The year 2017 has seen some amazing machinery come our way, and with the medium SUV category still topping the charts, it’s time for us to break down our top five.
Having spent hundreds of hours behind the wheel in all of these machines, we’re happy to recommend these five as the best in class.
Each of the vehicles we’ve listed here tops its competitors thanks to a balance of quality, practicality, driveability, safety and price.
Of course, there’s no perfect SUV, just like there’s no perfect car out there, but there’s plenty of brilliant machines that are worthy of your scrutiny.
Reliabilty is another factor, which is difficult to judge from a week-long road test, but based on consumer reports and plenty of trawling the internet, we’re sure these recommendations will suit even the fussiest of buyers.
There’s also a huge range of variants, but to make things easier, we’ve included all the vehicles in the range, and will let a test drive (and price) determine which variant you go for.
Under each recommended vehicle, we’ve listed our reasons why it fits the bill.
But a small word of warning. A lot of people approach these kinds of lists with a preconceived notion of what they like. And while personal preference is fine, don’t let wants cloud your judgement of needs.
We’ve let objectivity rule, so that you’re getting the best vehicles in the segment. And here, we list our top five models.
Taking the platform (and interior) of the C-Class and re-engineering it as an SUV was a genius move by Mercedes-Benz.
It has created a crossover that handles like a passenger car, but has the looks and space that makes a medium SUV desirable.
The GLC’s drive, refinement and quality makes it a real contender in the luxury SUV stakes, let alone the whole category.
But unlike the C-Class, the GLC gets all wheel drive, but despite its taller shape it still drives like a passenger car.
For something that looks a million bucks and doesn’t cost as much as a high end Benz, the GLC is well worth looking at closely.
The Tiguan took a massive leap in both quality and space in the move to the current iteration.
With its range taking in a modest base model, right up to the Golf GTI-engined 162TSI, the Tiguan has the solid build, safety, refinement and room that buyers are looking for.
That it’s also a good-looking machine is just icing on the cake. There’s also plenty of tech inside, especially with the (optional) digital instrumentation.
It’s well worth a look.
Despite it being model year 2018, the X3 was actually released this year.
The new BMW X3 has left behind its slightly awkward looks and proportions to now be one of the most handsome cars in the segment.
With BMW’s expertise in drivelines, and a proper, rear-drive-biased all-wheel-drive system, it also gives a more pure driving experience than many crossovers.
Again, like the Tiguan above, there’s a lot of behind the scenes technology going on, and you’ll likely get lost in the comprehensive iDrive menus.
The steering is a lot better than most, the space is excellent, and the X3 also has a “coupe” sibling in the X4 – if that’s your thing.
Hyundai’s market dominance continues in fine form with the Hyundai Tuscon.
It’s the twin to the Kia Sportage, which has the better warranty, but the Tuscon’s far more agreeable looks and marginally better ride puts it in front.
There is heaps of space inside, the quality is excellent, and both the turbocharged diesel and petrol engines are fantastic choices.
If it was us, we’d pick the petrol – it has a bit more grunt, is quieter and you don’t ever have to worry about any issues with a diesel particulate filter.
Hyundai has come along in leaps and bounds, with materials that have stepped up their game, and it’s a good looking machine to boot.
Well worth a close look.
Mazda’s compact SUV, the CX-5, has long been a favourite around here, and the latest version continues in fine form.
Its interior space, usability and quality are all first class and with a raft of engines and drivetrain choices, there’s something to suit most budgets.
It sounds like we’re saying the same thing over and over, but seriously, have a sit inside the CX-5 and tell us that the quality isn’t good with a straight face.
Just running your hands over the dashtop, the seats and the centre console tells you all you need to know about how well it’s put together.
Okay, it’s not great off-road, but on the road, its handling is excellent, and now with much better road noise suppression, Mazda has made its refinement suitable for discerning buyers.
But it’s that interior quality that really sets it apart. Nothing else in its price range touches it.
The CX-5 comes highly recommended.