Sales of SUVs ‘making a mockery’ of emission policies

SUV emissions outweigh EV benefits

In spite of the growing popularity of electric cars, a new study suggests the sales of large, heavy, emissions-intensive SUVs is far outweighing any initial benefits. On average, SUVs emit around 25 percent more CO2 than normal cars.

SUVs and crossovers outsell electric cars 37 to one. While electric cars are increasing in popularity, with registrations doubling, the SUV craze is stronger still. They made up 21.2 percent of car sales last year.

Contrast to 2017, when SUVs made up just 13.5 percent of car sales. A decade ago, when the crossover was just getting traction, SUV sales were 6.6 percent. 

SUV emissions outweigh EV benefits

Between 2015 and 2018, 47,400 electric cars were sold. By comparison, near-on 1.8 million SUVs were sold in the same period. The study noted that affordable finance deals make SUVs more attractive to car buyers. 

Applying the average increased emissions from SUVs to that figure, 1.8 million SUVs have emissions equivalent to 2.25 million normal cars. That’s an extra 450,000+ cars’ worth of emissions, outweighing the sales of electric cars almost ten-fold. 

CO2 emissions had been reducing since the early 2000s, but rose in 2016. The Department for Transport has admitted this could be “broadly due to a shift towards registering larger cars, which have higher emissions”.

SUV emissions outweigh EV benefits

“The rapid uptake of unnecessarily large and energy-consuming vehicles makes a mockery of UK policy efforts towards the ‘road to zero’,” said Professor Jillian Anable, co-director of the UK Energy Research Centre.

“In effect, we have been sleep-walking into the issue. The decarbonisation of the passenger car market can no longer rely on a distant target to stop the sales of conventional engines. We must start to phase out the most polluting vehicles immediately.”

Should SUVs be banned from company car fleets to cut CO2?

Should SUVs be banned from company car fleets

A new report reveals the rise in popularity of SUVs as one of the largest contributors to increases in CO2 emissions around the world. Now, the appropriateness of these vehicles for business fleets is being questioned.

High-riding cars, from hatchback-based ‘soft-roaders’ to luxury SUVs, have increased in popularity enormously over the last decade or so. Where once their UK market share was 17 percent, it now stands at 39 percent.

SUVs tend to be bigger, heavier, less aerodynamic and therefore less efficient than normal cars. Crucially, on average, they’re more polluting. So says an International Energy Agency document, which has highlighted the issue.

Should SUVs be banned from company fleets?

Should SUVs be banned from company car fleets

“The statistics in this new report are pretty shocking and should at least prompt businesses to check, as far as possible, the real-world emissions performance of not just fleet SUVs that they operate but any which are used through affinity leasing and grey fleet,” said Peter Golding, managing director of FleetCheck.

“There is certainly a need, the numbers suggest, to ascertain whether SUVs that are being operated on company business comply to sensible CSR requirements and even perhaps asking whether they are projecting the right image for your business.”

In spite of the figures, an outright ban isn’t being suggested. Rather, businesses are being advised to decide whether high-emitters “should have a place as company transport”.

Should SUVs be banned from company car fleets

“Of course, this should not mean automatically removing every SUV from your fleet,” Golding continued.

“Some have emissions figures that are broadly comparable to equivalent cars. However, others certainly don’t, even among models that appear to be among the softest of soft-roaders.

“Businesses need to decide, at a corporate level, whether it is right that vehicles of this type should have a place as company transport and look at whether their policies need to be amended to take account of their findings.”

Diesel cars preferable to petrol SUVS

Should SUVs be banned from company car fleets

Golding continues, referencing the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal that tarred the image of diesel fuel in the eyes of consumers. While noting the severity of the diesel emissions issue, he said “it makes almost no sense that diesel cars are often giving way as everyday transport to petrol SUVs”. 

While better on nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions generally, CO2 figures rise drastically by comparison in petrol SUVs, as does fuel consumption.

Plug-in hybrids aren’t the answer

Should SUVs be banned from company car fleets

Golding criticises plug-in and ‘self-charging’ hybrid SUVs, too, saying the benefits of their electrified powertrains are felt only in specific circumstances. 

Short journeys are best, and only if they’re regularly charged in the case of PHEVs. On long motorway runs, “for higher mileage fleet drivers, they are generally poor choices”.

Geneva Motor Show 2018

Geneva 2018: the best new SUVs and trucks

Geneva Motor Show 2018Once 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

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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.

Jaguar I-Pace

Geneva Motor Show 2018

“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

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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.

Lexus UX

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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?

Cupra Ateca

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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.

Honda CR-V

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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

Geneva Motor Show 2018

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.

Read more:

Economy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

Economy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?Diesel cars might not be the most popular vehicles right now, but they still account for 44.1% of the market in the UK. Indeed, more than 428,000 diesel cars have been registered in 2017 alone. If you’re buying diesel, you want to make sure you buy the right one.

Which is where Diesel Car magazine comes in. Based on road tests of more than 200 vehicles, this is its top 10 countdown of the best diesel and eco cars in Britain. We present the results in reverse order.

10. Jaguar F-PaceEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

Jaguar’s first SUV is also its fastest selling model, as SUV-obsessed buyers rush to grab a slice of Jag’s fashionable family car. You can understand the appeal when an F-Pace is just £2,000 more than the equivalent XF.

9. Volkswagen GolfEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

Still with us? We’ll keep things short by saying that the Volkswagen Golf finishes 9th, whilst driving away with two awards. According to Diesel Car, the Golf is the Best Medium Car and Best Plug-in Hybrid you can buy.

8. Skoda SuperbEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

The Skoda Superb slips from 4th to 8th, but manages to retain its ‘best large car’ title, whilst adding Best Large Estate Car to its list of awards. At least there’s plenty of room for the trophies.

