Best sports SUVs 2024 reviewed and rated - and those to avoid

If you want performance as well as practicality and an elevated driving position, the sports SUVs in our top 10 should be on your shortlist. We also reveal the models we'd avoid...

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George Hill
Updated22 January 2024

If you’re looking for an SUV that prioritises sport over utility (SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle), then you’ve come to the right place. Sports SUVs are a type of car that are fun and fast, but also practical enough to live with every day. 

So, to help separate the best from the rest, we’ve named the top 10 sports SUVs you can buy. But before we show you the list, it’s worth noting that this class features a wide variety of models, including SUVs large and small. One thing they all have in common is a powerful engine, and handling and thrills are very much on the agenda, too.

Best sports SUVs - Audi SQ5, Porsche Macan

To define the list, our team of road testers have spent countless hours testing every single sports SUV on sale, both on the road and on track. We’ve also driven the regular versions of each model so we can see how much fun has been added to the equation. Following our extensive testing, we believe the Ford Puma ST is the best all-round sports SUV you can buy, although some rivals are stronger in certain areas.

To find out more, including which version of the Puma ST we recommend, and which rivals are also worth considering, read on. And if the Puma ST or any of the other cars on the list appeal to you, just click on the appropriate links to read our full review or see how much you can save by using our free New Car Deals service. Alternatively, read our rundown of the best SUVs on sale today.

Our pick: 1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV 155 ST-Line DCT 5dr

0-62mph: 8.7 sec
MPG/range: 49.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 128g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: 17E
Buying & Owning


  • Immensely enjoyable to drive
  • Surprisingly big boot
  • Great driving position


  • Occasionally bouncy low-speed ride
  • Auto gearbox version is underwhelming
  • A VW T-Roc R is bigger in the back

In a class that’s becoming increasingly defined by cars that are weighty, complex and pricey, the Ford Puma ST takes the opposite approach.

It comes with either a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine or a 168bhp 1.0-litre unit with mild-hybrid tech to help lower your fuel bills. The 1.5 is peppier than the 1.0, and it comes with a manual gearbox rather than the automatic gearbox which comes with the smaller engine.

Although the 1.5 produces ‘just’ 197bhp, it’s a joy to drive because you can work the engine to your heart’s content with the six-speed manual gearbox. In fact, if you want such a feature in your sports SUV, the Puma ST is almost unique.

At times, the Puma ST can give you the impression that you’re driving a hot hatch (other than the fact that you sit up slightly higher). That’s helped by the optional Performance Pack, which adds grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, launch control and a limited-slip differential (LSD) for some extra excitement. The LSD is a handy addition because it gives you more traction on the way out of corners. 

Being based on the regular Ford Puma small SUV, the Puma ST is a practical car, too. The boot can swallow up to six carry-on suitcases, while passengers in the back should have enough space to enjoy the ride.

"The 8.0in infotainment system has been replaced with a 12.0in unit on the latest model. It comes with Amazon’s Alexa assistant, so you can speak to your car naturally to do things like set a sat-nav destination or change the radio station." Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Read our in-depth Ford Puma ST review



  • Powerful engines
  • Fantastic handling for a big SUV
  • Classy interior


  • Expensive to run
  • Stingy kit list
  • Brilliant air suspension is optional

One of the biggest strengths of the Porsche Cayenne Coupé is its agile handling.

In fact, our preferred S model is far more fun to drive than anything this tall and heavy has any right to be, with great body control and steering that weights up beautifully through bends. Meanwhile, the S model's thunderous 468bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine can thrust it from 0-62mph in just 4.7sec. And while the 349bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol you get in lesser Cayenne's pulls strongly from low revs, it begins to run out of puff at the top end of the rev range, meaning the S is the Cayenne we'd go for if you can afford to.

We’d recommend adding air suspension to maximise comfort, but no matter how you spec the car, you get to relax in an interior that's as spacious as it is classy. Indeed, there's even more leg room in the back of a Cayenne than you'd find in the gargantuan Volvo XC90.

"The dash-top stopwatch can be used to record track-day lap times; you simply press a button on the steering wheel at the start of each lap." Doug Revolta, Head of Video

Read our in-depth Porsche Cayenne review

Our pick: V8 DBX707 5dr Touchtronic

0-62mph: 3.3 sec
MPG/range: 19.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 323g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: N
Buying & Owning


  • Amazing acceleration and engine noise
  • Great to drive yet mostly comfortable
  • Roomy inside, with a big boot


  • As expensive as you’d expect
  • Very thirsty
  • Not as solidly built as a Bentayga

Offering an immersive and interactive driving experience, wrapped in a luxurious package, the Aston Martin DBX is a more appealing all-round choice than the rival Bentley Bentayga or Lamborghini Urus

Powered by a mighty 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, the DBX 707 – our favourite version – can sprint from 0-62mph in a startling, supercar-rivalling 3.3sec. That's seriously impressive for a car that weighs 2.2 tonnes.

Perhaps the best thing about the DBX, though, is the way it manages to combine its agile handling with a comfortable ride.

