Best family SUVs 2022

Want practicality, class and an elevated driving position in a relatively compact package? Then these are the top 10 cars you should be looking at – and the ones that are best avoided...


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What Car? team

Best family SUVs

Deciding which car is best for transporting you and your family is one of life’s more important decisions. So, here we've gathered together our favourite family SUVs.

All of them cater well for the growing number of people looking for practicality, comfort and sensible running costs, but also a raised driving position and off-roader looks. And to help you avoid making a big mistake, we've named the models that are best avoided, too.

If you want to know more about any of the cars listed below or to see what discounts are available through our free New Car Buying service, just click on the relevant links.

10

Volkswagen Tiguan

This one-time Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage rival has been reinvented as a more expensive SUV, so now it’s up against formidable prestige-badged competition such as the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. Fortunately, the latest Tiguan builds on the strengths of the original, offering more space and comfort, and improved efficiency. Unfortunately (for Volkswagen), it has two sister cars that are cheaper to buy and just as capable.

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Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Great seating flexibility
  • Roomier than many rivals

Cons

  • Higher trims get pricey
  • CO2 emissions could be lower
  • Fiddly air-con controls
9

BMW X1

Based on the same underpinnings as BMW's first MPV, the 2 Series Active Tourer, the X1 is a very roomy choice that's available in both front and four-wheel-drive forms. It's classy inside, too, and comes with a brilliant infotainment system, but you do have to put up with a considerable amount of road noise.

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Pros

  • Fantastic infotainment system
  • High quality interior
  • Spacious and practical

Cons

  • Lots of road noise
  • Firm ride
  • So-so reliability
8

Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Discovery Sport sits below the full-size Land Rover Discovery in the company's range, but it's still available with seven seats, has a smart and user-friendly interior and holds its value well. Just bear in mind that there are more comfortable and fuel-efficient choices if you don't need a third row of seats.

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Pros

  • Lots of passenger space
  • Flexible seven-seat capability
  • Lengthy equipment list

Cons

  • Terrible reliability
  • Compromised ride comfort on larger wheels with standard suspension
  • So-so performance
  • Poor fuel economy and CO2 emissions
7

Hyundai Tucson

If interior space is high on your list of priorities you should definitely take a look at the Tucson, because a quartet of tall adults will have plenty of room and the boot is cavernous. Hybrid tech makes the Tucson an efficient choice, too, but it is a bit on the pricey side and there are better handling cars in this class

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Pros

  • Frugal hybrid is a worthy alternative to diesel
  • Well-made interior
  • Spacious for passengers and luggage

Cons

  • So-so handling
  • Ride can get choppy at times
  • No sliding rear seats
6

Seat Ateca

The Ateca broke new ground for Seat, because the Spanish brand had previously built as many SUVs as it had spaceships. However, it proved well worth the wait, combining a practical interior with best-in-class handling and much more attractive pricing than the closely related Volkswagen Tiguan.

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Pros

  • Spacious interior
  • Surprisingly fun to drive
  • Keen pricing and well equipped

Cons

  • Firm ride – especially with big alloys
  • Some rivals offer lower emissions
  • No clever rear seating tricks
5

Kia Sportage

This latest Sportage is an excellent all-rounder that offers a generous amount of space for passengers and luggage, and efficient, hybrid engines. It makes particular sense if you stick with the lower trim levels, and offers a slightly more polished driving experience than its Hyundai Tucson sister car.

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Pros

  • Lower spec models are great value
  • Smart interior
  • Generous rear legroom and boot space

Cons

  • Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
  • Rear headroom compromised with panoramic roof
  • No clever rear seat functions
4

Nissan Qashqai

Even at the end of its life, the old Qashqai was the best selling family SUV in the UK. However, this new version has made big strides forward in interior quality and rear seat space, while retaining a decent level of comfort. We reckon the middle of the range is where the best value lies.

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Pros

  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Great driving position
  • Smart interior

Cons

  • So-so performance
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • Lacks the seating flexibility of many rivals
3

Skoda Karoq

Like the Ateca, the Karoq offers many of the best bits of the Tiguan for thousands less. And while it's the least sporty of the three to drive, overall it's the best all-rounder, offering a polished ride and clever rear seats that can slide, recline or be removed entirely. It also comes with more standard equipment than the Ateca.

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Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Excellent space and seating flexibility
  • Smart-looking and sturdy-feeling interior

Cons

  • Seat Ateca is more fun to drive
  • You can no longer specify an adjustable boot floor
  • No hybrid options
2

Range Rover Evoque

It might well be the Evoque’s looks that first pique your interest, but it’s a sensational car on more objective levels, too. Good to drive, really posh inside and surprisingly practical, it even makes financial sense thanks to incredibly strong resale values and attractive monthly PCP finance costs.

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Pros

  • Great driving position
  • Well-equipped
  • Slow depreciation

Cons

  • Limited boot space
  • So-so fuel economy and emissions
  • Land Rover’s reliability record
1

Volvo XC40

The XC40 may have similar front and rear lights to the company’s other models to ensure a family resemblance, but the rest of the detailing and the overall proportions of the car are quite different. More importantly, though, the XC40 mixes its distinctive style with space, comfort, cutting-edge safety and relative affordability so ably that it's a former What Car? Car of the Year. It's the best family SUV you can buy today.

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Pros

  • Stylish and high-quality interior
  • Comfortable ride on most versions
  • Comprehensive safety kit

Cons

  • Lacks the rear seat flexibility of some rivals
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Road noise on the motorway

And the family SUVs to avoid...

Lexus UX

The hybrid-powered UX's impressive fuel economy appeals, as does Lexus's excellent reliability. Unfortunately, the driving experience is so-so, the infotainment system is poor, and practicality is shocking for a family SUV. Read our review

Jeep Compass

Like most Jeeps, the Compass has impressive off-road credentials, but its poor road manners and noisy engines mean it's ultimately well off the family SUV pace. Read our review