Countless premium brands claim to be the best SUV in the family, but now we can put that argument aside with our definitive list of the top 10
Dominated by premium offers, this chart is populated by some of the best family cars on the road – vehicles that can handle the school race, as well as weather winter conditions, moderately rugged terrain, trips to the tip, towing and handling tasks. long distance motorway cruise.
It is a highly disputed and strategically important segment, where style, security and space are at the top of the buyers’ agenda and space is often required for seven occupants. This importance is underestimated by manufacturers at their own risk, since the segment effectively obliterated the MPV market and should only grow in the future. Despite the lack of variety in style and approach adopted by many, it is now a very diversified segment that has attracted different brands to manufacture SUVs. Many models are also available as tax-compliant hybrid plug-ins as manufacturers struggle to grab a bigger share of the fleet market that is increasingly concerned about emissions. Here are our favorites.
1. Audi Q5
It is difficult to pinpoint defects in a versatile and elegant like the Audi Q5, although the slightly nondescript handling is what will prevent the car from really attracting the most interested drivers. This gap did not stop the Q5 from emulating the sales success of its predecessor, a car that has become the best-selling car in its segment in almost every country in which it was offered.
Although it is an expensive option with a long list of options, the Q5 is quiet, practical and desirable, with excellent refinement of direction and material finish. As time goes by, some hybrid versions of plug-ins are now also available. The 55 TFSIe is a particularly smooth operator, with its 2.0 liter four-cylinder electric motor and turbo petrol combined to produce attractive 362bhp and 369lb feet. Keep your battery charged and you’ll be able to make the most of your 26 mile range potential – and watch your fuel bills drop in the process.
2. BMW X3
What is this: a midsize SUV with decent handling? Before BMW started making SUVs, the idea would have been almost laughable – but the BMW X3 lessened the appeal of handling, and more.
The X3 has powertrains with superior drawer driver appeal, even though smaller diesel offerings may be a bit unrefined when pushed. Admittedly, the X3 xDrive30e PHEV plug-in may not shine as brightly as its conventionally dynamically powered range mates, but in all other areas, the X3 is a winner, and one second behind the Audi Q5. The standard equipment is a little bad on some trim levels, but the perceived quality of the car is above almost all others and its manners on the road are difficult to fail, even with run-flat tires.
3. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Discovery Sport may be the basic Land Rover in the showroom range, but there is no shortage of capacity, comfort or Land Rover charm.
Renovated for 2019, Discovery Sport now sits on the same PTA platform as the Range Rover Evoque, but has not lost any of the features we like in the original. It is still taller than many of its opponents, it offers better visibility and 4×4 capacity than many, and it looks more like a traditional SUV than some, although it still handles in an impressively tidy way. It has a practical interior – a major selling point in this segment – which has now received a much-needed boost in terms of premium appeal.
Its gasoline and diesel engines are now complemented by a moderate 48 V hybrid architecture in an attempt to improve fuel economy, and there is an excellent plug-in hybrid version P300e available as well. If you want a family SUV with more off-road sturdiness than the class average, Discovery Sport offers that with very few compromises associated with it.
4. Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar’s first SUV is a doozy, with remarkable handling, plenty of cabin space and looks that took it to the top of the Jag range as its best-selling model until it was overtaken by the smallest E-Pace.
There are one or two details that detract somewhat from the overall driving experience: among them, some indistinct four-cylinder diesel engines, a hesitant automatic gearbox and a somewhat hectic and noisy ride in certain specifications. There is also room for improvement in the direction of the car. But the F-Pace is still a car of excellent handling and a very credible achievement for Jaguar. The fastest F-Pace SVR is also in chaos, and is a good example of a brilliantly executed performance SUV.
The F-Pace was renovated in late 2020 and the new models – including a new hybrid plug-in – are expected to arrive soon. We’ll let you know what they’re like as soon as we drive them.
