In the market for a new family car, we look at 5 alternatives in the categories of Green, MPVs, Crossovers and Compact SUVs writes Geraldine Herbert
Part Four – Compact SUVs
In the age of the Urban SUV, Peugeot has looked at the most important, decision-shaping consumer desirables within the family-buying market – style, space and elegance – and have re-imagined their 5008 from the wheels up and it is no longer a boxy MPV but rather a smart SUV. Distinctive and elegant outside, inside everything is smooth and logical and behind Peugeot’s small steering wheel is a virtual cockpit – the iCockpit, a digital dashboard. The contemporary design is elegant and there’s the impression that every detail has been considered. The car comes with six engine choices and three trim levels, including an impressive 1.2 turbo petrol so there’s something for everyone.
The 5008 blends the best practicality of an MPV with the appeal of an SUV, making it a very enticing family car. While it will be battling for market share with some very accomplished rivals, it has the capacity to nudge its way in and create a following all of its own.
Prices start from €29,345
Its over six years since the Duster was launched in Ireland at a time when the country was gripped by the worst economic recession in decades and since the budget crossover has proved a huge success. Outside, it is smartly styled with roof rails and splashes of Chrome. Wheel arch protectors and door kick plates complete the no-nonsense image. Inside, families with active lifestyles will relish the functional approach. Those who don’t need 4×4 capability can go for the front-wheel-drive option, ushering in even cheaper prices – with the entry-level 1.5 diesel powered Alternative model available for under €17,000, AWD versions start from €20,890.
A new SE Summit trim joined the range this year has all the equipment that features on the range-topping Prestige trim level, and its SUV style is further enhanced with the addition of chunky body side and wheel arch mouldings. On the road the Duster it is not the most dynamic but it is a functional, comfortable and this rugged-looking SUV costs thousands less than its big-money rivals. The Duster is a frugal, efficient family car at a fraction of the price of most other SUVs.
Prices start from €16,890
Hyundai replaced their popular ix35 compact sport utility vehicle with the Tucson in 2016 and it signalled a new emphasis by the Korean car maker in terms of styling and sales ambitions. With striking
looks, good equipment levels and comfort throughout, the Tucson became Hyundai’s bestselling car and one of the most popular choices among new car buyers in Ireland so far this year. Power comes from a choice of a petrol and two diesel engines with, depending on trim level, either front- or four-wheel-drive and manual or automatic transmissions. Five trim grades are on offer: Comfort, Comfort Plus, Executive, Premium and Premium Plus. Designed, built and tested in Europe, the Tucson is relaxing to drive and the steering feels satisfyingly responsive. The Tucson embodies all that Huyndai does well: generous standard equipment, economical to run and well priced.
Prices start from €26,245
Named after an Alaskan bear, the Kodiaq is Skoda’s seven or five-seat SUV. Inside three adults fit comfortably in the back, and, in the seven-seat option, the middle three seats slide forward to allow extra room for the two rear ones. Families will love the roomy and versatile seating arrangements, but the two seats at the back are best saved for children as they are quite small and only suitable for short journeys.
With all seven seats in place, the Kodiaq has a reasonably decent 270 litres of boot space. Nice touches include the rubber guard that unfolds every time you open a door, to prevent damage to the frame in case the door knocks against another object. There are a range of engines, manual or DSG transmission options and two and four-wheel-drive available, so there’s plenty of choice. But most people who buy the Kodiaq are couples with children and that this Skoda’s most desirable trait is not, in fact, its sure-footed four-wheel drive system, but rather its seven seats. Despite its size, the Kodiaq rides very well, is agile and the steering well weighted. Skoda’s Kodiaq offers space, comfort and practicality and is an all-purpose family car at a very competitive price.
Prices start from €29,750
With rugged good looks, extra ground clearance and genuine off road ability Subaru’s XV is an impressive SUV. While this years ‘revamp’ is actually more of a tweak improvements have been made thoughout and its now stylish without making a fuss. Inside the cabin is classier too and cleanly laid out with an easy to use infotainment system and clear displays. Two engines are available, one petrol and one diesel both mated to Subaru’s capable Lineartronic CVT transmission.
All are four-wheel-drive and have an electronic traction system Subaru calls X-Mode which makes the XV particularly potent over harsh terrain. On the road it feels solid and reassuring but the noise from the CVT is disappointing and the ride may be a little on the harsh side for some. Fuel efficiency is not a strong point and the official figures of 7.0 litres per 100km fuel claim for the petrol version feels optimistic in the real world. The XV also comes with the latest iteration of Subaru’s EyeSight safety technology. Roomy, well equipped and built for adventure the XV is a small SUV with serious clout.
Prices start from €31,995
15th June, 2018