7. Volvo XC90Economy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

There isn’t an award for ‘all the car you could ever need’, but the Volvo XC90 would certainly be in with a shout. The seven-seat Swede is just about the safest means of transporting your family.

6. Land Rover DiscoveryEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

Its styling might be divisive, but the Land Rover Discovery finishes ahead of the Volvo XC90. Diesel Car points to its versatility, luxurious cabin and off-road ability as the primary reasons for its success.

5. Skoda KodiaqEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

“The Kodiaq is mighty close to being the perfect car.” High praise indeed from Diesel Car. The magazine goes on to claim that the Kodiaq boasts the best interior in any Skoda so far, whilst delivering a surprisingly rewarding driving experience.

4. Jaguar XFEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

Last year’s runner-up has to be content with 4th position in 2017, but it retains the title of Best Executive Car. “The latest model is more spacious in the back and costs less to run than its predecessor,” says Diesel Car.

3. Kia SportageEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

In 2016, the Kia Sportage was named Car of the Year by Diesel Car. This year has to be content with a bronze medal, giving up its Best Medium SUV award in the process.

2. SEAT AtecaEconomy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

If you don’t like crossovers and SUVs, look away now, because the top three is loaded with the automotive equivalent of hot cakes. In second place is the Ateca, which is SEAT’s cut-price Volkswagen Tiguan.

1. Peugeot 3008Economy drive: are these Britain’s best new diesel cars?

Which leaves the Peugeot 3008 to take the title of Car of the Year 2017. “It’s a winner in every respect and we are proud to declare it number one in this year’s awards,” says Diesel Car.

The 10 hottest new SUVs at the New York Auto Show

New York Auto ShowUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll know that SUVs are hotter than hot cakes right now. New car buyers simply cannot get enough of the high-ridin’ heroes of the high street.

The 2017 New York Auto Show offers everything from a supercar-taming Jeep to a crazy concept from Toyota. We check out 10 of the best SUVs on display.

Jeep Grand Cherokee TrackhawkNew York Auto Show

Jeep’s claim that the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the “quickest SUV ever” might ruffle a few feathers at Tesla, but there’s no doubting its performance credentials. The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine delivers 707hp and 645lb ft, enough to keep that new Dodge Demon thingy on its toes.

The top speed is 180mph, while the 0-60mph time is polished off in 3.5 seconds. For reference, the Tesla Model X will sprint to 60mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds. But if the Tesla represents the future of the SUV, the Trackhawk is thoroughly old-school. A jackhammer to Tesla’s silent assassin.

Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S CoupeNew York Auto Show

Nearly 50 years of AMG history has led us here: to the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S Coupe. The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo produces 503hp and 516lb ft of torque, helping to propel the aesthetically-challenged SUV to 60mph in 3.7 seconds.

The Coupe shares many of its styling cues with the standard and more practical GL63 SUV, which means a bold AMG Panamericana grille at the front and an aggressive rear bumper featuring an integrated diffuser. The key difference is the sloping roofline, which gives it the look of a classic coupe. That’s if you squint. Like, really hard. No, harder than that.

Chevrolet Tahoe RSTNew York Auto Show

Keen not be left chasing shadows – or rather the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – Chevrolet has released a Rally Sport Truck (RST) package for the Suburban and Tahoe. The RST delivers the obligatory styling upgrades and larger wheels, but it’s the Tahoe that has piqued our interest.

Tick the box marked ‘Performance’ and the Tahoe RST is treated to the 6.2-litre V8 engine lifted straight out of the Silverado. While 420hp and 460lb ft of torque might not seem like a big deal in a world where the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk exists, it certainly makes for an interesting SUV. The 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds is more hot hatch than supercar, mind.

Lincoln NavigatorNew York Auto Show

Nobody does supersize SUVs quite like the Americans, and the new Lincoln Navigator has the potential to be the best of the breed. Lincoln claims that it will elevate “family travel to first class” and it’s certainly large enough to rival an airliner, with enough comfort and convenience features to challenge a first class departure lounge.

It’s lighter, too, with a new aluminium-alloy helping the new Navigator to tip the scales some 200 pounds lighter than before. That said, it’ll still weigh the equivalent of an out-of-town supermarket. Power is sourced from a twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 450hp.

Volvo XC60New York Auto Show

If the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade are prime examples of all-American SUVs, the Volvo XC60 offers a more European flavour. Introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, the XC60 muscled in on the US market, quickly establishing itself as Volvo’s best-selling vehicle.

More than a million XC60s have been sold, which represents 30% of Volvo’s global sales, so there’s a lot of pressure resting on the shoulders of this good looking SUV. If it’s as good as the XC90 – which we suspect it will be – it stands every chance of picking up where the old model left off.

Buick EnclaveNew York Auto Show

The Enclave is as important to Buick as the XC60 is to Volvo. Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC, called the original model a “game-changer”: a reference to the fact that it arrived at a time when GM was in need of a hero. The outgoing model has been on sale for close to a decade: a testament to its success and popularity.

The new Enclave is bigger than before, but remains powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine, with power increased to 302hp. Buick has used the new Enclave to launch the new Avenir sub-brand. Think along the lines of Ford’s Vignale, with plusher materials, improved tech and a higher price.

Subaru AscentNew York Auto Show

If Subaru wants to mix it with the big boys, it needs an authentic SUV. Something larger than the Outback, tougher than the XV and less niche than the Forester. The Ascent concept previews a future three-row SUV that will be called the, er, Subaru Ascent.

The good news is that the interior looks superb, complete with middle-row captain’s chairs and three seats in the third row. You also know that it will be formidable off-road. The bad news is that the Ascent will be sold exclusively in North America.

