Best crossover cars on sale in 2018

By taking the best bits of other vehicles, crossovers may be the ultimate family car: the best compact and large crossover cars

James Mills
May 31, 2018

The crossover may sound like a dance that would get the judges on Strictly Come Dancing reaching for their scorecards but it is actually one of the most popular cars on Britain’s roads.

The name comes from the fact they cross the boundaries between a family car, hatchback, tall SUV (sport utility vehicle) and even a good old-fashioned 4x4. In other words, a crossover is a mashup of (most of) the good bits that drivers find appealing about cars.

Another influence behind their popularity is affordability. They are broadly comparable in price to a hatchback, meaning some crossovers can be bought for as little as £10,000 when new, and many hover around the £20,000 mark.

With so much choice in showrooms, however, knowing which is the best crossover to meet a driver’s needs can take some detective work. So whether you want style, cabin space, a fun driving experience or the chance to personalise your car like a custom pair of Nike trainers, start with these ten best crossovers.

We've divided them into compact crossovers - with slightly more space than a Ford Fiesta - and large crossovers, which are a bit bigger than a Ford Focus hatchback.

Best compact crossovers

Citroen C3 Aircross

Best crossover car for economical motoring

Our pick Citroen Aircross Blue 100 HDi Feel
Acceleration (0-62mph) 12.8sec  Official fuel economy 70.6mpg  CO2 104g/km

Remember snowpocalypse and the Beast from the East? Jeremy Clarkson was due to fly off on holiday, the day the snow storms blanketed parts of Britain. The local farmer told him to forget it: “You’re not going anywhere.” So Clarkson duly buckled up in a Citroen C3 Aircross, fiddled about with the ‘grip control’ system and set off with bags packed with swimming trunks. Much to astonishment of all the ‘off-roading enthusiasts’ he encountered along the way, Clarkson made it through the snow and caught his flight to somewhere considerably warmer.
So it’s a tough little cookie, the C3 Aircross. It’s also funky to look at and the diesel versions are capable of up to 70 miles to the gallon.

 

Volkswagen T-Roc

Best crossover car for a big-car feel

Our pick Volkswagen T-Roc SE 1.5 TSI 150PS
Acceleration (0-62mph) 8.4sec  Official fuel economy 53.3mpg  CO2 121g/km

Here’s a compact crossover that pulls off a clever trick, by feeling larger and more grown up than other models in its class. Volkswagen has not only given the T-Roc a look that stands out of the crowd, but they have also managed to inject some maturity into the relatively new model.

It means that drivers looking for a great all-round performer should put the T-Roc at the top of their test drive list. That’s especially true with the larger, 1.5-litre petrol engine, which is new to the VW Group and is impressive in all areas.

You could quite happily pile in a family of four, plus luggage, and head for the unspoilt beaches of Anglesey or bright lights of Blackpool without emerging tetchy at the end of the journey.

 

Kia Stonic

Best crossover car for a long warranty

Our pick Kia Stonic 2 1.0 T-GDi
Acceleration (0-62mph) 10.5sec  Official fuel economy 56.5mpg  CO2 115g/km

The Stonic might be the smallest crossover or SUV in Kia’s range but it still comes with that magic ingredient that attracts so many drivers to Kia showrooms: a seven-year warranty. That’s great news for private buyers who might want to keep their car for longer than the average three years, but what of the rest of the Stonic package?

It feels well made and the touchscreen system to control features including the audio, smartphone integration and navigation is one of the better units. In the front, there’s a comfortable driving position and plenty of space, but in the back, like many of these cars, it’s best suited to two passengers.

The pick of the engine range is the turbocharged 1-litre petrol engine, which has plenty of get-up-and-go, and the rest of the driving experience is competent but never what you’d call fun.

Mazda CX-3

Best crossover car for enjoying the drive

Our pick Sport Nav 2.0 Skyactiv-G
Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.0sec  Official fuel economy 47.9mpg  CO2 137g/km

The CX-3 is a good-looking thing, but if you like the way the Mazda looks, wait until you drive it: this is one of the few crossovers that feels faintly fun to steer along a nice stretch of winding road.

That’s partly because the car it is based on, the smaller Mazda 2 – a supermini that competes with the Ford Fiesta – is such a good starting point, and partly because Mazda’s engineers pride themselves in trying to connect man and machine.

There’s quite a lot more interior space and luggage capacity in the boot than a Mazda 2, and the car is more quiet and comfortable, thanks in part to the more generous suspension travel. Drivers can also pay more for all-wheel drive, which may be useful for a small band of motorists who face steep hills or rough tracks in the winter.

 

Seat Arona

Best crossover car for value for money

Our pick Seat Arona SE Technology 1.0 TSI 95PS
Acceleration (0-62mph) 11.4sec  Official fuel economy 57.6mpg  CO2 111g/km

Many drivers choose a compact crossover as their second car, and because of this they’re expecting serious deals on news wheels. That’s where Seat plays its trump card. The Spanish car maker’s Arona is impressively priced, with a range starting from less than £17,000.

