Once upon a time, crazy concepts and ludicrous supercars were the big news at international motor shows. Today, they’ve been all but trounced by the all-conquering SUV, which comes in many shapes and sizes. Here, we select 20 of the best, concentrating on production models, rather than any that might not see the light of day.
Bentley Bentayga PHEV
One day, we’re going to run out of ‘firsts’. Until then, the press offices will continue to take great pleasure from announcing their world-first this or that. To wit: the Bentley Bentayga PHEV is the world’s first luxury hybrid, although somebody might want to mention this to Lexus. Whatever, it’s most certainly the first hybrid built in Crewe.
The Bentayga with a conscience combines a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine and an electric motor to deliver CO2 emissions of just 75g/km. In pure EV mode, it offers an electric range of 31 miles, while in true Bentley style, the wall charger has been designed by Philippe Stark. Bentley says the Bentayga PHEV is the first step towards full electrification.
“Landmark car” and “game-changer” are just two of the things we’ve heard said about the Jaguar I-Pace in Geneva. You can understand the gushing praise: here is a car that looks good, slots neatly into a growing segment, offers a realistic range, and is priced to take on Tesla. How can it fail?
The headlines make for compelling reading: a 90kWh battery delivering up to 298 miles range, two electric motors developing 400hp, 50:50 weight distribution, 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, and five-seat SUV practicality. It’s available to order now, priced from £63,495.
Range Rover SV Coupe
The SV Coupe is the latest car to emerge from Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division and is one of the most talked about cars at this year’s show. Land Rover likens the plush interior to something you might find in a private jet or yacht, which goes some way to justifying the eye-watering £240,000 price tag.
Exclusivity is guaranteed, as Land Rover will build just 999, telling us that several pre-order SV Coupes have already exceeded £300,000 after options. These options include 23-inch alloy wheels – the largest ever fitted to a production Range Rover – along with 100 paint colours, different shades of leathers, a choice of wood veneers and – wait for it – your family crest stitched into the headrests.
In an acknowledgment that most of these cars will spend their entire time on the road rather than off it, Lexus is calling its first compact crossover an “Urban Explorer”. The UX is the first Lexus to be built on the new GA-C platform, with the company promising the lowest centre of gravity in its class and a hatchback-like driving experience.
Sounds promising. Chika Kako, chief engineer of the UX goes a little further, claiming that he wanted to deliver car that could change the lives of the mid-30s millennials being targeted by Lexus. The UX 250h will feature a self-charging hybrid system, but we’re still waiting for UK-specific details.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Another real-word SUV, the Hyundai Santa Fe has become a familiar sight across the world since its launch at the turn of the millennium. This new model has a more confident, almost aggressive stance, with Hyundai promising “best-in-class safety features” and exceptional interior space.
If you’re somebody who’s forever forgetting where you left the children, this is the SUV for you. The Rear Occupant Alert monitors the rear seats to detect passengers and alert the driver there are people in the rear seat when leaving the car. Are you reading, David Cameron?
It looks like a Seat Ateca, but the Spanish company would like you to refer to it as the Cupra Ateca. Unveiled last month, the sporty SUV is the first of a number of Cupra models, all destined for a life without any Seat branding. Seven new cars are planned within the next three years, starting with this: the 300hp Ateca SUV.
Putting cynicism to one side, the 2.0-litre turbocharged Cupra Ateca promises to be quite a formidable performance SUV. It’ll hit 62mph in just 5.4 seconds, before going to reach a top speed of 152mph.
We reckon this is the best looking Honda CR-V ever built, but the big news lies under the bonnet. Honda has ditched diesel from the range, with buyers offered the choice of either a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine or a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid.
It’s the first time a CR-V hybrid has been available in Europe, but the first deliveries aren’t expected until early 2019. In the meantime, 1.5-litre versions are scheduled for autumn 2018, with a seven-seat option available.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio NRING
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio NRING pays tribute to the record-setting lap of the Nürburging by offering a host of tasty upgrades. Performance is unchanged, but the special edition adds carbon-ceramic brakes, Sparco race seats and a Mopar automatic transmission knob, plus other cosmetic and in-car entertainment goodies.
Just 108 will be built, one for each year of Alfa history, with each car finished in Circuito Grey. An obligatory numbered badge is fitted to the carbon fibre dashboard insert.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle for the past three years and is the world’s best-selling plug-in SUV. Which means the launch of a new 2019 model is going to be of interest to a lot of people.
A 2.4-litre petrol engine replaces the old 2.0-litre unit, with the 2019 model promising a 15 percent increase in battery capacity and a 10 percent increase in output. There’s also a revised four-wheel-drive system and a host of cosmetic upgrades. It makes the original Outlander PHEV look decidedly dated.
Hyundai Kona Electric
We’ve deliberately excluded crossovers from this gallery, choosing to focus on full-fat SUVs and pick-ups. But we’re prepared to make an exception for the Hyundai Kona Electric, because we think it could be one of the unsung heroes of the show.
It sits 15mm higher than the regular Kona and will be offered in two variants: one offering a range of 186 miles, the other managing 292 miles. Hyundai hasn’t confirmed prices, but if it comes in around the £25,000 mark, there are likely to be many customers forming a queue at dealers.