Infiniti QX80 MonographNew York Auto Show

To say that the Infiniti QX80 Monograph is slightly less ugly than the current QX80 would be like saying Freddy Krueger is slightly less scary than Michael Myers. While it might be true, it’s still going to give you nightmares. But don’t worry, it’s just a design study, so there’s still time for Infiniti to have a rethink.

Infiniti has issued many words to promote the Monobrow – 1,224, to be precise – but doesn’t give too much away. The alloy wheels, in case you’re wondering, are 24-inch in diameter and overlap the tyres to present the appearance of 26-inch rims. An SUV for the Middle East, perhaps, but not one for Middle England.

Range Rover VelarNew York Auto Show

The Range Rover Velar is old news. Fresh from its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Ellie Goulding was invited to take a tour of New York in the SUV that will sit between the Evoque and Sport in the Range Rover range.

Three engine options will be offered in the US, including a 247hp 2.0-litre petrol, 180hp 2.0-litre diesel and 380hp supercharged V6 petrol. “I have always been a big Range Rover fan”, said a starry-eyed Ellie Goulding.

Toyota FT-4XNew York Auto Show

Half-Blade Runner escapee, half-lifestyle accessory, the Toyota FT-4X concept is based on the same platform as the new CH-R. That makes it a potential rival for the Jeep Renegade – if Toyota builds it.

Inside, there’s an instrument cluster that looks like a smartphone, a removable radio and door handles that double as water bottles. There’s also a GoPro camera mounted in the door mirror. Young, outdoorsy types will love it. If only they could afford to buy new cars…

New SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

New SUVs and crossovers revealed at Geneva

New SUVs and crossovers launched at GenevaWhether they are new cars ready for launch, concepts offering a vision of what’s to come or updates of current models, SUVs and crossovers are everywhere at Geneva 2017.

Arguably, Jaguar and Land Rover have the hottest stands at the show, with the world premiere of the Range Rover Velar and the first sighting in Europe of Jaguar’s revolutionary all-electric SUV concept: the I-Pace.

If it’s luxury you’re after, look no further than the most opulent version of the Bentley Bentayga, or the monster that is the Mercedes-Maybach G65 4×4 Landaulet. There really is something for everyone at the Geneva Motor Show.

Nissan QashqaiNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Europe’s most popular crossover just had a facelift. Due to hit UK roads later this year, the Nissan Qashqai now sports a V-shaped grille at the front, along with new bumper and headlamp designs, plus a reshaped bonnet.

The new Qashqai doesn’t just look better, it has more of a quality feel. Propilot autonomous driving tech gives it the ability to steer, accelerate and brake itself within a single lane on motorways.

Volkswagen Tiguan AllspaceNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

VW’s acclaimed Tiguan has grown into a full seven-seater. On sale in the UK this summer, there’s an extra row of seats, thanks to 109mm added to the wheelbase – stretching the car by 215mm overall.

Despite the stretch, the Tiguan Allspace doesn’t look out of proportion. What’s more, it now boasts 760 litres of luggage capacity (up 140 litres) with the front two rows of seats in place. With all the rear seats down, there’s a van-like 1,920 litres available.

Bentley Bentayga MullinerNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Meet the new Bentley Bentayga Mulliner: “the most exquisitely appointed luxury SUV ever created”. Bentley’s in-house bespoke division, Mulliner, has given the Bentayga a makeover to create a range-topping, uber-sumptuous sports utility vehicle.

High-end features on the Bentley Bentayga Mulliner include ‘Duo Tone’ paintwork, Mulliner 22-inch Paragon seven-spoke wheels with floating centres, a bespoke Mulliner bottle cooler, exclusive Ombré burr walnut veneer, plus ‘My Mood’, which allows occupants to choose from 15 different interior lighting colours, while also adjusting the brightness in doors, armrests and footwells.

Vauxhall Crossland XNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

A world premiere for the latest crossover from Vauxhall/Opel, which is now part of PSA Europe (Peugeot-Citroen). Effectively replacing the Meriva MPV, it will slot below the Mokka X in terms of size and price.

Billed as an urban crossover, rather than an SUV, Vauxhall reckons the Crosland X “has a firm family focus, with a Tardifs-like cabin providing high degrees of practicality and flexibility”.

Range Rover VelarNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

The sleek Velar is Geneva’s SUV star. Slotting into the Range Rover line-up between the Evoque and Sport, it’s an obvious rival to the Porsche Macan. And indeed its cousin, the Jaguar F-Pace.

Priced from £44,830 to £85,450, the British-built Range Rover Velar will go on sale from July in the UK and more than 170 markets worldwide. Combining Land Rover’s legendary all-terrain ability with an upmarket cabin and lashings of tech, it promises to be the most driver-focused Range Rover ever.

Subaru XVNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

The wraps are off Subaru’s next generation XV, which is due to go on sale in the UK early in 2018. Looking like an evolution of the current car, it’s certainly more appealing to the eye and should bring the model into the mainstream.

Built on a new global platform, just like the new Impreza, Subaru claims the XV will have significantly enhanced refinement, safety, ride comfort, and agility. Needless to say, symmetrical four-wheel drive will be standard on all models.

Mitsubishi Eclipse CrossNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Plugging a gap between the ASX and Outlander, Mitsubishi’s new Qashqai-rival doesn’t look as flash as the teased design studies suggested, but it will freshen up the Japanese company’s range.

With its distinctive, wedged profile, the Eclipse Cross will certainly stand out when it hits UK roads early in 2018. Its most unusual design element is at the back, where a high-mounted strip of rear lamps divides the upper and lower segments of the rear window.

Jaguar I-PaceNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

A European premiere for Jaguar’s all-electric SUV concept – now in vibrant Photon Red. The I-Pace isn’t due to go on sale in the UK until 2018, but this show car looks pretty much ready for production.

