1. Ford Kuga
Ford make a wide variety of affordable, quality, family vehicles. It therefore came as no surprise when they released the Kuga SUV in 2008. The Kuga was never designed to be a full-on off-road vehicle, hence the cars sporty, stylish looks. It also happened to be based on the ever-popular, best-selling Ford Focus hatchback meaning it is easy to drive, and drives like a car - a welcome characteristic in a high-riding, stylish SUV vehicle. The Kuga also features an impressive, premium interior, notable list of safety features and top marks safety rating (Euro NCAP five-star).
The Kuga has a choice of either two or all-wheel drive, and a variation of engines available, including the most commonly chosen diesel, and the latest EcoBoost petrol engines - which are also pretty economical and are a welcome option for those not wanting a diesel engine. Being a Ford, the Kuga boasts excellent practicality, a choice of trim levels to suit multiple budgets and good used residuals.
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2. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a veteran in the SUV game and has been with us since the mid '90s, with its popularity only growing stronger over time - with each new generation. It has always been hugely practical, which is perhaps the most important factor for consumers when buying a SUV. The CR-V also provides excellent reliability of which the whole Honda range is renowned for. Team this with excellent build quality and refinement, its comes as no surprise that the Honda CR-V is still a hugely popular SUV. Boot space is huge, and interiors are spacious and typically filled with impressive technology and infotainment.
The CR-V is offered with two and four-wheel drive and with a manual or automatic transmission, depending on preference. Commonplace diesel and petrol engines fill the range, with diesel engines offering better economy, but tend to be more expensive to buy.
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3. Nissan Qashqai
The Nissan Qashqai was the pioneer that started the whole family SUV trend back in 2007 for the more mainstream manufacturers, so it simply had to make the list. Nissan's conventional hatchbacks were nowhere near as popular as their rivals around 2007, therefore, Nissan decided to create the Qashqai as a fresh alternative to the regular family hatch.
It paid off - with the Qashqai being a best seller thanks to its spacious cabin, comfortable ride, sharp looks, great build quality, low-running costs and high levels of kit. What's more, the Qashqai is highly reliable and offers a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Although the Qashqai is classed as a small SUV it's still got huge practicality with a large boot and plenty of space for passengers, both upfront and in the rear.
Economy is decent with some models achieving 40mpg plus and diesel 50mpg plus. As the game-changer the Qashqai has gone on to win multiple awards for best small SUV, and from the evidence, it's easy to see why.
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4. Kia Sportage
Kia have upped their game significantly with each new generation of the Kia Sportage. It has always managed to keep the same principles - such as being brilliantly spacious (has one of the largest boots in its class), comes as standard with impressive levels of kit and is priced much lower than other SUV/4x4s - most of which have lesser spec, and are less practical. The Sportage has definitely matured with age, and the latest versions are a good looking, stylish, premium feeling SUV that still represent excellent value for money.
What's more, Kia offer an unbeatable 7-year warranty on all new Kia's - which is passed on with the car, meaning used examples are a superb purchase, and shows the confidence Kia have in their models, as no other manufacturer can match the length of warranty given by the South Korean manufacturer.
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5. Vauxhall Mokka
The Vauxhall Mokka has been around since 2012, a time when many manufacturers started to take note of the hugely popular SUV market, as consumers wanted something a bit more stylish than the average family car. In 2016 the Mokka had a facelift, and the SUV changed its name slightly to the Mokka X. Both models are more suited to the school run, than hardcore off-roading, but typically most SUV buyers have no interest in venturing off-road. Instead, the lure of the either Mokka or Mokka X raised driving position, roomy interior, impressive levels of kit as standard and the image of an SUV all make it hugely popular - and it does look a lot more striking than a stereotypical family car.
Both pre-facelift and current models are available in manual and automatic transmission, with diesel and petrol engines available - both offering decent economy. Used Mokka models are readily available, and being a model from the Vauxhall range, used prices represent decent value for money.
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