Best family SUVs 2023
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...
Picking the best car to transport you and your family is a big decision, and it’s important to get it right.
Family SUVs are incredibly popular, because they cater not only to a family’s need for practicality, durability and sensible running costs, but also to a desire for a raised driving position and 4x4-like styling.
While they are typically more expensive than their family car counterparts, many of the best family SUVs offer greater practicality and versatility, further increasing their appeal.
We’ve put together a list of our top 10 family SUVs – as well as naming two models that you should steer clear of – to help you make the right choice for your family.
Skoda Enyaq iV
The Enyaq is one of the cheapest ways to get your hands on a family electric SUV and it’s a strong all-rounder despite the appealing price.
The interior is solid, and quality feels better than in the more expensive Ford Mustang Mach-E. It also comes well equipped as standard – the features list even includes an umbrella that tucks into a slot in the driver’s door in case of an unexpected downpour.
To drive, the Enyaq isn’t what you’d call fun, but even the entry-level car will be quick enough for most people, and we managed 208 miles of range from the standard battery in real-world conditions. You can upgrade to a version with a bigger battery, a more powerful motor and four-wheel drive if you want a longer range or better performance.
- Well priced
- Extremely practical
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- So-so performance by electric car standards
- A Volkswagen ID.3 is more fun to drive
- Infotainment isn’t as responsive as rival systems
Versatility is key for a family SUV, and the Karoq is about as versatile as can be. There’s plenty of room for passengers, and it's available with rear seats that slide and recline independently, or can be removed entirely, so you can choose between boot space and rear leg room. The boot is big enough for nine carry-on suitcases, and is a useful shape.
The Karoq comes well equipped as standard, and the interior is plush and sturdy, with squishy materials and a solid feel.
As for engines, our favourite is the 1.5 TSI 150 petrol, which is noticeably punchier than the entry-level 1.0 TSI 110 petrol engine. While the Karoq isn't as sporty to drive as the closely related Seat Ateca the ride is more comfortable.
- Good to drive
- Excellent space and seating flexibility
- Smart-looking and sturdy-feeling interior
- Seat Ateca is more fun to drive
- You can no longer specify an adjustable boot floor
- No hybrid options
Range Rover Evoque
The Evoque is quiet and refined, with impressive comfort. Additionally, the driving position is excellent, and interior space is plentiful.
There are two diesel engines, three petrols and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) to choose from. Our favourite is the P300e PHEV, which offers great all–round performance, a respectable 38-mile official electric-only range and low company car tax.
If you don’t fancy the plug-in hybrid, the Evoque is hard to justify as a company car. However, if you’re looking to buy privately on a PCP finance deal, any Evoque is a smart choice, because strong resale values keep monthly payments low.
- Great driving position
- Slow depreciation
- Limited boot space
- So-so fuel economy and emissions
- Land Rover’s reliability record
If you want a family SUV that blends distinctive looks with a practical boot, high-quality interior and top-notch safety, the XC40 is an excellent choice. It's so good, in fact, that it’s a former What Car? Car of the Year.
Our favourite engine, the T4 petrol PHEV, is punchy and efficient. When combined with the car's outstanding ride and smooth automatic gearbox, it makes for a relaxing and comfortable driving experience.
The XC40 comes well equipped as standard, although we’d recommend upgrading to Plus trim, which adds heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and ambient interior lighting. As with the Range Rover Evoque, low depreciation means good PCP deals are available.
- Stylish and high-quality interior
- Comfortable ride on most versions
- Comprehensive safety kit
- Lacks the rear seat flexibility of some rivals
- Fiddly infotainment system
- Road noise on the motorway
Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Ioniq 5 is an electric family SUV that can match the Volvo XC40 for distinctive looks, but is quieter at speed and has a much roomier interior.
Space in the rear seats is especially generous, because the Ioniq 5's front and rear wheels are as far apart as those of the Audi A8 luxury car. That doesn't mean boot space has been sacrificed, and the load bay is still a good size.
The rear-wheel-drive version has a 0-62mph time of 7.3sec and a real-world range of up to 250 miles. All versions are slightly beaten on range by the equivalent Kia EV6 though.
