In Depth

Best SUVs on sale in 2019: Porsche Cayenne Coupe, Range Rover Evoque and more

From budget cars to supercar-inspired off-roaders, here are the best crossovers on sale today

Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are currently hot trend in the motoring world. Most of the industry’s big players offer some form of crossover in their range, including sports car maker Aston Martin and, in the next few years, Ferrari.

The SUV term once referred to cars that were slightly larger and sportier than conventional hatchbacks, but now there is a host of models to choose from. These range from compact city runabouts to large 4x4s designed to perform both on and off road. 

With so many models available, it can be difficult for buyers to find the right car for their needs. With this in mind, we’ve picked out the best SUVs on sale from all corners of the crossover market:

Audi Q7
Audi Q7

Audi Q7

AUDI AG

Motoring fans are always on the hunt for the world’s best car. While that “depends on quite a lot” of factors, WhatCar? boldly claims that the new Audi Q7 “makes a pretty compelling case for itself.”

The seven-seater SUV receives as “overhauled” infotainment system and a brand new interior plucked from the range-topping Q8 crossover, the reviews site notes. All versions get mild-hybrid systems, too, which switches the engine off when coasting. 

“The Q7 is an impressive family car,” hails Carbuyer. The SUV offers a mix of “practicality and luxury,” while also delivering “huge head and legroom for front and second-row occupants.” Even when the third row is in place, boot space is “still supermini-sized” and folding down the back row opens up a cavernous 865 litres of storage.

It can be fun to drive, too, though the Q7 prioritises comfort over driver engagement, the motoring site says. Coupled with a selection of “powerful” and optional four-wheel steering and the Q7 measures up as one of 2019’s top SUVs.  

Porsche Cayenne Coupe
Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Rossen Gargolov

The Porsche Cayenne SUV has been a sales hit since it first launched in the early 2000s. Back then it proved so profitable that the German carmaker was able to continue manufacturing its iconic – yet expensive to produce – 911 sports car, says Autocar

To capitalise on the car’s continued success, Porsche has released a Coupe version of the Cayenne for buyers looking for an SUV with sporty looks. 

What separates the Coupe from the standard Cayenne is its design. The Coupe’s roof is 20mm lower and slopes down towards the rear of the vehicle, says Evo.  

This means that the Coupe’s boot is slightly smaller than the standard car’s, but Top Gear argues that buyers are unlikely to choose the new model with practicality in mind. Instead, drivers will be drawn to the car’s sporty handling and sleek design.

“It remains one of the sharpest SUVs on sale and now comes in a package some customers will find impossible to resist”, Auto Express concludes.

There’s also talk of a souped-up RS version on the horizon, ideal for those looking for a more driver-focused SUV.

Orders for the new Cayenne Coupe are now open, with prices kicking off at £62,129.

BMW X7
BMW X7

BMW

Although its bold looks are still a matter of debate among fans, the new BMW X7 has proven a hit with the critics. 

The luxury SUV is “easy to dislike on account of its sheer bulk and those frankly monstrous kidney grilles”, but there’s “a lot to enjoy once you’re aboard the BMW X7”, says Car magazine. 

The cabin feels “suitably rich and luxurious”, with generous amounts of leather and “excellent” build quality, plus easy-to-operate dual 12.3in screens - one in the centre of the dashboard and the other displaying the car’s digital instruments behind the steering wheel, the mag reports. 

Despite weighing more than two tonnes, the X7 handles well through bends and is “fast enough to give decent agility”, says Auto Express. The SUV can be driven off-road, too, posing a serious challenge to the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover. 

All this tech and luxury doesn’t come cheap, though. Prices for the X7 start at £72,155, making it one of the more expensive models on this list.

Range Rover Evoque
Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover

While there are plenty of stylish SUVs on the market, buyers won’t find anything “as good-looking or as capable off-road” as the new Range Rover Evoque, according to The Daily Telegraph

Land Rover has made considerable improvements to the original car, which launched some eight years ago, says Auto Express. Buyers who opt for the range-topping diesel model will barely hear the car’s engine even when cruising along at 80mph, for example, while “strong levels of cabin isolation” will keep tyre and wind noise to a minimum.

The car’s interior has been completely overhauled and there’s now a greater focus on cabin technology, says Pocket-Lint. All the “unnecessary switchgear” has been replaced with a new dual-screen infotainment screen in the centre console and there’s a digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. 

But Autocar says the Evoque’s hi-tech cabin and new 48-volt hybrid system mean the new model is heavier than the outgoing car. The extra weight is noticeable on the road but the difference to the old car is minimal. 

Orders for the new Evoque are now open, with prices starting at £31,600.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Mercedes G-Class 2018

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class hasn’t received a major upgrade since the original model arrived in the late 1970s. This all changes in January, though, when an all-new model hits the showrooms. 

The SUV’s exterior design retains some of the boxy retro styling of the original model, though the introduction of LED headlights and the latest version of the Mercedes grille bring the car’s looks into the 21st century. 

The German carmaker has installed a “vast cross-dash touchscreen infotainment system”, plucked from the company’s range-topping saloons, says Auto Express. The car magazine describes the interior as “thoroughly contemporary”.

Ride quality and engine performance have been significantly improved over the old model, too, notes Autocar. The steering system has also been “noticeably” upgraded thanks to the addition of a new double-wishbone suspension set-up. 

Overall, the magazine concludes that, “for the first time in a 40-year existence, the G-Class is something normal people, doing normal things, could happily live with”.

Prices for the new G-Class C350d are expected to start at £94,000 when orders open in January. A performance-focused AMG G63 model is also available for £143,305.

