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Best small SUVs of 2022

The all-electric Kia Niro EV is The Car Expert's Best Small SUV for 2022, while the Ford Puma shines as the pick of the petrol models

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The small SUV/crossover segment is one of the fastest-growing areas of the new car market, and is taking sales from both small and medium cars.

Like the small car segment, SUVs and crossovers are growing ever-larger, which is great for rear passengers but not so good for trying to park in congested urban centres. An ever-increasing number of the are electric or plug-in hybrid models as well, although petrol power still dominates. Diesel models, as in most segments, are almost non-existent now.

Our awards recognise both the best new models to have been launched over the last 12 months, but also the best overall cars in each category – because newest doesn’t always mean best.

Best new small SUV + Class champion, electric: Kia Niro EV (76%)

The new Kia Niro EV has proven to be a brilliant evolution of its highly regarded predecessor, the e-Niro, which has earned it this year’s award for Best New Small SUV. With an Expert Rating of 77%, the Niro’s improved boot capacity, generous levels of equipment, and intuitive infotainment system are the real standout features for reviewers.

In addition, the competitive 285-mile driving range with a competitive 210hp of performance puts the Niro EV at the top of the small SUV segment. The price has jumped over the old e-Niro, but the quality of the Niro EV has improved by just as much.

Class champion, petrol/diesel: Ford Puma (76%)

Ford Puma (2020 onwards) – Expert Rating

One of the best-selling SUVs throughout 2022, the Ford Puma has proved to be a popular choice for British buyers this year, and has received plenty of praise from UK reviewers since it first arrived on UK roads in 2020. Commended for its outstanding driving experience and surprising practicality, this petrol mild-hybrid SUV currently holds an Expert Rating of 76%.

The Puma has also played a part in killing off the very car upon which it’s based, the Ford Fiesta, with Ford very much prioritising the small SUV over its long-standing supermini.

As part of its last batch of 2022 assessments, Euro NCAP reassessed the Ford Puma, downgrading it to a four-star safety rating from its previous five-star score.

The best new cars of 2022

Notes on eligibility

To be eligible for our Best New Model or Class Champion titles, there are a couple of requirements in addition to having a top Expert Rating score.

Firstly, the Best New Model must have been launched in the UK between 1 December 2021 and 1 December 2022. That means cars registered and on the road, not just available to order for deliveries starting sometime in 2023.

Secondly, a car must have a current Euro NCAP safety rating of either four or five stars. If a car scores three stars or less, we can’t in good conscience give it an award for being best in class. If a new model has not been tested by Euro NCAP by 1 December 2022, it will not be eligible but we will consider it next year if it has been tested.

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