Editor's Picks - The Best Pocket Crossovers

khim yap
23 May 2019

Editor’s Picks - The Best Pocket Crossovers

What do you buy when you want a car with the fuel-sipping consumption of a 1.0-litre hatchback, but you also want the sporty, rugged looks of an SUV? You get a Pocket Crossover, that’s what! 

Crossovers look like mini SUVs — they’ve got the raised ground clearance, roof rails and offer good road visibility — but because of their shared platform with their passenger car siblings, they provide better comfort and fuel economy than most SUVs.

Here are our favourite 1.0-litre pocket crossovers!

KIA Stonic SX Sunroof 1.0 T 

NETT Price: $91,999 

Peter Schreyer, the man behind KIA’s signature “Tiger Nose” styling, believes that a car brand needs to have a strong and distinctive face and he has done an excellent job in giving KIA cars a recognisable look that makes them instantly identifiable as a KIA.

The KIA Stonic bears all the unmistakable sleek styling cues of Peter Schreyer, and the car looks good… really good. We love how the Stonic’s sculpted lines with its flared wheel arches and decorative wheel guards give the car an expressive and aggressive look. The Stonic is the cheapest against the Suzuki S-Cross, and the SEAT Arona and we also feel it’s the best looking. 

The Stonic also comes with a multitude of colour customisation options with up to 29 different colour choices available for its roof panels (sans the sunroof) and these colours are also mirrored in its interior trim.

And the Stonic’s 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine delivers max power of 120ps and peak torque of 171Nm. Maximum torque is available from a very low 1,500rpm, and peaks at 4,000rpm. This low-end torque availability helps the car feel zippier than what you’d expect from a 1.0-litre car. Fuel consumption is rated at 18.5 km/L (combined).

The KIA Stonic’s engine is mated to an efficient 7-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission that transfers power smoothly to its front wheels, without loss of boost pressure. This pocket crossover clocks the 0-100km/h sprint in 10.6 seconds, and it handles well thanks to the car’s Torque Vectoring and corner braking control (part of its Vehicle Stability management system).

Cargo room on the Stonic is respectable at 352 litres, and this is expandable with the car’s two-step boot floor and foldable rear seats that fold flat in a 60:40 configuration. 

Suzuki S-Cross 1.0  

NETT Price: $99,900 

Suzuki is somewhat of a ‘veteran’ in the crossover game having released the first generation SX4 crossover more than a decade ago in 2007. The Suzuki S-Cross 1.0 is their latest offering in the pocket crossover segment, and while the car may not be entirely new, this release comes with refreshed styling, and a new vertical grille between its large LED headlamps.

The car’s interior is functional and practical, with large dials within the instrument cluster. All controls are within easy reach, straightforward and intuitive. 

The S-Cross’ 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine generates109bhp of power and 160Nm of torque and this is available from between 1,800 to 4,000rpm. This power plant is coupled to a 6-speed automatic that gets the car from zero to 100km/h in 12.4 seconds. Fuel consumption on the S-Cross is a respectable 17.5 km/l (combined). 

You get 430 litres of cargo room which is the best of the three cars in this shootout, and it even comes with a 12V DC charging slot. Rear seats can be folded down in a 60:40 split, although they do not fold fully flat. A useful feature is its versatile double-floored boot board that sits almost flush with the door opening, allowing for easy loading and unloading of the S-Cross. 

SEAT Arona FR with Keyless and Navi  

NETT Price: $105,900

The SEAT Arona was picked by an independent jury made up of 40 experts from all over the world to be the winner of the Red Dot Award for Best Product Design 2018 — and it’s not hard to see why. 

During the time we got to spend with the review car, our team just could not get enough of the SEAT Arona. It’s a pocket crossover that offers up the right combination of chic styling, easy driving and frugal fuel economy that will appeal to a broad range of car buyers — despite being the costliest against the KIA Stonic and the Suzuki S-Cross. 

Between the KIA Stonic, Suzuki S-Cross and the SEAT Arona, the SEAT clearly has the best interior. You get ‘Conti’ standards of quality in the interior, and you’ll find plenty of bits and bobs from Volkswagen in the car. The interior is purposeful and even feels a tad sporty in its styling with red stitching along the seams of the fabric seats as well as on the dash. 

The Arona benefits from Volkswagen’s engineering and the car drives well. Its 1.0 litre, three-cylinder power plant is the same as the one found in the Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSi and the Audi Q2 1.0 and puts out 115hp of power and a maximum of 200Nm of torque from between 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm. Of the three pocket crossovers, the SEAT Arona is the best performer in the century sprint from zero to 100km/h, clocking in at a flat 10 seconds. 

The 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission on the Arona is quick with its gear changes, and its optimised to offer an economical drive with close gear ratios in the lower gears that are designed to bring the car swiftly to cruising speed. Of course, there’s always the option to put the car into “Sport” mode when you want to spice things up a bit and make the engine come alive. In “Sport” mode, the car will hold on to the gears a little longer so that you can extract the most power out of the three-cylinder engine. 

Based on officially released fuel consumption figures, the Arona’s fuel consumption is the best among the three cars here, and it is rated at an excellent 20 km/L (combined). The Arona offers 400 litres of cargo carrying space and the rear seats fold down in a 40:60 split but unfortunately, they do not fold completely flat.

*All information accurate as at 22 May 2019

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