5. Skoda Kodiaq
The Kodiaq is our top-of-the-line SUV, as it does not come from a premium manufacturer and reduces even the cheapest offers on the list by an insignificant amount.
So, what are you sacrificing? To start with, a piece of premium materials, although everything seems to be well screwed. The first four SUVs on this list have more balanced handling and handling than the Kodiaq, but not all offer a third row of seats.
Aside from the somewhat firm and remote way Kodiaq drives, there is little room for improvement. A facelift with oily pieces could easily fix your main problems.
6. Mercedes-Benz GLC
The second half of our top 10 is where the handling element separates class leaders from those who are also losers.
The updated Mercedes GLC, with its well-equipped and luxurious interior, deserves its place in the top 10, but its numb steering means it is far from being the first choice for interested drivers. It is more like a driving car than many of the full-size SUVs on this list, but it also rides less serenely than a Mercedes-Benz should in standard steel coil suspension, making it more difficult to recommend in the basic specifications. However, in the optional air suspension, it is among the most relaxed and effectively oriented towards class comfort – and is worth considering.
7. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Alfa Romeo took the platform and engines that made the Giulia, added some ride height and four-wheel drive technology and created an SUV with excellent handling in the shape of the Stelvio.
The Alfa Romeo’s remarkable handling and typical movie star appearance come standard, with a strong, though rude, diesel engine. Unfortunately, Alfa’s focus on decent handling has resulted in a somewhat restless ride on the UK’s poorest roads, and some of the cabin’s materials look simple and cheap – just like on Giulia.
A facelift in 2020 improved things a bit in this regard and added a new infotainment system and improved driver aids, but a close look will still be needed to spot the differences between this and the original. Its price is reasonably competitive, however, if not as much as it was at its launch three years ago. Still, it is one for the most discerning driver, no doubt.
8. Volvo XC60
It was the safest car ever tested by Euro NCAP at its launch in 2017, and all that time later, it is still one of the most beautiful family SUVs on sale today.
It’s not the last word on the driver’s appeal, but as a comfortable and stylish family van, there’s a lot to recommend here. Volvo has also revised its engine line, so that all variants of the XC60 now offer some form of electrification. The ‘B’ series gasoline and diesel models now have a moderate 48V hybrid architecture for fractional reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but it is the T6 and T8 plug-in recharge hybrids that offer the greatest potential for fuel operation. low cost.
9. Seat Tarraco
The Tarraco is Seat’s first attempt at a full-size SUV and is very beautiful. As a product of the Volkswagen Group, this Spanish SUV shares practically everything with the Skoda Kodiaq although, unlike its brother, the Tarraco comes equipped with seven seats as standard across the range.
It is a more incisive and agile touch than other SUVs of its size, but this more precise handling seems to come at the expense of rolling refinement and absolute comfort. In a car like this, comfort and refinement must have a greater focus. Still, the interior is well finished and the gasoline and diesel engines are impressively refined. It also has a very competitive price.
10. Kia Sorento
Well, Sorento has really come a long way since the original, dull, boxy model that appeared in 2002, isn’t it? Just in design appeal, this new fourth generation model easily has what it takes to match it with genuine premium players in this class.
Thanks to its cavernous interior and seven seats available, it gains important points for being one of the most spacious, practical and versatile cars on the list. At an attractive and affordable price, it seems superficially that there is very little that this beautiful Korean SUV cannot do.
However, there is a but. Your conventional hybrid powertrain is not fully capable of providing the fuel efficiency gains you can expect to see while driving in the city and, dynamically, there is nothing to comment on. It’s refined and comfortable enough on a constant cruise, but dig a little deeper and it starts to show – particularly when it comes to controlling the body.
Still, as a practical, well-made, well-equipped and affordable family SUV that is easy to drive, it has a lot going for it. Diesel models also offer decent refinement and performance. It would undoubtedly be more of an upside down choice than any other car on this list, but there is nothing wrong with that.