Easy-to-drive compact crossovers for newbie drivers

Easy-to-drive compact crossovers for newbie drivers
PHOTO: sgCarMart

Now that you've finally earned your driving licence, you're probably considering what car to get. And if you're like most drivers, you'll be leaning towards a crossover or SUV. People really enjoy the taller driving position and flexibility that the body style provides.

But with so many makes and models out there, figuring out which ones to consider can be a bewildering experience. Fortunately, we've compiled this list of compact crossovers which we think are relatively less intimidating, and thus easier for newbie drivers to get behind the wheel of.

Hyundai Kona Hybrid

After a nip-and-tuck, the Kona Hybrid's design has become even more distinctive and futuristic, and it's sure to stand out in car parks. Styling aside, the Kona Hybrid's cockpit is user-friendly and easy to get the hang of – a newly minted driver will find it easy to adapt to.

This intuitiveness extends to its drivability. With easy-going manners, this crossover lends itself well to everyday commutes and running errands on weekends. Power comes from a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor, which produce 130bhp and 265Nm of torque.

More importantly, the Kona Hybrid averages up to 23.3km/L, so it'll help keep running costs low, too.

Kia Stonic Mild Hybrid

Drivers seeking a crossover that's similar in size to a supermini should consider the Stonic Mild Hybrid, for its compact dimensions make it easy to drive in built-up areas.

The Stonic's interior may seem sombre, but just like the Kona, it is ergonomic and user-friendly. And with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, streaming your tunes and finding your way around is a piece of cake.

With regard to running costs, the Stonic's turbocharged one-litre three-cylinder engine means your annual road tax bill is low. Plus, with a 48-volt mild hybrid system, fuel consumption is minimised, too.

Lexus UX

Lexus may have arrived late to the luxury compact crossover scene, but their contender is luxurious, well-made and most importantly, handles like a hatchback.

The UX's interior is more than a match for rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1. Ride quality is quiet and pliant, thanks in part to the relatively low ride height.

The variant currently on sale is the UX250h petrol-electric hybrid, which combines a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre in-line four and electric motor to deliver 181bhp, a zero to 100km/h time of 8.5 seconds, and an impressive fuel consumption of 22.2km/L.

Mazda CX-30

The CX-30 is aimed at buyers who want something that's both stylish and fun to drive.

The crossover debuted Mazda's current design language, and inside, you'll find a swanky and plush interior, along with an infotainment system that's now neater and easier to use.

Powering the CX-30 is a two-litre power plant with 162bhp and 213Nm of torque. Although the century sprint time of 9.7 seconds isn't too exciting, the CX-30 does handle well, so keen drivers will enjoy punting it around corners.

Nissan Kicks e-Power

Drivers who want an electric crossover but know that charging it might be an issue should check out the Kicks e-Power.

The Kicks is a hybrid, but instead of the conventional set-up where the petrol engine and electric motor drive the car, the Kicks is solely driven by the electric motor, while the engine only acts as a generator to charge the battery.

Being electrically driven means the car's 127bhp and 260Nm of torque are instantly available, so the Kicks can zip away quickly from traffic lights. At the same time, the car's century sprint time of 9.7 seconds won't overwhelm newbie drivers.

Opel Mokka

If you want a compact crossover with pizzazz, look no further than the Mokka. Opel's Vizor design language is well-executed here, giving the model a modern, snazzy vibe.

Inside, drivers are treated to the Pure Panel – a single display housing the digital 12-inch instrument cluster and 10-inch infotainment system. Physical controls have been minimised, too. The climate controls, for instance, are virtual, while the gearshift lever has been replaced by a tab.

Beneath the Mokka's bonnet is a turbocharged 1.2-litre three-pot that pumps out 129bhp and 230Nm of torque. Paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it propels the crossover from a standstill to 100km/h in 9.2 seconds.

ALSO READ: New car buying guide for first-time buyers

This article was first published in sgCarMart.

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