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The best SUV for the job

By raccars Published

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SUVs are the fastest growing automotive segment but how do you sort through the increasingly crowded marketplace to find the best SUV for your requirements?

While in marketing terms a number of very different models are lumped together as an amorphous mass known as SUVs, in fact many of these cars boast very different virtues. As a general rule they make good family cars but if you have specific requirements it's quite easy to isolate the best options.

The best SUV in different categories

The all-rounder: Audi Q3

The Q3 combines a premium finish with practicality and efficiency. It's spacious enough for four adults but its compact footprint means navigating a tight multi-storey poses no problems. The Q3 is also a great drive, both on the open road or if you're just zipping around town. It looks good and feels good.

The king of SUVs: Land Rover Range Rover

The iconic Range Rover was the first luxury off-roader and is arguably still the best. Each version is an improvement upon the last, combining premium comfort with awesome performance and great style. It's expensive but is very much a case of getting what you pay for.

The sports SUV: Porsche Macan

The Macan manages to repeat what the Cayenne defied the odds to achieve, offering genuine driving thrills together with the ability to carry a family in comfort. It's as practical as it is clever, and styled to show a flash of 911 spirit. It's pretty expensive compared with many of its rivals but is worth the extra.

The clean and green SUV: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

At one time SUVs were the gas guzzling number one enemy of the clean and green brigade, but how times change! The Outlander PHEV offers an electric range of 30 miles, meaning that those who use it for a short daily commute will enjoy almost non-existent running costs, while its clean and green powertrain makes it tax friendly too.

The seven seat SUV: Volvo XC90

The XC90 is huge but somehow understated, offering restrained luxury and premium build quality. It's crammed with clever modern technology and beautifully designed - this is the car that has turned Volvo into a premium manufacturer.

The funky SUV: Citroen C4 Cactus

The Cactus is affordable, compact and quirky looking. It's not really for sports or utility, but it is a very practical, comfortable and economical family car. Low running costs and a family friendly design make it an easy and rewarding ownership prospect.

The capable SUV: Land Rover Discovery

The Discovery can go anywhere. It's one of the few SUVs that really is a genuine, mud-plugging 4x4 but also offers everyday family car practicality. It's great at towing and can seat seven in comfort.

The family SUV: Nissan Qashqai

This is the car that exploded the SUV trend and remains one of the most family-friendly cars on the market. It's stylish, comfortable, versatile and affordable. There's plenty of standard kit too, making it really good value.

The smart SUV: BMW X3

There's plenty of scope for posing in the X3, with its smart cabin, smooth ride and very capable engine range. The BMW badge is pretty much a guarantee of quality but the X3 is quietly excellent rather than flashy.

The compact SUV: Renault Captur

The Captur's elevated ride height and cleverly designed, spacious interior bely its small footprint. It's like the Tardis inside, with plenty of room for the whole family and some entertaining personalisation options. It's not by any means an off-roader but always feels secure. The Captur is a competent little SUV with low running costs and chic, Gallic design.

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