Our partners - and car review experts - at CompleteCar.ie
have come up with the best five compact crossovers €30,000 can buy. Nowadays this segment of the market has become one of the most hotly contested with virtually every car brand offering at least one model, even those who only offered up to a saloon
model in the past. Many are based on small hatchbacks
but there are some more dedicated models. Diesel engines
still prove to be the more popular choice but we also list some surprisingly good petrol alternatives.
1 - Mazda CX-3 - The Stylish New Contender
- Plus: sharp looks, great interior and good engines
- Minus: more expensive than others, ride is a bit firm
- Pricing: from €20,695 to €31,595
- Popular engines: 2.0 petrol and 1.5 diesel
- Power output: 105- to 120hp
- Fuel consumption: 4.0- to 5.9 litres/100km
- Road tax: Band A3 to B2 (€190 to €280)
- Safety: the current model has yet to been tested by Euro NCAP.
Mazda might be a little late to the compact crossover party but the CX-3 has been worth the wait. On exterior design alone it is a hugely impressive car. It’s the same story inside, with a look and feel that is right up with the very best in class, but space is at a premium, especially in the rear where the sloped roofline further restricts room for passengers. A 350-litre boot does go some way towards compensating for this though. Like many of Mazda’s other cars the CX-3 handles very well on the road with sharp steering that will keep keener drivers happy. The 1.5-litre diesel engine is the one to go for as it provides impressive fuel economy and has lower emissions than the petrol alternative.
2 - Renault Captur - Funky French Flair
- Plus: looks cool, has a spacious cabin
- Minus: interior quality not the best
- Pricing: from €19,590 to €25,490
- Popular engines: 0.9 petrol and 1.5 diesel
- Power output: 90hp
- Fuel consumption: 3.6- to 5.0 litres/100km
- Road tax: Band A2 to B1 (€180 to €270)
- Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 81% for safety assistance systems
Since its launch the Captur has been a big success for Renault and it's easy to see why. The cool styling blends in the ability to customise it with contrasting roof colours while the chunky bumpers and side skirts give it a more rugged appearance, even for the hardcore compact crossover fan. Its height is just a bit taller than a regular hatchback's so getting in and out is very easy. The cabin feels spacious too although some of the plastics used are of the hard and scratchy variety; on the plus side it will probably be fairly hard-wearing. In addition to the cabin’s space is a generous 455-litre boot, which can be expanded to 1,235 litres by folding down the rear seats. Despite the somewhat rugged looks and raised height the Captur is very much an on-road vehicle; Renault only offers front-wheel drive, but driving it on the black stuff demonstrates why it has become so popular. It handles very much like the Clio and is surprisingly competent with its 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which makes for a great alternative to the usual diesel, especially if you only do short journeys.
3 - Dacia Duster - The Budget Choice
- Plus: simple no frills design, affordable price
- Minus: isn’t as refined as others
- Pricing: from €16,190 to €20,890
- Popular engines: 1.5 diesel
- Power output: 110hp
- Fuel consumption: 5.0 litres/100km
- Road tax: Band A4 to B1 (€200 to €270)
- Safety: three stars from Euro NCAP, including 78% child occupant protection
It might be bigger than some of the other compact crossovers here but the Dacia Duster deserves to be included for its affordability. The Romanian brand is under the ownership of Renault, which provides the well-proven 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine. If you’re after cutting edge design and luxurious interior trappings look elsewhere, as the Duster is all about functionality. Even on the better-equipped ‘Signature’ trim grade, there are plenty of hard plastics. You can choose to add alloy wheels and some chrome detailing but we reckon the lower ‘Alternative’ trim is well-enough equipped to suit most buyers of a compact crossover. There’s room for five inside, as well as Isofix points for baby seats and a 475-litre boot. As the Dacia is reasonably light the 110hp diesel engine pulls it along at a healthy pace while the suspension is more than capable of smoothing out the worst of roads.
4 - Peugeot 2008 - Subtly Brilliant!
- Plus: good value for money, generous interior space
- Minus: can feel unrefined on the motorway
- Pricing: from €19,290 to €25,420
- Popular engines: 1.2 petrol, 1.4 and 1.6 diesel
- Power output: 70 to 115hp
- Fuel consumption: 3.8- to 4.9 litres/100km
- Road tax: Band A2 to A4 (€180 to €200)
- Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 88% adult occupant protection
When it comes to compact crossovers the Peugeot 2008 ticks all the right boxes and even though it is based on the smaller 208 hatchback, it feels much more grown up. It is taller and longer than the 208 but is still small enough to easily manoeuvre around town and tight car parks. The exterior carries a lot of similarities to other Peugeot models, which is no bad thing as its current line-up is very good looking. Despite is relative compactness the 2008 packs a 360-litre boot and the interior feels quite spacious, even in the back. It is a good car to drive and feels nimble in town environs but at higher speeds on the motorway is less at home. All 2008 models are front-wheel drive but it can be equipped with Peugeot’s Grip Control, an advanced traction control system that provides an alternative to all-wheel drive for a lot less cost. Peugeot also offers some generous amounts of equipment on its mid and upper trim grades.
5 - Skoda Yeti - Certainly Not Endangered!
- Plus: on- and off-road performance, solid build quality
- Minus: quirky looks are gone
- Pricing: from €23,955 to €35,150
- Popular engines: 1.2 petrol and 2.0 diesel
- Power output: 110- to 150hp
- Fuel consumption: 4.5- to 5.5 litres/100km
- Road tax: Band A4 to C (€200 to €390)
- Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 92% adult occupant protection
Skoda has gone from motoring joke material to one of the best car makers on the market today and one of the best models in its range is the Yeti. This boxy, high-riding car might not look much like some of the other compact crossovers on sale but it is one seriously accomplished car. There’s loads of space inside and it can very comfortably seat five in addition to providing a great driving position. On road it drives really well and if you go for the 4x4 model it can go farther from the beaten track than you might expect. The steering is very precise and the suspension, although on the firm side, absorbs most lumps and bumps very well. Through the corners it remains composed too despite its taller body. It might not be the most conventional looking crossover in the segment but it is very easy to fall in love with once you're behind the wheel!
Do you own any of these? If so, please let us know how you find them, pro's & con's and what the very best feature of them are! Also, if you're more in the market for a brand new family saloon, then check out our reviews of the best family saloons for €25,000
or a family hatchback for under €25,000.