1. BMW X5
When the BMW X5 entered the market in 2000, it was the German manufacturers first 4x4/SUV vehicle - proving to be an instant success. The X5 is more of an urban vehicle, rather than an agricultural one - like most of the 4x4s readily available around the time the X5 was first launched. The X5 drives like a car, meaning the floppy handling and uncomfortable ride you got with older, stereotypical 4x4s was gone altogether.
Over time, 3 generations of X5 have been made available. Each one offering typical German robust build quality, spacious interiors with a large boot, fantastic comfort, premium materials and impressive technology. The X5 also has a striking road presence and is easy identifiable as a BMW with its sleek, muscular appearance and the trademark black kidney grilles. The X5 also triggered a choice of other popular SUVs to be introduced by BMW, with a smaller X4, X3, X1 and even a coupe SUV model called the X6. A decent range of engines fill the X5 series with many being economical diesel engines, coming in all different sizes with some offering in excess of 50mpg.
Petrol versions are available for those wanting sports car relating performance, to match the car-like handling, yet also happen to be a little thirsty, which is to be as expected with vast 4-litre engines offering 450bhp. Nevertheless, a hybrid X5 is available for those wanting low running costs and £0 road tax.
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2. Jaguar F-PACE
The F-PACE is Jaguar's first ever SUV - and a car Jaguar say is their most practical sports car to date. Available in a selection of impressive trim levels the F-PACE is unmistakably Jaguar, from the menacing black grille, muscular bonnet sweeps, signature 'J' blade angular headlights and the prominent Jaguar badges which all mimic the styling of the rest of the Jaguar range.
Three excellent engines occupy the range which include a 2-litre diesel with 180bhp, a 3-litre V6 diesel with 295bhp and finally a 3-litre V6 petrol with an impressive 375bhp. The F-PACE is also made using aluminium - which means the F-PACE is both strong and lightweight, and lightness is the key to economy - meaning certain F-PACE models can achieve 50mpg plus, which is hugely impressive for a large SUV vehicle.
Being a Jaguar, quality is up there with the best in the SUV class, with a brilliant touch screen infotainment system, a cabin full of quality material and an attractive options list with upgraded audio, mood lighting and panoramic roofs all available to make one, stylish, premium SUV. Despite being fairly new to the SUV market, used models are available, with the limited edition -first edition model being largely sort after.
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3. Range Rover
First introduced in 1970, the Range Rover has a lengthy history, compared to the other models featured in this list. The Range Rover has continued to impress significantly with each new generation, with the latest versions offering ultimate luxury, amazing refinement and limousine-like ride quality on-road. However, being a product from Land Rover, the Range Rover is also unbelievable off-road thanks to its adaptive 'Terrain Response' - giving the driver the ability to select a terrain option, depending on the surface they are faced with to better cope with the changing conditions.
A premium 4x4/SUV list would simply not be legible without a Land Rover product, and the Range Rover is arguably the best out there. It simply does everything you would expect - just better. Interiors are roomy with premium material used throughout. Range Rovers come with a large boot - which is accessed via a useful split tailgate on certain models. Infotainment is excellent with tempting upgrades readily available on the options list.
Newer generation Range Rovers hold their value pretty well, with economy much improved over the older previous generation models, which although are available for not so much money - are rather expensive to run.
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4. Porsche Cayenne
Porsche are renowned for making iconic sports cars such as the brilliant Porsche 911 and Porsche Cayman. Therefore, it came as quite a surprise when they introduced their first SUV back in 2003. With competitors getting in on the SUV popularity, Porsche decided to create their own, and more surprisingly before more main stream manufacturers. The looks caused much debate on launch, however the Porsche Cayenne had the same Porsche DNA which made it fantastic to drive, with excellent car like handling - which followed on the manta of the company's sports cars - and not many cared about the styling when it offered such a good driving experience.
The Cayenne is available with a range of diesel engines, offering decent economy considering their size and a selection of rarer petrol models - staying true to the sports car Porsche mentality.
The Cayenne is also available as a plug-in hybrid, unsurprising really, when the companies halo car is a hybrid hyper car - the Porsche 918. The Cayenne also offers a spacious interior and a large boot proving practicality can be fast and stylish. The Cayenne proved so successful that Porsche also now offer a smaller Macan SUV, too.
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5. Audi Q7
Sometimes first attempts tend to be ill received. However, Audi are another manufacturer in this list who had great success from their first SUV - the Audi Q7. Surprisingly, it was quite late to the scene being introduced in 2006, a lot later than its rivals, yet still ahead of some more mainstream manufacturers. Nevertheless, just like Audi's competitors, the Q7 was a huge hit with consumers and paved the way for a selection of SUVs offered by the German manufacturer including the smaller Q5 and Q3 models.
The Q7 offers huge road presence, extremely spacious interior, a big boot and strong performance. Being an Audi, the interior is a nice place to be, with quality and technology high on the agenda. Diesel engines are most popular, with petrol versions rare, along with the hybrid which follows suit with competition offering low running costs.
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