Since its introduction (seemingly half a lifetime ago, but who’s counting), the XC90 vaulted to the top of the ‘sensible family car’ list. And that’s in spite of the fact that it’s an SUV.
And that’s all down to clever touches – Volvo uses space and technology in ways that architects (and Star Wars directors) could learn from. So while it’s no larger than any other large SUV, there’s space for seven people and near-countless things inside, more toys than a daycare center and the option of a hybrid powertrain that somehow offers both 450hp and 10km/L. The fact that it looks good while doing it just seems like adding insult to the injury it’s inflicted on lesser rivals.
Yes, the Cayenne. Say what you will about the Cayenne’s image, clientele or qualifications for being a ‘real Porsche’, it remains the driver’s choice in its field. Or indeed in whichever field you find yourself in, assuming you’ve obtained permission to be there from whoever actually owns it. Or is that against the spirit of off-roading?
In any case, the latest Cayenne is the lightest, fastest and best-looking one yet. Which, if your arguments against SUVs tend to go along the same lines as ours – that they’re fat, slow and ugly – you might want to reassess your ability to win that particular debate.
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While a lot of SUVs are a case of 4x4 styling cues and f... airly well nothing else, the G-Class is – pretty clearly – something else entirely.
Starting off as a military vehicle is, you’ll agree, not the most obvious path to a luxury SUV, or indeed any family-friendly daily driver. And yet, even though it’s an uncompromising off-roader, still in use by police forces and armies the world over – including 6x6 versions for the Australian Defense Force – the new G is comfier, safer and... well, less of a compromise than ever before.
Land Rover Range Rover
On the other hand, we’d bet good money that you expected this one. We’d bet bad money too, which is presumably drachmas, Zimbabwean dollars or Reichsmarks, but we digress.
Of course the Range Rover is here. Of course we’d include a machine that rivals an S-Class for luxury, a hovercraft for go-anywhere capability... and a decent house in the Wales for price. Then again, between splashing all your money on a house in London and a bicycle, or a Range Rover and a nice place in the countryside, we know what we’d pick.
Toyota Land Cruiser
OK, so the Land Cruiser doesn't have a luxury badge. That said, we feel inclined to include a machine we’d trust with our very lives to cover every inch of it. Well, maybe not that bit labelled ‘Pacific Ocean’, for instance, but definitely the dry bits.
The Land Cruiser’s reputation precedes it, and lingers long after it’s left. There are more efficient, circumspect and enjoyable ways to get around, there aren’t many – or indeed any – with more endurance. When the going gets tough and the tough get going, they’re almost definitely better off going for a Land Cruiser.
This story first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made