After last issue’s £2.5m, 1,479bhp Chiron excitement, this month it’s time for something a little more real-world. Sorry. We can all admire the Chiron’s capabilities and boundary-redefining engineering, but it will be the preserve of the exclusive few. In stark contrast, the stars of this month’s cover represent the diversity of the fastest-growing sector in planet car, the SUV.
Last year, SUVs accounted for more than a quarter of new-car registrations in Europe, while globally they were even more prolific. Car manufacturers keen to capitalise on this booming segment have reacted and created an SUV to target every possible buyer, and there’s more to come. The SUV market has become so fundamental to an automotive brand’s future success that even those for whom creating an SUV would have been laughable just a few years ago are currently trying to wrestle their hard-won brand DNA into a whole different set of dimensions.
Rolls-Royce is looking to get muddy and redefine off-road hyper luxury with the Cullinan. Meanwhile, later in the year, we’ll see if it’s possible to successfully migrate the Lamborghini aesthetic and 54 years of Italian performance car credibility to the segment in the shape of the Urus.
SUVs are nothing new, with the 1935 Chevrolet Suburban being widely acknowledged as the forefather. Built on a truck chassis, featuring 90bhp and with bench seating for eight, it established a number of the key metrics of the SUV as we know it today: a higher driving position, some off-road capability and seating for you and your extended family.
This month, the plan was simple – gather the broadest set of SUVs together and spend two days testing them until we found the best SUV in the world. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Many miles, some mud, one recalcitrant dog and a few arguments later, we had a winner – a car that encapsulates the flexibility and capabilities you expect from an SUV. If we’re honest, we were as surprised as you will be with the result, but that’s “democracy” and TG maths for you, and, while the pricetag will make you wince, you can’t argue with the winner’s capabilities.
If you want a distraction from the SUVs, don’t worry – normal service is resumed elsewhere in the mag, as Chris Harris deploys the mildly sweary Ferrari FXXK.
Enjoy the issue,