With their raised ride height, crossover looks and commanding driving position, SUVs have proved to be a winning combination with buyers the world over.
More new cars are registered in March and September than any other months of the year because these months are when UK number plates change. The 18-registration was introduced on 1 March 2018, and this was followed by the 68-reg (1 September 2018) and the 19-reg (1 March 2019).
A large proportion of the new 68-reg cars bought will be SUVs, so we've taken a look at 10 of the best for under £25,000.
The impressive Mazda CX-5 just squeaks in under the £25,000 budget. With head-turning looks and a classy, comfortable interior, the CX-5 was updated in 2017 and it's better than ever. Arguably the best handling SUV on the market for this money, it also gets top marks for refinement and practicality.
You'll have to stretch to nearer £30,000 if you want the 4x4 version, but front-wheel drive is just fine for the vast majority of buyers – like most SUVs in the UK. The CX-5 has won a few trophies in its time too and was even recently crowned overall winner of the What Car? Best Car for Dogs Award!
Kia's top-selling model in Europe is also one of the most engaging SUVs to drive. Treated to a subtle makeover in 2018, it's now packed with the latest infotainment and safety systems, and a new hybrid version is available.
Competitively priced, spacious, practical, good looking and well equipped, the Kia Sportage is simply one of the best SUVs on the market. The cheapest 4x4 version even sneaks in under budget. Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the Sportage's trump card – that unbeatable seven-year warranty.
The all-new 3008 may share a number with the bland people carrier it replaced, but in one fell swoop Peugeot’s designers have created arguably the best-looking crossovers on the market.
Distinctive and athletic, there's a touch of magic inside the 3008 SUV. As standard, it boasts Peugeot’s i-Cockpit which features an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the centre console AND a 12.3-inch driver’s instrument panel.
It doesn't come with a 4x4 option, but Advanced Grip Control is available which improves traction in snow, mud and sand. Practical, safe and with a premium feel, it's a genuine game-changer.
Only launched in 2018, the all-new Karoq is a showcase for Skoda’s many virtues. Sharing its platform and many basics with its VW Group cousins, the Volkswagen Tiguan and Seat Ateca, Skoda’s designers and engineers have produced a compelling all-rounder, offering value for money, comfort, space and build quality.
There's an excellent range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, and no matter which you choose, the Karoq features superb sound proofing, so they all seem refined. A 4x4 version is also available, though it's just over our £25,000 budget.
Crowned Mid-size SUV at the Auto Express New Car Awards 2018, the Karoq is another winner from Skoda, which regularly tops dependability surveys.
Launched in 2018, the T-Roc is VW's newest SUV. In terms of size it sits somewhere between the two Nissans that arguably started the small crossover craze – the Juke and Qashqai.
Attractive and sporty with a heavy emphasis on personalisation thanks to a variety of bold, contrasting colour and trim combinations, it's one of the coolest cars in this segment. Spacious, well equipped and featuring the latest safety tech, it also handles really well.
Go for the punchy little 1.0-litre petrol turbo unless you travel long distances, in which case the 1.5-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel might work out better. The T-Roc can also be specified with four-wheel drive, but that will break the budget.
Closely related to its VW Group cousins, the Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Karoq, the Ateca isn’t just a bit of rugged eye candy – it’s a very capable crossover.
Just like other Seat cars, it’s sharp and stylish, plus there's a real sense of space inside. Well equipped with plenty of tech and safety features, it's versatile and entertaining to drive.
Blessed with a great set of efficient petrol and diesels engines, plus a 4x4 option, the Seat Ateca was named Best Family SUV for less than £20,000 at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018.
Practical, comfortable and well built, the Kuga is a solid, safe SUV choice. Launched in 2013 and facelifted three years later, it's competitively priced, though you will have to pay closer to £30,000 for a 4x4 version.
The Kuga is easy to drive and comfortable, plus there's an extensive range of frugal diesels and punchy petrol engines. If you ply the motorways and it's economy you're after then go for the 1.5TDCi 120PS diesel which is capable of 64mpg, while the 120PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol turbo is a good blend of performance and economy for most drivers.
The Nissan Qashqai is the car that created the crossover sector in 2006 with its blend of SUV looks, commanding driving position and practicality. Built in Britain, the second generation (2013 onwards) looks better than ever.
There's a good engine choice and, depending on the kind of miles you cover, it's likely to be between the 1.2 DIG-T turbo petrol or the frugal 1.5 dCi diesel. As with most SUVs in the UK, the vast majority of Qashqais are front-wheel drive, but a 4x4 version is also available for closer to £30,000.
The pioneering Nissan Qashqai was named 'Car of the Past 30 Years' at the 2018 Auto Express New Car Awards.
Sharp looking, easy to drive and well equipped, the Suzuki Vitara is a very competitively priced crossover. It's even available with four-wheel drive (Suzuki calls it AllGrip) for less than £20,000 if you want that extra peace of mind when the weather gets extreme.
There's a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.6-litre or 1.4-litre 'Boosterjet' turbo. We'd opt for the latter, which is lively and economical (it also powers the new Suzuki Swift Sport hot hatch).
The Vitara's infotainment system isn't cutting edge and it hasn't got the plushest of interiors, but it's a good value for money choice and Suzuki has a great reputation for dependability.
The remarkable Duster from Renault's budget brand, Dacia, makes it into our Top 10 because it's such incredible value for money. It may be more durable than lavish inside, but it’s blessed with rugged good looks and it's pleasant to drive. You'll have to stretch to £13,595 if you want the four-wheel drive version, but at that price it's still one of the cheapest 4x4s on the market.
Treated to a subtle makeover for 2018, it's currently available with either a 1.6-litre petrol or 1.5-litre diesel. The Duster’s many awards include the 2018 Carbuyer Best Car for Winter title.