The I-Pace’s looks seem to divide opinion, but there’s no doubting that it stands out from the crowd – those massive 23-inch wheels are something else. Two electric motors, producing a combined 400hp, power the car, allowing it to sprint to 62mph in around four seconds, with a claimed range of 300 miles.

Mercedes-Maybach G65 4×4² LandauletNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Mercedes-Benz is giving Range Rover and Bentley something to think about with its ultra-luxurious all-terrain Mercedes-Maybach SUV – a landaulet version of the legendary G-Wagen. In other words, a covered cab with a retractable fabric roof at the back.

Powered by a new twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12, the Landaulet is likely to become the world’s most expensive sport utility vehicle, with a rumoured price of around £400,000. Just 99 will be built, but sadly this opulent monster is not due to be sold in the UK. For the record, it is 5.3m long, 2.2m tall and has more than half a metre of ground clearance.

Audi Q8 Sport ConceptNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Based on the Q8 Concept first revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2017, the Q8 Sport Concept is more sporty – and very orange. It combines a 3.0-litre V6 and a mild hybrid system (a world first) that enables it to deliver a handy 476hp “with the efficiency of a four-cylinder”.

Perhaps the most obvious visual change is that Audi’s signature ‘singleframe’ grille design has ditched the vertical bars and horizontal slats for a more pleasing honeycomb design. Capable of 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds, it has a top speed of 170mph.

Skoda Kodiaq ScoutNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

A rugged version of the Skoda Kodiaq has been unveiled at Geneva. With seating for up to seven and the largest interior and boot space in its class, the Scout also boasts off-road ability thanks to all-wheel drive, hill-hold and hill-descent control, plus a ground clearance of 194mm.

Apart from its slightly raised ride height, the Scout looks pretty similar to the standard Kodiaq, with only tinted windows, silver colour details and special 19-inch-alloy wheels emphasising the visual differences.

SsangYong XAVLNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

South Korean brand SsangYong has previewed its XAVL seven-seater SUV concept at Geneva. An eventual rival to the Land Rover Discovery, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Sante Fe, its awkward moniker is derived from “eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long SUV”.

The angular show car looks like a work in progress, or a larger, less attractive version of SsangYong’s Tivoli. Inside, there’s plenty of connectivity, while a 10.25-inch infotainment screen dominates the centre console. Expect to see the final version on the road by 2020.

Citroen C-Aircross ConceptNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Citroen’s new SUV concept looks like an overgrown C3 and is expected to appear in showrooms as soon as 2018. Effectively replacing the C3 Picasso in the line-up, it will take on the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Audi Q2 in the highly-competitive compact crossover category.

Rear-hinged rear passenger doors are a stand-out feature on Citroen’s concept, though it has to manage with just three Airbumps on each side. A 12-inch touchscreen dominates the centre console, while the C-Aircross also makes use of Grip Control for extra traction when soft-roading.

Volvo XC60New SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

The long-awaited next-generation XC60 crossover takes a bow at Geneva. It’s a good-looking car that pays homage to its best-selling predecessor, while sharing many design cues with its big brother, the XC90.

Naturally, the new XC60 will be one of the safest cars ever, so it’s packed with tech. However, just like the XC90, there will be a T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid version capable of reaching 62mph from standstill in just 5.3 seconds.

DS7 CrossbackNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

The first SUV from DS could be the car that gets the till ringing for Peugeot-Citroen’s standalone premium brand. Just as the F-Pace has accelerated Jaguar sales, the stylish DS7 Crossback should put DS on the map.

Rivalling established SUVs such as the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3, the spacious DS7 Crossback is fully connected and packed with tech. The interior is dominated by two 12-inch touchscreen displays. Outside, the front of the car features a dramatic diamond-effect grille and distinctive jewel-like LED headlights.

Mazda CX-5New SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

First revealed at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, Mazda’s next-generation CX-5 makes its European debut at Geneva. Always a good-looking crossover, the new model is now longer, lower and sexier.

The CX-5 is hugely important to Mazda. Not only is it the company’s best-selling model in Europe, it’s also sold in more than 120 countries and represents around a quarter of Mazda’s global sales. The new model delivers “responsive performance” while also “prioritising passenger comfort”.

Renault CapturNew SUVs and crossovers launched at Geneva

Renault’s best-selling compact crossover gets a welcome mid-life makeover inside and out. The most notable exterior change is the updated front end, which is now similar to its big brother, the Kadjar. There are also new skid plates, front and rear, plus three new wheel options.

Three new colours now join the updated Captur’s palette, meaning that 36 different combinations are now available. The new Captur, which goes on sale in the UK this summer, looks especially good with two-tone paint and a fixed glass roof.

Detroit Motor Show 2017

Detroit Motor Show 2017: in pictures

Detroit Motor Show 2017Detroit has seen hard times, but it’s still America’s Motor City – and home of its most important car show. We reveal the cars and trucks making headlines at the Cobo Centre, from the bold Audi Q8 concept seen here to Kia’s exciting new sports saloon.

Audi Q8Detroit Motor Show 2017

The Q8 concept previews Audi’s forthcoming SUV flagship – due in 2018. It’s sleeker than the current Q7, with a sweeping, coupe-style roof. Powered by a petrol/electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the 450hp Q8 will hit 62mph in 5.4 seconds.

Inside, the Q8 boasts four luxurious Nappa leather seats, plus an advanced version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with graphics projected onto the windscreen. Battery-charge time is two hours, with an all-electric range of 37 miles. We reckon the Range Rover should be worried…

Kia Stinger GTDetroit Motor Show 2017

Kia wants to sex-up its image, and a brawny, V6-engined sports coupe is a good way to do so. The 370hp Stinger GT will take on the Audi S4, BMW 340i and Mercedes-AMG C43 when it arrives in Europe in late 2017.

