If you live in the UK, you’ll be familiar with how different the roads can be on a single journey.
There are motorways, country lanes, B, C, and D roads and anything in between.
But if you have a large family and you’re occasionally driving over rough terrain (or you like to get out and about), then you will most likely need a large SUV.
Of course, there’s some trepidation given the size of some of these machines.
So what would be the best large SUV for UK drivers?
Of course, this is all going to depend on your priorities. Do you need more rear interior space? Are you after something a bit more luxurious – are leather and chrome your thing? Are you after petrol or diesel? And are you going to head off-road?
Our recommendation is based on a particular set of circumstances, so, as they say in the US – YMMV (your mileage may vary).
The UK large SUV market is quite fragmented
When considering which large SUV to get, it’s worth thinking about where you’re going to be driving it. Some of the country lanes can really tighten up, so you need to think about the overall width.
Length used to be an issue, especially a few years ago when no-one thought about automatic parking systems.
Today the vehicle’s length isn’t too much of a consideration, as the turning circle on most large SUVs is pretty good these days.
But then there are things like pick-ups which actually straddle the difference between the size of a large SUV but are classified as commercial vehicles.
Strangely, you can buy a Nissan Navara, which is actually a bigger vehicle than the Nissan Pathfinder, yet the Pathfinder isn’t offered. So, unfortunately, we can’t recommend the Pathfinder for UK buyers.
Of course, we can include the Toyota LandCruiser (known as the Toyota Prado in other markets, however the ‘Cruiser is a fairly large vehicle. Not as big as the standard LandCruiser (the LC200 series) but the Prado-shaped version is also getting a little too large.
Despite this, if you’ve got the space on your usual commute, this would definitely be a contender thanks to its reliability and space. It also has a split rear seat making loading of luggage or prams very easy.
But you can get seven-seat SUVs which are smaller overall and have more refinement, power and a better warranty.
And that’s what we’ve focussed on here. We’re looking at crossover style vehicles which are traditionally a bit smaller than the ladder-framed SUV.
The best large SUV for UK roads
To offer you just one means that we’ve forgotten about budget, because often the better vehicles are the more expensive ones. So instead we’ve narrowed our selection down to two vehicles.
One for the more budget conscious, and one that will fit the bill if you have a little more cash to splash.
The best large SUV for sale in the UK is without a doubt the Audi Q7.
Thanks to its combination of high-end quality, fabulous ride (with the air-suspension fitted), proper off-road ability, and full-size seven seats, the Q7 really is a class above other vehicles in the category.
Yes, yes, we know that there’s a certain stereotype associated with some Audi drivers, and that SUVs can be viewed as “clogging up our roads”, but the vehicle itself isn’t as big overall as you’d think.
In fact, its compact dimensions, despite being a full-size seven-seat SUV means that it will fit down most of those tiny roads in the countryside.
You can also choose the off-road setting on the drive select mode, and it will lift the vehicle and alter the stability control settings to get through muddy patches or sandy hills.
No, it’s not a gimmick, the Q7 actually has more ability in store than most owners will ever use. It really is a very clever system, but even if you don’t use it that often, it’s reassuring to know that it’s always there in reserve.
Check out the video below to see some of the demo.
The second option is the excellent Kia Sorento. This twin to the Hyundai Sante Fe (which also would be a good contender) offers the best space-for-price ratio as well as giving a lovely ride and good interior quality.
Some of the higher end trim levels have an impressive amount of equipment, and they look excellent. But the lower grade models get cloth seats, which is probably more practical, and smaller wheels which gives the best ride.
In fact, its ride on 17-inch wheels is better than some air-suspended cars.
But having the peace of mind of a good warranty – seven years is nothing to be sneezed at – means it will be looked after for many years (and miles).
The back seats are easy to fold up and put away, plus most body shapes and sizes will fit. And there’s rear air-con which is always a bonus.
So there you have it, folks. Two vehicles for every budget, and both which will fit most people’s lifestyles who require a large SUV.
We’re happy to recommend the both Audi Q7 and the Kia Sorento. Either way, you’re getting a seven seat vehicle that will both fit UK roads but also UK lifestyles.