In Depth

Best SUVs 2017: new Porsche Cayenne joins the lineup

A host of new models went on sale this year. Here are some of the best on offer

SUVs appear to have been on an endless upward trajectory over the last few years and 2017 has been no exception.

Four-by-fours can take on many different shapes and sizes, with the likes of Alfa Romeo bringing rear-wheel drive dynamics to an all-wheel drive chassis on its new Stelvio while Audi seeks to offer customers a premium driving environment with the second-generation Q5.

Here are the best new 4x4s on the market this year.

Porsche Cayenne
Porsche Cayenne 2019

While Porsche’s new third-generation SUV bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, it has a very different interior that’s packed with technology and advanced driver assistance systems.

In standard models, the new Cayenne comes with a 12.3ins touchscreen infotainment system that’s located in the centre of the dashboard, according to Car Buyer. Behind the steering wheel are two digital gauge clusters, which are separated by an analogue rev counter in the middle.

The cabin’s design is inspired by the company’s Panamera four-door coupe, says Evo. The Cayenne sports a “slick and clean-looking interior in contrast to the previous car’s button-laden dash.”

All generations of the SUV offer “enormous performance”, says Auto Express, but the latest version is the first to have a “more attractive and modern interior.” While it’s not the cheapest car on the off-roader market, “there’s no denying its all-round ability.”

Prices for the premium SUV kick off at £55,965 for the base spec model. The figure rises to £68,330 for the faster Cayenne S.

Audi Q8
Audi Q8

Audi Q8 concept

AUDI AG

The Audi Q8 concept, which it debuted at the Detroit Motor Show, is the first glimpse of the range-topping SUV that will go on sale next year.

It's expected to rival the Range Rover and BMW X6, as it combines the size of a large SUV with a coupe design, and features a long, sweeping tail light that denotes Audi flagship models and could indicate a direction in styling for future models. 

Under the bonnet sits a 3.0-litre turbocharged engine paired with an electric motor to produce 443bhp and 516lb-ft torque. The E-Tron badge under the front grille could also suggest further electrified power trains in the future.                                                                                                                      

There's no word on pricing, but expect it to cost a little more than the Q7's £64,950. Pre-orders may open at the end of the year. 

Range Rover Velar

Car makers frequently offer a sneak preview of their new vehicles months before unveiling them, which is why Land Rover's unveiling of the Range Rover Velar just a week before the Geneva Motor Show came as a surprise to many.

The SUV sits in the "white space" between the smaller Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, the company says, and is expected to rival the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLC.

The Velar combines the high-riding driving position of the Sport with the coupe-like silhouette of the Evoque. Its wheel arches are bloated for a more muscular stance, while the body width tail light cluster is used to make the SUV look low and wide.

Land Rover will only sell the SUV with an all-wheel drive system, which can be paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Low traction launch and hill descent both come as standard, helping the car find grip in challenging conditions.

The Range Rover Velar is now available and costs £44,830. That's around £15,000 more than the Evoque and £15,000 less than the Range Rover Sport.

Click here for more details of Land Rover's new mid-size SUV.

Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda's Kodiaq SUV is now on sale, with prices starting from just £21,495 for the basic S-Line trim. 

As standard, the Kodiaq comes with a front-wheel drive layout with five seats, with all-wheel drive, seven-seat options available higher up the price range. There's masses of storage space, as five-seat models boast a 720-litre boot and a respectable 630-litres for seven-seaters. Folding all the seats down in the back also opens up a 2,065-litre cargo bay. 

There are five engines to choose from - two diesels and three petrols - as well as an array of gearbox options. Both diesels are 2.0-litre units and are available in either 148bhp or 187bhp form, while petrol options comprise two 1.4-litre motors and a 177bhp 2.0-litre model. 

Click here to read all the details on Skoda's new Kodiaq SUV

Renault Koleos

Renault has launched an all-new version of its flagship Koleos SUV, which is available to order now with deliveries expected in the summer.

It uses the same production platform as the Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai, which are both part of the Renault group, says Autocar, and comes with an 8.4ins ride height and 458 litres of boot space, making it a promising alternative to the more premium SUVs that dominate the market.