The Stinger GT’s platform comes from Hyundai’s Genesis luxury saloon, but with a stiffer chassis for sharper handling. Buyers will have a choice of four engines, including a four-cylinder diesel. But it’s that 167mph twin-turbo V6 we’re really excited about.

Volkswagen I.D. BuzzDetroit Motor Show 2017

What? Yet another VW Microbus concept? Yes, but this one stands a good chance of being built – and let’s hope so. The all-electric I.D. Buzz uses Volkswagen’s new scalable MEB platform. Quoted power output is 369hp and range is 373 miles.

The eight-seat I.D. Buzz can also drive itself. Push the steering wheel and it disappears into the dash as the car slips into ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode. This uses cameras, lasers and radar sensors to detect other road users. Oh, and the rear seats turn into a bed, so you can nap while the I.D. Buzz does all the hard work.

Lexus LSDetroit Motor Show 2017

With dramatic looks influenced by the LF-FC concept car, the new Lexus LS luxury saloon debuted at Detroit. As you’d expect, it will be available with petrol/electric hybrid power, but the big news is a hydrogen fuel-cell option – following the lead of parent company Toyota and its hydrogen-powered Mirai.

While other companies such as Volkswagen bet on electric power, Toyota/Lexus hopes hydrogen will be the fuel of the future. The LS may emulate the LF-FC, with in-wheel electric motors for dynamic four-wheel drive.

Mercedes-AMG GT CDetroit Motor Show 2017

Taking pride of place on the Mercedes stand at Detroit is the Mercedes-AMG GT C. It’s the coupe version of the GT C Roadster, revealed last year. Slotting in between the GT S and GT R, the GTC’s 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 produces 550hp – the same as the soft-top version.

That means 62mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 197mph – even quicker than the GT S seen here. It’s 35kg lighter than the Roadster, while the rear track is 57mm wider. The GT C will initially be launched as an Edition 50 special edition, celebrating 50 years of AMG, featuring black chrome trim and two paint colours: Designo Graphite Grey Magno and Designo Cashmere White Magno.

Audi SQ5Detroit Motor Show 2017

Alongside Audi’s Q8 concept at Detroit is this sporty little number: the 354hp SQ5. It’s powered by the same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 as the S5 – a departure from the old model, which was diesel-only.

That power accelerates the near-two-tonne SUV to 62mph in 5.4 seconds, helped by its all-wheel-drive system. There’s also an optional rear Sport differential, which divides torque across the rear axle. Combine this with Sport mode for school-run heroics.

Ford BroncoDetroit Motor Show 2017

The original Ford Bronco was never sold in Europe, but it was a popular no-thrills 4×4 on sale in the USA for 30 years from 1966 to 1996. Although Ford hasn’t taken a concept Bronco to Detroit, it has revealed a Bronco graphic on its stand – with the words ‘coming in 2020’ underneath.

The firm hasn’t revealed much more information on the new Bronco, although it has hinted that it’ll be a rugged retro 4×4 with genuine off-road ability. It’s also said it’ll be a global vehicle and, although a decision hasn’t been made, it could be sold in the UK. Fans of the classic original are suitably excited.

Infiniti QX50Detroit Motor Show 2017

This attractive SUV is the new Infiniti QX50 concept. It follows the QX Sport Inspiration seen at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, but is closer to being a production-ready rival to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX. It could be exactly what Nissan’s premium brand needs to boost its image in Europe.

Power comes from Infiniti’s clever new 2.0-litre VC-T turbocharged petrol engine, which the brand is claiming will have the efficiency of modern turbodiesels. The QX50 concept also features clever autonomous tech – but the manufacturer says it’ll work with the driver, rather than taking over entirely.

Porsche 911 GTSDetroit Motor Show 2017

The controversial new flat-six 911 has now been given the GTS treatment: meaning an extra 30hp over the regular Carrera S (and 20hp more than its predecessor). Unfortunately, Porsche decided against revealing the GTS in the metal at Detroit, so you’ll have to settle for this press photo.

As you’d expect, here are a wide range of GTS models available: coupe, cabriolet or Targa, and two- or four-wheel drive. Oh, and you can choose between seven-speed manual or PDK auto gearboxes.

Volkswagen Tiguan AllspaceDetroit Motor Show 2017

Good news: from summer 2017, you’ll be able to buy a Volkswagen Tiguan with a slightly longer wheelbase and seven seats. That extra practicality means it’ll be an interesting, German alternative to the likes of the Nissan X-Trail.

It’s difficult to spot the external differences between the Allspace and the regular Tiguan, but anoraks will spy a 110mm longer wheelbase (the overall car is 215mm longer), while the bonnet and grille are also revised.

Revealed: Europe’s most popular compact SUVs

Revealed: Europe’s most popular compact SUVs

Revealed: Europe’s most popular compact SUVs

In September 2016, registrations from the so-called C-SUV segment totalled 13,798 units in Europe’s ‘Big 5’ markets. That’s according to JATO Dynamics, which said this growth is explained by the “booming SUV segment”, and in particular the ever-popular compact SUVs. Read on to find out which compact SUVs you are buying, as we present the results in reverse order.

26. Hyundai ix35: 8 registrations

The Hyundai ix35 was killed off in 2015, replaced by the really-rather-good Hyundai Tucson. The fact that eight ix35s were registered in September 2016 is probably explained by old dealer stock. We just hope the buyers got a tremendous deal.

25. Peugeot 4008: 82 registrations

The Peugeot 4008 was developed in conjunction with Mitsubishi and shares its platform with the Mitsubishi ASX and Citroen C4 AirCross. The 4008 was never sold in the UK, but remains popular in Australia and New Zealand. As for the rest of Europe: a total of 82 registrations tells you all you need to know.

