IT’S a smaller margin of victory, but the F-pace wins again. It looks great, while the interior is well equipped, practical and upmarket. The chassis delivers the best blend of ride and handling, and its punchy diesel makes up for with pace what it lacks in ultimate refinement. And while other cars appeal more financially, the engaging Jag has the edge in a class where owners buy with their heart as much as their head.
THE Mercedes misses out by a narrow margin. It looks smart, oozes upmarket appeal, will cost business owners the least to run and is available with some attractive finance deals. It’s also fast, refined and comfortable, especially on the optional air suspension. But it’s not as practical or as fun to drive as the Jag, and you have to fork out a lot to get an infotainment system that’s up to scratch.
THIRD place is no disgrace for the Q5, but in this class the play-it-safe approach and bland character mean it fails to stand out. The Audi is still a desirable choice, with its beautifully executed interior, decent infotainment, reasonable running costs and – inconsistent ride excepted – excellent refinement. It’s well built and capable, but doesn’t feel like much of an advance over the old car.