- Best SUVs
Best SUVs 2022
The best SUVs will be on many buyers' shortlists, and for good reason because they offer something for everyone: practicality, ruggedness, comfort, technology and design.
SUV stands for 'sport utility vehicle'. The boundaries of what is officially classed an SUV have blurred over time. Traditionally, an SUV was a car like a Range Rover, with a high seating position and four-wheel drive providing off-road capability. Now, not all SUVs are four-wheel drive and most drive a lot like a normal car. We usually consider the best SUVs as fairly big cars – often with seven seats – while smaller SUVs like the Volkswagen T-Roc are often referred to as a 'crossover' vehicle.
While the SUV market is a diverse one, the best SUVs featured here have some key factors in common. They all boast MPV-like practicality, high-up seating positions and big boots. Some are four-wheel drive, some are two-wheel drive, while many are available with a range of petrol, diesel and even hybrid engines.
While not all the cars in this list are built to tackle treacherous terrain, all of them have enough capability to deal with anything the average family car buyer would encounter: rough dirt tracks, badly surfaced country lanes or muddy field car parks. If you need more off-road ability than that, why not check out our list of the best 4x4s and off-road cars?
We think that the cars below are the best SUVs you can buy right now. So whether you're looking for a large family SUV with bags of space of something that'll fit in with your active lifestyle, you'll find it here. Read on for our guide to the top SUVs on sale right now...
Year launched: 2018
If you're in the market for an SUV that'll make you feel good every time you drive it, look no further than one of BMW's X models. Some of the best SUVs going, they range from the BMW X1 to the X7, with the odd-numbered cars being the more practical choices and the even-numbered cars more style-focused and sportier.
You won't go far wrong with any of them, really, but our pick of the bunch is the X3. It's a mid-size SUV that rivals the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5, and does what BMW does best. That means it's brilliant to drive, no matter which engine you choose, while the interior feels a cut above mainstream competition.
If we had one criticism of the BMW X3, it's that the most desirable models are loaded with expensive optional extras. But look out for a well-specced model on the used market and the original owner will have taken care of the depreciation, meaning you can bag a bargain.
Year launched: 2020
The Kia Sorento has changed markedly over the four generations it's been on sale. Where once it was a cheap but plain workhorse, it's now a seriously appealing all-rounder. We reckon the latest model is one of the best SUVs you can buy today, especially if you need a lot of space. All models come with seven seats and, unusually, they can all comfortably carry an adult.
On the face of it, the Sorento is significantly more expensive than competitors like the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008. That's because all Kia Sorento models are powered by punchy hybrid or diesel engines, while all are four-wheel drive and come with an automatic gearbox. And sure, a Land Rover Discovery Sport might appeal due to its premium badge and lifestyle image, but the Sorento is significantly bigger and more practical.
Really, the Sorento straddles both mainstream and premium SUV sectors because of the design, quality and technology on display. If you want a seriously luxurious Sorento, look for a top-spec '4' model. This is lavishly equipped with ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof and window blinds for the second row.
Year launched: 2015
If you're looking for a truly luxurious 7-seater SUV, the Audi Q7 should be on your shortlist. It's simply huge, meaning there's a massive amount of space for all three rows of passengers as well as a big boot. It's certainly one of the best large SUVs you can buy, and because it's been around for a few years there are some good deals to be had.
Audi's attention to detail is impeccable, with lots of neat touches and superb finishes everywhere you look. And it's very comfortable – the kind of car, in fact, that could transport you across continents and leave you feeling as fresh as the moment you set off.
A big car needs a big engine. Our pick of the bunch is the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine which is available with two power outputs: 231PS or 286PS (badged 45 TDI and 50 TDI respectively). Both are plenty punchy enough for most drivers, although there's also the SQ7 range-topper with its thunderous 4.0-litre diesel V8 engine (later switched to an equally thunderous twin-turbo petrol V8).
Or, if you cover a lot of town driving, look for the TFSIe badge. This means it's a plug-in hybrid pairing a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with an electric motor. The only downside with that one is you can only have it as a five-seater, which is a shame.
Year launched: 2019
The SEAT Tarraco is a relative newcomer in terms of SUVs, so we wouldn't blame you if you hadn't heard of it. It's very similar to the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, but with a bit of Spanish flair chucked in. In true SEAT style, it's more fun to drive than most of its rivals, and it won't cost a great deal to run either.
There's a range of petrol and diesel engines available. Although it's not fashionable to say so, our choice would be a diesel – the 2.0-litre diesels provide a useful amount of grunt, especially if you regularly drive with a car full of passengers or plan to tow a caravan.
It's not the most practical of SUVs, particularly if you actually need to use all seven seats, but it's more versatile than cars like the SEAT Ateca or Nissan Qashqai. SEAT doesn't really go big on options, which makes looking for the perfect used vehicle that little bit easier. All models are well-equipped, but we reckon the mid-level SE Technology strikes the right balance between desirability and affordability.
Citroen C5 Aircross
Year launched: 2019
It sometimes feels like carmakers forget what buyers really want in an SUV. So many try very hard to look stylish or drive like a sports car, but people often buy cars like this because they want to carry all their family in comfort. The Citroen C5 Aircross does this very well indeed.
For a start, it's one of the most comfortable SUVs on the market today. The seats are squidgy and plush and you sit rather high up, giving you that feeling of safety (and allowing you to see over hedgerows). Citroen's clever suspension means it soaks up lumps and bumps exceptionally well, too. No, it doesn't handle with much sharpness, but if it did it wouldn't be as comfy.
And it's also incredibly practical. Its boot is one of the biggest in an SUV of this size, while the three individual rear seats should prevent any arguments about who has to sit in the middle. You can slide the rear seats backwards and forwards, too, allowing you to prioritise passenger or boot space.
It's just a shame that Citroen doesn't offer a seven-seat C5 Aircross – if you need more seats, look at the bigger Peugeot 5008 or Skoda Kodiaq instead. The Citroen's pricing seals the deal if you only need five seats, though: it was affordable when new and is great value used.
Land Rover Defender 110
Year launched: 2020
If you're in the market for an SUV that can take you across the Serengeti, look no further than the Land Rover Defender. The latest model, on sale since 2020, is very different from the long-selling original model. But different isn't necessarily a bad thing – it retains some of the original's character, but is brought thoroughly up to date in every way. Oh, and if you really want to go off road, no other SUV featured here will keep up with a Defender when the going gets tough. It's simply the best SUV for going off-road.
The brilliant thing with the new Defender is that, while the old one was fantastic off-road and terrible on it, the new car is seemingly excellent in both environments. There's excellent levels of comfort and refinement, and while it doesn't exactly have sports car-like responses, the handling is stable and assured. The engine range offers something for everyone, too.
Land Rover initially launched the Defender with four-cylinder diesel and four- or six-cylinder turbo petrol engines. We'd recommend the later 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesels for their smoothness and swift performance, while a bonkers 525PS V8 petrol motor is sure to win Top Trumps competitions. There's also a plug-in hybrid model with an electric range of up to 27 miles.
You'll pay strong money for a Defender but residuals are good, so you'll also get a decent chunk of it back at resale time. You can buy short- and long-wheelbase models, badged the 90 and 110 respectively. We'd opt for the latter – it's a lot more practical, even if there is an appeal to the pint-size Defender 90.
Year launched: 2017
How does a stylish yet understated SUV with a superb interior that's great to drive sound? That'll be Mazda's CX-5.
It's a bit old-fashioned in some ways. The petrol engines are big old-naturally aspirated units that aren't as punchy or as efficient as smaller turbocharged rivals (you can get a 2.5 petrol that's only marginally quicker than 1.5-litre Ford Kuga) and the media system is operated via a rotary controller when moving rather than a touchscreen.
Still, sometimes going against the norm is a good thing. And it's hard to underemphasise how good the CX-5 looks to our eyes – find one in a good colour and it'll turn more heads than a premium offering like a BMW X3. Talking of premium, the Mazda CX-5's cabin is simply superb, with loads of classy materials and big, comfortable seats. It's practical, too, although it's a shame you can't buy a seven-seat version.
But the CX-5's biggest pull is the driving experience. With excellent steering, composed (even fun) handling and a well-sorted ride, it's as if Mazda injected some MX-5 DNA into the CX-5.
Year launched: 2016
If you're serious about getting the most bang for your buck, head straight down to your nearest Skoda dealer. The Skoda Kodiaq is packed with clever ideas that will make family life easier – from the second row of seats which slides back and forth to the umbrella in the doors. It's the perfect car for someone who needs a people carrier but doesn't want a people carrier.
Avoid the weedy 1.4-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engines; the diesels are much better suited to the Kodiaq. You can get one with two- or four-wheel drive (go for the former unless you're planning to lug a caravan across a muddy campsite), and there's even a sporty vRS model if you're really not over your Max Power days.
A new Skoda Kodiaq starts from around £27,000 (making it one of the most affordable SUVs to feature here), but you can pick up a lightly-used example for as little as £15,000. It's definitely the best SUV for the money.
Year launched: 2018
If you still associate the Volvo brand with boxy old estate cars or three-box saloons, you're in for a shock with the XC40. It's the smallest (but also the most stylish) of the firm's SUV line-up and it's one of our favourite premium SUVs on the market today.
The XC40 just oozes Scandinavian style while some bold colour choices will mean it's sure to turn heads. The interior is equally impressive, and see if you can hunt one down with the optional orange seats if you really want your passengers to be impressed by your boldness (or question your senses).
Being a Volvo, the XC40 is an extremely safe choice, which makes it a very desirable family SUV. There are a wide range of engines to pick from... including punchy petrols, frugal diesels, a plug-in hybrid and even a fully-electric model. Which one you go for will depend on your needs, but we reckon the 163PS T3 petrol strikes a sweet spot between performance and economy.
Year launched: 2021
As perfectly competent as the old Hyundai Tucson was, with the best will in the world you wouldn't call it interesting. Hyundai obviously decided it wanted to make a scene with the new version, with what is probably the most distinctive design in the class.
Love it or hate it, in the ever growing sea of mid-size SUVs on the road the Hyundai Tucson definitely stands out. What's more, there's plenty of substance as the Tucson is more spacious than most of its rivals, with loads of head and legroom for passengers and a big 577-litre boot. There's plenty of neat storage solutions, too.
Combine that with a high quality interior, sharp and fast infotainment system and a comprehensive choice of petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engine options and it's clear to see that Hyundai didn't skimp on development costs. It's even good to drive - not fun exactly, but stable, refined and smooth.
What is an SUV car?
SUV stands for 'sports utility vehicle' which is about as clear as mud. Traditionally, an SUV combined characteristics of four-wheel-drive off-roaders with the road manners of a hatchback or saloon car. Today, SUVs are ultra-fashionable choices with stylish looks, high seating positions and, usually, a much bigger boot than an equivalent hatchback. They're often available with four-wheel drive but many are now two-wheel drive.
What's the best SUV in the UK?
The best SUV on sale depends on your requirements. If you just need a lot of space for your money, we'd recommend the excellent Skoda Kodiaq as the best SUV you can buy right now. If you can stretch the budget to a BMW X3 or Volvo XC40, we doubt you'll regret it – they're two very desirable premium SUVs with stylish looks and versatile, well-finished interiors.
What's the cheapest SUV on sale today?
The cheapest SUV on sale today is the Dacia Duster. Prices start from as little as £14,000 for the base Essential model, which does without unnecessary extras like alloy wheels, climate control and electric windows for rear-seat passengers.
Are SUVs 4x4?
All 4x4s are considered SUVs these days, but not all SUVs are 4x4. Make sense? Probably not, but nowadays what matters in an SUV is its style, high driving position and practical body. The majority of SUVs you'll see on the road are two-wheel drive.
SUVs heycar recommends
xDrive30d xLine 5dr Step Auto
- 25,459 miles
- Motorpoint Glasgow
- Glasgow City, G329QA
Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £544.01, Customer Deposit: £4,799.00, Total Deposit: £4,799.85, Optional Final Payment: £13,433.00, Total Charge For Credit: £5,274.20, Total Amount Payable: £37,273.20, Representative APR: 8.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 8.54%, Excess Mileage Charge: 14.4ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000
xDrive20d MHT M Sport 5dr Step Auto
- 6,610 miles
- Stephen James Bmw Enfield
- Middlesex, EN11SW
Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £674.41, Customer Deposit: £6,149.00, Total Deposit: £6,149.25, Optional Final Payment: £19,855.83, Total Charge For Credit: £8,614.43, Total Amount Payable: £49,609.43, Representative APR: 10.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 10.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 11.21ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000
xDrive20d M Sport 5dr Step Auto
- 25,323 miles
- Stephen James Bmw Ruxley
- Kent, DA145BG
Finance is available. Speak to the dealer to find out more