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How to buy a great compact crossover for €12k - and 4 models you need to see first

It seems like every new car these days is a compact crossover. Here are the ones to look at.
Nov 20th 2017, 5:33 PM 7,374 2

IT SEEMS THAT every other new car launched these days is a compact crossover or SUV.

The segment has grown at a phenomenal rate and with that comes greater choice. Many crossovers are based on hatchback platforms, often sharing many of the same components but with increases to ride height.

Increasingly, models sold in this segment are exclusively front-wheel drive, which improves fuel economy and lowers the taxation class. Here’s a look at some of the most popular compact crossovers that can now be picked up for less than €12,000.

1. Nissan Juke (2010 onwards)

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If you can get past the slightly wacky styling, the Nissan Juke fits the compact crossover criteria perfectly. The raised driving position suits a lot of people, and it drives well, especially if you can find one with the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Diesel models are understandably still a favourite with buyers in Ireland, and while they do return decent fuel economy, the 1.5-litre unit does feel a bit more agricultural. The funky design continues with the centre console that includes a good infotainment unit. This system even includes a G-Force meter, although we’re not quite sure how relevant that is in a Juke.

2. Peugeot 2008 (2013 onwards)

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The Peugeot 2008 is an excellent all-round compact crossover, with styling that appeals to a broad audience. It bears many similarities to the 208 hatchbacks, including its engine range.

If you mainly stick to driving on shorter urban routes, the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine makes for a very good choice. Not only is it cheap to run but it has enough performance to hustle the 2008 along at a healthy pace. All models are front-wheel drive, but the optional Grip Control system adds a selectable system that can significantly help traction when on more challenging surfaces like mud or sand.

Peugeot is known for having more generous standard levels of equipment, so anything from mid-level ‘Allure’ spec upwards will have most things you need.

3. Renault Captur (2013 onwards)

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Since its introduction in 2013, the Renault Captur has proven to be a massive success for the French brand. Aside from the variety of colour choices and contrasting roof designs, the Captur’s spacious interior and taller size make it ideal for young families.

A generous boot and wide aperture rear doors add to the practical side. Smart features such as seat covers that can be unzipped and easily removed for washing are a bonus. Cabin plastics aren’t the best in class, but the Captur does have some good engines to choose from, namely the small-but-good 0.9-litre TDE 90 petrol engine.

Don’t worry, there’s also a 1.5-litre diesel engine for those that so desire, and overall the Renault drives well. The ride isn’t too hard, and it comfortably cruises on the motorway.

4. Skoda Yeti (2009-2017)

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The Skoda Yeti is the automotive equivalent of Marmite – people either love it or hate it. From the boxy design to the weird headlights (which were changed to more conventional looking units on the 2014 facelift), it is a car that does a lot of things.

On the road, it exhibits decent handling, and while the ride is a little on the firm side, it remains a comfortable car in which to travel. There’s bucket loads of room inside for passengers and luggage, too.

The majority of used cars on sale have the 1.6-litre diesel engine, but it was also sold with a more powerful 2.0-litre unit. Some models also had all-wheel drive, and ‘Outdoor’ models were better suited to tackling the more rugged off-road terrain.

More: How to buy a savage SUV on a €12k budget – and 4 models to check out>

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Dave Humphreys

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