A car expert shares her 10 top picks
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From Volvo, to Renault, to Mercedes.
Search for “best SUV’s 2021” is up 365% year on year, showing a huge demand in interest for the large, family-style cars.
For those of you knew to car jargon, SUV is an acronym for Sports Utility Vehicle. It’s used to refer to typically four-wheel drive cars that sit high off the ground and sit anywhere between four and seven.
Best SUVs 2021: 10 top picks
1. Volvo XC90
It’s the biggest, and best, family SUV, but this sort of comfort and style comes at a price, and the XC90 is also one of the most expensive seven-seat SUVs out there. But if your budget will stretch to this Scandinavian beauty, don’t think twice: lovely wools, open-pore wood and pale leathers complete the airy interior and there’s a large touchscreen. You can get it as a diesel, petrol or plug-in electric version and a pure electric one is on the way in 2022.
New to market, this SUV has a coupe-style roof for a slinkier silhouette. That normally means less headroom in the back but not here: Renault has worked its magic on the packaging to give rear passengers plenty of room.
There are two petrol hybrids to choose from: a mild hybrid and a full E-Tech hybrid which gives you an energy boost off the line and brings down your emissions: you don’t get pure electric driving in either of them, but if lowering your emissions is your priority, this is a family-friendly choice that’s easy to drive.
This electric SUV is unbelievable value – electric cars are normally significantly more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts, but the Enyaq iV (iV denotes Skoda’s electric cars) costs what you’d expect to pay for a normal SUV this size. Buy it in 60 or 80 guise – the numbers relate to battery size, which dictates power and range: you get up to 333 miles with the larger one.
4. Kia Sorento
Demand for this new version of the seven-sear Sorento has been huge, so get your order in now. Great design, inside and out, plus a lot of space and kit for the money has made this car excellent value. Go for the plug-in hybrid version with up to 35 miles of electric-only driving range, especially if you get a company car, where it really makes financial sense from a tax point of view.
5. Mercedes EQA
This pure electric, small SUV has a surprisingly large and comfy interior and is fine for a young family. The interior is very plush, with the best touchscreen system around, and cool graphics such as a swipable gallery showing your smartphone music library. The satnav system is one of the best in the business too, and at night you can choose from 64 colours of ambient lighting.
The Macan sits below the Cayenne, in size and price, and is the perfect sporty SUV for many women with busy lives who love their cars. While the standard version doest feel very exciting on the nove, the flagship GTS sets that right with a pleasing growl from the exhausts and acceleration that does’t give up. You can also choose bright red plastic frames for the ventilation in the front and rear, and matching seatbelts.
This is the daddy of them all: expensive, large, loud, Italian, powerful, fun to drive, and very, very fast. That’s because essentially under the bonnet there’s a Ferrari engine, and boy does it feel and sound like you’re driving a supercar. But one that’s got room for the teenagers in the back and all their games kit, shopping and bags in the large boot. We love it in red: go large or go home.
Volkswagen’s first pure electric car was the ID3, essentially a plugged-in Golf, and the ID4 is their first electric SUV. It looks big, bold and glossy outside, with futuristic touches inside like the all-white steering wheel and rocker switch to change driving mode on the side. It is quiet and smooth to drive, and can take you up to 310 miles between charges.
If we all bought cars on their design alone, the new Defender would surely be top of everyone’s list. Offered in a range of very cool colours, from golds to greens, blues and back to black, with contemporary technical materials and light leathers inside, it’s the complete package. You can add ladders, roof tents, laptop racks, a third jump seat up front… it’s an endless box of toys and the best off-roader in the world.
10. Peugeot 5008
Peugeot warms our hearts these days with great design and a good record for reliability that has pushed it up into Volkswagen territory, so you no longer need to worry about buying one. The steering wheel sits low, beneath the display, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road and feel like you’re driving something sporty. There are seven seats for large families.