24. Infiniti QX30: 93 registrations

24. Infiniti QX30: 93 registrations

The Infiniti QX30 shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, but while its German sibling managed to shift over 6,000 units in September, the posh Nissan could only manage a paltry 93. In fairness, the QX30 is new to the market, but Infiniti will be hoping for more solid figures over the coming months.

23. Jeep Compass: 95 registrations

Remember the Jeep Compass? No, neither does the rest of Europe, but Jeep has recently announced a new Compass is on its way. The second generation model (pictured) is set to be formally unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. It’s scheduled to arrive in Europe in 2017 and will go head-to-head with the Nissan Qashqai.

22. Vauxhall/Opel Antara: 107 registrations

Another compact crossover you may have forgotten: this is the Vauxhall Antara. It is, of course, marketed as the Opel Antara in Europe, but it also shared its platform with the Chevrolet Captiva. Head to the Vauxhall website and you’ll find the Antara on sale from £22,155, but there are far better options than this decade-old crossover.

21. MG GS: 230 registrations

21. MG GS: 230 registrations

The MG GS is the new kid on the crossover block, with registrations totalling 230 in September. Prices start from £14,995 for the GS Explore, rising to £19,495 for the Exclusive. MG’s first SUV isn’t about to shake up the establishment, but it’s certainly worth a look.

20. SsangYong Korando: 404 registrations

The current, third generation SsangYong Korando was launched back in 2010, and as such it dates back to the days before the Korean firm really got its act together. So while the Tivoli and Tivoli XLV are genuinely good cars in their own right, you have to make excuses in order to justify the Korando. On the plus side, prices start from £16,250 and it does offer a five-year warranty.

19. Citroen C4 AirCross: 566 registrations

You may not have heard of the Citroen C4 AirCross, because it isn’t available in the UK. Like the aforementioned Peugeot 4008, it was developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi and was launched at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Last month, a mere 566 C4 AirCross models were registered in Europe: a fall of 28.9% compared to the same period last year.

18. Subaru Forester: 804 registrations

18. Subaru Forester: 804 registrations

The Subaru Forester is more SUV than crossover, and it’s all the better for it. Thanks to its five-year warranty, excellent off-road manners and reputation for reliability, it probably deserves to sell more than the 804 units registered last month. Amazingly, that’s down 3.6% compared to the same period last year.

17. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: 1,255 registrations

Another crossover-SUV on the decline is the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, which saw a 21.3% drop in registrations compared to the same period in 2016. Suzuki will be hoping a range of enhancements – including a new ‘Vanden Plas’ grille – will halt the decline. The problem is: the Suzuki Vitara is a better car.

16. Kia Niro: 1,263 registrations

Straight in at number 16 is the new Kia Niro: the company’s first hybrid crossover. Thanks to the combination of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, the Niro is able to offer up to 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 88g/km. Bank on the Kia storming up the sales chart over the coming months.

15. Mitsubishi ASX: 1,742 registrations

15. Mitsubishi ASX: 1,742 registrations

At the recent Paris Motor Show, Mitsubishi announced a series of enhancements for the ASX as it bids to halt the decline in registrations. Last month, registrations were down 36.3% compared to the same period in 2015.

14. SEAT Ateca: 2,847 registrations

The SEAT Ateca is the current darling of the SUV world and is the Spanish firm’s first foray into this lucrative segment. Prices start from £17,990 and it offers a huge 510 litres of boot space. We suspect the 2,847 registrations in September is just the beginning for the Ateca.

13. Honda CR-V: 3,721 registrations

Given all the talk about the new Civic at the Paris Motor Show, you’d be forgiven had you forgotten the fact that Honda offers a range of other vehicles. The CR-V has been on sale a while, but still managed to record a 9.2% increase in registrations compared to the same period last year.

12. Mazda CX-5: 4,283 registrations

12. Mazda CX-5: 4,283 registrations

There are many reasons to like the Mazda CX-5: it looks great, is good to drive and is blessed with a tech-laden interior. Little surprise, then, to discover registrations are up 3.0% compared to September 2015.

11. Toyota RAV4: 5,416 registrations

A rise 3.0% rise? Pah, the Toyota RAV4 laughs in the face of such a pitiful performance. The RAV4 recorded a 114.9% increase in registrations compared to the same period last year, although this might suggest it didn’t enjoy a great summer in 2015. It’s no longer the innovative crossover-SUV it once was, but the hybrid version gives it added appeal.

10. BMW X1: 6,155 registrations

Second generation syndrome just kicked in, yo. The 897.6% increase in registrations is impressive, but you can put this down to the fact that the second generation BMW X1 arrived last summer.

9. Mercedes-Benz GLA: 6,225 registrations

9. Mercedes-Benz GLA: 6,225 registrations

Proof that you don’t need good looks in order to succeed: Mercedes-Benz managed to shift 6,225 GLAs in September 2016, an increase of 9.6% compared to this time last year. Prices start from £25,260.

8. Audi Q3: 6,444 registrations

Little surprise to see a 1.1% fall in Audi Q3 registrations, with the majority of customers waiting for the arrival of the refreshed model (pictured). An increase in overall prices is offset by an improved specification and a new Black Edition at the top of the range.

7. Range Rover Evoque: 7,078 registrations

The Range Rover Evoque remains as popular as ever, with registrations up 146.3% compared to September 2015. It’s now the best-selling premium compact SUV, taking over from the soon-to-be-enhanced Audi Q3. A new Evoque Convertible is available for those who like a little less roof.

6. Renault Kadjar: 10,047 registrations

6. Renault Kadjar: 10,047 registrations

The first car on our list to break the 10,000 mark is the Renault Kadjar, which is incredibly popular in France. Underneath the Renault exterior you’ll find the platform from a Nissan Qashqai, so it’s little surprise to see it performing so well.

