Once largely disregarded, dismissed and generally ‘dissed’ as nothing more than ‘Chelsea Tractors’, the once-shunned SUV is now omnipresent; and long-since bridged the divide between the perceivable have’s and have nots of this world. No more do we glance up from our medium-sized family hatchbacks and glare enviously at Lord and Lady Muck types swanning around town in their Range Rover Sports, because we too now find ourselves on the same level with said enemy of the state. Albeit in an SUV which doesn’t require a mortgage to purchase and admittedly doesn’t brandish a large letter B at the front-most part of the bonnet. Or ‘L’ for Lamborghini or ‘RR’ for Rolls-Royce by the same token.
But that’s not to say that our very own preferred (and affordable) choice of four (wheel-drive) wheels isn’t an object of automotive beauty, despite its resolute far-eastern heritage. And while our high street version of the vehicular high life might not boast an on-board cocktail cabinet or shotgun rack, it does all the other things one would expect from a cross-over.
The question, and this is aimed more at the man and woman on the street, rather than those currently sat in their ivory towers being served high tea by Jeeves – is this. Just which sports utility vehicle should you get? Yes, a toughie indeed. Tougher than a Suzuki Samurai and Lada Niva put together (a little utilitarian 90s pre-lifestyle SUV throwback there). But as always, we have choices in this life. Like for example when we decided on which SUV we want and then, say 6 months down the road of ownership, an unexpected bill crops up. Not with regards the new car, obviously, but elsewhere in our busy lives and times.
Should you find yourself a bit tight in the funding department, then one of the best ways of freeing up some spondulees is making that new SUV work for you in other ways. Logbook Loans are a popular choice for lenders here in the UK, whereby borrowers transfer ownership of their vehicle to the logbook lender as security for a loan. And of course, the newer/greater the market value of the vehicle, the larger the loan figure. It’s what you might call a win/win situation when you think about it. New car, logbook loan to get you out of a financial scrape, and away you go.
But back to the not inconsequential matter of the brand new SUVs you’ve yet to set your sights on. And moreover, which one you should plump for when you’re confronted with the cream of the new crop. In ascending order we’ve compiled what we believe to be a broad ‘Top 5 SUV’s’ to pique your interest; and which cover all potential budgets. There are others out there, but we reckon this line-up cater for all tastes as well as wallets.
Suzuki Jimny: Price from £13,000 (estimated)
After 21-years of loyal and commendable service to the European holiday hire car industry, Suzuki’s plucky, sturdy and entry-level little off-roader is being replaced. By a new version of the Jimny. And rather than reinventing the wheel, Suzuki has decided not to fix what never broke in the first place on its no-nonsense, rugged baby SUV. But instead afford it a contemporary face-lift and square off the edges a little more. What manifests is a Fisher-Price Mercedes G-Wagon for all intents and purpose. Yet priced in the region of just £13k according to early indications.
Skoda Vision X: Price from £16,000 (estimated)
Skoda always gets it right, don’t they? And once again the once laughable Czech upstart will bloody more noses of the established SUV order once the brand new Vision X is released next year. To a certain extent jumping on the accepted bandwagon whereby a growing list of crossover vehicles fuse together the mechanical underpinning more akin to a compact hatchback with the loftier dimensions and aesthetics of a bone fide off-roader, Skoda has taken the fight to the Seat Arona, Kia Stonic and Citroen C3 Aircross. Also, weighing in significantly less than its bigger brother, the Karoq, the Vision X appears to have a lot more of the ‘Evoque’s’ about its persona too; to help juxtaposition it with a new audience craving both substance AND style. What’s more, a hybrid engine is mooted.
Nissan Juke: Price from £15,750 (estimated)
OK. It’s struck the fear of God into small children for the best part of a decade and is without question the most Marmite of SUVs, but nonetheless you simply can’t overlook the merits of the Nissan Juke. And that’s despite it sharing its mechanical bits and bobs with – of all things – the latest Nissan Micra. But when you talk about value for money, comfort levels, capaciousness and equipment as standard then the cross-over competition is seriously eating the Juke’s tyre smoke. Always has been, and will once more in the shape and form of its recent guise.
Land Rover Defender: Price from £30,000 (estimated)
If you’re the sort of person who likes to think outside the box, then turn away now. However if you’re the type who hankers after a bit of ‘Blade Runner’-style vehicle exteriors, then take a look at the shape of things to come from Land Rover. Usurping the original Defender model, the 21st Century newcomer – also known as the DC100 concept car in previous incarnations – first had its covers whipped off in 2011. Although that received mixed reviews at the time, we have every reason to believe that the born-again Defender will maintain its historic off-road provenance yet found beneath the skin of something far more Range Rover-y.
Audi Q4: Price from £30,000 (estimated)
If you don’t so much like keeping up with the Jones’ next door as much as eclipsing their #lifegoals then look no further than the end of your drive. And on it could be sitting one of the most talked about new SUVs launched in 2019; namely the all-new Audi Q4. Essentially going head-to-head with the BMW X2 from launch, the Q4 (while box-ticking SUV sensibilities) is something of a mongrel. In as much as it’s an automotive blend of high-riding SUV and a low-slung coupe. Arguably a niche which is set to explode going forward, yet one which Ingolstadt are determined to steal a march on. And with a range of competitively-priced petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and electric motors, we’re expecting big things from this relatively compact number.