"Fit and finish aren't quite up to Porsche standards, but the DBX is brightened inside by an eclectic mix of colours and materials. Even the driving mode selector knob can be colour matched to co-ordinate with the exterior trim." Will Nightingale, Reviews Editor

Read our in-depth Aston Martin DBX review

Our pick: T 5dr PDK

0-62mph: 6.4 sec
MPG/range: 28mpg
CO2 emissions: 229g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 488 litres
Insurance group: 44E


  • Performance ranges from punchy to rapid
  • More rewarding to drive than most other SUVs
  • High-quality interior


  • Some rivals are more spacious
  • Important safety kit optional
  • Thirsty petrol-only engines

Above everything else, sports SUVs have to deliver fun – and the Porsche Macan does so in spades. 

You can have a V6-engined version in S or GTS trim, but our pick, the Macan T, has more than enough power from its 261bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine. 

Like the Cayenne, the Macan T’s handling really helps it shine. It’s the most agile model in its line-up, because it's lighter than the larger-engined S and GTS. There’s also minimal body lean and you get lots of feedback through the steering.

The Macan has less rear space than both the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, though, and safety provisions are disappointing because most systems are optional extras.

"The Macan can be optionaed with a 10.9in touchscreen for the front passenger that can display journey information or stream video from Netflix and other providers, but a filter prevents it from being seen from the driver’s seat." Darren Moss, Deputy Digital Editor

Read our in-depth Porsche Macan review

Our pick: 2.2 D 210 Sprint 5dr AWD Auto

0-62mph: 6.6 sec
MPG/range: 46.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 160g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 525 litres
Insurance group: 34D
Buying & Owning


  • Entertaining handling
  • Razor-sharp accelerator responses
  • Generous standard kit


  • Engine only sounds good in Race mode
  • Interior feels cheap in places
  • Rear space is a bit tight

On paper, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has all the ingredients to make a cracking sports SUV. For one thing, it has a four-wheel drive system developed by Maserati, and for another, its 512bhp 2.9-litre  V6 petrol engine is borrowed from Ferrari.

That engine is certainly powerful. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in a sports car-baiting 3.8sec, and keep going to a top speed of 176mph. You'd think that kind of power would be accompanied by an explosive soundtrack, but sadly the engine only sounds rorty once you engage race mode.

Remarkably for a big SUV, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio doesn't feel like it weighs a few tonnes. Indeed, thanks to precise steering and the added agility of its four-wheel drive system, it feels surefooted as you weave it along a country road.  Ride comfort isn’t as good as in the Porsche Macan, but the firm suspension set-up is by no means harsh. 

Interior quality lags behind both the Macan and the Audi SQ5, but there is enough room for four average-sized adults – alongside a decent amount of luggage.

"Red-blooded drivers will fall for the Stelvio’s playful nature on a country road; power is biased towards the rear wheels in traditional sports car style . However, it isn’t as tidy or composed as the Macan." Dan Jones, Reviewer

Read our in-depth Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review

Buying & Owning


  • Ballistic performance
  • Handles like a much smaller car
  • Great interior quality


  • Heavy fuel consumption
  • Distracting infotainment system
  • Gearbox can be sluggish

The Audi RS Q8 is an outrageously fast SUV that can corner with incredible composure.

Like the cheaper SQ8, it has a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine with a bassy exhaust note. But this RS model pumps out 592bhp, making it even quicker than its sibling, with a 0-62mph time of just 3.8sec.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox can be a little slow to react if you floor the accelerator, but it works well if you’re a little gentler, and the engine has so much grunt that it thrusts you forwards anyway. 

The RS Q8 is well finished inside, and you get a decent-sized boot, making it more practical than some rivals. And, although it may seem pricey, it's cheaper than both the BMW X6 M Competition and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupé

"Inside, the RS Q8 doesn’t look dramatically different from lesser Q8s, but it feels beautifully built and you get a few racy features, including a G-meter, should you wish to know how much cornering force your passengers can withstand before they start to complain of motion sickness." Steve Huntingford, Editor

Read our in-depth Audi RS Q8 review

Buying & Owning


  • Thrilling handling
  • Strong and flexible engine
  • Well equipped


  • Firm ride
  • Some road noise
  • Not the roomiest

Blending the regular Volkswagen T-Roc's practicality with the performance of a hot hatch has created the T-Roc R. And on twisty roads, it handles brilliantly, with quick steering, vice-like grip and a four-wheel drive system than can direct more power to the rear wheels to help the car turn in to corners more eagerly. 

The T-Roc R may 'only' have a 2.0-litre petrol engine putting out 296bhp, but it pulls strongly, works well with the seven-speed automatic gearbox, and can get you from 0-62mph in 4.7sec if you use the standard-fit launch control system. Ride comfort isn’t as good as some rivals, but it’s still better than that of the BMW X2 M35i.

The T-Roc R's interior is relatively spacious, with plenty of room for six-footers up front. And while the interior was originally let down by some cheap feeling plastics, these have since been upgraded.

