Motoring heaven: 10 of the best SUVs and crossovers for 2019
From tough genuine off-roaders, to smooth-as-silk urban gliders, the rise of the SUV has been one of the car industry's success stories.
But with so many choices on offer, where do you start? To help you out, we've compiled a list of ten genuinely versatile SUVs to suit every pocket.
All of these models make great second hand purchases also and retain good residual values.
All our choices also make great family cars, and some have genuine pulling power and off-road capability.
The choice is now vast in this segment, so do your research and see what's good for you and your situation.
Do you, for example, need a car with significant towing power? Or perhaps you want seven seats for transporting family and friends. Or maybe you do genuinely need to go off-road?
As always, shop around and negotiate for the best price.
Hyundai has revamped its Tucson SUV, in a mid-life refresh that include new design features, improved powertrains, advanced technology and better safety equipment levels.
The Tucson's UK return in 2015 was a welcome replacement for the short-lived ix35.
This was a strange move as the original first-generation Hyundai Tucson, on sale from 2004-2009, was a good motor that sold relatively well.
However, it was replaced in most markets outside South Korea and North America, by a second-generation car branded the Hyundai ix35. You'll still see plenty of them on our roads, and they're a decent used car choice.
However, for some reason the Tucson name was resurrected or the third-generation car, which went on sale towards the end of 2015.
It was a welcome move, the new Tucson being roomier, bigger and better equipped than the outgoing ix35.
Hyundai has now issued an updated version of the third-generation model to better reflect new trends and technologies.
The Tucson is an all-round vehicle with a ton of use scenarios, including for families, businesses and people with active lifestyles.
All models come with Hyundai's 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty, Roadside Assistance package, 5 Year Annual Health Check, and 12 Year Anti Corrosion Warranty. From £22,060.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
All Land Rovers are great off-roaders, but the new Discovery Sport has been making headlines for both its usability and its luxury. There’s a 5+2 seats option as well.
It has a premium interior, excellent all-terrain ability and an amazing amount of sheer practicality.
The ‘Disco’ Sport rides high – which is a feature that many motorists love – higher than many of its rivals; this lends great visibility both in town and in actual terrain driving.
Since it’s a Land Rover, you can be reassured that it’s mud-plugging ability is significant; this thing will tackle pretty much most terrain normal people are likely to throw at it.
As well as this, the cabin manages to pull off the trick of being both high-quality and very practical.
The Discovery Sport might be the entry-level variant in the mainstream Land Rover range, but it isn’t short on those things that Land Rover customers love: robustness, practicality, style and usability.
If you need a mid-sized SUV to genuinely go off-road, and one that, despite its premium badge won’t break the bank, this likely is the vehicle for you. The range starts from £30,160 for a Discovery Sport Landmark Edition.
The Honda CR-V is the biggest-selling mid-size SUV on the planet, shifting up to 3.75 million models since 1995.
It’s now upon us in fifth generation guise, and it’s more than just an update – this is an all-new model, featuring petrol-electric hybrid versions, a seven-seat option, and improved interior quality, refinement and spaciousness.
There’s also a new chassis aimed at delivering a more engaging driving experience and comfort, plus genuine off-road capability as well, according to Honda.
On top of this there are better engine options and a raft of new tech, meaning this model is the best yet.
Honda has abandoned the diesel option in favour of a choice of hybrid powertrains.
The hybrid has a 2.0-litre engine and a brace of electric motors.
The new model gets a fresh exterior design, with broader, more muscular wheel arches, sharper contours on the bonnet and rear quarters, as well as the latest Honda family ‘face’ with its signature headlight graphic.
Thinner A-pillars, sculpted front and rear bumpers, and under-engine and under-floor covers are all said to improve the car’s aerodynamic performance.
It is slightly larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase and wider stance that enable a “significantly roomier” cabin and “best-in-class” space efficiency.
Trim levels go from S, SE, SR and EX. There are seven-seat options in the SE and SR categories.
The CR-V range starts from £26,310.
With this smart crossover, Mitsubishi is signalling a change of intent away from its reputation for reliability and sturdiness, and towards premium quality.
