There’s never been a better time to buy an SUV with so many different models on offer – from back-to-basics small 4x4s and city-friendly crossovers to luxury seven-seaters. With so many to choose from, we’ve selected the 10 best options across a range of budgets and needs but all choices have plenty of all-weather ability.
[June 2018 updates: The all-new Audi Q8 makes its way onto our list at the number 10 spot. It’s definitely not the cheapest SUV on our list but if you want a stylish large SUV that’s practical, comfortable, quick, cheap to run and surprisingly nice to drive – few can beat it]
- Land Rover Discovery
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Dacia Duster
- Suzuki Vitara
- Volvo XC90
- Kia Sorento
- Mercedes GLC
- SEAT Ateca
- Audi Q8
1. Land Rover Discovery
Heading-up our list, the Land Rover Discovery features some of the most advanced off-road technology on the market. The sophisticated Terrain Response 2 system is standard across the range and optimises the car’s setup for any given terrain while the All Terrain Progress Control acts as an off-road cruise control, leaving you to focus on steering while it takes care of the throttle and brakes. The Discovery’s lofty 283mm of ground clearance means it’ll keep calm and carry on through up to three feet of water. What’s more, it has a luxurious interior that can comfortably seat seven adults and a cavernous boot.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq offers a selection of strong engines, a dedicated off-road mode on four-wheel drive models and, above all, great value for money. Low to medium mileage buyers could consider the smooth 1.4-litre turbo petrol engines while those covering very high mileages are better off with the popular 2.0-litre diesel – the 148hp variant of which claims up to 58mpg. The Skoda offers great value of money – basic models are priced from £21,495 and come well-equipped as standard. If you’re after an even more focused off-roader, check out the upcoming Skoda Kodiaq Scout.
3. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a great all-round family car, offering immense practicality thanks to a large 981-litre boot, cubby holes scattered around the cabin and up to seven seats – all with enough space for adult passengers. Its short overhangs and advanced four-wheel-drive system make it very capable off road while the same Terrain Response system used across Land Rover’s range helps the car set itself up optimally for whatever surface you’re driving on. The Discovery Sport is also fairly cheap to run – the frugal 2.0-litre diesel can achieve up to 57.7mpg and emits 129g/km of CO2.
4. Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster is a back-to-basics small SUV that offers a no-frills 4×4 experience. The Duster’s sub-£10,000 price is reflected in its simple interior and chunky but basic exterior styling but, considering the space on offer and its off-road prowess, It represents simply incredible value for money. Anyone looking to take their Duster off road should consider the optional 4×4 system while the torquey-yet-frugal 1.5-litre diesel provides plenty of low-down grunt to pull the Duster up steep slopes.
5. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is a cheap, rugged compact SUV offering great value for money, an engaging on-road driving experience and surprisingly good off-road abilities. The Vitara is priced from a reasonable £14,999 and comes fairly well equipped as standard with Bluetooth, air-con and cruise control. On the road, the Vitara doesn’t roll much and its light, accurate steering makes it easy to manoeuvre around town. The Vitara’s optional off-road system has selectable driving modes including a dedicated off-road mode that helps the car pull itself out of the stickiest of off-road predicaments.
6. Volvo XC90
The Volvo XC90 boasts smart styling and a luxurious interior with a large portrait-orientated touchscreen infotainment system as its centrepiece. You get seven plush leather seats that can fit full-size adults and a 451-litre boot even with all seats up. All engines do a great job of balancing economy and performance – the 235hp 2.0-litre diesel ‘D5’ engine is a popular choice that returns up to 50mpg. The Volvo offers comfortable on-road performance and its four-wheel drive system and suspension have been designed with the treacherous Swedish countryside in mind.
7. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento offers handsome styling, a well-built interior with seven seats as standard and leather upholstery on KX-2 models and up. It makes a practical family car thanks to its sheer commodiousness, easy-to-load 660-litre boot and comfortable suspension setup. Although its off-roading ability can’t quite rival the Discovery, it comes as standard with locking differentials, allowing it to distribute power to all four wheels from the torquey 2.2-litre diesel engine. For added peace of mind, the Kia also offers an industry-leading seven-year transferrable warranty.
8. Mercedes GLC
The Mercedes GLC is an attractive premium SUV with a spacious, posh-feeling interior and impressive off-road performance. The GLC has lifted its interior from the C-Class saloon meaning it features high-quality materials, the firm’s COMAND infotainment system and great build quality. There’s plenty of passenger room and a sizeable 550-litre boot – the same as its closest rival, the BMW X3. The optional Off-Road Engineering package offers five selectable off-road driving modes and, when equipped with the 2.1-litre diesel engine, the GLC’s off-road capability is on par with some more traditionally rugged brands.
9. SEAT Ateca
The SEAT Ateca offers Spanish design flair, rock-solid build quality and a spacious interior with lots of kit as standard. The Ateca features a tech-laden cabin with an eight-inch infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging and screen mirroring. There’s plenty of passenger headroom and a handy 510-litre boot. While four-wheel drive is only available on diesel engines, this isn’t a bad thing because these units have plenty of pulling power with excellent fuel efficiency. Short overhangs and two selectable off-road modes help the Ateca handle trickier terrain than you might think.
10. Jeep Renegade
The gargantuan Audi Q8 is car that blends stylish looks with all the practicality you would expect of a huge five-seater SUV, but you can blame its high price for its tenth-spot placing in this list. It has acres of room for five people and a boot so large that you go on holiday in it. The luxurious cabin is very similar to the luxurious A8’s with a blend of beautiful materials and amazing tech. Finally, the lusty 286hp 3.0-litre diesel has a pleasing rumble (like a V8 muscle car) under acceleration and plenty of performance to boot but is quiet on the motorway and great on fuel too.
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