"To get the most out of the T-Roc R, you’ll want to upgrade to Dynamic Chassis Control, which allows you to switch the car’s suspension between Sport, Comfort and Normal. In Sport, the T-Roc R has less body lean than rivals, making it even more engaging to thread along country roads." Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Read our in-depth Volkswagen T-Roc R review

Our pick: 300kW 55 Quattro 114kWh Sport 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 5.6 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 569 litres
Insurance group: 49E
Buying & Owning


  • Effortless performance and a great V8 noise
  • Composed ride and tidy handling
  • High-quality interior


  • Porsche Cayenne Coupé is more fun
  • Distracting touchscreens
  • Cheaper SQ7 is even more spacious

When the Audi SQ8’s 500bhp 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 petrol engine rumbles into life, you immediately know you’re in for a treat. Not only does it sound good, it also offers impressive performance; 0-62mph takes just 4.1sec.

Despite its performance focus, the ride is comfortable and the air suspension deals with potholes well. That performance does come at a cost, though, with the SQ8 managing just 20mpg even if you drive it gently. 

Although it's not as spacious as its seven-seat sibling the Audi SQ7, it’ll fit three passengers in the rear pretty easily and they won't feel too hemmed in, even if they are tall. 

"The range-topping Vorsprung SQ8 comes with electromechanical active roll stabilisation on the suspension. That means it has active anti-roll bars that prop up the vehicle up in corners to limit body roll without compromising ride quality." Stuart Milne, Digital Editor

Read our in-depth Audi SQ8 review

Our pick: 1.5 TSI 150 V1 5dr DSG

0-62mph: 8.9 sec
MPG/range: 42.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 151g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 450 litres
Insurance group: 19E


  • Very well equipped
  • Surefooted and grippy handling
  • Smart interior for the money


  • Not as practical as some family SUVs
  • Fiddly dashboard controls
  • Not the quietest car at 70mph

In its most powerful form, the Cupra Formentor has the performance to keep pace with rivals, such as the BMW X2 M35i.

Under the bonnet sits a 310bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine that helps the car achieve a 0-62mph time of just 4.9sec.

Through corners, the Formentor is agile. What's more,  there's plenty of grip, due to the wider tyres that come with the most powerful version. Mind you, it doesn't thrill in the way that the very best sports SUVs can.

Inside, the Formentor is relatively well finished, featuring perforated leather and contrast stitching.

"The steering wheel mounted drive mode and engine starter buttons add a sporty feel to the Formentor, as does red ambient lighting." Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Read our in-depth Cupra Formentor review

Our pick: 4.0T FSI V8 S 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 3.5 sec
MPG/range: 20mpg
CO2 emissions: 320g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: N
Buying & Owning


  • Mind-bogglingly fast
  • Comfortable ride
  • Sharp handling


  • Rear head room is a little tight for tall adults
  • Fuel economy in the low 20s
  • Hefty purchase price

The Aston Martin DBX 707 is a better all-rounder, but if you're looking for an SUV that blends jaw-dropping looks with awesome pace and enough practicality to be usable every day, the Urus takes some beating.

Power comes from a 4.0-litre V8, with a couple of turbochargers strapped on for good measure. The result is a mighty 657bhp – enough to hurl the Urus from 0-62mph in just 3.5sec.

Just bear in mind that the Urus is very thirsty, and tall adults will wish they had more head room in the back.

"The angular dashboard vents and flip-up guard over the start/stop button in the Urus drill in the fact you’re in a Lamborghini, while swathes of leather and Alcantara ensure there’s as much luxury as there is theatre." Dan Jones, Reviewer

Read our in-depth Lamborghini Urus review 

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Read more: Best and worst sports cars >>

And the sports SUVs to avoid...

Maserati Levante V6 S

This most powerful version of Maserati's SUV pumps out 424bhp and its engine emits an entertaining snarl when you push on. However, stodgy handling and a bumpy ride make it hard to recommend. Read our review


What is the sportiest SUV to drive?

This is a far reaching question, but thanks to a combination of brilliant handling, (comparatively) light weight and compact dimensions the Ford Puma ST is ideal for British roads. It feels rather like a hot hatch to drive, which perhaps is unsurprising given it’s based on the now-discontinued Fiesta ST.

If you’re looking for an SUV that blends exceptional performance with a razor-edged sporting drive, you should look to the other end of the sports SUV market at the Aston Martin DBX707.

What is the fastest SUV in the UK?

The 2025 Aston Martin DBX707 is the fastest accelerating SUV in the UK at the moment, recording a 0-60mph time of just 3.1sec. Its top speed is 193mph.

What is the most reliable sports SUV?

In our 2023 What Car? survey of the most reliable SUVs, the Porsche Cayenne topped the table for sports models. Its reliability rating of 98.7% proves that performance doesn't necessarily come at the expense of reliability.

Which Audi SUV is the fastest?

Audi’s fastest SUV is the Audi RS Q8, which can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.8sec. Like many other Audis, it’s limited to a top speed of 155mph, but if you choose the optional carbon ceramic brakes, Audi will remove the electronic speed limiter to allow a 190mph top speed.

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