The Eclipse Cross has an upmarket cabin, smart new looks and bags of kit and driver assists.
It’s keenly priced too, with entry level models starting from £21,930.
Standard spec across the range includes reversing camera, cruise control, lane departure warning, touch pad controller, smartphone link display audio and more.
It is available in three trim levels – Eclipse Cross 2, Eclipse Cross 3 and Eclipse Cross 4. There’s also a rather nice Eclipse Cross Black Edition.
Competitors include the Peugeot 3008 and Seat Ateca.
It fits into the Mitsubishi range above the ASX and below the larger Outlander, which in turn looks up at the famous Shogun 4x4.
The latest Eclipse Cross sports a brand new 1.5 turbo-charged petrol engine and comes equipped with a variety of innovative technology from entertainment to safety.
The interior is the most modern and well-equipped interior that Mitsubishi has offered to date.
Walk down any street in the UK or Ireland and you’re likely to see a Nissan Qashqai – if not several.
The Sunderland-made car has been a favourite among buyers since its conception in 2006, going on to dominate UK SUV sales.
Its second generation came about in 2014, which was subsequently given a mid-life refresh in 2017. Nissan refuses to rest on its laurels though and has now gone to refresh the engine line-up for the crossover.
The newest models look pretty much, to the casual viewer anyway, identical to the 2017 facelift.
New here is a refreshed engine line-up. with a 1.3-litre petrol engine co-developed with Daimler, available in 138bhp and 158bhp form. There’s also the option for a dual-clutch automatic gearbox on 158bhp models, making the Qashqai the first non-GT-R Nissan to get a DCT gearbox.
Inside, changes are limited to a new infotainment system, which Nissan claims to have benchmarked against the iPad, rather than competitors, from the start in an effort to develop the most user-friendly system possible.
The driving and cabin experience remain superb for this price point (which starts from £19,995).
The Peugeot 5008 has been around 2009, and it was a grand MPV popular with families.
But 2017 saw the transformation of the 5008 from people carrier to SUV.
And what a job the French manufacturer has done with it. It helps, of course, to have a brilliant template to base it on, and Peugeot did: its 3008 model.
The 3008 had been the subject of an inspired second generation makeover in 2016, and Peugeot wisely applied the same philosophy (and then some) to the 5008.
The result is a large premium SUV, with a quality build and a competitive price that sits at the pinnacle of Peugeot’s SUV range, and which I at least regard as the brand’s flagship vehicle.
It also comes with seven seats as standard, which will win it fans with families and others who need to ferry larger numbers.
The 5008 has already won a clutch of awards, including the ‘Best Large SUV’ at the influential 2018 What Car? Awards.
The entry-level Active models are very well specced for the price, and there’s arguably even better value one level up in award-winning Allure trim.
For those who want more power, there are three further sportier choices: GT Line, GT Line Premium and GT.
The Peugeot 5008 will appeal to a wide range of users, especially people who appreciate its superior quality, comfort, technology and attractive pricing point. The price starts from £26,259.
Renault is now fully settled into the SUV segment, with a range of offerings to suit pretty much most tastes.
There’s the small Captur, and the large Koleos. And nestling in between is the Kadjar, a stylish and roomy rival to the likes of the Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca.
Indeed, the Kadjar shares the underpinnings of the Nissan Qashqai, due to the fact that Nissan and Renault have a joint manufacturing agreement.
Both auto giants are careful to stress, however, that both cars are substantially different.
Whatever Renault is doing works: the Kadjar has notched up more than half a million sales to date worldwide since it debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015.
By now, with the Koleos ensconced above it in the SUV line-up, Renault is undoubtedly relaxed and competent in the crossover/SUV space, something that wouldn’t have been apparent a number of years ago, and this latest update to the Kadjar merely underlines the French manufacturer’s growing expertise in this segment.
The new Kadjar is more attractive and more stylish with dynamic contemporary lines.
It’s a great all-rounder but perhaps particularly suited to families juggling the demands of space, comfort, safety, tech and who will also appreciate its low running costs.
