Brilliant new cars and the bargain used alternatives
We reveal the best new cars in every sector, and the brilliant used alternatives that will save you thousands...
New – Seat Ateca
The Seat Ateca brings driving fun to the small SUV class. However, putting a smile on your face isn’t all the only thing it does well – it also offers a solid interior, lots of space for you and your family and an excellent array of both standard and optional safety kit to protect everyone on board. That you can also have a fuel-sipping petrol engine with impressive yet quiet performance for a bargain price makes it hugely appealing.
Used – Skoda Yeti
It's the combination of a clever interior and excellent value that makes the Skoda Yeti our favourite used small SUV. It’s one of the most spacious cars of its kind, with loads of room for every passenger, but the really neat bit is that the rear seats can fold, slide and tumble forward like an MPV's, leaving you with a huge, van-like load area if you need it. Reasonable prices mean It won’t cost you the earth, either, and it’s even fun to drive – although the payoff is a ride that’s a touch on the firm side.
We found: 2013 1.2 TSI SE, 20,500 miles, £10,236
New – Skoda Kodiaq
With the Kodiaq, Skoda hasn't just built one of the best seven-seat SUVs around, but also one of the most affordable. The Kodiaq is a comfortable choice with a smart and practical interior. And our favourite model costs less than £30,000, yet gives you four-wheel drive, a punchy 148bhp diesel engine, dual-zone climate control, automatic emergency braking and an 8.0in infotainment screen with smartphone mirroring.
Used – BMW X3
It’s no wonder the BMW X3 has proven so popular with buyers. It's great to drive, with tight handling and remarkably well controlled body lean, yet (as long as you don’t choose the firm-riding M Sport version) it’s also comfortable and quiet on a long cruise. Every X3 engine combines punchy performance with impressive fuel efficiency. And of course, as you’d hope in a car of this size, the X3’s rear seats can take two adults or three children in comfort.
We found: 2014 xDrive20d SE, 30,000 miles, £17,456
New – Audi Q7
Despite costing much less than an entry-level Range Rover, the Q7 is unquestionably a better all-rounder. It has a very plush interior, gets loads of standard kit and is incredibly refined; wind and road noise are negligible and the optional air suspension gives a supremely cushioned ride. Luxury SUVs don’t get any more practical, comfortable, luxurious or sophisticated.
Used – Volvo XC90
The original Volvo XC90 is a very practical family car and a school-run favourite, yet it’s also a fantastic long-distance cruiser. All versions have seven seats and, unusually, there’s enough boot space even with the rearmost seats up to carry a useful bit of luggage. True, it isn’t the most exciting car in the world to drive, because its soft suspension causes the body to lean over in corners, but the payoff is that the XC90 is delightfully smooth and comfortable at any speed.
We found: 2014 XC90 D5 SE, 33,000 miles, £24,000