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The main attraction is simple – these are cars which offer rugged SUV looks, practicality and raised driving positions, but are easy to drive and fairly cheap to run.

That's because under the skin, many crossovers are based on family hatchbacks, using the same engines, platforms and drivetrains.

As many of them are front-wheel drive, it's best to stick to the roads with a crossover. Some models are offered with all-wheel drive systems, but if you plan on venturing off-road, a proper 4x4 would be much better.

There's cheap crossovers, expensive ones, rugged ones and even sporty ones. Here are some of the best.

CarBuyer bestowed Citroen's funky C4 Cactus with its 2015 Car of the Year award, thanks to its looks, efficiency and practicality.

On the design front, the most notable elements are the unconventional "Airbump" panels protruding beyond the bodywork. The large, textured rubber parts, available in four different colours, are replaceable and act as a veneer against knocks and scratches.

The C4 Cactus is only available as a front-wheel drive car, something CarBuyer thinks is a good thing for most people looking at a crossover: it makes the vehicle cheaper, is lighter and also saves fuel.

Their pick of the range is the PureTech 110 Petrol, offering a 0-62mph time of 9.3 seconds alongside fuel economy of 65.7mpg. This one starts at £16,155, but the entry level Cactus 75 comes in at £12,990. Each model in the range costs just £20 a year to tax.

The Audi Q2 is bound to become one of the most popular premium crossovers given it's the cheapest route to Audi SUV ownership. Reviewers so far are impressed, despite the starting price of £20,230 making it an expensive choice. It's a price worth paying, says Auto Express. if you want a level of style, class and big-car features that can't be found in its rivals.

Sporting unique styling the company thinks is more youthful than that found on the likes of the Q3, the Q2 is a standout car in the Audi range. Its cabin is the high quality that comes with an Audi, while it also sports expensive options, including the Virtual Cockpit Display, and little tweaks such as colourful dashboard inserts.

It's a five-seat car and comes with a decent 405-litre boot which can expand to 1,050 litres with the rear seats folded down. Owners can choose from a range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as Quattro all-wheel drive. First deliveries take place in November.

Like the Q2, the CX-3 is a small crossover, though the £17,595 starting price means it's more of a rival to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur than Audi's small posh SUV.

That said, it's still a great looking car. Based on the small Mazda 2 hatchback, the CX-3's shape is sporty and purposeful. The car has thin side windows, a sloping roofline towards the rear and a rising shoulder line.

The eye-catching shape is matched to a nimble driving experience, says CarBuyer. Three engines are offered – an entry level 104bhp diesel and two faster, more powerful petrol engines. The diesel is my far the cheapest to run. Mazda claims it has 70mpg and a yearly road tax of just £20.

Inside, the car's interior is both stylish and minimalist. There are five seats and the driver has a raised SUV-like position – bootspace is just 350 litres.

The Ateca is Seat's first attempt at an SUV-styled vehicle but its Volkswagen Tiguan underpinnings already means it's a hit with reviewers, with What Car? saying "it should be at the very top of your small SUV shopping list".

There are three things which make the Ateca so appealing to crossover buyers, it adds: a spacious interior, excellent driving characteristics and good value for money.

Prices start from £17,990, - a lot less than the £22,510 asking price of the VW Tiguan. Indeed, "a very well equipped four-wheel-drive Ateca will cost the same as a mid-range two-wheel-drive Tiguan", says What Car?.

The amount of space on offer is the killer feature, continues the site. There's plenty of room up front and in the back for passengers, while the 510-litre boot space is noticeably bigger than on the likes of the Nissan Qashqai.

The Qashqai is arguably the car which started the crossover craze and sits on top of the sales charts, says Auto Express .

In particular, the magazine likes the "huge range of clever in car technology", as well as the economical petrol and diesel engines options and an interior quality that is "as good as it gets in what is now a crowded crossover segment".

Equipment on the inside is decent. The interior is well built and every car comes with a colour screen fitted to the centre console, as well as air conditioning and a range of driver assistance systems.

Prices start at £18,545 for the 1.2-litre petrol Visia, with the more frugal 1.5-litre diesel starting at £20,375 and delivering 74mpg.

Dacia sells the cheapest new car in Britain – the Sandero hatchback – for a starting price of £5,995. The firm's crossover SUV is also very cheap.

At £9,495, the Duster is the least expensive new SUV you can buy by some margin. Not only is it much cheaper than many of its rivals, its price tag is smaller than that of many superminis.

As CarBuyer says, the bargain bin cost does come with compromises and it's easy to spot where Dacia has shaved cash from the list price.

The entry level car that's priced at £9,495 is a very bare machine. There are no paint colour options – only white is available – and the car is dressed in a lot of black plastic, with steel wheels and not even a radio in the cabin.

Speccing up to higher trim levels unlocks niceties like a DAB radio, Bluetooth, paint colours and alloy wheels. You'll be paying more than the headline price but the car will still cost less than its rivals.

Bootspace is an impressive 475 litres and five people can be seated comfortably – nothing in this price range has quite the same space. If you're on a very tight budget but want a brand new SUV, this could be the car for you, says the site.

Kia's newest crossover rivals not only the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca, but the Toyota Prius too.

The hybrid crossover starts at from £21,295, a lot more than many conventionally powered crossovers – you could even have Audi's new Q2 for the money. However, running costs should be much lower.

It comprises a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 32kW electric motor and Kia claims it's capable of returning 74.3mpg. The 88g/km CO2 score means it is road tax free, too.

The Niro is Kia's first attempt at making a hybrid and Auto Express says it's a "solid effort", while remaining a family-friendly crossover.

The Kadjar is one of two crossover offerings in Renault's line-up and it's worth a look if you're considering a Nissan Qashqai – they share platforms and running gear.

Look past the exterior and you'll see the two cars are equals, but the Kadjar is slightly larger, costs a little less and boasts a different look and interior.

It's also cheaper to run than the Nissan and as an overall package, What Car? says it is "an outstanding option if you're after a spacious family SUV". Prices starts from £18,495.

Providing the underpinnings of the critically acclaimed Seat Ateca, the Volkswagen Tiguan has received its fair share of praise from reviewers, with CarBuyer saying it "matches the Nissan Qashqai's usefulness" with a more upmarket appeal.

The new model builds on the strengths of its predecessor by being more comfortable, with interior quality that is "easily on par with the Audi Q3", adds the site.

What Car? says the Tiguan's handling is closer to a hatchback than a family crossover, offering a sense of agility that surpasses the likes of the Kia Sportage and is "genuinely enjoyable to drive."

It also has a huge boot compared to most of its rivals, with its "large tailgate and opening" making it easy to load luggage, the website says.

With prices starting from around £22,920 for the entry-level S model, the Tiguan is a more expensive than the Audi Q2 and Seat Ateca. However, Autocar says, it is "more fuel efficient than expected" and averages around 50mpg.