The crossover/SUV segment – any car that has the look of a 4x4, that is, albeit not necessarily with any off-road ability – has absolutely exploded in popularity over the last decade or so. And so today these vehicles come in all sizes and cover the entire breadth of price, performance and luxury, from compact crossovers like the Nissan Juke to supercar-themed exotica like the Lamborghini Urus.
Below you’ll find the most popular crossovers and SUVs you can lease today. There are loads, so we’ve separated them into categories that you can quickly jump to if you’re especially interested in a certain type.
The smallest type of crossover, designed to give you maximum space and a higher-than-average driving position, but on a footprint that’s very easy to manoeuvre and park.
The car that started the compact crossover segment is now one of the best, but it’s taken Nissan 2 attempts to get there. The groundbreaking first Juke was design-led and not very practical at all, but today’s version, launched in 2019, is a lot more flexible and has much higher quality cabin.
Controversial when it was announced because it took the name of a 1997 Fiesta-based coupe that became a cult-classic. How could a crossover compete? It did, though, and then some. The Puma is genuinely brilliant to drive and hugely flexible. It even has a waterproof sink under the boot. Yep.
Like the look of these two SUVs but don’t know which to go for? Take a look at our Juke Vs Puma comparison.
Not the most exciting crossover on the market, but the T-Cross gives you everything you expect from a Volkswagen: a highly functional dashboard (if a little bland), a good range of efficient engines and plenty of space. Our advice: pick a bright colour to enhance the boxy design.
Probably the most spacious and flexible small crossover on the market, although that’s partly because it’s slightly bigger than most. It definitely feels the largest on the road. The Kamiq will actually pass as a family car, unlike most of its direct rivals, and the interior quality is better than that in the Volkswagen T-Cross. How did VW, Skoda’s parent company, let that happen?
Arguably a family crossover in pure dimensions terms, but very much priced as a compact one. In fact it’s cheaper than anything else here, although it does actually feel cheaper than everything else too. Very spacious, though. It’s possible to spec up a Duster nicely, but base model cars get wind-up rear windows. Remember those?
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Citroen C3 Aircross
Vauxhall Crossland X
These are 5-seat, 5-door SUV-shaped cars with space and flexibility enough for day-to-day family transport, but rarely any off-road ability. Think of them as raised family hatchbacks, with a similar footprint to a Ford Focus, say, but a lot more headroom and boot space.
The car that started this whole crossover thing morphed into its 3rd generation in 2021, and it has gone big on the technology and safety kit. Every model has some form of electrified drivetrain, and while a Qashqai is never going to set your pulse racing, it is going to do the family transportation thing remarkably well in all regards.
The best family crossover bar none, the XC40 blends luxury car manners on the road – it’s really quiet and comfortable, that is – with loads of clever storage and flexibility touches. Plus it looks great. A truly premium experience but for a very reasonable price.
An interesting thing, the T-Roc. It doesn’t quite have the cabin quality you’d expect from a bigger Volkswagen car – not a soft-touch surface in sight – but it’s far more interestingly styled than the other SUV-shaped VWs. That, plus all the space it has, as well as the economical engine range, makes it a very appealing choice for family buyers.
Kia’s family crossover is a great all-rounder, offering lots of space and flexibility with a more dynamic driving experience than you might expect. The Sportage is also one of the better-looking family crossovers (in our view) and because it’s a Kia, it’s very well equipped as standard. Highly recommended.
The most fun-to-drive family crossover by some distance, the 3008 also pulls off the trick of being unique while getting all the basics right. It’s family-friendly in size, and thanks to its innovative (but terribly named) i-Cockpit, it has one of the most interesting cabins you’ll ever see. Brilliant in every way.
Formerly a good value but rather uninspiring crossover, the latest Hyundai Tucson demands your attention – as it is defined by its striking exterior styling. But it's not all about the show. Inside, you'll find a spacious, beautifully built and generously equipped cabin, and the Tucson also comes with a range of electrified turbo petrol engines. It's really refined to travel in and good on fuel too, with a plug-in hybrid option at the top of the line-up for those who want low benefit-in-kind rates and mega mpg.
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For our purposes, these are roughly the size of a family crossover but with an emphasis on prestige and cabin quality. In other words, good, high-riding family hatchbacks but with some of the cachet of a bigger luxury SUV.
Today’s X1 surpasses the original in every way because where the 2009 model felt like a fatter 1 Series hatchback – a little underdeveloped, really – the latest one is a lot more like a ‘junior X5’. The cabin is beautifully solid and intuitive, fit for a much more expensive car, and the engine range is economical from top to bottom.
The Q3 is a lesson in cabin solidity and high-tech feel. Some might not get on with just how much of the interior relies on a touchscreen – BMW is better at implementing shortcut buttons – but the Q3 has a ‘wow’ factor that few crossovers match. The ride is a little on the firm side though, especially with S line trim.
The GLA feels a little smaller than others on this list, but that might be a bonus if you’re after something compact. It follows that it’s not the most spacious family crossover, but it does have an awesome dashboard if you spec it with the twin widescreen displays.
The good thing about a Lexus (any Lexus) is that they rely on hybrid drivetrains which, on paper at least, equates to tax-friendly, low CO2 emissions and appealing fuel efficiency. The UX is a smart-looking thing too, inside and out. Sadly, its multimedia system is fiddly and the driving experience is nowhere near as sharp as the looks.
Range Rover Evoque
We don’t really need to say anything here, right? You’ll know already if you want an Evoque or not because, well, it’s the most cost-effective Range Rover there is. Nothing much further to add, except to say that while the Evoque has a lovely, tech-laden cabin worthy of the badge, it’s not the most spacious for rear-seat passengers.