It’s a stylish alternative in a crowded field and the range starts from £20,600.
The five-seat Skoda Karoq is an affordable but practical compact SUV. It recently won a clutch of awards including Car Wow’s Car of the Year Value Award.
It’s roomy for a car of this class, with one of the biggest boots and an excellent rear bench that will comfortably fit three sizeable adults.
The Karoq replaced the ungainly-looking but much-loved Skoda Yeti, and builds on the Yeti’s success with its practicality and comfort.
As with all Skodas, you get Volkswagen Group engines, including trusty petrol and diesel choices.
Buyers can choose from a number of petrol or diesel engines, starting from an entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol to a range-topping 2.0-litre diesel in a variety of power outputs.
Transmission comes in the form or a standard six-speed manual gearbox, or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The interior is great; the ideal combination of roomy, premium and clever.
There’s a comfortable amount of room for four 6ft adults, and if you spec the optional VarioFlex system the rear seats slide and recline individually to help balance boot space and legroom.
Skoda does a thing called ‘Simply Clever’ which are small but significant things. For example, there’s an optional wireless phone-charging mat ahead of the gear lever, while little additions such as the sealed bin in the door pocket and tablet holders mounted on the front headrests are well-thought out – though these are options.
Prices for the Karoq start at £21,945 for an SE model. If you’re after something larger in the SUV market, head upstream to the Skoda Kodiaq, it’s well-specced bigger brother.
The XV is Subaru’s all-wheel-drive crossover, aimed at the average family – and young, active buyers – who may feel the need to traverse steep hills and rough countryside on occasion.
Subaru says this new model is aimed at younger drivers who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle.
However, the carmaker makes a point that it is “not a facelift”, but a complete overhaul of the previous XV. And it’s right, the XV is a super car: compact, well specced and great to drive.
It’s a very accomplished vehicle and anyone who hasn’t driven a Subaru before will be very surprised at its sophistication.
The XV boasts always-on Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the traditional Subaru Boxer engine and excellent all-round performance.
The tech is good, it’s reasonably roomy and its great value for money (the range starts from £25,325).
A host of safety tech is packed into the crossover, including the driver assistance system, EyeSight. Also equipped on the Outback, this set-up uses two cameras that capture 3D images to map out the road ahead.
This allows the car, depending on its speed, to avoid or reduce the severity of accidents. Subaru says the system acts as a “second pair of eyes for the driver”.
The XV also boasts an upgraded interior and reworked exterior, to give it a sportier and more aggressive look.
The XV has the capabilities to tackle pretty much anything that can be thrown at it, but it goes about it in a modest, refined way. It’s the new Subaru at its finest.
If you’re torn between a budget-minded compact SUV and the plusher, premium model you’d really like, then Volkswagen’s Tiguan could be the ideal solution.
It’s a high quality, well-priced package that’s smarter and more efficient that you probably realise.
The Tiguan has been a hardly foot soldier for VW for some years now, but it lacked a little bit of pizazz. However, all that has changed with the introduction of a new model that looks great, is packed with extras and drives fantastically on the road.
Where the old Tiguan was rather staid and ungainly looking, the new car is sleek, muscular and in tune with the company’s design language and other models, especially the larger Tuareg 4x4.
It has much better road presence even than the 2011 facelift, which did help lift the first-generation car, assisted by short front and rear overhangs.
It’s more upmarket as well. The new cabin is well-built, with better quality materials and a new, driver-focused instrument binnacle. Redesigned seats and soft-touch plastic add to the air of good old Volkswagen quality.
A slightly longer wheelbase over the first-generation car means you get improved space, including better legroom.
That longer wheelbase has also given the car better driving dynamics on UK and Irish roads.
Some would say it’s all the 4x4 you’ll ever really need. You can pick up a new model from £24,545 and for that money you’ll get an S trim 1.5 TSI EVO 2WD 130PS 6-Speed Manual 5 Door.
The trim with the highest performance is the SEL model with a 2.0 BiTDI 4Motion 240PS engine mated to a 7-Speed DSG gearbox. This one will do 0–62mph in 6.2 seconds. Pretty good for an SUV.