Audi Q8
Audi Q8

The Week

The usual rule under Audi’s nomenclature is that the higher the number, the larger the car, but that isn’t the case with the company’s new Q8 SUV.

Based on the German car giant’s seven-seater Q7, the Q8 is a luxurious SUV that blends the styling of a coupe with the practicality of a crossover. The new car’s sleek design means it isn’t quite as big as its sibling, while giving the Q8 a sportier edge. 

These premium looks have been carried over into the interior. Buyers get Audi’s dual-screen infotainment system in the centre console as standard, as well as the sportier S-Line trim level,  with a racing-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel. There is also a choice of driving modes that slightly adjust the car’s handling.

The Q8 is proving a hit with the critics. Autocar says that despite the sporty focus, the range-topping SUV is “almost as smooth, comfortable and easy-going as its Q7 sibling”.

Meanwhile, Auto Express praises the Q8’s cabin design, noting that the sloping rear roofline doesn’t impact passenger headroom.  

Orders for the Q8 are open now, with prices starting at £65,000.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Adam Warner

Arguably one of the most significant cars of 2018 was the Rolls-Royce Cullinan

It’s the British marque’s first foray into the highly-competitive market and is proving to be a sales one year on. In fact, The Daily Telegraph says that demand is so high that the company’s order backlog runs into the first quarter of 2020.  

So how come the luxury SUV is attracting customers in droves?

Perhaps it’s the “vast cabin”, where the driver is “subsumed in luxury” the moment they step in the vehicle, says Auto Express. The Cullinan’s interior is adorned with “durable and water-resistant box grain leather”, akin to the materials used in “high-end Italian luggage and handbags”. Even the hi-tech features are “hand-crafted”.

Driving the Cullinan is a serene experience, too, thanks to “extensive soundproofing”, although drivers will still hear the “satisfying roar” of Rolls-Royce’s 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine under acceleration, notes the Daily Mail

Such opulence doesn’t come cheap, however. The Cullinan costs from around £250,000, and Rolls-Royce claims some buyers have ordered custom models worth in excess of £1m. 

But, as the order books suggest, the high price tag is hardly turning away customers.

Mercedes-Benz GLE
Mercedes GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE (BR167) 2018

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz’s latest crossover has been a big hit with critics. The original GLE received mixed reviews when it arrived in 2016, but the upgrades introduced on the new second-generation model is widely agreed to have transformed the mid-size SUV into a class leader. 

Car magazine describes the new GLE as a “carefully thought-out SUV that majors on technology and comfort”.

The option to spec a seven-seat layout should “prove invaluable for large families”, while the range of driver assistance modes are welcome additions for safety-conscious drivers, the motoring mag adds. 

The GLE also offers “outstanding” levels of engine and transmission refinement, says Autocar. But Mercedes’ “crowning achievement” with the new SUV is in masking “its considerable size and weight with truly impressive handling traits while delivering a cosseting and pliant ride”, the site continues.

Drivers who got behind the wheel of “the last GLE, or the M-Class before it, will absolutely love” the new model, which has no faults “worth mentioning”, concludes reviews site Digital Trends

Prices for the base-spec model start at £55,685.

Volkswagen Touareg
VW Touareg

Volkswagen

What makes the Touareg stand out from its rivals is the quality of the interior, which Auto Express calls a “masterpiece”. The cabin is packed with “lashings of metal” and leather, and feels as though it has been “built to last”, says the magazine.

The “superb” interior also features the latest in-car tech, including Apple CarPlay and a digital instrument panel. The cabin quality “sets a sky-high benchmark in the premium SUV class” and should give rivals such as the Audi Q7 and Range Rover a run for their money.

Volkswagen has extended the length and width of the new Touareg, creating a bigger boot and more space in the cabin for taller passengers, says Top Gear

On the road, the new SUV feels “refined”, and only a small amount of road noise finds its way into the cabin, says Parkers. Models fitted with the V6 diesel options are punchy, too, while the optional air suspension irons out bumps in the road with ease. 

Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq is one of the best SUVs on sale. It has the practicality and size of most large SUVs but comes with a hatchback-sized price tag. 

With prices starting at just £22,625, the Kodiaq comes with five seats and a 6.5ins infotainment screen as standard. An autonomous emergency brake, which automatically slows the car down when it senses an incident ahead, is also included on base models. 

You can spec the Kodiaq with seven seats, as well as wireless charging for mobile phones and a power-assisted tailgate. 

The Kodiaq isn’t just an impressive car when compared to other cut-price SUVs. Auto Express says the vehicle is “a great car in its own right”. It’s “good to drive” on British roads and offers “great value for money” when compared to its rivals, the magazine says.

Volvo XC90
163853_all_new_volvo_xc90_inscription.jpg

All-New Volvo XC90 Inscription

Volvo has a number of SUVs in its range, but the largest and most luxurious variant is the XC90. 

Now in its third generation, CarBuyer says the XC90 combines all the hi-tech features that Volvo is known for with “one of the most handsome” designs in the SUV market. 

The Swedish carmaker offers its Pilot Assist II with the XC90, which includes active cruise control and a lane departure warning system, according to the magazine. The feature comes with an autonomous mode that controls the car at speeds of up to 80mph. 

Prices start at £49,905.

Lamborghini Urus 
Lamborghini Urus

Lamborghini

Given the popularity of SUVs, it was only a matter of time before a supercar maker got in on the action.  

The Lamborghini Urus is one of the most powerful SUV available. It has a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces a supercar-rivalling 641bhp and 627lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels, helping the crossover achieve 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, and on to a top speed of 190mph.

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