Nissan Qashqai New Car Deals

AutoeBid’s Basic Guide to SUVs

Added safety and increased luggage space are two good reasons why British drivers are flocking towards SUVs, or Sport Utility Vehicles.

There’s also the high seating position, which adds a sense of security and refinement, as well as the ability to handle more demanding terrain, from muddy fields to – for the most accomplished vehicles – craggy outcrops.

Factor in a tendency for SUVs to come equipped with adhesive four-wheel drive powertrains and increasingly polished road manners as our engineering prowess marches on and it’s not hard to see why nearly every manufacturer now offers this kind of vehicle.

The result is that there’s almost too much choice. An SUV can no longer be explained away as “something like a Land Rover Discovery” and, in fact, there are four distinct sub-species that cater to different needs and situations. We’ve detailed them below, including example cars from each sector, to help you order the right vehicle.



Crossovers are about as far from a Toyota Land Cruiser as it’s possible to get, and the majority are bought as an alternative to family hatchbacks, like the Volkswagen Golf.

As such, manufacturers know that serious off-roading is unlikely and most crossovers come with front-wheel drive and standard road tyres. The real focus is on seating a family of four or five in safety and comfort, with plenty of room for bags and a raised ride-height to counter car sickness (seriously) and make journeys more pleasant.

The best cars in this segment come in the form of Renault’s Captur, the Nissan Qashqai, and even the Citroen C4 Cactus. Ford’s Kuga, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the BMW X3 are also counted among the crossover ranks, with some offering more all-terrain ability than others. They’re omnipresent on British roads, but there’s a good reason for that.

Small SUVs


The transition between crossovers and small SUVs is a little blurry, but it comes in the form of cars like the Toyota RAV4 and Land Rover Freelander. They generally cost a little more than crossover SUVs and come with more kit, including four-wheel drive, heightened suspension, and (sometimes) a strengthened chassis.

The Volvo XC60, Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque are also popular competitors in this class, and for the vast majority of British drivers their blend of fuel economy, performance, and refinement on the daily commute with year-round driving security is reason enough to commit.

Sports SUVs

BMW X5 Deals

Sports SUVs are ubiquitous. They’re large cars with reasonable ground-clearance and good off-road ability, but they’re really built to crush tarmac. Porsche’s Cayenne, the BMW X5, and the Range Rover Sport are perhaps the most popular in the segment – good-looking practical cars but very much at the premium end of the market.

The breadth of engine choice in this segment is enormous, too. In top-spec the Range Rover Sport Supercharged develops 503 bhp from a 5.0-litre V8, while at the other end of the spectrum BMW’s six-cylinder diesel unit will return a heady 47.9 mpg combined in the X5. Some makers also offer hybrids, and there’s a wave of powerful plug-in hybrid models on the horizon.

More often than not when these cars come unstuck off-road it’s down to the type of tyre they are shod with rather than the ability of the four-wheel drive system. They draw a lot of abuse from the public as road-hogging gas-guzzlers, but that simply isn’t the case most of the time. Their owners love them.

Large SUVs

Range Rover Deals

These cars are big and expensive, with the full complement of the low range gearings, wading capabilities, knobbly-tyres, and huge ground-clearance should you want it. They are, by and large, absurdly capable.

More often than not, however, large SUVs are bought for their barge-like qualities and not for their ability to conquer almost any terrain. The latest Range Rover is a case-in-point. Most examples are dripping with high quality leather and ride on 21 or 22-inch wheels, with a starting price north or £70,000. They’ll rarely see a slippery 20-percent slope, but that’s fine because they were bought with other pursuits in mind.

Cars such as the Mercedes-Benz GL and the Audi Q7 are built and marketed in a similar way to the Range Rover, but there is a tonic (from the same company, ironically). The Land Rover Discovery still manages to come across as thoroughly utilitarian despite its luxurious cabin and fancy trim. Those in search of the ultimate no-frills beast should look at the 2,900 kg Toyota Land Cruiser.

View the best Deals and Discount on the Nissan Qashqai

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