Starting life as military vehicles, SUVs have grown in popularity over the years – particularly in the UK. The same extends to large SUVs, which initially found a large-scale audience in America. It’s easy to see why. Typically, these cars are:

  • Practical, with lots of cabin space
  • Comfortable and roomy
  • 5 or 7 seaters
  • Capable on and off-road
  • Great for towing
  • Useful for the great outdoors
  • Very handy for big families

Choosing an SUV: Large vs Mid-sized vs Small vs Crossovers

With the popularity of SUVs at an all-time high, the market is keen to meet customer demand so there’s a sports utility vehicle for pretty much every kind of need or want. If you decide a big car’s not for you, have a look at our list of The Best Small SUVs. Equally, if you want a sports utility vehicle with better fuel economy, check out our top 10 of The Best Hybrid SUVs.

Here are some useful points to remember about different SUV body sizes:

  • Large SUVs tend to offer 7 seats
  • Small SUVs and crossovers offer better fuel economy
  • Large SUVs often prove more capable off-road
  • Crossovers and smaller body types can be easier to drive and park in the city
  • Large SUVs usually come with larger price tags
  • Mid-sized SUVs tend to sit neatly between the two

Top 10 Best Large SUVs

All the cars on this list scored an impressive five stars out of five in Euro NCAP safety tests, with the exception of the Mercedes GLS, which has yet to be tested at the time of writing. However, the Mercedes GL-Class did score five stars and the GLS is a facelift of that car, so should score just as well. Read on to discover our pick of the best large SUVs.

1. Peugeot 5008

The Peugeot 5008 was recently awarded the overall winner in the large SUV category in the prestigious What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018. It also came third in our top 10 of The Best 7-Seater SUVs. It’s a fantastic car that comes packed with useful safety features like active lane keeping assistance, active blind-spot detection and adaptive cruise control with stop/start technology. There’s a good selection of engines that offer great mileage, ranging from 55-69mpg, and it offers a comfortable and relaxed driving experience. As you’d expect from a car this size, it’s also very roomy, although the third row of seats is best reserved for shorter legs.

Best features:

  • Award-winning large SUV
  • Well-equipped
  • Comfortable and spacious

2. Volvo XC90

Like the Peugeot 5008, the Volvo XC90 was a top finisher in our list of The Best 7-Seater SUVs, coming in second place behind the Land Rover Discovery. Clearly then, the XC90 is an impressive car. It’s spacious, comfortable and offers a practical 451-litre boot. Its safety rating with Euro NCAP is impeccable too, scoring 97% for adult occupant protection and 100% for safety assistance technology. You’ll be impressed with how it drives too, proving easy and agile in the city and relaxed on the motorway. Of course, typical of a Volvo, it’s more mature and refined than outright fun.

Best features:

  • Good to drive
  • Impressive safety features
  • Spacious and comfortable

3. Land Rover Discovery

The Land Rover Discovery provides those true off-road capabilities, whilst being just as impressive on the road. Add to that formula a cabin spacious enough for an adult to sit in every one of the seven seats and you have a top performing large SUV. Yet, that’s not all the Discovery has to offer. It’s also refined and luxurious, providing a relaxed ride. Bear in mind though that this is a big car, and it drives like a big car, which won’t be to everyone’s liking. The size of the Discovery certainly adds to its practicality, as does its excellent 4×4 ability, making it great for large families and countryside enthusiasts.

Best features:

  • Excellent off-road
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Very practical

4. Porsche Cayenne

If the main thing you look for in a car is how well it drives, the Porsche Cayenne is the best in its class. The steering is sensitive, sprightly and responsive, there’s immense torque under the bonnet and the car can shift fast – very fast, in fact. It’s a lot fun to drive, too (not just “for an SUV”). Naturally, as a Porsche, it looks the part too. The interior’s classy, spacious and comfortable, offering true luxury and refinement. The pricing matches the Cayenne range, but if you have that kind of budget, it’s certainly a great addition to your lifestyle.

Best features:

  • Best driving experience in class
  • Badge appeal
  • Luxurious and refined

5. BMW X5

Continuing the premium large SUV theme, the BMW X5 provides similar brand appeal with a nice interior and a sleek, stylish design. Like the Porsche Cayenne, it’s also good to drive with enjoyable handling, although it doesn’t come close to the fun factor of the Cayenne (but then not many SUVs do). The X5’s four-wheel drive system makes it easier to drive on tarmac, particularly in bad conditions, but it’s not overly spectacular off-road, although it does manage. Then again, when your car looks this good, would you want to get it dirty?

Best features:

  • Well-equipped as standard
  • Brand appeal
  • Good to drive

6. Audi Q5

Again, like the Cayenne and the X5, the Audi Q5 proves that not all large SUVs have to handle like a tank. It’s a surprisingly agile car that offers a very refined and comfortable ride. All versions have four-wheel drive to add to their practicality too. As you’d expect from Audi, the cabin’s also roomy with plenty of space for five adults. In addition, the boot matches competitors at 550 litres. Better yet, it comes well-equipped as standard with entry-level trim kitted out with cruise control, parking system, heated front seats and an infotainment system.

Best features:

  • Well-equipped
  • Good to drive
  • Refined build quality

7. Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq is a large SUV that features frequently on numerous top 10 lists, and with good reason, too. It has a reasonable starting price, you get a lot of car for your money, it’s economical and it comes well-equipped as standard. It even manages to give the more expensive brands a run for their money, which is astonishing at its entry-level retail price. For large families, it’s a practical choice, especially as it’s an optional seven-seater. You can also choose to have it as a 4×4, with raised ground clearance and decent towing capabilities.

Best features:

  • Good value for money
  • Well-priced
  • Smart looking inside and out

8. Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

If you’re looking for a large, luxury SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class certainly fits that bill. The interior is incredibly roomy and even with the third row of seats in place you get an impressive 295-litre boot. Fold those seats down and that extends to a huge 680 litres. Despite this, it’s quite easy to drive, with light handling. Another surprise is how generously equipped it comes, from the lane tracking technology to the front and rear heated seats. The GLS certainly has the level of refinement you’d want from a Mercedes, but if running costs are your main focus point, you’re probably best avoiding it.

Best features:

  • Very spacious
  • Well-equipped
  • Refined

9. Volkswagen Touareg

The Volkswagen Touareg doesn’t have a seven-seat option, but what it does with five is just as impressive. Then again, it would have to be to compete with the like of the BMW X5 and Audi Q5 (which it does very well). For your money, you get a high-quality cabin, plenty of interior space, including legroom and headroom, and a 580-litre boot with no lip and a wide opening. For its size, it even offers decent fuel economy, around 40mpg. The entry-level also comes well-equipped with useful tech, such as cruise control, dual-climate control and front and rear parking sensors.

Best features:

  • Well-equipped as standard
  • High-quality cabin
  • Very spacious

10. Hyundai Santa Fe

Unlike the VW Touareg, the Hyundai Santa Fe comes with seven seats as standard. It’s a fair bit cheaper too, but then its main rivals are large SUVs such as the Skoda Kodiaq, which actually makes the Sante Fe a little more expensive than its competition. Nonetheless, it provides lots of passenger space and plenty of equipment as standard. It’s comfortable too – something you can tell has been a focal point, especially with the relaxing way it drives. Unfortunately, there’s only one engine to choose from and it’s not particularly fuel-efficient. Yet, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a good all-rounder with a lot to offer.

Best features:

  • Good all-rounder
  • Well-equipped
  • Relaxing to drive
Back to articles January 3, 2019

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