5. Kia Sportage: 10,773 registrations

Staying ahead of the Kadjar, but only just, is the Kia Sportage. The fourth generation Sportage was unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and – thanks to its seven-year warranty – it remains one of the most popular compact SUVs in Europe. Can it hold off the challenge of the Kadjar for another month?

4. Hyundai Tucson: 11,484 registrations

Sitting just outside the top three is the Hyundai Tucson, with registrations up 132.0% compared to September 2015. It deserves all the success it gets, because the Tucson is a highly convincing SUV, especially in Premium and Premium SE trim levels.

3. Ford Kuga: 13,102 registrations

3. Ford Kuga: 13,102 registrations

Ford sees a real future in crossovers and SUVs, launching a three-pronged attack in the form of the EcoSport, Kuga and Edge. The Kuga is leading the way with a remarkable 13,102 registrations in September 2016, an increase of 55.8% compared to the same period in 2015.

2. Volkswagen Tiguan: 16,944 registrations

What a difference a new model can make. The previous generation Volkswagen Tiguan had been on sale for close to a decade, so a new version was long overdue. The new version has hit the ground running, with registrations approaching 17,000. That’s a 33.1% increase compared to the same time last year.

1. Nissan Qashqai: 19,628 registrations

All of which leaves the Nissan Qashqai to retain its crown as the king of the compact SUVs. It couldn’t quite break the 20,000 mark, while a 2.9% increase in registrations is way behind its rivals in the top seven. Are the Qashqai’s peak years behind it? A 4.59% fall in segment share suggest they could be.

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical carsWild concepts and crazy supercars might grab the headlines in Paris, but back in the real world, what are the cars you might be driving in 2017? We’ve selected some of the best practical cars at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Skoda KodiaqParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

A decade or so ago, it would have been crazy to start a motor show round-up gallery with a Skoda, but it just goes to prove how far the Czech brand has travelled. Without question, the Kodiaq SUV is one of the star attractions at the Paris Motor Show – it’s a car you know will sell like very hot cakes. The large off-roader was actually unveiled in Berlin earlier this month, but this is the first time the Kodiaq has been shown to the public.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but then the Kodiaq ticks a lot of very important boxes. It’s an SUV, so it enters a growing market; it’s a Skoda, so value is virtually guaranteed; plus it will be offered with a choice of either five or seven seats. It also helps that it looks cracking, especially under the bright lights of the Paris show. Bank on paying upwards of £23,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

Land Rover DiscoveryParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Do not adjust your set, this is indeed the new Land Rover Discovery. Much has changed since the first generation ‘Disco’ was launched in 1989 and the new one looks like a larger Discovery Sport. But is that necessarily a bad thing? After all, the Evoque and Discovery Sport are two of the most popular premium SUVs on the planet.

The Discovery had to change, of course. Faced with strong competition in the form of the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, the new Discovery has emerged with a fresh new look, a range of more efficient engines and improved technology. Prices start from £43,493 for the base Discovery S, but if you’re quick you can get your hands on a First Edition, priced at £62,695. Only 600 are coming to the UK.

Peugeot 3008Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

As expected, Peugeot is putting on quite a show at its home motor show, with the 3008 likely to be one of its most popular new models. It’s no coincidence that the new 3008 looks more SUV than it does MPV, because people carriers are like so yesterday, darling. The new 3008 is chunkier than before, with a raised right height adding a modicum of off-road ability.

The new Peugeot 3008 is actually smaller than the outgoing model, but thanks to a longer wheelbase there’s more space inside. It shows, because the cabin feels spacious, while the boot can swallow 520 litres of family life. Throw in a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, plus some class-leading technology, and we think the 3008 has what it takes to give the Nissan Qashqai a bloody nose.

Honda CivicParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Before the show got underway, the SMMT (Social of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) put on a display of British-built cars beneath the Eiffel Tower, one of which was the new Honda Civic. It’s fair to say that not everyone has welcomed the new styling, although it certainly stands out.

You may or may not like the exterior, but you’ll almost certainly appreciate the interior. The new cabin is a huge step forward, with a more premium feel and a semi-freestanding infotainment system. This is a big car for Britain, with the Swindon plant expected to build some 160,000 Civics a year, many of which will be exported around the world.

Audi Q5Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

This is a big deal for Audi, with the Q5 pushing even more upmarket and introducing a style that’s more in line with the Q7. The new Q5 switches from the MQB to the MLB platform, making it up to 90kg lighter than the outgoing model. Five engines will be available at launch, while a hot RS Q5 will follow in 2017.

Other big news from Paris includes the availability of air suspension – a first for the Q5 – along with LED rear lights and a future plug-in hybrid model. In common with other Audi generation changes, the styling is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but when parked side by side, we reckon the new Q5 will make the outgoing model look and feel a bit frumpy.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The humble people carrier is dead? Not according to Vauxhall, which has just refreshed its popular Zafira Tourer. The Opel-badged cars on show in Paris showcase a new, mildly refreshed face, which to our eyes is less appealing than before. Not that this matters, because the big news is on the inside.

The Zafira Tourer now boasts Vauxhall’s rather excellent OnStar personal assistant, while the clever Flex7 seating remains its standout feature. Aside from that it’s largely as you were. This truly is the mildest of midlife facelifts; a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If you fancy a ‘new’ Zafira Tourer, you’re in luck, because they go on sale from the 1st October.

Renault AlaskanParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Renault Alaskan is to the Nissan Navara what the Fiat Fullback is to the Mitsubishi L200. In other words, it’s a thoroughly Japanese pick-up that’s been treated to a European makeover. The pick-up market is buoyant, so it’s little wonder Renault has chosen to enter this part of the light commercial vehicle sector for the first time.

