Families are buying more and more SUVs in lieu of traditional estates and hatchbacks. The added security and confidence of an SUV’s high driving position draws some, while others benefit from the extra family friendly practicality. We’ve whittled down our 10 favourites currently on sale with descriptions below.
- Kia Sportage
- SEAT Ateca
- Nissan Qashqai
- Audi Q7
- Volvo XC90
- Jaguar F-Pace
- VW Tiguan
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Suzuki Vitara
1. Kia Sportage
The latest Kia Sportage improves over the last model with better fuel economy, superior refinement and even more practicality. Fully loaded with five passengers, head and legroom is plentiful making it one of the roomier SUVs around while the boot is a useful square shape.
The Kia was awarded the maximum five-stars in Euro NCAP crash testing performing well up against its competitors. Premium trim levels are fitted with autonomous braking systems to avoid collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles in emergency situations. Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty makes it an even easier ownership proposition.
2. SEAT Ateca
The new SEAT Ateca is built on the same MQB platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan and soon-to-be-released Skoda Kodiaq. The interior looks similar to the Leon hatchback with a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. More expensive models are fitted with a larger eight-inch unit, climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Available in two or four-wheel drive, manual and automatic options can be mated to a collection of Volkswagen-sourced engines. Four-wheel drive is exclusive to diesel engines, while the 1.4-litre petrol unit provides a good middle ground between performance and efficiency. It will reach 62mph from standstill in 8.2 seconds, yet can return 52.3mpg when driven gently.
3. Nissan Qashqai
The Nissan Qashqai is a firm favourite among families for its practicality and uncommonly comfortable ride quality. The raised ride height offers better visibility making for a confidence-inspiring driving experience. The Qashqai excels in comfort, safety and running costs – especially when you pick our preferred 1.5-litre diesel.
Those looking at the Qashqai should also consider the Renault Kadjar. It uses the same platform and engines with a slightly different body grafted on top. Both tick all the boxes making them impressive all-round family cars.
4. Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 is a vast premium SUV with space for seven and a top notch interior – which you’d expect for the Q7’s hefty £48,555 entry-level price. In true Audi fashion, the centre console layout has all the switchgear you’d hope for and the brand’s excellent Virtual Cockpit gives you access to the infotainment system’s full functionality. If you’re carrying lots of very small children, the Q7 has no less than six isofix mounting brackets.
The diesel 3.0-litre engine suits the Q7’s premium feel – smooth, refined and with plenty of effortless torque on offer. Despite the heft, this two-tonne SUV can return a consumption figure of 47.9mpg. It feels reassuringly stable but also has the kind of compliance that makes it easy to spend hours on the move without feeling fatigued.
5. Volvo XC90
The latest Volvo XC90 has rekindled interest for many in the Swedish manufacturer. Its minimalist cabin is beautifully executed, loaded with cutting-edge tech and features a range of advanced, fuel-sipping engines. Thanks to the brand’s hard work, the XC90 is now more than a worthy rival to the Q7.
The XC90 calmly removes you from the hustle and bustle of the outside world – bumps seem almost non-existent and wind noise is barely noticeable. Typical diesel and petrol engines feature but the highlight is the T8 Hybrid. Not only is it the most powerful and technically advanced powertrain, it’s capable of 27 electrically propelled miles and can achieve 134.5mpg while offering nearly 400hp.
6. Jaguar F-Pace
The striking Jaguar F-Pace is an SUV with sporting intentions that delivers impressive handling for such a tall car. Bearing an obvious resemblance to the XE and XF saloons, it’s among the best looking SUVs on sale. Its sporty body means it’s not quite as practical as some options but it’s still large enough for most families.
Those looking to be more cost effective or cover more miles will tend towards one of the two diesel engines available. Those looking for a little more performance can opt for a V6 petrol shared with the Jaguar F-Type, offering up 380hp and resulting in a rapid 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds.
7. VW Tiguan
The new Volkswagen Tiguan looks the part, is well screwed together and has a large variety of engines to choose from. Its trump card – the massive 615-litre boot – is more than 30 per cent larger than both the 430-litre Nissan Qashqai and the 465-litre Kia Sportage. This is thanks to its stretched wheelbase compared to the old Tiguan which is also good news for rear seat passengers’ feet.
The 2.0-litre 148hp diesel will probably meet the needs of most so is expected to be the volume seller. This engine capable of 59mpg and is one of the two diesels that can be had with optional four-wheel drive and the recommended DSG automatic gearbox.
8. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento is the bigger brother to the Sportage and offers space for an additional two passengers. The extra space means it represents a more practical proposition than the Sportage, although the price does rise to match the increased practicality. A robust 2.2-litre diesel is the sole engine and is available with an automatic option.
Standard kit includes four-wheel-drive, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth connectivity which all aid the Sorento’s refined and relaxed aura. With the exception of the base model, all versions come with sat-nav and leather seats making it good value compared to rivals. It also gets Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty for added peace of mind.
9. Land Rover Discovery Sport
If you need your practical SUV to do the odd spot of off-roading, or live in especially rural areas, look no further than the Land Rover Discovery Sport. It’s as at home on road as it is off it – good on-road manners bestow it a smooth ride and great body control. The steering and pedals are nicely weighted making it very easy to drive.
The Discovery Sport is nearly as spacious as its regular Discovery big brother and has seating for seven. Fold the rear seats flat and there’s a truly vast load space that’s a useful square shape. Interior quality is very respectable if only marginally behind its German rivals and on-road refinement is impressive.
10. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is a budget option on this list but its inherent quality means it represents fantastic value for money. While the Vitara is shorter than a Volkswagen Golf, its boxier, more practical 4×4 shape means you get a reasonable 375-litre boot and respectable passenger space.
An affordable £16,999 buys you the 1.6-litre diesel that can return 70.6mpg, making it the most efficient in the range. Cheaper petrol engines are also available, while extras such as a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking can be added, so you’re not wanting for equipment.
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