Compare the best automatic SUVs

High-quality automatic SUVs from rated and reviewed dealers

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Rated 4.5/5 from 55,665 reviews
Last updated April 26, 2024 by Neil Briscoe

Best automatic SUV cars of 2024

It always used to be that an automatic gearbox was the comfort choice — the choice for something easy-going and laid back, but now things have changed a little. Manual gearboxes are becoming more rare, and automatics have now taken over. 

Better yet, fast-changing autos can actually be entertaining and sporty to drive, and many will have the option of changing gears yourself with racing-car-style paddles behind the wheel. Meanwhile, electric models — which only need one gear — are easy and relaxing to drive around town. 

An auto is now the default option, but there are still choices to be made, so Carwow’s expert reviews team has put together this list of the best automatic SUVs out there.

Volvo XC40

1. Volvo XC40

9/10
Volvo XC40 review
Battery range up to 26 miles
Skoda Kodiaq

2. Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda Kodiaq review

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Kia EV6

3. Kia EV6

9/10
Kia EV6 review
Battery range up to 328 miles
Audi Q4 e-tron
2024
Outstanding EV Award
Highly Commended

4. Audi Q4 e-tron

9/10
Audi Q4 e-tron review
Battery range up to 329 miles
Skoda Karoq

5. Skoda Karoq

9/10
Skoda Karoq review
Audi Q7

6. Audi Q7

8/10
Audi Q7 review
Battery range up to 34 miles
Porsche Macan

7 .Porsche Macan

9/10
Porsche Macan review
Battery range up to 380 miles
Peugeot 2008

8. Peugeot 2008

8/10
Peugeot 2008 review
BMW X1

9. BMW X1

8/10
BMW X1 review
Volkswagen T-Cross
2024
Urban Living Award
Highly Commended

10. Volkswagen T-Cross

8/10
Volkswagen T-Cross review

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Advice about automatic SUV cars

Automatic SUVs FAQs

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. Official fuel economy figures range from 130mpg to almost 300mpg, although this drops sharply if you regularly call upon the petrol engine during your trip. As an all-rounder, it’s hard to beat the Toyota RAV4 PHEV, which has a 40-mile electric range and can average a consistent 50mpg at motorway speeds.

Electric SUVs can also deliver superb economy figures in terms of cost-per-mile, but they tend to cost far more upfront than their combustion-engined 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 Niro EV 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 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0TDI 150. Capable of between 57 to 52mpg in combined driving. If you want something compact and frugal, it's worth looking at the Toyota Yaris Cross, which can hit a genuine 60mpg in daily 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.

For the fastest petrol-powered automatic SUV, the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus are both strong contenders. Both can dash to 60mph in around 3.0 seconds and have top speeds close to 200mph.

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 — both of which are now available in hybrid forms. 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, some of our favourite small SUVs are the Volkswagen T-Cross, Ford Puma and hybrid-engined Toyota Yaris Cross.

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, and the same can be said for the all-electric Volvo EX30 – which was crowned Carwow Car of the Year 2024.

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, while 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.