Inside, buyers can expect satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay on all models, says AutoExpress, while a Bose sound system and an 8.7ins touchscreen infotainment system can be specced as optional extras.

There's also lashings of leather throughout the cabin and a panoramic sunroof, adds the magazine, as well as 18ins alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control.

Prices start from £27,500 for the entry-level Dynamique 130, while range-topping Signature 175 models with all-wheel drive cost £34,200.

That makes it around £6,000 more expensive than the Skoda Kodiaq, but it's significantly cheaper than its German rivals the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC.

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace                     

The Allspace, which debuted at the Detroit Motor Show, is a longer version of the regular Volkswagen Tiguan with enough room for seven occupants.                                                                                                                   

The extra length allows for a 730-litre boot, says CarBuyer, a "115-litre boost" over the regular model. Fold the seats down and that figure rises to 1,770-litres, the site adds. 

Visual tweaks such as a redesigned front and rear end help distinguish the Allspace from the regular model, while Volkswagen says it will have a "much enhanced" standard specification, although there are no details of what that might include just yet.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo was arguably the centre of attention in the motoring industry last year, with the launch of its driver-focused rebranding strategy via the Giulia saloon. This year sees the addition of the Stelvio, its first entry into the SUV market built on the Giulia platform.

The Stelvio launched with two engine configurations comprising a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit and a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, although the latter is only available on the range-topping Quadrifoglio model.

Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that sends power to the rear-wheels. However, in more challenging driving conditions, torque can be shifted towards the front axle for better traction.

Click here to read all the details about the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Volvo XC60
Volvo XC60

Volvo

Volvo's new mid-range SUV the XC60 enters the market as a rival to the likes of the Jaguar F-Type and Audi Q5.

It "leads the class" when it comes to interior design, says AutoExpress, with its "stunning" cabin featuring a nine-inch portrait screen in the centre console, which has been revised over previous versions to make "navigation a little easier".

While occupants sit lower in the XC60 than in the larger XC90 sibling, the driving position "feels good" and most of the cabin's materials feeling "of the highest quality", adds the mag.

"Safety equipment is also comprehensive and innovative," says CarBuyer, as the XC60 comes with autonomous emergency braking and "a system designed to avoid head-on collisions". There's also an optional "Pilot assist", which offers basic driverless functions.

But with a boot space of 505 litres, it falls behind its Jaguar F-Pace rival, continues the mag, as Volvo's focus on styling has compromised luggage capacity.

Autocar reports that prices start at £44,450.

Audi Q5

Audi has introduced its second generation Q5 SUV for 2017. While it may not look as if much has changed, the German carmaker has built the SUV on a lighter production platform and redesigned the interior to match its luxurious Q7 sibling.

Buyers are given the choice of four diesel units, including a range-topping 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with a power output of 283bhp and 457lb-ft of torque. There's also a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol unit, boasting 248bhp and a claimed 41.5mpg.

In addition, Audi has added a range of autonomous systems, such as lane assistance on motorways and automatic accelerating and braking. Owners can also spec a "Pre-Sense City" emergency brake, which applies the brakes if a pedestrian strays into the road.

It's a "comfortable car, with a smooth, forgiving ride", says What Car?, and the interior feels high-quality and is packed with technology.

Car magazine says the addition of air suspension means the Q5 is more suited to challenging conditions than the previous version. It handles better, too, adds the mag, although "sportier Q5s prefixed with S and RS" should improve this later in the car's lifecycle.

Click here to read more about the Audi A5 SUV.

Land Rover Discovery 
Land Rover Discovery

Copyright 2016

An all-new Land Rover Discovery launched in 2017, priced between £43,495 and £68,295.

The Discovery features a significantly lighter aluminium architecture designed to improve handling and perform better on challenging terrain. The addition of Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium diesel engine should mean it's cheaper to run, too.

Land Rover has packed the new car with the latest off-road and interior technology, including smartphone connectivity through an infotainment display and the ability to attach eight devices to the car's 4G wi-fi hotspot.

Find all the details on the Land Rover Discovery here.

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