Check out our reviews of the best SUVs on sale today, with our exclusive top 10
If you’re looking for the best SUV to buy this year, there are plenty of great options. In fact, it can look a bit of a minefield to the uninitiated as the best SUV for towing might be a rugged traditional 4×4, whereas the best SUV for family use could just as easily be one of the stylish new wave of crossovers.
Others may be looking for the best SUV for snow or muddy conditions, while others simply fancy the prestige of a big showy vehicle with Range Rover, Audi or Bentley badges. There’s also a contingent of smaller ‘urban-focused’ SUVs like the Renault Kadjar or Citroen Cactus to consider – you can see our top 10 in that category here.
There are so many different choices when it comes to picking an SUV to lease or buy, because increasing numbers of drivers have cottoned on to the benefits of commanding driving positions, roomy cabins and load areas, and the confidence-inspiring extra grip that 4×4 systems provide. This is particularly true nowadays, as manufacturers have worked extremely hard on improvements to ride, refinement and comfort. It means many SUVs offer a driving experience close to that of ‘ordinary’ family cars, while a notable few go above and beyond with driving dynamics that verge on the properly sporty.
There are people who have concerns about the ethics of driving a big and potentially inefficient SUV of course, but even those concerns can often be put to rest as many of the models on offer are not much thirstier or more polluting than similarly-sized cars. So, while in the past choosing an SUV probably meant you needed an off-road capable workhorse or wanted to go trail bashing for fun, the picture is very different now.
With demand for vehicles in the SUV sector booming, and car makers unleashing new and more competitive models all the time, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best SUVs and 4x4s on sale in the UK to help you find the cars that are worth investigating further.
When you look at the benefits in detail, there are a number of reasons why a 4×4 holds so much appeal. The raised ride height gives a better view of the road ahead, and the high driving position inspires confidence. The large body of a 4×4 means there’s potential for great practicality, so much so that some SUVs can rival MPVs for family-friendly space and versatility.
Four-wheel drive boosts their capability when the weather turns, too, although models with 2WD will deliver the kind of running costs you’d get with a conventional car if you’re looking at the financial bottom line – and there are a number of hybrid and plug-in models available to cut your costs even further. At the other end of the spectrum, the latest range of powerful performance models mean you can get an SUV that can put a smile on your face on twisty roads.
Style is an important factor with many new SUVs and 4x4s, and plenty of models are available with a range of personalisation options to make the car you choose stand out. And at the top end of the SUV spectrum, the most luxurious SUVs have the quality and refinement to match the best limousines for comfort.
And with the security of four-wheel drive designed to provide extra security in wet and slippery conditions, it’s clear that the best 4x4s and SUVs have the range of talents to justify their popularity. But which ones are the best models on sale today? You’ve come to the right place to find out…
Which 4×4 or SUV is right for me?
There are all kinds of SUVs on the market – from cheap and cheerful cars to luxury models boasting limousine comfort. All shapes and sizes are catered for, with small cars like the Nissan Juke vying for position alongside the large Kia Sorento or Volvo XC90. Efficient hybrid models are becoming popular too, with great mpg figures from their high-tech drivetrains. Yet despite being known as 4x4s, many of these cars are only two-wheel-drive.
Some models – like the excellent Range Rover Sport – are still fantastic off-roaders, though. Something like a Land Rover Discovery is a good choice if you really need to go off-road, but poor fuel economy and a high price mean it’s not the best idea if you’re planning to stick to tarmac. For most people, though, an SUV will remain firmly on tarmac – so it’s good news that most of the latest cars are just as good to drive as their hatchback and saloon cousins.
The Dacia Duster is one of the UK’s cheapest new cars – and it happens to be an SUV, so it’s great for anyone who can’t afford a Land Rover model. The 4×4 version isn’t too bad off-road, though it’s suited more to rough tracks than anything too challenging.
If you’re looking for a 7-seater car then a large 4×4 might be something you’ll be interested in: they tend to be more desirable than MPVs and can offer a great deal of practicality. With their huge boot space, roof racks and towing capacity they make great cars for going on holiday, too.
Towing a caravan or trailer is a common use for these cars as well – and if that’s your plan, the high torque of a large diesel engine is the best choice for load-lugging.
Having a car with four-wheel drive is useful when you need to get going on a slippery surface – you have twice as much grip, after all. Winter tyres are a still must, though – you might be able to speed up faster, but only winter tyres can help you stop faster (thanks to the increased traction they provide).
In the models that like going off-road the most, there is often a computer-controlled driving mode that improves grip on certain surfaces, and sets up the suspension to work better in adverse conditions. This can be turned off when you get back on the road.
Best 4x4s & SUVs to buy in 2017: