2018 is undoubtedly the Year of the SUV. No longer simply for the mid-range manufacturers, big boys like Bentley, Porsche and even Lamborghini have offered up their own takes on the SUV, while there’s also some superb budget options around too. But with the market so saturated, it can be hard to know where to start. So here’s our comprehensive breakdown of the best SUVs money can buy in the UK in 2018!
What Is an SUV?
So what exactly is an SUV? SUV is short for Sport-Utility Vehicle but you’d be forgiven for thinking that doesn’t really help much. SUVs were first rolled out in the 70s and 80s, though they weren’t called as much until long after. The original SUVs were fitted with four-wheel drive and were built for rugged terrain and outdoorsy lifestyle. Essentially, we’re talking Jeeps here.
They usually had a large interior and a large boot space, and sometimes even had a pickup bed in the back – that’s where the ‘utility’ bit comes from. The idea was that while they were useful for off-roading and practical for a number of functions/activities but they were also far more car-like to drive than trucks – that’s where the ‘sport’ bit comes from.
Fast forward thirty – forty years and the word ‘SUV’ encompasses so much more than what we think of as traditional off-roaders. While some are, not all modern SUVs are four-wheel drive, in order to reduce weight and improve fuel economy. They are, however, relatively tall and wide. And while most come with some sort of off-road capability, SUVs are also now a firm favourite among families thanks to their robustness and superior comfort.
So with so many options, each with a different purpose and function, here’s what we think are the best SUVs available in the UK…
Range Rover Velar
Price: From £45,850
Earlier this year, the Range Rover Velar was named ‘the most beautiful car on the planet’ at the 2018 World Car Awards. And it’s not hard to see why. The Velar, which went on sale in summer 2017, is the fourth Range Rover to be launched by Land Rover and shares its name with the company’s first SUV prototypes. Designed to fill a gap between the Evoque and the Sport, the mid-size luxury SUV is simply one of the most attractive SUVs we’ve ever seen and it has a performance to boot too. It’s all in the detail with the Velar, such as the use of sustainable seat material as an alternative to leather. Book yourself a test drive today.
Price: From £165,000
If you ever needed proof that the SUV was taking over, Lamborghini launched their first ever model this year in the Urus. Unsurprisingly right in the top bracket when it comes to price range, the Urus has styling that’s influenced heavily on Lambo’s line-up of coupes – there’s just some extra doors, seats and trunk space. Whether you’re a fan of the Urus’ look or not, there’s one thing that’s undeniable. It’s powerful. The 4.0-liter V8 engine with two turbochargers promises 650bhp, 0–62 mph of just 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 190mph. Off-road capability is also offered, with Lambo giving the SUV a sophisticated four-wheel drive system as standard.
Price: From £27,610
Paving the way for a new generation of compact SUVs, the award-winning Volvo XC40 combines cutting-edge technology with sleek Scandinavian design for an SUV perfect for city dwellers. Unsurprisingly, the drive is extremely comfortable and the cabin is incredibly well organised – hardly a shock given it’s been built by swedes – but it does also pack some power if you manage to make it out of the 30mph zones and you’ve not got the kids screaming in the back. It’s also relatively cheap given the amount of tech Volvo have managed to pack in!
Price: From £9,995
While it might be right at the bottom end of the SUV price bracket, you probably wouldn’t know it after driving the all-new Dacia Duster. The UK’s most affordable SUV might not come with all the bells and whistles of some of the others on our list but it can certainly hold its own when it comes to comfort and performance. We also happen to love updated styling too. But forget the unbelievably affordability, the Duster comes with 27.2 litres of storage in the cabin – perfect for family holidays.
Price: From £29,050
Another compact SUV for your consideration, the X2 is BMW’s attempt at appealing to the younger members of their clientele. And it mostly succeeds in doing so. Look-wise, it’s sleek, sporty and fun enough for a younger audience. Performance-wise, it’s nippy too and also handles superbly. There’s also a whole load of tech to play with, including an optional full-colour HUD, active safety systems and self-parking. It’s also available in 4WD if you want a true SUV experience without the bulk.
Price: From £23,430
It might not be new but it’s hard to ignore the Peugeot 3008 when looking at the best SUVs around in 2018. Since its launch, the Peugeot 3008 SUV has won more than 45 international awards, including the prestigious European Car of the Year Award 2017. It was also named Driver Power’s ‘Car of the Year 2018’. Why? Simply put, it has everything you’d want from a small-to-mid-sized SUV. Looks? We think the Peugeot 3008 is sleek, aggressive and daring for an SUV. This, along with the interior styling and gadgets make the 3008 feel almost upmarket. Like all great SUVs, it’s practical too, with plenty of space in the front and an impressive boot capacity too. The ride and handling are also decent too. What more could you want?
Price: Estimated around £65,000
But if you’re just putting the feelers out and are happy to wait a while, one SUV to look forward to is the Audi Q8. Officially unveiled this year and set for release in December, the sporty, technology-stuffed premium SUV looks the absolute bee’s knees. Combining a luxury coupe styling with large SUV bodywork, the Q8 features an imposing grille and distinctive new HD Matrix LED headlights for something high-end. In numbers, we’re told the Q8 will chuck out 286PS and deliver 600Nm of torque. It will also accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds and max out at 144mph. We’re hearing all the right things…
If you’re after a road trip with your new SUV, here are some of the most spectacular scenic coastal driving routes on the planet!