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If you have more than 2 children or just want as much usable space as possible, then the large crossover is for you. An MPV would be even better, if we’re honest, but if you get your kicks in the shape of an SUV, look no further than these.
Citroen C5 Aircross
Masses of cabin space including 3 proper rear seats in the back (a rarity), an enormous boot, keen pricing and the ride quality of a luxury SUV all combine to make the C5 Aircross hugely appealing. Assuming you can live with the interesting aesthetic. And the fact that it’s a bit clumsy to drive. Would be improved with 7 seats, too.
Think of this as a 7-seat version of the SEAT Ateca, and if you don’t know what an Ateca is, it’s yet another Volkswagen Group family crossover. The Tarraco, therefore, has exquisite build quality, a user-friendly cabin and, because it’s from VW’s ‘youth’ brand, slightly non-boring styling.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The ‘Sport’ bit only means that this is a less massive Discovery than the full-sized one; the Discovery Sport is the car formerly known as the Freelander. It’s much improved as a family car now, though, with more focus on Range Rover-style comfort than Land Rover-style utilitarianism. It’s still great off-road, however, the front-wheel-drive version aside.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Often overlooked, the Stelvio isn’t a great crossover by any measure – which is probably why it’s often overlooked – but it does have a certain style, a flair, that the vast majority of rival crossovers simply don’t. It’s expensive, but it’s available with some powerful engines – one of them Ferrari-based and with 500hp-plus – and it’s pretty entertaining to drive.
The best 7-seat crossover to drive by far, the 5008 has almost all of the dynamism of the 3008 but adds a boot so vast that they’ve folded a couple of extra seats into the floor. It also has 3 individual chairs in the middle row, another rarity. Of course, the upshot of all the extra space is that it’s much bulkier (read: less attractive) than the 3008. Hey ho.
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Electric crossovers make perfect sense because their bigger bodies and high seating positions lend well to having a big battery pack under the floor. That means they can have relatively long battery ranges from a single charge, and also that they appeal to a broad range of buyers. They tend to be on the pricier side, though.
Based on a dedicated electric chassis that will see Volkswagen Group electric cars come thick and fast, like the VW ID.5 and the Skoda Enyaq iV, the E-Tron’s best feature is how, well, normal it feels. Apart from the (optional) wing-mirror cameras. In every way it’s like a luxury Audi SUV, with the added bonus of a silent drivetrain.
Tesla Model X
The most spectacular SUV this side of a Lamborghini Urus, the Model X’s most striking feature is its top-hinged gullwing doors. The second most striking is how relentlessly quick it is. The third most striking is its enormous touchscreen infotainment system. The fourth most… actually, let’s just agree that it’s all striking, eh?
The Kia e-Niro isn’t quite as keenly priced as the next car on this list, but it’s a very high-quality product with a usefully long battery range and loads of cabin space. Its 64kWh battery is one of the bigger ones on the market and equates to 230 miles between charges – claimed mileage, that is. You’ll get closer to 180. Still good though.
MG ZS EV
The best value EV on the market, pound-for-pound, offering all the cabin space of a family crossover and without the big price premium usually associated with an electric car. The MG ZS EV undercuts even the similarly sized Kia e-Niro by thousands. The catch? The battery is on the smaller side at 44kWh, meaning you’ll only just surpass 100 miles from a full charge.
Arguably the best electric SUV on the market today, the EQC is as refined as a luxury car and yet blindingly quick with it. Its 80kWh battery is huge, meaning you should comfortably exceed 200 miles per charge, while the twin-screen interior blends comfort and tech superbly.
Lexus UX 300e
Hyundai Kona Electric
Off-Road Cars And 4x4s
Now we’re taking ‘proper’ SUVs, as in cars that are built primarily as functional off-roaders rather than large family cars. That means they have extra measures including heavy-duty 4x4 systems, underbody protection and even low-range gearboxes, all for tackling the most treacherous of landscapes.
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover took a risk with the latest Defender by replacing a decades-old icon with a car that looked, ostensibly, like yet another luxury SUV. However, in off-road terms the new Defender trumps the old one by every measure,and yet it does actually feel like a luxury SUV day-to-day. An extremely hard thing to pull off. Hats off to Land Rover for this one.
The Wrangler epitomises a car that feels like it was made to go off-road, with day-to-day comfort a distant 2nd. Some will love the chunky looks, the utilitarian vibe of the cabin and the bouncy, uncouth nature of the ride, but it’s a million miles from Land Rover’s stuff in refinement terms.
Ask any Jimny owner what they think of their car and be prepared to sit for hours while they regale you with an automotive love story. It’s easy to see why because the Jimny looks fantastic, is extremely reliable, is relatively cheap and is brilliant off-road. It’s positively ropey as a runabout though, with slow steering, turbulent suspension, very little space and cabin plastics of 1993 quality.
Toyota Land Cruiser
If Harry Redknapp drove a Toyota Land Cruiser, he’d describe it as a “top, top off-roader”. There are few 4x4s with this level of solidity, reliability and general terrain-conquering brilliance. Again, though, that means it’s not a patch on a Land Rover (or any other luxury SUV you care to name) at being a family car.
Nothing has the road presence of a Mercedes-Benz G-Class – aka ‘the G-Wagen’. Ridiculously expensive, yes, and saddled with a ‘low-budget hip-hop video’ vibe now, but actually the G-Class has a long history as a proper off-roader. Like the Defender, it also happens to be a phenomenal (and enormous) luxury car too.