Large SUVs are the car of choice for many family motorists today, selected over more traditional saloons for their spacious and practical interiors as well as their commanding driving positions. The picks of the market are also well kitted out, good to drive and surprisingly economical. Read on to find out our top 10 and the ones that are best avoided.
10. Hyundai Santa Fe
Rugged, go-anywhere ability and a high driving position are among the Hyundai Santa Fe’s attributes. The seven-seater also has lots of kit and gear, and a powerful yet economical diesel. It could be more refined, though.
We’d choose: 2.2 CRDi 200 Premium seven-seater
9. Ford Edge
On sale in America for a while, the Ford Edge came to Britain only last year. It’s decent value, with good kit levels in even the cheapest version. You can’t get it with seven seats, however, and the engine could be more powerful.
We’d choose: 2.0 TDCi 210 AWD auto
8. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento has seven seats and enough space in the third row for adults, not just children – unlike in some competitors. It’s not as cheap or refined as its best rivals, but it does offer a punchy engine, good towing capacity and comfortable ride.
We’d choose: 2.2 CRDi KX-2
7. Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar’s first-ever SUV, the F-Pace is available with a broad engine range, from a frugal four-cylinder diesel to a supercharged V6 petrol. sportier and more agile than its Land Rover Discovery Sport cousin, with which it shares some components.
We’d choose: 180 diesel Prestige auto
6. BMW X3
The BMW X3 and its smaller X1 stablemate are great premium SUVs. This one has a strong engine range and superb handling, plus a roomy, luxurious cabin. The standard-fit iDrive infotainment system is the best on the market.
We’d choose: xDrive20d SE
5. Volvo XC60
Volvo has transformed its model line-up in recent years, so the Swedish car firm’s XC60 should not be considered downmarket next to BMW or Mercedes-Benz; it equals its German rivals on many levels, including cabin quality. Its driving enjoyment isn’t quite as impressive, however.
We’d choose: D4 R5 Momentum
4. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Discovery Sport sits below the full-size Discovery in the Land Rover line-up, but it’s still available with seven seats. It has a smart and user-friendly cabin, is well priced by class standards and has good residuals. It’s a former Large SUV of the Year, to boot.
We’d choose: 2.0D 180 HSE 4WD Auto
3. Audi Q5
Smaller Q5 is cheaper to buy and run than its huge Q7 brother, and it’s still a very practical family car even if the cabin isn’t as luxurious. Four-wheel drive gives extra traction when you need it, but it’s more of a city car. It holds its value well and comes with various punchy engines and excellent cabin finish.
We’d choose: 2.0 TDI 190 Sport
2. Mazda CX-5
As long as you need only five seats, the Mazda CX-5 is a great choice. It’s well equipped, fun behind the wheel and very practical, while the 2.2-litre diesel is strong, refined and efficient, with tax-friendly CO2 emissions. Its overall desirability isn’t affected by noticeable road noise and dull cabin plastics.
We’d choose: 2.2d 150 SEL Nav
1. Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda’s first-ever large SUV is the best all-rounder around. It’s smart both inside and out, and plenty of clever touches make it ideal for growing families. We’d recommend the cheapest seven-seater, the Kodiaq SE. In punchy 2.0-litre diesel form, it’s the best large SUV on the market.
We’d choose: 2.0 TDI 150 SE
The ones to avoid
The Infiniti QX70 is costly to buy and run, and its lofty external dimensions belie a cramped cabin. A truly left-field choice.
It may look good and be a proper off-roader, but the Mitsubishi Shogun’s competitors are far more civilised on the road.