What’s so great about a car with a high driving position? Well, you get a clear view of the way ahead and you don’t feel threatened when large lorries or buses are in the lane next to you – in other words they can make you feel safe and secure.
All the cars on this list give you a great view out and are also extremely practical, so buckle up for carwow’s guide to the best cars with high driving positions.
carwow’s pick of the best cars that sit high off the ground are:
- Range Rover
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Land Rover Discovery
- Volvo XC90
- BMW X7
- Ford Kuga
- Audi Q7
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Peugeot 3008
- Mercedes GLS
1. Range Rover
The car that arguably defined the phrase ‘commanding driving position’, the Range Rover has been with us for over half a century now. When a new model is released it tends to hit the mark so well, and sell so consistently, that it stays on the market for longer than most cars. That explains why the latest Range Rover, unveiled in 2022, is only the fifth all-new version to have hit the road. It maintains the lofty perch, tall body and large windows that contribute to the sense of occasion Range Rover drivers have come to expect, while adding the latest drivertrains and technology modern drivers demand.
All models come with air suspension for a cosseting ride and alloys of at least 21 inches in diameter for imposing looks, while other goodies include a 3D parking camera, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a Meridian sound system and full, wireless smartphone connectivity, while the engine range includes a pair of plug-in hybrids, and a long-wheelbase version, with the option of seven seats. Prices start at a whisker under £100,000 and Land Rover is known for offering myriad trims and option packs, so while the driving position is high, so too is the price.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq is a large SUV with a high driving position and the option of seven seats, but from here its similarities to the Range Rover all but disappear. Chief among these divergences is the Kodiaq’s price, which starts at less than £32,000, while it’s fair to say the Kodiaq’s cabin isn’t quite on the same level as the Range Rovers.
Yet the Kodiaq has much going for it, aside from value. It’s a characterful car with a pleasingly upright driving position, while the dashboard and major controls are easy to use, and the third row of seats (an option most buyers specify) make it a great family car. Adding to this sense of practicality is the huge boot, and while there’s no plug-in hybrid option, you can opt for a posh L&K version if you’d like a touch of the high life to go with the Kodiaq’s lofty driving position.
3. Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery has the same high seating position as its posh cousin, but brings with it a greater sense of practicality and utility – albeit without quite so much of a focus on high-end materials and a cosseting cabin. It’s still a premium car by most standards, though, with the same ‘captain’s chair’ feel to the driving position, and one of the most practical cars money can buy, with a third row of seats that can easily accommodate adults. Speaking of money, the Discovery is almost half the price of the full-fat Range Rover, and while you may want to upgrade from the entry-level model, it remains a car that with a lot to offer.
The engine range includes a 3.0-litre diesel, a 2.0-litre petrol and a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol, while a range of upholstery, lighting, infotainment and driver assistance packs populate the options list. There’s even a Commercial version if you’d prefer to make the most of the Discovery’s workhorse credentials.
4. Volvo XC90
Volvo has a very different take on the seven-seat SUV format with its XC90, focussing on calm understatement in the cabin, while also offering the strong safety ethos the firm has become renowned for over the years. In fact, accident statistics show no XC90 occupants have ever perished in a traffic collision, while Volvo has fitted a 112mph speed limiter to all of its cars.
A high driving position is a given, while the uncluttered dashboard and thoughtfully curated cabin materials encourage a sense of relaxation and comfort. The rearmost row of seats may not be as spacious as the Discovery’s, but the comfortable, practical XC90 has become the go-to car for myriad families for good reason. The only engines offered with the XC90 are 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units, but there’s also the T8 plug-in hybrid, which brings the option of cruising around on battery power, together with impressive 400hp performance.
5. BMW X7
Big, imposing and uncompromising, there’s no mistaking the road presence of the US-built BMW X7. But while not a car for shrinking violets, it’s certainly one that offers an imperious driving position that lets you lord it over other road users. The cabin is impeccably built and fitted with all mod-cons, while BMW’s infotainment systems are among the best in the business, and the handling is more driver-focussed than you might expect given the X7’s size.
The model range kicks off with the X7 xDrive 40d, which brings a 352hp twin-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine, while the 40i petrol offers 381hp, and the X7 M6oi is a 530hp super-SUV for those who may feel the other engines aren’t quite enough for the X7’s brawny frame.
6. Ford Kuga
A somewhat more real-world car than the BMW X7, the Ford Kuga is a cornerstone of the mid-size SUV market, but Ford’s chassis engineers ensured it’s a good car to drive, as well as a practical one. The accurate steering combines with limited body roll, rewarding those who appreciate a winding road, while a staring price of under £30,000 makes the Kuga attainable for many buyers.
Choose from entry-level Zetec trim or upgrade to mid-spec Titanium for full an improved stereo, LED headlights, powerfold mirrors, keyless entry and a digital driver’s display, while the sporty ST-Line and the plush Vignale models mean there’s a Kuga for all tastes and preferences. The engine range begins with a 150hp 1.5-litre petrol unit, while 190hp hybrid, and a 225hp plug-in hybrid powertrains are available for those want to spend a little more on the car, and a little less on fuel.
7. Audi Q7
Although it was given a mid-life update in 2020, the Audi Q7 is one of the older SUVs here – not that you would know it. The second-generation Q7 was ahead of its time for cabin quality and material choices when it was launched back in 2015, and the technology and styling tweaks it has had since then means that’s still largely the case.
It’s a big SUV with a high driving position which gives you a great view out over the road ahead. Choose one of Audi’s diesel engines and you also get a hearty mix of power, quiet cruising and decent fuel economy. Not everyone will love the slightly fiddly new infotainment system that replaced the simpler unit fitted to first-generation cars, but the Q7 remains a class act.
8. Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan crams everything you like about a VW in a high-riding SUV body. Outside, it looks restrained – unless you go for the sporty-looking R-Line model – and inside it feels solid, while you can have a full digital display that’s very modern.
The Tiguan has plenty of space for kids and adults alike, while there’s also the seven-seat AllSpace model if you want to carry extra passengers from time to time. Factor in the big boot and useful interior storage spaces spaces, and the Tiguan is the epitome of a family SUV. The engine choice is excellent and you can decide between two or four-wheel drive, the only trouble is that the Skoda Kodiaq offers all of this, but has more interior space and is cheaper.
9. Peugeot 3008
The Peugeot 3008 is proof that a sensible family car doesn’t need to look boring. It ushered in a new design language for Peugeot interiors when it was launched, too, with thoughtfully chosen fabric dashboard inserts that really lift the cabin, and piano-style keys for the infotainment system that are a welcome change from conventional buttons, while also being easy to operate.
The 3008 gets a body that’s dripping with slashes and creases, so it looks like nothing else on the road, while t also has space for four and a reasonably big boot. The Peugeot is available with a range of cheap-to-run engines and is easy to drive, although it’s high driving position is let down by poor view out the back, and the small steering wheel may not be to all tastes.
10. Mercedes GLS
The Mercedes GLS is the largest, most luxurious SUV the German brand makes, and it gets a high seating position to match its high-ranking status. Inside, it feels extremely posh with a sweeping design, your choice of fancy trim pieces and a huge infotainment display that has crystal-clear graphics.
It’s a practical beast too, with room for seven and a large boot even when all the seats are in use. The GLS comes with a powerful 330hp diesel engine and costs from around £86,000, while the luxurious Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is effectively a riding limousine, albeit one that costs almost twice as much as the standard GLS 400d. UK models miss out on the GLS’ trick ‘E-Active’ suspension that can bounce you free if you get stuck off-roading, or just give onlookers a fun show if you’re not bogged down in mud.
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