The best large SUVs are practical, luxurious and good to drive, with sensible running costs. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the ones to avoid
For many people, large SUVs have replaced big saloons as the ultimate expression of modern motoring, and they make great family cars, thanks to their spacious and practical interiors.
The very best are well equipped and good to drive, too, with surprisingly decent fuel efficiency. Here we count down our top 10 and name the models that are best avoided.
The best large SUVs
10. Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai’s largest SUV offers rugged, go-anywhere ability and a usefully lofty driving position. It also has seven seats, plenty of equipment and a powerful yet economical diesel engine. It’s not the last word in refinement, though.
Our pick 2.2 CRDi 200 Premium seven-seater
9. Ford Edge
The Edge had been on sale in the US for a while, but it only came to the UK in 2016. It’s good value for money and even the cheapest trim level comes with a decent amount of kit. It doesn’t have the most powerful engine, though, and there’s no seven-seat option.
Our pick 2.0 TDCi 210 AWD auto
8. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento comes with seven seats and, unlike many rivals, its third row is spacious enough for adults, not just children. It also has a punchy engine, heavy towing capacity and comfortable ride, but the very best competitors are cheaper and more refined.
Our pick 2.2 CRDi KX-2
7. Jaguar F-Pace
The F-Pace is Jaguar’s first foray into SUVs. It can be had with a wide range of engines, from a frugal four-cylinder diesel to a riotous supercharged V6 petrol. Although it shares some of its oily bits with the Discovery Sport, it’s sportier and more agile than its Land Rover sibling.
Our pick 180 diesel Prestige auto
6. BMW X3
Like the smaller BMW X1, the X3 is a great choice for those looking for a premium SUV. Drivers will like its strong engine range and top-notch handling, while passengers can enjoy the luxurious (and fairly spacious) interior. You also get BMW’s iDrive infotainment system as standard, which is a real bonus because it’s the best around.
Our pick xDrive20d SE
5. Volvo XC60
Don’t think of the Volvo XC60 as a slightly downmarket BMW or Mercedes-Benz; the Swedish car maker has transformed its model line-up in recent years, so the XC60 sits firmly beside its German rivals on many levels, including the quality of its interior. It doesn’t quite make the grade in terms of driving enjoyment, though.
Our pick D4 R5 Momentum
4. Land Rover Discovery Sport
A former Large SUV of the Year, the Land Rover Discovery Sport sits below the full-size Discovery in the Land Rover range. However, it’s still available with seven seats, has a smart and user-friendly interior and holds its value well. It’s even well priced by class standards.
Our pick 2.0D 180 HSE 4WD Auto
3. Audi Q5
The Q5’s interior isn’t quite as palatial as the Q7’s, but this more compact Audi SUV is cheaper to buy and run and still a highly practical family car. It is more at home in the city than off-road, but it does come with four-wheel drive should you need extra traction. It comes with a choice of punchy engines and a superbly finished interior, and all versions hold their value well.
Our pick 2.0 TDI 190 Sport
2. Mazda CX-5
The 2.2-litre diesel engine in the Mazda CX-5 is strong, refined and impressively efficient, keeping CO2 emissions down to tax-friendly levels. Plus, the car is well equipped, fun to drive and extremely practical – as long as you need only five seats. Even some noticeable road noise and dull interior plastics can’t detract from its overall desirability.
Our pick 2.2d 150 SEL Nav
1. Skoda Kodiaq
This might be Skoda’s first large SUV, but it’s the best all-rounder on sale today. The Kodiaq is smart inside and out, and full of clever touches that make the car perfect for growing families. The cheapest trim you can have with seven seats is our recommended SE version. Teamed with a punchy 2.0-litre diesel engine, this is the best large SUV you can buy.
Our pick 2.0 TDI 150 SE
The large SUVs to avoid
A truly left-field choice, the QX70 is expensive to buy and run. And while big on the outside, it’s cramped inside.
The Shogun looks good and is a proper off-roader, but its rivals are far more civilised on road.