When you ask a bunch of prospective new-car buyers what they want, the phrase ‘High Driving Position’ is bound to come up. 

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean a big, clunky SUV. 

While there’s nothing wrong with a full-sized SUV, they’re definitely too big for many drivers - why do you need a 4x4 Land Rover Discovery for the school run?! 

With the recent crossover/SUV boom, car manufacturers have begun making smaller, ‘compact’ SUVS. This means you can have a high driving position without having a big car! 

We’re going to briefly run you through why you might want a car with a high driving position, before telling you our top 10 favourites. 

If you're not after a compact SUV and want something a bit bigger, check out our article on “Best Cars with High Driving Positions”.

Why would you want a High Driving Position? 

So what’s all the fuss about? What makes a high driving position such a desirable quality? 

Here’s a few perks of driving a car that has a high driving position: 

Visibility: Being higher up means you can see further and get a better view of the road. This is useful in traffic, as you’re aware of exactly what’s going on around you. More visibility means you’re more likely to notice a hazard that could lead to an accident. 

Better off road performance: There’s a reason that the best off-roaders are high-up SUVs. Due to the raised ground clearance between the wheels and the body, the car can traverse off-road terrain without you getting thrown around the cabin.

Easy to get in and out of: Cars that are low to the ground can be quite tough to get out of, particularly for older people. In contrast, SUVs with their high seating positions are a breeze to slide out of. While this is a nice perk for all drivers, it can be vital for people who have mobility issues. 

Safer: There’s a truck heading straight for your car. Would you rather be in a Ford Fiesta hatchback that drives close to the ground or a Range Rover with a high driving position? Yep we’d take the Discovery too. The taller and bigger the car, the more armour you have around you in the event of a crash! 

The Mazda CX-3 is the Japanese manufacturer’s smallest SUV offering. Not as big as the family hatchback, the Mazda 3, the CX-3 is actually the company's smallest car (the Mazda 2) on steroids. 

The CX-3 is the perfect small car for Mazda lovers who want a high driving position but still want a small, agile car that’s easily driven around the city. 

A great looking SUV that’s packed with big-car tech at a reasonable price point, you can’t really go wrong with a Mazda CX-3

Standout Features:

  • Heads up Display. 
  • Bose sound system. 

Pros: 

  • Great looking small SUV.
  • Fun driving experience. Feels light and handles corners like a champ.

Cons: 

  • The interior quality is lacking.
  • Tech on base trims is disappointing. 
30 viewed this car Cx-3 Hatchback View Gallery
6.9

Mazda Cx-3 Hatchback

20 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 105 - 160g/km

From £198.28 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,189.68 inc VAT
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Renault was fast to jump on the small SUV/Crossover trend, and it’s really paid off for them.

As of 2019, the Captur is one of Renault’s best selling cars in the UK - and for good reason. 

It’s a nice looking car, with sleek angles and adventurous colour options that’ll appeal to most people. It’s also got some decent tech on the inside and drives well too - all for a really affordable price! 

The Captur has excellent fuel economy, with a real world economy of 48.7 mpg. The Captur proves you don’t have to pay more at the petrol pumps just to have a high seating position! 

Standout Features: 

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. 
  • Hands free parking.

Pros: 

  • Highly customisable. 
  • Fuel economy is excellent. 

Cons: 

  • Not as practical as some rivals. 
  • Could be more fun to drive.

40 viewed this car Captur Hatchback View Gallery
7.8

Renault Captur Hatchback

41 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.5
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 95 - 128g/km

From £118.28 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,419.36 inc VAT
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he Mini Countryman has taken the classic Mini Hatchback shape we all know and love and somehow managed to turn it into a surprisingly good SUV!

The Countryman is an excellent option for those that love the sporty driving style and design of the Mini, but hate the lack of practicality it offers. 

Unfortunately, the Countryman isn’t as fun to drive the smaller Minis, but that’s to be expected. With so much more space on offer, you have to make compromises somewhere! All things considered, the Countryman is a great small SUV to drive. 

Standout Features: 

  • All wheel drive option available if you’re so inclined. 
  • Available as a Plug-in Hybrid. 

Pros: 

  • Distinctive looking car - undoubtedly a Mini!
  • Really practical. 

Cons: 

  • Lacking the fun factor you’d expect from the Mini brand. 
  • Expensive compared to similarly equipped rivals (e.g Mazda CX-3). 
61 viewed this car Countryman Hatchback View Gallery
7.4

Mini Countryman Hatchback

110 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D, X
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £248.77 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,238.93 inc VAT
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The Hyundai Kona has a far more exciting look than most Hyundais. The South Korean automakers usually opt for a conservative design aesthetic, that occasionally verges on boring.

The Kona bucks this trend with an angular and boldly styled small SUV body. While the Kona has come to market quite a bit later than other competitors, it’s still a worthy entry and manages to earn its place on our top 10 list. 

In particular, we’re big fans of the 1.0 litre engine with the  6-speed manual transmission. It’s pacey without being too thirsty, giving you a respectable real world fuel economy of 41.3 mpg.

Standout Features: 

  • Hyundai 5 year unlimited mileage warranty. 
  • Heads up display - also available as plug-in hybrid.

Pros: 

  • Really affordable.
  • Five star Euro NCAP rating. 

Cons: 

  • Cabin is cramped. 
  • Should be more engine options.

39 viewed this car Kona Hatchback View Gallery
7.2

Hyundai Kona Hatchback

19 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.6
  • Fuel: P, D, E, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £196.09 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,764.81 inc VAT
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The Qashqai has been an incredibly successful car for Nissan. In fact, the Nissan Qashqai is the most popular British-built car in the world! 

Offering a little bit more size than Nissan’s other popular small SUV (the Nissan Juke), the Qashqai is the perfect car for drivers who want the perks of an SUV without the overbearing size. 

