Let’s get straight into it. There were a lot of good crossovers in 2017, but some stood out more than others. And that’s thanks to exceptional build quality, practicality, first class engineering and value for money.
The real trick is to find the ones that offer all of those qualities rolled into the one model. And while we could probably cherry pick one SUV which stands above them all, it’s much more helpful to give you our top ten and get into the reasons why.
The best SUV crossovers in 2017 were:
- Nissan Qashqai
- Honda CR-V
- Ford Edge
- Kia Sorento
- Audi Q7
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Mazda CX-5
- BMW X3
- Mazda CX-9
So why should you choose one of the above?
The appeal of SUV crossovers is easy to understand. The vehicle’s body creates the chassis (called a monocoque or unibody) so they don’t have the heavy metal of a ladder-frame weighing them down, like their off-road capable counterparts. This makes them a lot lighter.
Less weight means better handling. Less weight also means better fuel economy, better acceleration and it means they’re much easier on brakes, tires and other parts.
They’re smaller, easier to drive, usually have better crash ratings (thanks to better crumple zones) and are easier to get in and out of than a full form SUV. You can read this article on why crossovers are so popular, but what you really want to know is which is the best to buy, right?
Well, in the list above, we’ve covered all price ranges and sizes, so let’s get into why we’ve chosen them.
10. Nissan Qashqai
The little brother to the Nissan Rogue, not only is the Qashqai the best looking car that Nissan made in 2017, it’s also one of the most feature packed. In its highest spec form, there’s virtually nothing that you don’t get. Leather, heated seats, active cruise control, all the latest safety gear, cameras galore, Bluetooth streaming, USB ports – you name it, it’s got it.
But it also drives very well. Even on the largest wheels, the ride never gets bone-shattering hard, and while it’s not the best handling machine out there, you can thread through city streets with ease.
And thanks to its compact size, it’s also easy to park and easy to see out of. Normally we’d complain about the CVT gearbox, but it works very well and teams with the engine perfectly. This compact SUV is a very accomplished all-rounder.
9. Honda CR-V
The CR-V is one of Honda’s most popular models and for good reason. It’s well-built, drives well, has excellent fuel economy, but where it really shines is in its space.
If you want a practical machine, this is it. It can be had in both five and seven seat versions, has a massive luggage space, the seats can be folded and tumbled so you can maximize the load space, and there are bins and pockets everywhere.
The engine is now a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline unit, which may seem small, but it’s happy to boogie when you want it to get up and go. And you can have it in both two wheel drive and all wheel drive versions.
But where Honda has the edge is in its reliability. How often do you see a Honda broken down on the side of the road? Yeah, that’s right – never. It means that you have the confidence that the CR-V will give you many years of faithful service.
8. Ford Edge
So, does this Ford have the – ahem – Edge over its competition? Sorry, we couldn’t resist. But seriously, the Edge is a vehicle that comes in a heap of trim levels, so it suits just about any budget. But here’s what makes it worth looking at.
The Sync infotainment system is brilliant, the build quality is far better than a lot of Fords (we’re looking at you, Mustang), and it has a lot more space than you’d expect just by looking at photographs.
The EcoBoost engine is very refined, and even though later models came with an eight speed automatic, the six speed is still one of the smoothest shifting autos around. And for those who want a bit more grunt, there was a V6 option as well. And, of course, the V6 sounded pretty good, too.
It also drives more like a car than an SUV, which is a big plus for someone looking to shift from a sedan to something a bit bigger.
7. Kia Sorento
Kia’s ten year warranty is one of the best reasons why you should look at any model from this manufacturer, but the Sorento is also another very good reason. A seven seat vehicle, the Sorento has the best blend of having enough space to carry around a lot of kids but without looking like a mini-van.
It’s also a very handsome vehicle, with a grille that looks like it could have come from a Mercedes-Benz. The interior styling is a little bland, but everything is there and in top-spec trim, the Sorento wants for nothing.
Its engine is very torquey (some markets get one of the best diesels around) and the eight-speed auto does a great job of keeping it running smoothly. But in all-wheel-drive guise, the Sorento is actually more capable off road than most people give it credit for.
It also drives very well, and when shod with smaller wheels, the ride is absolutely outstanding.
