Spoiled for choice in our love for the SUV
IT’S no secret that Irish car buyers have a soft spot for SUVs.
An SUV has to combine the family-car virtues of safety and comfort while offering greater space and practicality. They also offer a commanding view of the road ahead and look good parked outside your house.
The best SUVs are surprisingly fuel-efficient, too, while some can seat seven and all have big boots.
While some SUVs are as talented off the beaten track as they are on the road, a large proportion are expected to stay on tarmac, having been chosen for their desirability rather than functionality. To account for this, many are offered with a road-biased two-wheel-drive setup, which keeps fuel consumption and emissions low, making these cars markedly less expensive to run than 4x4s of old.
While Irish drivers are spoiled for choice when it comes to SUVs, here’s a quick look at some of the best available so you can compare som eof the specs if you are considering buying an SUV for 2019.
PEUGEOT 3008 SUV
Its desirable looks and high-quality build are enough to impress, while its efficient petrol and diesel engines bring low running costs that take the Peugeot 3008 straight to the top of the class.
It has a bigger boot than a Nissan Qashqai, a futuristic in- terior and loads of standard kit, with more available optionally. Although there’s no four-wheeldrive option, all-weather tyres and clever traction control provide grip when the going gets tough, so the 3008 is an easy car to drive, while safe and spacious enough for the whole family.
The 3008 is bound to win motorists over with its all-round appeal. It’s a genuinely classy contender and safe, too, with a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating.
SKODA KODIAQ SUV Slotting into the range above the smaller Skoda Karoq, the Kodiaq is a real grown-up SUV, with mature, no-nonsense styling that adds a real feeling of class. This continues inside, where high-quality materials abound and everything is well laid-out.
With a seven-seat option on SE spec and above, the Kodiaq is a great car in which to be a passenger. The driver doesn’t lose out, either – it’s enjoyable to drive, with plenty of power from petrol and diesel engines shared with other Skoda, SEAT and VW cars.
In five-seat mode, the Kodiaq will take 620 litres of luggage, while four-wheel-drive versions mean it can accommodate even the most active of family lifestyles. And all this with Skoda’s enviable reputation for quality and reliability.
JAGUAR F-PACE SUV Traditionalists were apprehensive at the thought of Jaguar launching its first SUV, but the F-Pace turned out to have such a depth of ability, you’d think the company had been building cars like this for years. Key to its success was that its sister company Land Rover provided the SUV know-how, while the valuable essence of Jaguar was left undiluted. The result is that the F-Pace offers a driving experience closer to a sports car than a traditional off-roader.
It’s also an incredibly handsome car inside and out that’s instantly recognisable as a ‘Jag’. There are 2.0 and 3.0-litre engines that’ll suit most buyers, while a 3.0-litre petrol provides Porsche-baiting performance. Its SUV credentials are bolstered by loads of space for five adults and a huge boot. However, this doesn’t come cheap, of course.
VOLVO XC90 SUV
The Volvo brand was once synonymous with safety and to rekindle this reputation Volvo has stated it aims to ensure noone is killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars by 2020.
With the latest XC90, it’s certainly on the right path – the car features sufficient autonomous technology to make it the first Volvo that can effectively drive itself. The technology works well, and takes steering, braking and acceleration responsibilities away from the driver in slow-moving traffic, if desired. There’s also a huge portrait touchscreen mounted – tablet-style – in the centre of the dashboard, where it looks fantastic while working really well. With seats for seven and a boot with lots of useable space, it’s all wrapped up in an understated work of styling that exudes Scandinavian cool.
SEAT ATECA SUV
It’s SEAT’s first-ever SUV, but the SEAT Ateca has already made a huge impact. It owes its existence to the Volkswagen Tiguan and uses many of the same parts.
Buyers can choose between two petrol and two diesel engines, with two or four-wheel drive and manual or automatic gearboxes. The SEAT is also cheaper than the VW Tiguan, although you’re better off skipping straight to the Ateca SE, as the entry-level model lacks a few features you might want.
As you go up the range, the Ateca’s standard equipment is about on par with the Tiguan, but the SEAT has the shout as the better value choice.