Best Small SUVs in New Zealand – Top Picks for 2024

small suv nz

Looking for a small SUV that’s easy to drive in the city but offers plenty of space and good gas mileage? The best small SUVs in New Zealand are perfect for you. They’re popular for their mix of being practical, easy to drive, and full of features. Kiwi buyers love them for these reasons.

This year, there are many great small SUVs to choose from. They are great for driving around town or going on an adventure. Models like the Ford Puma ST, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 stand out. They have efficient engines, flexible interiors, and the latest technology. These SUVs are changing the way people drive in New Zealand.

Are you looking for the best small SUV for city driving, packed with features and value? Get ready to find out the top choices for 2024!

Key Takeaways

  • Small SUVs offer a perfect blend of practicality, maneuverability, and fuel efficiency for urban driving in New Zealand.
  • The market is filled with exceptional choices like the Ford Puma ST, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4.
  • These compact crossovers provide ample interior space, versatile cargo capacity, and impressive tech features.
  • Fuel-efficient engines and affordable pricing make small SUVs an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.
  • From sporty performance to off-road capabilities, there’s a small SUV to cater to every driving need.


In recent years, small SUVs have become very popular in New Zealand. They are loved by both city people and families. These vehicles are small enough for city driving but have enough space for your stuff.

The Rise of Small SUVs in New Zealand

Designed for Kiwi city driving, small SUVs have won over many hearts. They are small, so you can easily park them. But, they are high off the ground and tough, so you feel safe driving them. This is why they are selling a lot in New Zealand.

Why Small SUVs are the Perfect Choice

Small SUVs are great because they are not only fuel-efficient but also roomy. They are affordable to own and are great for daily driving or trips. They fit a lot of stuff, whether it’s your groceries or your family’s bags for a road trip.

Small SUVs do very well in small city streets and parking lots. They are great for exploring the city. They are both convenient and capable.

small suv nz – Top Contenders

Today, in New Zealand, the race for the best small SUV continues. Three top contenders are in the spotlight, combining performance with efficiency. They are the perfect choice for city life.

Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma ST is perfect for those who love to drive. It comes with a small but powerful 1.0-liter turbo engine. Don’t let its size fool you—it can reach 118kW of power. Plus, it uses hybrid technology. This makes it a spirited drive while also saving on fuel. It can hit 100km/h in 7.3 seconds. And it can go 6.2 kilometers on just one liter of gas.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is rated as the top small SUV in New Zealand, getting an 8.9 out of 10. This high score is because it’s really reliable, keeps its value well, and is super safe. A new CR-V costs between $29,500 and $36,160. If you choose a used one, prices range from $21,996 to $33,500.

It comfortably seats five and is good on gas, getting up to 30 miles per gallon. With this mix of value, reliability, and space, it’s a great buy.

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is always a favorite and scores an 8.8 out of 10. It’s known for being reliable and safe. A new one costs between $28,475 and $38,380. The used ones come at a price of $22,440 to $34,993. It’s liked for its many features that cater to different budgets. Toyota even has a hybrid model. This is for those who want a fuel-efficient SUV that still offers performance and space.

Model Powertrain 0-100km/h Fuel Efficiency Starting Price (New)
Ford Puma ST 1.0L Turbo + Mild Hybrid 7.3s 6.2L/100km $38,990
Honda CR-V 1.5L Turbo 8.8s 7.4L/100km $29,500
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2.5L + Electric Motor 8.1s 4.8L/100km $35,990

Performance and Driving Dynamics

In the world of small suv nz engine choices, buyers have a lot to think about. They can pick from peppy turbo engines, like the Ford Puma ST, to more efficient hybrids, such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Some even go for the latest in tech with electric options. This variety lets buyers find the perfect mix of power and fuel economy ratings.

Engine Options and Fuel Efficiency

Many think compact suv driving dynamics are just about getting from point A to B. But the Ford Puma ST surprises with its sport-tuned suspension and sharp steering. It’s all about fun and control, even when taking sharp turns. Then there’s the Honda CR-V, focusing on a smooth ride over bumps, making it great for daily driving in the city.

