Best large SUVs 2016

For many people, the large SUV is the complete family car. Our favourites are well equipped and good to drive, with sensible running costs and decent fuel efficiency

Words By

Darren Moss

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Land Rover Discovery Sport

A large SUV often makes sense as a family car; the elevated driving position offers a feeling of security, and there’s a generous amount of interior space. Some SUVs have real off-road ability, too, as well as almost unequalled on-road presence.

Our top contenders should be well equipped and good to drive, with sensible running costs and decent fuel efficiency. You can watch our video reviews of all these cars below.

The best

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Our current Large SUV of the Year, the Land Rover Discovery Sport offers seven seats as standard, clever packaging and strong resale values. All versions have a comfortable, classy cabin and most engines are strong performers. The ride can be a little bumpy around town, but the Discovery Sport is a comfortable motorway cruiser.

Our pick: 2.0 TD4 180 SE Tech

The best of the rest

Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 has one of the most impressive engines of any car in this class. Its 2.2-litre Skyactiv diesel engine is strong, refined and impressively efficient, keeping CO2 emissions down to 119g/km. Inside, it’s well equipped and extremely practical, with plenty of space for passengers and a large, versatile boot. Even some noticeable road noise and dull interior plastics can’t detract from the CX-5’s overall desirability.

Our pick: 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L

Audi Q7

Audi's large SUV is one of the best around. It's relaxing to drive, comfortable to sit in and pleasantly efficient to run. Like its rivals, the Q7 is more at home in the city than off-road, but it does come with four-wheel drive should you need it. Despite being a luxury car, the Q7 is also extremely practical, and offers plenty of space for families and their luggage inside.

Our pick: 3.0 TDI Quattro SE

Range Rover Sport

The latest Sport is based on the regular Range Rover, so it’s no surprise it’s a fantastic car for covering long distances, with smooth engines and a relaxed ride. The luxurious and generously equipped interior looks and feels classy, and there is the option of a seven-seat version.

In fact, the only problem Land Rover has with the Sport is that it’s so good it questions the point of buying the full-size, more expensive, Range Rover.

Our pick: SDV6 HSE

Volvo XC90

Volvo's latest XC90 is nothing short of a triumph. It offers a high-quality, spacious interior, economical range of engines and plenty of standard equipment and safety tech. Despite being such a large model, the XC90 handles itself very well on the road, with the only downsides being some suspension noise at low speeds and an unsettled ride.

Our pick: 2.0 T8 Hybrid Momentum


The BMW X5 might not be as classy inside or quiet as some of its rivals, but it is great to drive. There are plenty of engine options to choose from, including a plug-in hybrid version, which gives you up to 20 miles of pure-electric travel. There's plenty of space inside, too, and even rear passengers won't find themselves short changed when it comes to head room and leg room.

Our pick: sDrive25d SE