- Very quiet on the move – as long as you avoid 20in alloys
- Super-fast charging speeds
- Enormously spacious interior
- Not as quiet as the Genesis GV60 at a cruise
- Not as sharp to drive as the EV6
- Interior quality could be better
Available as either a regular hybrid or a PHEV, the NX is excellent in both forms. The 450h+ PHEV offers lower company car tax and the best efficiency, while the non-plug-in 350h is significantly cheaper to buy, and is still very efficient by class standards.
Both variants offer a refined ride, especially if you opt for smaller wheels, and the driving position should suit most people. The 450h+ comes with more kit as standard, but neither is poorly equipped and all the extra features can be added to the 350h as options.
- Strong performance
- Promise of stellar reliability
- PHEV has an impressive electric range
- Petrol engine isn’t the smoothest
- Choppy high-speed ride on F Sport versions
- Takumi versions are pricey
This former What Car? Car of the Year is a fantastic all-rounder and excels as an electric family SUV.
The EV6's interior is very smart and user-friendly, while space is generous up front and there's limo-like leg room in the rear. The boot is a very practical shape, and large enough to swallow seven carry-on suitcases.
It's great to drive, too: it grips well, the ride is firm without being uncomfortable, and performance ranges from decent to seriously quick. And the range is impressive, with the entry-level EV6 RWD covering 230-270 miles between charges in real-world use.
- Long range
- Fast-charging capability
- Long warranty
- Loads of rear legroom
- Shallow boot
- Not exactly cheap
- Slightly firm ride
Many electric cars that are based on the underpinnings of petrol or diesel models end up being quite compromised, especially when it comes to range. However, the iX3 – which shares parts with the BMW X3 – shows that doesn’t have to be the case.
Like the X3, the iX3 is a classy and practical family SUV. It has a comfortable ride, and feels more agile than rivals such as the Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace.
Its real-world range of more than 200 miles and competitive pricing make it a better buy than the equivalent EQC.
- Longer range than most direct rivals
- Great infotainment system
- Comparatively well priced
- Not as fast as rivals
- Audi E-tron is quieter
- Tesla Model 3 has a longer range and faster charging
The GV60 is based on the same underpinnings as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, and offers the most compelling package of the three. Its ride strikes a perfect balance between comfort and control, making it more refined than the EV6, with less lean than the Ioniq.
On the inside, the GV60 is by far the most plush of the trio and is adorned with a sensible combination of physical and touch controls, making it very easy to live with.
Despite being shorter than its siblings, the GV60 manages to be practical, and the value for money the entry-level car represents makes it the best all-round electric family SUV.
- Wonderful interior
- Extremely quiet on the move
- Great infotainment system
- Boot isn't huge
- Rear space is average
- Optional cameras not as good as traditional door mirrors
To be the best family SUV overall is a very tall order, and every car on our list so far is practical, comfortable and efficient. But the Sportage beats them all by being the most complete package of the lot.
It’s comfortable and good to drive, with a settled ride and precise steering. Inside, it feels solidly built and plush where it matters, while it has the lofty driving position that many SUV buyers seek.
The Sportage is also outstanding when it comes to practicality, with generous space for passengers and a big boot. As a bonus, you get lots of kit for your money. Highlights of our favourite 3 trim include electrically adjustable, heated front seats and keyless entry.
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- Lower spec models are great value
- Smart interior
- Generous rear legroom and boot space
- Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
- Rear headroom compromised with panoramic roof
- No clever rear seat functions
And the family SUVs to avoid...
The biggest drawback of the Lexus UX is its impracticality. It struggles to compete with small SUVs and even some small cars in terms of boot and rear seat space. A fidgety ride, poorly weighted controls and stingy standard equipment levels leave it well adrift of... Read our review
Despite its high price, the Jeep Compass is nowhere near the top of the pack in a very competitive class. Unrefined engines, an unsettled ride and a cheap-feeling interior add up to make the Compass a thoroughly underwhelming family SUV. Read our review
Best small SUVs 2023
Thinking of buying a new small SUV? Then make sure you read our rundown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector – plus, find out which ones we'd avoid
Kia Sportage long-term test
The Sportage is one of our favourite family SUVs, and the mild hybrid version promises low running costs, but what's it like to actually live with? We're finding out