Thanks to that huge badge at the front, it certainly looks like a Renault, and the engines will be familiar, too. In the UK at least, we expect the Alaskan to be powered by the same 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine found in the Renault Master van. If you like what you see – and we certainly do – the Alaskan is expected to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2017.

Peugeot 5008Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Wait, haven’t we featured this already? Actually, no, that was the Peugeot 3008. This is the 5008, Peugeot’s response to the Kodiaq. In other words, this is Peugeot’s new seven-seat SUV, which looks a whole lot better than the outgoing 5008.

It’s a cracking looking thing, especially at the rear, which is dominated by those claw-like lights and a rather striking design. Inside you’ll find a new i-Cockpit system, which is Peugeot’s version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but with a French twist. It’s totally driver-focused and includes an 8-inch touchscreen and 12.3-in digital cluster. If this is the future of the MPVSUV, we rather like it.

Mitsubishi OutlanderParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been treated to a makeover, with a new EV priority switch, designed to keep the car in electric mode when required. You’ll also find an electric handbrake and auto hold function, plus support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is a welcome addition, because the current Outlander isn’t blessed with the greatest of infotainment systems.

The Outlander diesel now gets a PHEV-style full length console with electric handbrake, smartphone link and a host of new safety features. The new Mitsubishi Outlander diesel will arrive in the UK at the end of 2017.

Audi A5/S5 SportbackParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

If the Audi A5 coupe is a little too cramped for your liking, Audi has a ready-made answer in the form of the new A5 Sportback. Available as both an A5 and a sportier S5, the cars boast an additional two doors, as well as more cabin space.

The Sportback is 17mm longer than the coupe and it’s fair to say it’s not as attractive as the three-door version. But on the plus side, the cabin is noticeably larger, with more shoulder space and knee room, plus an additional 15 litres of luggage space.

Mitsubishi ASXParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Ahead of its imminent launch, the Mitsubishi ASX has sharpened up its act with an interpretation of the so-called ‘Dynamic Shield’ visual identity. Highlights include a revised front bumper, chrome streaks and an upper grille that connects with the headlights. It’s a good look, right?

Other features include a shark fin antenna, more supportive rear seats and a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine. You can order your new ASX in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Suzuki SX4 S-CrossParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a much improved car, although the jury is still out over the new face. Look beyond that ‘Vanden Plas’ grille and you’ll find the brilliant 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine, which replaces the old 1.6-litre unit. It’s a terrific engine: eager to rev hard when the mood takes you, but frugal when the mood doesn’t.

In common with other Suzukis, you get the impression you’re getting far more for your money. It might be a credible rival to the Nissan Qashqai, but the pricing structure is more in line with the Juke. And it’s well-equipped, too. Prices start from below £15,000 and the SX4 S-Cross is available from October.

Renault KoleosParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Renault Koleos has made its European debut in Paris and the big news is, it’s coming to the UK. It is to the Nissan X-Trail what the Renault Kadjar is to the Nissan Qashqai. In other words, the Renault shares its platform with its Japanese counterpart, with the Koleos receiving a French makeover.

To our eyes, the Koleos is more appealing than the X-Trail, especially in the range-topping Initiale Paris trim shown here at the show. Renault is promising class-leading space for passengers and the latest four-wheel drive technology. It’s set to go on sale in the UK in summer 2017, by which time we should know more about the engines, specs and prices.

Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic 2017

2017 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic 'most powerful ever'

Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic 2017Land Rover has created the most powerful production Range Rover ever for the 2017 model year – by dropping in the 550hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the Nürburgring-battering Range Rover Sport SVR.

The new Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic adds a sporty new twist at the top of the Range Rover tree, catering those who want something with top potency bragging rights but still with the space, regality and wafting presence of the Range Rover.

Built by the exclusive JLR Special Vehicle Operations division in Oxford Road, Coventry, the new Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic gets a finish befitting its name, with 21-inch or 22-inch alloys, Range Rover-first Brembo brakes with red calipers plus graphite grey grille, side vents, detailing and RANGE ROVER lettering.

Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic 2017

There are diamond quilted seats within the moody-colourscheme’d interior, plus red detailing, black veneer and polished, knurled controls.

The 550hp V8 accelerates from 0-60mph (note, not 0-62mph, Euro-fans) in 5.1 seconds and will reach 140mph all-out. And just in case the message doesn’t quite get through, quad chrome exhaust tailpipes feature at the rear.

But heady performance comes with a heady price: the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic costs a hopping £132,800. Deliveries begin this winter.

2017 Range Rover range

Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic 2017

Land Rover has also introduced some 2017 model year changes for the Range Rover line-up. They’re minor upgrades, with no visual changes, but bring the JLR pinnacle model into line with some of its underlings from the Jaguar and Land Rover ranges.

Key feature is the introduction of the fancy new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, complete with full-size 10-inch touchscreen (complete with Dual View). This is better-looking, better quality, more feature-packed and brings features such as live apps so, say, chauffeurs can live-track the incoming flight of their boss.

There’s more tech, such as torque-limiting Low Traction Launch control, a smart Advanced Tow Assist that uses the 360-degree cameras to help you reverse-park a trailer like a pro, plus even more Advanced Driver Assist Systems.

All Range Rovers also now come with standard rear parking sensors, cruise control, speed limiter, lane departure warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

The JLR SVO department has introduced 19 extra colour options for the Range Rover line and those worried about NOx emissions now have an entry-level petrol engine to consider: the 340hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 does 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds and emits 248/km, equating to around 27mpg.

Again open for order with deliveries starting in Q4 2016, prices for the 2017 Range Rover line-up start from £76,350.