Handling and Ride Comfort

What makes small SUVs shine is how well they handle city streets. Their small size and short turning circles make them a joy in urban areas. They’re great for weaving in and out of traffic and finding parking spots others can’t.

compact suv driving dynamics

Model Engine Fuel Economy (City/Highway) Suspension
Ford Puma ST 1.0L Turbocharged 6.2L/100km (combined) Sport-tuned
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2.5L Hybrid 5.7L/100km (combined) Standard
Honda CR-V Hybrid 2.0L Hybrid 6.3L/100km (combined) Comfort-oriented

Interior Space and Versatility

In New Zealand, small SUVs shine at using space wisely. They have surprisingly big interiors for their small size. These vehicles are great for city families and those who love to travel because they fit plenty of people and stuff.

Passenger Accommodations

Vehicles like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 focus on making passengers comfortable. They have a lot of room for legs and heads, even for five adults. Features like warm seats, cool seats, and great sound systems make every ride fun, no matter how long it is.

Cargo Capacity and Clever Storage Solutions

Small SUVs excel at carrying stuff. For example, the Ford Puma ST has cool storage like the Megabox that’s great for keeping drinks cold at the beach. You can also make more room by folding down the back seats. This turns the SUV into a perfect transporter for camping gear, sports stuff, or bags for a trip.

Model Boot Space (2nd row up) Number of Seats Maximum Braked Towing Capacity
Venue 355L 5 800kg
Kona 361L 5 1,300kg
Tucson 620L 5 1,650kg
Santa Fe 571L 7 2,500kg
Palisade 701L 7 or 8 2,200kg

Some small SUVs let you adjust the floor level in the back. This feature makes it simple to load and unload heavy or large items. These SUVs are very practical and still aren’t too big to drive around comfortably.

Features like Hyundai SmartSense™, Power tailgate, Satellite navigation, and Smart Park Assist are available on select variants only, further enhancing the convenience and driving experience of these small SUVs.

Safety and Technology Features

Safety is key for drivers considering a small SUV in New Zealand. These vehicles come packed with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). They include tools like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring. These tools are like an extra pair of eyes on the road. They work to avoid accidents or lessen their impact.

Some small SUVs also offer driver monitoring systems. These can spot when the driver is tired or not focused. Such technologies, paired with high small suv safety ratings, show how much car makers care about safety.

small suv safety ratings

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Today’s small SUVs are full of advanced safety tech. They use special sensors and smart programs to keep track of potential dangers. This helps keep the driver alert and ready to act.

  • Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist
  • Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go functionality

Infotainment and Connectivity

Modern small SUVs in New Zealand keep up with the tech world. They sport big touchscreen displays and support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Some also have navigation systems for live traffic info and directions.

Plus, you’ll find in-car Wi-Fi hotspots in some models. This turns the SUV into a moving hotspot for everyone inside. With these technologies, drivers and passengers can enjoy a truly connected trip.

Off-Road Capabilities

Many compact SUV models in New Zealand are great for off-roading. They have all-wheel drive (AWD) systems and rugged design elements. These help them handle different terrains well.

All-Wheel Drive and 4WD Options

Subaru’s Forester and Outback are famous for their off-road skills. They use advanced AWD to grip the ground on any surface. Being able to tweak specifics with off-road driving modes boosts your confidence in tricky spots.

Brands like Ford and Toyota also shine with strong 4WD systems. These systems send power to the best-placed wheels for maximum grip. This tech makes it easier to drive over rugged land.

But it’s not just about the tech. Rugged design elements matter a lot too. Things like high ground clearance and underbody protection. They help these small SUVs clear obstacles and handle rough trails easily.

Model Drivetrain Off-Road Features
Subaru Forester Symmetrical AWD 8.7 inches ground clearance, X-Mode off-road driving mode
Ford Bronco Sport 4WD with Terrain Management System 8.8 inches ground clearance, underbody protection
Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD 8.6 inches ground clearance, Multi-Terrain Select

If an outdoor trip is on your list, these compact SUV vehicles are ready. Their AWD systems and rugged design elements make them perfect for exploring nature. They offer a great mix of power and adaptability.

Hybrid and Electric Small SUVs

Automakers are making small suv hybrid models to meet rising concerns about emissions. These cars offer reduced emissions but keep their performance and practicality. By combining gasoline engines with electric motors, they provide good fuel economy. This leads to eco-friendly driving.

Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Options

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a top choice. It has a hybrid system that offers 131kW at 5700rpm and 221Nm of torque between 3600-5200rpm. The GWM HAVAL H6 hybrid has 179kW of power combined with great fuel economy at 5.2L/100km. This shows high efficiency without losing performance.

There are also the Honda CR-V Hybrid and the Ford Escape PHEV. The Ford can go up to 56km on electric power, cutting emissions to zero emissions on those trips.

Exploring Fully Electric Small SUVs

Fully electric small SUVs are gaining popularity. Brands like Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen are making models such as the Kona Electric, Niro EV, and ID.4. These cars have a high electric small suv range, provide instant torque, and have zero emissions.

But, their wide use in New Zealand depends on better charging infrastructure and more affordable cars with longer ranges. As technology and infrastructure get better, these cars will be a good choice for Kiwi drivers wanting a green and efficient way to travel.

Ownership Costs and Value Retention

When looking at a small SUV in New Zealand, remember to include small suv maintenance costs and long-term ownership expenses. Some models cost more upfront, but save you money with their fuel efficiency. This means you save money over time.

Brands like Honda, Toyota, and Subaru keep their resale value high. This helps owners get back a lot of their money when they sell or trade their car.

Maintaining a vehicle is key to being a good owner. It’s smart to look at the costs.

Don’t forget about maintenance costs, which can vary a lot. Some cars need more or pricier services. Before buying, think about these things to match your budget and long-term ownership goals.

  • Check how reliable the brand is and how much parts cost.
  • Look up the average cost to maintain the model you want.
  • Think about potential repair costs as the car ages.

Think about the cost when you buy, how well it runs, its resale value, and maintenance costs. Doing this helps you choose wisely for a good, affordable long-term ownership experience.


New Zealand’s cities are changing fast. People want cars that are both flexible and good on gas. This need has led many to see the value in small SUVs for daily use. They are small enough for city life and use fuel wisely, perfect for those who care about the environment. Also, these vehicles offer enough room for both families and those who like to explore.

The best small SUVs in New Zealand are many. You have choices like the sporty Ford Puma ST, the dependable Honda CR-V, and the Toyota RAV4, known for its value. No matter what you’re looking for – great to drive, good for rough roads, or earth-friendly – there’s a small SUV for you. This shows how New Zealand‘s car market is evolving, with these SUVs becoming a key choice for many.

In exploring New Zealand’s small SUV scene, I found lots to like. The Dacia Duster is tough, while the Volvo XC40 Recharge is all about style. The Nissan Juke and the Mazda CX-30 stand out with special looks and top-notch interiors. With these are best small suvs you can buy right now, choosing depends on what you want most in a vehicle.


What are the benefits of owning a small SUV in New Zealand?

Small SUVs are great for city driving. They pack enough space for comfort and are easy to park. You’ll also save on gas with their fuel efficiency.

Which small SUV models are popular in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, people love the Ford Puma ST, Honda CR-V, and more. The Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and Mazda CX-5 are crowd favorites too.

How do small SUVs balance performance and fuel efficiency?

Small SUVs have various engine types to pick from. You can get turbocharged models for a fun ride. Or, choose hybrids like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for better gas mileage without sacrificing power.

Are small SUVs spacious enough for families?

Definitely. They can fit up to five and have plenty of room for everyone’s stuff. You can even adjust the space with folding seats and smart storage choices.

What safety features are available in small SUVs?

Modern small SUVs are filled with safety tech. Think forward collision alerts, automatic braking, and systems to warn you about your lane or blind spots.

Can small SUVs handle off-road adventures?

Some can, such as the Subaru Forester. They have special systems for better grip off the pavement. Adventuring with small SUVs is more fun than you might expect.

Are there hybrid and electric options available in the small SUV segment?

Yes, small SUVs are going green. You’ll find hybrids from Toyota and Honda for less carbon impact. For those who prefer electric, cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV are also there.

What factors should be considered regarding ownership costs and value retention?

Buying a small SUV means looking into its long-term expenses. Choose well-known brands like Honda and Toyota for a good deal when you want to sell. These brands are trusted to hold their value.
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