Compare the best automatic SUVs
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Best automatic SUV cars of 2023
SUVs are generally big and comfortable, so it makes sense to pick one with a smooth automatic gearbox to take the strain out of everyday driving. Here is our list of some of the best automatic SUVs you can buy.
6. Audi Q4 e-tronAudi Q4 e-tron review
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The answer to this depends on your commute. For short trips around town the most economical automatic SUVs tend to be powered by plug-in hybrid engines, which allow you to travel for short distances on electric power alone. These include anything from the Ford Kuga to the Volvo XC40 T4 and BMW X3 xDrive 30e. Fuel economy figures range from 130mpg to almost 300mpg, although this drops sharply if you regularly call upon the petrol engine during your trip.
Electric SUVs can also deliver superb economy figures in terms of cost-per-mile, but they tend to cost far more upfront than their ICE counterparts, so realising a saving could take a long time. Some of the most economical electric SUVs include the Kia EV6 and Audi Q4 e-tron, with more affordable variants being the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric.
While diesel engines have fallen out of favour, small capacity diesels are still your best bet for the most impressive fuel economy in general use. Some of the most frugal diesel SUVs include the Peugeot 2008 BlueHDI 110 and the Volkwagen Tiguan 2.0TDI 150. Capable of between 57 to 52mpg in combined driving.
Another answer that will vary depending on your specific needs. If you are looking for the most opulent and luxurious SUV around then it must be the Rolls Royce Cullinan. Its 6.75-litre V12 gives it effortless performance and it can be specced with extras other manufacturers haven’t even heard of yet.
Slightly more attainable luxury SUVs include the BMW X5, Land Rover Defender and Mercedes GLS, all available with six- or eight-cylinder petrol engines packing plenty of punch. All have a claim to the ‘best petrol-powered SUV’ title at this price point.
Back down to earth we have some very capable petrol-powered SUVs for far more reasonable sums such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008. If comfort, space, value for money and a decent turn of speed are your definitions of the best petrol SUV, then these two are strong candidates for your cash.
There are a number of very desirable small automatic SUVs currently on sale. At the budget end of the market, the Volkswagen T-Cross and Mazda CX-30 have received some very positive reviews from both the motoring press and owners.
The Volvo XC40 is considered to be one of the most desirable premium small SUVs available, thanks to its cool design and smooth driving experience.
An automatic transmission generally works best when paired with a larger engine, especially in a heavier SUV body style. Dual-clutch transmissions tend to have super quick gearshifts but can feel a tad jerky at crawling speeds, traditional torque converter automatics have slightly slower shifts but are smoother at slow speeds. CVT gearboxes are very smooth, but the engine can sound like it is droning under hard acceleration.
It's best to drive the SUV you are interested in to see whether these various transmission traits suit your driving style or not.
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