‘Stop! Stop! You’re killing the planet you monster’ you may well hear people bellow as you drive past in your comfortable, spacious and capable family cruiser that just also happens to be a 4 x 4. Except you aren’t killing the planet – you can run around smug in the knowledge that you’ve bought a practical motor with awesome performance to match.
SUVs haven’t been exempt from the progress that has been seen in the rest of the motoring world that has resulted in lower emissions and cars that are friendlier to our planet. In fact, the ‘Chelsea tractors’ are now a very exciting prospect for driving fans who actually enjoy the art of piloting a car as well as thinking of (a) their wallet and (b) the impact their right foot hitting the floor has on the planet.
I’ll start with the real hot topic: fuel consumption and general CO2 stuff. Blunt warning, I’m going to be horribly obvious and honest in this paragraph. Fuel consumption? SUVs (the big quick ones that we all want) are big, heavy brutes. They are going to consume fuel at a higher rate than a Hyundai i20 that is used exclusively on a motorway; you will just have to accept this and focus on the technological advances that mean that while you are moving around in your Range Rover SVR, fewer of those toxins are being pumped out via those guttural, awe-inspiring quad pipes at the back. They are cleaner now than they have ever been but they aren’t going to be as efficient as a Clio – it isn’t what they are about. The key message is that they are cleaner and more conscious of what we all need to do to help reduce emissions. This is a good thing.
‘These big things aren’t all that nice to drive though, right?’ Wrong. We live in a truly incredible age of high performance, exciting driving machines that also happen to be hugely practical. Nearly every manufacturer worth their salt is churning out SUVs that hold our driving attention and some have gone one step further and given us some real treats.
Here are our top three performance SUVs that you need to get your hands on:
1 – Range Rover Sport SVR. This machine will get you to your destination in supreme comfort and quickly. With a 5 litre supercharged V8, this thing is designed to give you a thrill … and boy it sure does!
2 – Porsche Cayenne S – The Stuttgart-based miracle workers who brought us the 911 give us the supremely sporty and usable cruiser. Armed with a 3.2 litre V6, this stylish and smart cruiser is just the ticket if you want performance and practicality.
3 – The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - This performance SUV heads the charge for the Turin based brand. Following the new Giulia, this high powered 4x4 is continuing the revival of the iconic brand. Having recently broken the record for being the quickest SUV around the Nurbergering, the Stelvio shares its DNA with Ferraris and it is spectacular.
SUVs cover all the bases: they are comfortable, practical, eco conscious and now they are fun to drive. What isn’t to like?