price of around £18,000, despite boasting a big spacious interior with plenty of room in the back. You can find there many seat adjustments and the buttons in the interior are intelligently lined and ordered. However, if you prefer comfort driving there are better options for a small crossover.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Like its Audi counterpart, the Volkswagen Tiguan is on the pricier end of the spectrum. It's not going to win any beauty contests either, but happily, it's one of the few compact SUVs capable of going off-road as well as on. If you're an outdoorsy type, this is the one to plump for.