The rise of the SUV continues. These are the automotive off-roaders scaling the highest heights…
Aston Martin DBX
If you are going to join a bandwagon, make sure you do it in style. Aston’s entry into the packed-but-still-seriously-profitable SUV market with the DBX is a smash hit. It has a gutsy 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet and is every bit as beautiful as a Bond car… only it is bigger, bolder and you won’t mind getting it mucky. Would James Bond drive it? Of course he would, because when it comes to 007-approved cars, nobody does it better than Aston Martin.
If you need something that’ll go up anything, through anything, and look peerless at anything, the Range Rover is your best bet. The original luxury SUV comes packing a choice of engines to suit everyone – from snarling V8s to quiet diesels and silky smooth hybrids. Comfort is of utmost importance, meaning the Rangie’s ride is more akin to a Rolls-Royce, albeit one that’s more capable than a trusty old Defender. The latest model is pretty easy on the eyes too.
A real life Tonka toy, the spirit of the first Land Rover reincarnated at half scale, or just plain cool? However you classify it, the Jimny is a head-turner that won’t break the bank. It looks best in highlighter yellow, and you’ll want it to be bright because it’s so small and other drivers might miss it in anything more subtle. It’s not the most comfortable on road, but it’ll take you o’er vales and hills with no problem at all.
Wherever you stand on coupé SUVs, you can’t deny Audi’s Q8 is an attention-grabber. It’ll do all the off-roading most people will want it to do, sure, but really it’s for gliding around town in style. Geared more for on-road use and people moving, it’s smooth, quick, and laden with enough toys to keep driver and passengers entertained for miles. While it looks like it’s built for cruising around LA, it fits surprisingly well in Oxfordshire.
In a rare, but not entirely surprising model expansion, Rolls-Royce’s first SUV is pretty impressive. Much like its more traditional stablemates, the entry fee is high, but so is the quality. It’s huge and looks as a Roller should – massive, imposing, and like it doesn’t care for anyone’s feelings. A 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 provides 563bhp and 627lb ft, more than enough to shift its 2.6 tonne bulk from 0-60mph in five seconds. Being a Rolls-Royce, it does everything oh so silently.
It’s won pretty much every award out there, and not without reason. Jaguar’s first EV, the I-Pace, is an impressive bit of kit. With looks from the future and a powertrain from the technologically advanced present, Jag’s EV SUV will get you from A-B at speed and in comfort. Unsurprisingly for an EV it’s unrelentingly fast, which will wipe away any nasty day at the office. Straight out the gate Jaguar has managed to give EV stalwarts Tesla a good run.
Its badge isn’t dripping in luxury heritage, or any heritage on our shores for that matter, but the Dacia Duster is easily one of the best SUVs money can buy today. For not much money at all you can have a good looking, easy to drive, rugged, capable motor. On the road it bobs along quite happily, powered by a range of small but potent motors. It’s not the last word in tech, but you won’t be wanting for connectivity options.
There’s no shame in valuing safety above all else, but Volvo’s XC90 at least makes safety a smidge sexy. Swedish design cuts a fine figure, while a range of eco-friendly but potent motors provide enough shunt to amuse. It’s big, so your family will be comfortable on long trips. Being a Volvo it’s as safe as they come, so if the worst happens you should walk away relatively unscathed. The “S” in SUV here is less “sport” and more “safety”.
Ford Ranger Raptor
More pick up than SUV, but there’s space enough to take a family of five in the cabin, and all their stuff in the load bay. Its party piece is how well it can drive quickly off-road – Fox Racing shocks mean that the ride gets smoother the faster you go over terrain that’d make most cars weep, and comedy burnouts are available on request. Its diesel motor will get it to 106mph, but it’ll do it on any surface.
Credit to British GQ.