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7 of the best large SUVs to buy for 2017/18

By Paul Connolly

The choice of 4x4s these days is really quite staggering.

From the lumbering large beasts of the jungle, to smaller compact SUVs not much bigger than a hatchback, new or used, there’s something for every taste.

You even get decent off-road ability in most ranges nowadays – although of course some marques are more genuine mud-pluggers than others.

Ironically enough, it is often the very features that 4x4s evolved to help them out of muddy tracks that have endeared them to family buyers in our towns and cities.

Particularly appealing is the high driving position, loads of interior space, ingenious cubby holes, and other design features that make them very usable.

There is basically a 4x4 to suit everyone these days and the array of choice can be bewildering even at the top higher end of the market.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide of the best of the larger SUVs on the market.

We have mixed up premium vehicles with more affordable ones, to give a range that will appeal to a range of budgets.

Amongst the traits we admire in larger SUVs are value for money, all-terrain ability, safety, towing ability, boot size and equipment.

Extras like a seven-seat option can be attractive, but the key issue in any decision to purchase a large SUV is your lifestyle.

Do you tow often, or live up a steep and snow-prone country lane? Perhaps you have a large family, or you’re a sports coach who would appreciate those extra two seats in the boot.

If so, then a large SUV could well be for you.

Here are some of our favourites (prices are approximate and may change due to discounts, etc.):

1. Range Rover Sport

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If you can afford to run it, the Range Rover Sport is luxurious and massively capable, with off-road and towing abilities that are well-nigh unbeatable. This is particularly true of the second-generation model, which was a distinct improvement on the first. Even the entry-level SDV6 (from £62,000) is powerful and reliable and features an all-aluminium chassis. Seven seat option available.

2. VW Touareg

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Pictured: The VW Touareg

Large, sumptuous and more affordable than the Range Rover Sport, the Touareg is a brilliant choice as a premium yet practical 4x4. It’s a great motorway cruiser, yet also a versatile tower for horse boxes and other heavy trailers. It might not be the deftest steer in heavy traffic, but that won’t worry everyone.  From £43k.

3. Mitsubishi Shogun

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If you’re looking for a more affordable large SUV, one that you can trust for power and ability, you might try the Mitsubishi Shogun. Yes, it’s more rugged than the two above, but it has reliable technology, a hard-wearing interior, boasts a towing capacity of up to 3,500kg and has a serious work ethic. Available with a short or long wheelbase, it is great for loading, lugging and pulling heavy objects and is nearly unstoppable in the wild. From around £30k.

4. Renault Koleos

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The Koleos, Renault’s new entrant into the larger SUV market, is a real looker that’s loaded with the latest tech and driver assists. It’s not just a pretty boy, however - Renault’s competent ALL MODE 4x4-i four-wheel drive technology, and 210mm of ground clearance giving you plenty of pulling power should you ever find yourself in mud, ice or snow. From £27.5k.

5. Jaguar F-Pace

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Jag’s lovely entrant in this class is designed to take the fight to the likes of the Audi Q7 and BMW X3 and X5. It’s great to drive, has a roomy, sophisticated interior, a large boot and powerful engines. There’s also a nice range of trim levels. From £30k.

6. Volvo XC90

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Another contender against the premium Germans, Volvo’s large XC90 is a very accomplished all-rounder in terms of quality cabin, engine efficiency, roomy interior and sheer driving pleasure. It’s packed with the latest tech and there is a super-efficient hybrid version as well. From £48.5k.

7. Hyundai Santa Fe

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The Santa Fe is a spacious family SUV that has a quality interior and lots of the latest technology and driver assists. It comes in 4WD only, and there is a seven-seat option.

It has an upmarket feel and plenty of leather and chrome inside that helps it compete with rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

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