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The Kia Sorento, an SUV that seats up to seven.
The Kia Sorento, an SUV that seats up to seven.
Image: Dave Humphreys

Need more space with style? 5 of the best SUVs on the road today

Dave Humphreys turns his expertise to SUVs, sharing his picks for anyone planning to buy soon.
Apr 26th 2021, 9:17 AM 21,839 29

IN RECENT YEARS, the SUV has become something of a ‘must-have’ among buyers and manufacturers alike.

Thanks to its ever-growing popularity, there’s now an abundance of styles, sizes and engine types available. Whether you want a compact hybrid SUV or a high-performance behemoth, a family seven-seater or a smart company car, there’s endless choice.

You’ll find impressive variation on price too, from budget-friendly options to high-end models that can tackle the toughest terrain.

We’ve chosen five of the best SUVs currently on the road, to help you find the one that’s right for your needs. Read on for our picks…

Kia Sorento: Seven-seater with a sustainable engine

dave Kia_Sorento_2020_44 Source: Dave Humphreys

A seven-seater SUV has become a popular choice among family buyers, even if they rarely use those extra couple of seats. Space is often an issue with seven-seaters, and while the latest Kia Sorento does provide decent amounts of space for those in the third row, the acrobatics required to get into the rearmost seats is probably best left to the little ones.

The all-new version went on sale late last year and its styling has moved on a long way from Kias of old. Its 2.2-litre diesel and general refinement is great at shrinking long distances, but it’s the plug-in hybrid model that is likely to be of more interest to urban users. With a battery range of 57 kilometres, and potentially as much as 70 kilometres in city driving, once you keep it charged up you may rarely need to call upon its 1.6-litre petrol engine.

View Kia Sorento SUVs on the market now>

Combine that with the Kia’s generous spec, upmarket interior that feels very well made and the added peace of mind of the brand’s seven-year/150,000km warranty and this is an attractive proposition.

Why this car stands out: One of the best in its class as a plug-in hybrid

  • Motor tax rates: €140 – €420
  • Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars

Dacia Duster: Cheap, cheerful – and a decent drive too

Large-3097-DaciaDusterBiFuel Source: Dacia

Since its introduction in 2012, the Dacia Duster has become something of a household name. With its rugged looks, keen pricing and much-improved interior quality, it has become a steady seller.

The latest versions have gradually upped the refinement and quality stakes, yet the Romanian brand’s ability to sell the Duster at what seems an impossibly low price is commendable. Okay, so it won’t have all the luxury trimmings and gadgets that posher SUVs might offer, but if those things don’t interest you then you’ll like the honesty of the Duster.

View Dacia Duster SUVs on the market now>

Many may choose to opt for the cheaper front-wheel-drive Duster, but if you do need to venture off the beaten track both the diesel and range-topping petrol engines are available with four-wheel drive. The 1.3-litre petrol engine is the pick of the bunch and will get you on the road for less money than some newer hatchbacks.

Why this car stands out: Cuts out the trimmings to give great value for money

  • Motor tax rates: €190 – €270
  • Euro NCAP rating: 3 stars

Volkswagen ID.4: Fully electric SUV that can do the distance

dave 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st by Paddy McGrath-11 Source: Paddy McGrath/Volkswagen Ireland

New to the market in 2021, the Volkswagen ID.4 is a fully electric five-seat SUV that is of similar size to the Tiguan, though it looks very different and is very much designed for staying on-road.

Buyers can choose from two battery sizes, with ranges between 343 and 519 km depending on specification. This is one of the first of a new era of electric cars that can manage long distances, cope with family life or be a great company car.

The ID.4 seems even more spacious inside. This is due in part to it being electric, as the battery sits within the car’s floor. Lots of legroom in the rear and the option of a vast glass roof on certain models adds to the airy feeling of the interior.

View Volkswagen ID.4s on the market now>

It is predictably quiet on the move and has a smooth ride quality that will take the hard edge off many of our road surfaces. A rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels and has ample performance for everyday life.

Why this car stands out: Plenty of space, refined driving and a choice of batteries

  • Motor tax rate: €120
  • Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars

Land Rover Defender: The original SUV and a real off-roader

dave 2020_Land_Rover_Defender_112 Source: Dave Humphreys

It is one of the world’s best known SUVs, and the all-new generation is a truly modern and premium off-roader. With a design that retains all the character of the old Defender, it is available in two lengths as either a three-door or five-door body style. Underpinning it is a chassis that is engineered to be capable of traversing the toughest terrain.

The Defender is crammed with the latest safety and driver assistance systems, both for on and off-road driving. Optional air suspension adds greater comfort and adjustable ride height, while an advanced camera system can enable drivers to effectively see through the bonnet to the ground below the car – great when entering tight car park spaces.

View Land Rover Defenders on the market now>

Sitting high is part of the SUV appeal for many, and the Defender will have you chomping at the bit to head off an on adventure. Its diesel engine has lots of grunt, and there are range-topping petrol versions with up to 525hp, but it’s the plug-in hybrid model that’ll make sense for many.

Why this car stands out: Genuine off-road capability, great design and smart tech.

  1. Motor tax rates: €150 – €2,400
  2. Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars

Citroën C5 Aircross: Mid-size SUV that puts comfort to the fore

dave citroen IMG_3404 Source: Dave Humphreys

Citroën was late jumping on the SUV bandwagon, but the C5 Aircoss differentiates itself from its rivals by offering a supremely comfortable ride through its patented suspension. The design of the interior adds to this feeling of comfort, with front seats that are more like armchairs, and three individual rear seats.

Citroën only offers the C5 Aircross as a five-seater, unlike many competitor brands. That may deter some buyers who prefer the option of a third row of (usually) smaller seats, but the upside is that the Citroen has quite a large boot: 580 litres, increasing to 720 litres with the rear seats down.

View Citroën C5 Aircross SUVs on the market now>

With an engine range consisting of a frugal diesel, a smooth petrol and a plug-in hybrid that can drive up to 55 kilometres on battery power alone, there’s something in the range to suit most buyers.

Why this car stands out: Super-comfortable drive with no shortage of space inside

  • Motor tax rates: €170 – €390
  • Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars (with Safety Pack)

That’s our round-up for five of the best SUVs that you should consider. If you want a vehicle for exploring the path less followed or you simply love a car with a solid and sporty appearance, an SUV could be for you – and there’s no shortage of styles to choose from. 

Which of these great SUVs would you go for?


Poll Results:

Volkswagen ID.4 (1264)
Kia Sorento (844)
Land Rover Defender (810)
Citroën C5 Aircross (371)
Dacia Duster (146)





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