Some of the most popular cars on the UK roads are SUVs
With almost half a million sold last year (SMMT). That’s nearly one in five new cars! If you’re thinking of jumping on board the SUV craze, you’re probably asking yourself, what type of SUV do I need?
Sports Utility Vehicles have come a long way since the early off-road Jeeps and Land Rovers. Although still practical, they are now also easier to handle and more comfortable than ever before. Such is the popularity of the SUV size, shape and higher driving position, that most never set their tyres on muddy terrain, sticking to towns and cities instead.
Whether you need an SUV for work, pleasure or to use as your kids’ taxi service, there’s a suitable model for you. All you need to do is figure out what’s important to you - whether that’s comfort, economy, parkability or all three!
Here’s our lowdown to help you decide what type of SUV you need...
The Adventure SUV
Not all SUVs are 4x4s but if your work or hobby involves off-road driving or towing, you’ll need this capability. Think four-wheel-drive and you think Land Rovers and Jeeps, which have all-wheel-drive as standard . No need to limit yourself though, as there are many other true 4x4s on the market today.
You might also need an exceptional boot space to carry equipment or baggage. Take a look at the VW Touareg and its whopping 810-litre luggage compartment, or the Peugeot 5008 with 780 litres of rear space (without folding the second row of seats). When it comes to towing capability, bigger SUVs are likely to provide more torque, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee with its 868 Nm of torque for excellent grip.
The Family SUV
All SUV ranges, including Volkswagen SUVs and Audi SUVs, have models which offer all the space you need to transport your family in comfort, as well as features such as connectivity, airbags and Isofix to both entertain and keep your loved ones safe in equal measure.
Need room for a growing family or a few friends to tag along? There are plenty of 7-seater SUVs to choose from with the Audi Q7, Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Land Rover Discovery and SEAT Tarraco all providing an additional 2 seats in the boot.
The Luxury SUV
Practicality doesn’t mean you have to forsake luxury, indeed quite the reverse; many luxury brands now offer SUVs, including the Jaguar F-Pace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5 and Range Rover Velar. These cars are the very essence of luxury with sumptuous leather powered and heated seats, special alloy wheels, top of the range sound systems and even passenger entertainment screens.
Most SUVS look pretty awesome, designed to make heads turn and jaws drop, with wide wheel arches, tinted windows, multi-zone climate control and dual exhausts, but if you’re looking for something a little bit more special, Land Rover SUVs or Jaguar SUVs might just catch your discerning eye.
The Economical SUV
Of course you needn’t break the bank with an SUV. It doesn’t have to be a 4x4, which means that it doesn’t have to be fuel-thirsty. Many of the two-wheel-drive models are both reasonable to buy and economical to run. Lower profile models tend to be more aerodynamic, which will also help with fuel efficiency. Try the Citroën C5 Aircross or Peugeot 3008, which both claim in the region of 70 mpg (combined)*.
If you feel like moving away from petrol and diesel altogether, Jaguar’s I-PACE, Audi’s e-tron or one of many hybrid SUVs will let you take advantage of electric motoring. A bigger outlay when you buy one of these SUVs should pay off over time, thanks to lower fuel usage and cheaper road tax combined.
The Easy SUV
Not only do SUVs provide a higher driving position than a saloon, hatchback or coupé, giving a better view of the road ahead, they also offer easy access to both the front and rear seats, and plenty of boot space. Look out for features such as height adjust in the Range Rover Sport which drops the whole car by 50mm, or automatic tailgate opening in the SEAT Ateca to help you load and unload.
Peugeot SUVs and Citroën SUVs offer parking assistance as an option, as do most SUV models, such as the VW T-Cross, SEAT Arona and Peugeot 2008. You’ll find that these more compact SUVs are also a little easier to manoeuvre. Every little helps when you want an easy drive.