6. Audi Q7
The Q7 is one of our favorites here at SUV Authority, and with good reason. The build quality is by far the best out of any vehicle we’ve listed here. But like all good things, you get what you pay for. Yes, it’s not exactly a cheap machine, but if you have the budget for it, you should definitely put it on your shortlist.
With one of the best suspension setups in the business (when fitted with air springs), the Q7 floats along like the old Range Rovers of years past. With a punchy V6, creamy smooth eight speed automatic, and silence like a Rolls-Royce, the Q7’s drive experience is absolutely serene.
It comes in both five and seven seat configuration, but you may as well opt for the seven seat version – you never know when you’ll need those extra two pews. It’s also helps when it comes to resale time.
5. Skoda Kodiaq
Here’s a brand that not many people have heard of – but they need to. It’s the Czech Republic’s version of VW, with the brand re-purposing many of the German car-maker’s vehicles. That’s because Skoda is owned by Volkswagen.
The Kodiaq is Skoda’s version of the Tiguan Allspace, and is a seven seater that has many little nifty details added in. Of course, it has the trademark Volkswagen build quality, and it drives exactly like a VW should.
But it also has things that VW doesn’t. Like the “Voice Enhancer” which uses the Bluetooth microphone up front and projects your voice to the rearmost passengers using the vehicle’s speakers. There are also door edge protectors which pop out and cover the door’s edge so you don’t scratch your paint if you open it against a wall or another car.
There are also umbrellas hidden in the doors, which come in handy on a rainy day. All in all, it’s a very cool machine that may look a little odd, but is so charming that you can overlook its quirky front end.
4. Volkswagen Tiguan
What list would be complete without adding in the Tiguan? After a largely forgettable first generation, the 2017 model is more grown up, more luxurious, more accomplished in every respect.
The turbocharged engine range is a peach, no matter which version you get, but the 2.0-liter turbo is particularly cool. It’s quick, handles very well and has a lot of space for second row passengers.
But of course, VW really do know how to put a vehicle together. Open the doors and you’re greeted with presentation and plastics that really make this look like Audi could have built it. There are a stack of options you can put onto it, including the very cool digital instrument display. But the 2017 infotainment unit is also one that is worth exploring, with just about every trick in the book.
3. Mazda CX-5
Mazda’s answer to the Tiguan listed above is the CX-5. And the reason we’ve put it ahead of the VW is simple – it’s built even nicer than its rival. Yes, the plastics are of a higher grade, the design is less austere and it has a very quality feel to it.
There’s a fraction less space than the Tiguan, but it makes you feel like you’ve bought a more premium product. It also drives very well and Mazda doesn’t rely on turbocharging to get its power so it’s a bit more punchy off the line.
The 2017 model also sports the redesigned front end which really modernizes the CX-5. Well worth a proper look.
2. BMW X3
The latest X3 is absolutely huge, and is bigger than the original X5 if you can believe that. Consequently, you’d have to wonder who really needs an X5 unless that want a much larger luggage space.
The drive experience is still typical of BMW, with an emphasis of having plenty of driver involvement and excellent handling. While the steering has lost the feel of the previous generation, it’s still a lot of fun to sling along your favorite piece of road.
But there’s more to it. There is a very impressive suite of technology available and the iDrive-6 system has so many menus that it’s a bit hard to get your head around. But with vehicle monitoring available from your smartphone, cameras all around, semi-autonomous driving capability, self parking and plenty of other bits of tech, the X3 is a crossover that is both fun to drive and fun to demonstrate to others.
1. Mazda CX-9
Finally, we come to the best choice you can make in this category. The Mazda CX-9 has just about everything you’d want, especially for this price range.
With classy styling both inside and out, plus some of the best leather you’ll find in a non-luxury car, the CX-9’s seats are the real highlight. The ride comfort is first class and with a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, there’s lots of power when you need it.
You can have it in front wheel drive and all wheel drive, depending on your preference, but for us, the front wheel drive felt just as good, so it’s probably best to save your money (and fuel).
The third row can actually house two full size adults, and it’s reasonably easy to get in and out of , but it never feels ponderous on the road, despite its size. And of course, it’s very safe, so you’ll be looking after your family. But don’t take our word for it, go and try it – you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.