You don’t get four-wheel drive, or even a ‘grip control system’ like that of the Citroen C3 Aircross. But you do get a practical little car that is well made, comfortable to live with, smooth to drive and – perhaps most important of all - affordable to run. So keep things simple, stick with the entry-level, 1-litre TSI 93bhp petrol engine, forgive it the slightly grumbly engine note and just enjoy the value-for-money package.

 

Best large crossovers

Peugeot 3008

Best crossover car for a smooth ride

Our pick Peugeot 3008 Allure 1.2 PureTech 130
Acceleration (0-62mph) 10.8sec  Fuel economy 55.4mpg  CO2 117g/km

The last Peugeot 3008 looked as curious as a porpoise and, dare we say it, that probably deterred plenty of buyers. The new, second-generation model is much more like it, with a style that is not just all of its own but also easy to warm to.

Inside, a modern environment envelops the driver, with a starship fighter feeling that you’ll either like or dislike. We happen to like it, and are glad that Peugeot has kept some buttons for just about enough convenience features so that you don’t spend all your time with your eyes on the touchscreen trying to navigate menu upon menu.

The surprise is how well made the 3008 feels. It’s a cut above most of its competitors. And it still delivers in terms of comfort for four or five people, plus a large boot that will hold pushchairs, scooters, shopping and plenty more.

Compared to the sporty Mini, Peugeot has set out to achieve a smooth drive, and succeeded. The suspension is remarkably supple and the roadholding is stable and secure. And the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol is something of a wee gem.

 

Skoda Karoq

Best crossover car for all-round sensible performance

Our pick Skoda Karoq SE Technology 1.5 TSI 150PS
Acceleration (0-62mph) 8.4sec  Fuel economy 52.3mpg  CO2 123g/km

For proof that Skoda has grown up, look no further than its crossovers and SUVs. The family cars do away with quirky names like Yeti and Roomster and also shake off the oddball styling. Now they are more like Russian dolls, with creases in the same places and similar looking interiors.

But that’s no bad thing. Because they’re fundamentally good cars. The Karoq shares many of its bits and pieces with the Volkswagen Tiguan, including the excellent 1.5-litre petrol engine, which has more pulling power low in the rev range than a diesel, yet sounds much nicer in day-to-day driving.

The interior is surprisingly spacious, there are Skoda’s trademark clever touches – we like the USB charging points, for front and rear passengers, and the waste bin that can be attached to any of the door pockets – and refinement at main road speeds is impressive.

 

Mini Countryman

Best crossover car for a cheeky drive with a cool vibe

Our pick Mini Countryman Cooper
Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.7sec  Fuel economy 47.9mpg  CO2 134g/km

Once upon a time, Minis were perfect for nipping through traffic and slotting first time into a parking space. Yet here’s a Mini that towers over traffic and does the parking for you. This second-generation Countryman has grown over its immediate predecessor too. Not just a little bit; it’s positively ballooned.

However, that’s no bad thing. Because there’s a lot more space for a growing family and a plusher feel - combined with the same signature cheeky-drive and cool vibe.

No other crossover comes close to matching the agile feeling that the Countryman gives the driver. (By the way, four-wheel drive is available as an option.) And nothing else can be personalised to quite the extent that a Mini can. If you’re after a car that you can make your own, look no further than the big Mini.

 

Nissan Qashqai

Best crossover car for comfort and quietness

Our pick Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta 1.6 dCi 130PS
Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.9sec  Official fuel economy 64.2mpg  CO2 116g/km

About 15 years ago, Nissan peered into its crystal ball and tried to predict the future. We don’t know whether the Japanese company’s designers and engineers have healing hands, can read Tarot cards or are wise to the ways of tea leaves in the bottom of a china cup, but somehow they successfully saw that drivers would grow tired of hatchbacks, saloons and estates and crave something different.

In response, Nissan created the Qashqai, and the rest is history. It’s the fourth best-selling car in Britain, the comfort blanket of the family car market, and offers plenty of space and a hushed interior, which makes it pleasing to live with.

Choose the engine carefully, though. The lower powered 1.5 dCi engine feels underpowered in this car, especially when loaded up with people. And if you need four-wheel drive, check the Qashqai’s price against rival models, as it is quite pricey.

 

Hyundai Tucson

Best crossover car for a big-car feel

Our pick SE Nav 2.0 CRDi
Acceleration (0-62mph) 10.6sec  Official fuel economy 58.9mpg  CO2 127g/km

This is the crossover-slash-SUV that replaced the iX35, one of Hyundai’s most successful cars of recent times. It has taken a noticeable step upmarket, with a more substantial, classier look – from the outside, at least - than its main competitor, the Nissan Qashqai.

Inside the Tucson it’s much the same story. This is a smart, if not particularly original cabin (there’s none of the cool design vibe of a Mini Countryman) that offers plenty of space and all manner of practical touches that a family would expect.

The petrol engines aren’t all that much to write home about, so our advice would be to pick either the 1.7-litre or lesser powered of the two 2-litre diesel models – the latter in particular for making good headway when fully laden with people and luggage. It is easy-going to drive but never what you’d describe as fun.

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