As the car is made here in the UK (at Nissan's Sunderland plant), you’ll reduce the life-cycle emissions quite a bit, making it a great option for environmentally conscious drivers. 

Standout Features: 

  • Automatic lane keeping assist. 
  • Bose sound system.

Pros: 

  • Really comfortable to drive.
  • Plenty of space. 

Cons: 

  • Interior quality is lacking a bit.
  • Tech should be better. 
86 viewed this car Qashqai Hatchback View Gallery
8.0

Nissan Qashqai Hatchback

66 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 208g/km

From £144.44 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,733.28 inc VAT
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The Crossland X is an excellent small SUV for families who want something a little bit bigger than a small hatchback but don’t have the need for a full sized SUV. 

Bigger than the Mokka X, but smaller than the Vauxhall Grandland, the Crossland is an excellent compromise. It offers all the perks of a small car (good fuel economy, easy to drive, etc.)  with the desirable driving position of an SUV. 

Long story short, the Vauxhall Crossland has the practicality of an MPV, with the cool looks and stylings of a crossover. 

Standout Features: 

  • Wireless charging for your phone. 
  • Panoramic rear-view camera. 

Pros: 

  • Decent tech, even on entry-level trim. 
  • A lot of space in a small body, especially in rear seats.  

Cons: 

  • The suspension is often a bit uncomfortable. 
  • Competitors offer more for the money. 
36 viewed this car Crossland X Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Vauxhall Crossland X Hatchback

47 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.6
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £150.96 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,358.64 inc VAT
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The days of Peugeots being ‘boring but practical’ cars are in the past. The French automaker’s latest cars are really slick looking, with angular, sporty designs and a gorgeous interior. 

Jumping on the SUV trend, the Peugeot 3008 is a really upmarket car for a great price. It looks as good as any premium competitor, inside and out.  Not quite a full-size SUV, the 3008 is a great option for a medium size family.

We think the 3008's most impressive engine is the 1.6 diesel transmission. With low CO2 emissions and a great fuel economy, you can’t go wrong.

Standout Features: 

  • Panoramic glass roof.
  • 100% digital Peugeot I-Cockpit.

Pros: 

  • Lots of tech available.
  • Handles well for a small SUV.

Cons: 

  • No all wheel drive.
  • Manual gearbox isn't as good as competitors. 
60 viewed this car 3008 Estate View Gallery
7.8

Peugeot 3008 Estate

27 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D, Y, X
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 36 - 182g/km

From £215.78 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,942.06 inc VAT
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The XCeed is the excellent Kia Ceed hatchback on steroids, which isn’t a bad thing! This car definitely falls into the compact SUV category and isn’t a bulky affair at all.

Compared to the Ceed, the XCeed has a higher driving position while still being equipped with the super economical engines that Kia is renowned for.

With Kia's manufacturer-leading 7 year warranty, the XCeed is a reliable SUV that’s great if you’re in need of a practical family car, or if you just want to sit up a little bit higher!

Standout Features 

Pros: 

  • Entry-level trims are generous. 
  • The infotainment system is fantastic.

Cons: 

  • Not as smooth a ride as competitors.
  • Boot space is disappointing. 
33 viewed this car Xceed Hatchback View Gallery
6.8

Kia Xceed Hatchback

8 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 109 - 142g/km

From £157.45 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,417.05 inc VAT
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The smallest car in Audi’s excellent ‘Q’ SUV line, the Q2 is unquestionably built for the city. 

The Q2 is ideal for those who want that high driving position, but don’t want to haul around a huge car in busy urban traffic. 

In a crowded market, the Q2 just about manages to stand out as distinctively ‘Audi’, with that trademark posh interior and expensive looking design.

Standout Features: 

  • Pedestrian detection.
  • Optional 12.3inch virtual cockpit. 

Pros:

  • Excellent interior quality. 
  • Engines are smooth.

Cons: 

  • Really expensive compared to rivals. 
  • Nothing special to drive. 
39 viewed this car Q2 Estate View Gallery
6.7

Audi Q2 Estate

57 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £191.33 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,295.96 inc VAT
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Replacing the bizarre looking yet incredibly good Yeti, the Karoq has big boots to fill.  A much better looking affair, the Karoq is an excellent small SUV all round.

Don’t just take our word for it: the Skoda Karoq won the What Car award for Best Family SUV of 2019! 

A midsize crossover/Small SUV, the Karoq is built on the same frame as the Seat Azteca. The Karoq offers excellent space and a high driving position in a small, intelligently designed body. 

The Skoda is a really upmarket car. Sitting in the interior makes it feel like a much more expensive car than it is, and it’s equipped with all the tech you might need! 

Standout Features:

  • Heated front seats. 
  • Panoramic sunroof. 

Pros:

  • Great value for money. 
  • Spacious. Plenty of room in the backseats, so perfect for a family. 

Cons: 

  • Some might find the design a bit boring. 
  • Quiet to drive, but boring. Big brother Skoda Kodiaq is better. 
37 viewed this car Kodiaq Estate View Gallery
7.7

Skoda Kodiaq Estate

37 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 126 - 170g/km

From £220.99 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,651.88 inc VAT
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Honourable mentions: 

Here’s some great small cars with high driving positions that just didn’t quite make the cut: 

Seat Ateca 

Suzuki Vitara 

Honda HR-V

Volkswagen T-Cross 

Summary: 

Just because you want a high driving position doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a big SUV that you don’t need!

There’s a huge number of small SUVs/Crossovers on the market that offer you a great driving position at a much cheaper price than a full-sized SUV.

If you do want a big car, check out our ‘Best Cars with High Driving Positions’ article for a list of our top 10 favourite big cars!