A few years ago, crossover cars were a niche concept, but today they’re the fastest growing sector of the new car market, as proven by the number of new entries into the market in the last year alone.
Here are the 10 best choices of crossover in 2018.
The Duster’s main trump card is its value for money, costing less than many superminis. For that, you get a spacious, practical and comfortable car with a quirky nature. The Duster is quite old now and it’s far from the best crossover on the market, but it offers unbeatable value and has a loyal and enthusiastic following. It is, however, receiving a new version this year, so watch this space.
It’s not cheap, but the X1 is one of the best of the current crop of crossovers to drive. It’s based on the predominantly front-wheel-drive chassis of the 1-Series (and MINI Hatch 5-door), but with BMW’s intelligent all-wheel-drive xDrive system for added reassurance. Performance and handling are the best in class.
The CX-5 is the latest model to feature Mazda’s distinctive KODO design styling, with its distinctive ‘eyebrow’ headlights and bold front grille. It’s one of the most distinctive and handsome crossover SUVs, as well as one of the most spacious, with impressive dynamics and a high-quality cabin. No wonder it’s Mazda’s best-selling model globally.
A recent addition to the crossover sector, the Hyundai Kona is one of the Korean brand’s most charismatic offerings to date, with distinctive body styling and on-demand four-wheel-drive, with hill descent control. Hyundai has also said that an electric version of the Kona will come along later, to complement the existing petrol-only engine line-up.
Although the Stonic is built by Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia, it actually sits on a different architecture to the Kona. Under the skin the Stonic is a smaller crossover based on the running gear of the Kia Rio. It’s pitched as an ‘urban crossover’, which is very much today’s supermini, and has striking looks, along with a class-leading seven-year warranty.
The current generation Tiguan joined the VW range in 2016 and was a marked improvement on the original, which was a well-trimmed but dynamically flawed car. The latest version is a far better drive, with a firmer ride and much sharper handling, as well as cleaner, sharper styling. It doesn’t do anything sensationally well, but it does everything well, and that makes it a great choice of family car.
The Q3 offers the usual Audi recipe of handsome looks and premium interior styling. With crossover positioning and the Audi badge, the German brand didn’t have to try too hard to create a winner, but the Q3 is nevertheless an extremely competent car, and one that is significantly cheaper than a Range Rover Evoque – should your desire for a premium badge and chunky looks be essential purchase requirements.
Even three years on from its launch, the current generation Qashqai represents the best this sector can offer. Great value, excellent practicality, thoughtful design and class-leading safety, along with Nissan’s pioneering around view monitor camera and radar systems, all make it an extremely compelling crossover, and one that remains the sector’s bestseller for a very good set of reasons.
The Karoq is the new kid on the crossover block and represents tremendous value as well as some clever design features, including tablet holders in the rear head restraints to help keep the kids entertained, and a built-in rubbish bin – something that will be music to the ears of family drivers. The 1.5 TSI petrol engine is lively and it’s good to drive, though fans of its predecessor, the Yeti, may find some of that car’s character has been diluted in favour of a more sober, sensible approach.
The Arona is slightly smaller than the Karoq, with which it shares its platform, but it will appeal to those who want all the competency that comes with the more mature feeling Skoda in a livelier, more youthful package. The Arona is small, fun and funky, and also technologically advanced, being the first car in Europe to incorporate the Amazon Alexa voice service into its infotainment package, though you do need to go for the SE Technology model to take advantage of the tech.