There's an SUV to suit everybody - here are three newcomers from Seat, Toyota and Skoda
There is an SUV to suit just about everybody. Geraldine Herbert considers three new entrants to the market
SEAT Ateca: SEAT's first SUV has found favour with Irish buyers and accounts for 30pc of their sales this year. Outside, it is robust and handsome; inside, it is functional and some of the plastics feel cheap, but durable nonetheless.
Back-seat passengers fare well with a lot of headroom, and the driver and front passenger, likewise, have a lot of space and legroom. The boot, at 510 litres, can swallow a weekly shop and more, and is 80 litres larger than that of the Nissan Qashqai.
Powering the range is a good mix of petrol, a 1.0 and 1.4 and 1.6TDI 2.0TDI diesel engines. Prices for the SE 1.4-litre petrol start from €28,720 but there is also a 1-litre version that starts from €25,120.
On the road, the Ateca is good to drive with plenty of grip and little body roll, although the suspension is a little on the firm side. The 1.4 petrol may not be the obvious engine choice, but it is well worth considering as it is perky and offers reasonable economy.
The optional all-wheel drive gives it an adventurous feel and the reassurance of knowing you can survive the rigours of an Arctic blast. Packed full of safety features, it achieved the full five stars when tested by the Euro NCAP crash-testing, with an impressive 93pc for adult occupant protection.
Three equipment lines are offered: entry-level S, SE and XCELLENCE. Splash out on the top-of-the-range and you get roof rails and window frames in chrome, a high-gloss black grille, dark tinted windows and 18in alloy wheels.
SEAT's Ateca is comfortable, spacious and sensible; it won't make you stand out from the crowd, but it will serve you well. Prices start from €25,120.
While Lexus has been busy carving out a niche in the radical-styling department, Toyota has always been a little, dare we say, dull - so quirky, muscular and colourful are not words you would readily associate with the Japanese car-maker. The new funky C-HR is certainly the one to stand out in the supermarket car park. C-HR stands for Coupe-High Rider and it sports a sleek coupe-shape roofline, bulging wheel arches and sharp creases.
Inside it's surprisingly roomy, even in the back, although kids may find their vision slightly compromised by the upward-sloping
rear windows. The boot offers a reasonable 377 litres of space. The cabin looks great and is really easy to use, with everything the compact SUV market demands, including an 8in touchscreen for sat-nav, reversing camera and a full range of infotainment features. The C-HR is also very good to drive and the steering is accurate while the suspension absorbs bumps nicely and keeps you cosseted from wind and road noise. Overall there is a nice balance of dynamics and comfort.
Proving how much things have changed with compact SUV engines, there's no diesel option just one 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol and a 1.8-litre petrol/electric hybrid.
The 1.2 petrol engine produces a modest 85kW of power and 185Nm of torque, but on the road it feels far faster than the numbers suggest and it's peppy and flexible.
If you're doing your bit for the planet, the hybrid model will save you plenty of trips to the pumps by returning 74.33mpg.
Prices for the 1.2 petrol start at €26,895 and for the 1.8 Hybrid at €29,350.
There are three trim levels, Luna, Luna Sport, and Sol to fit all budgets.
Stylish, lively and green, the C-HR will appeal to the young and the young at heart, injecting some real fun both into the brand and the compact SUV sector. Prices starting from €26,895
Skoda is the latest to capitalise on the incredible success of crossovers and the Kodiaq adds yet another bold offering to its line-up.
Named after an Alaskan bear, the Kodiaq is its all-new seven or five-seat SUV.
The Kodiak's trump card is space. 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.
Despite its size, the Kodiaq rides very well, is agile and the steering well weighted. It will transport the whole family in comfort, effortlessly.
The Kodiaq is sold in Active, Ambition and Style trims - and every Kodiaq gets air conditioning, 17in alloys, cruise control, Bluetooth, Climatronic air conditioning and the clever Smartlink technology for smartphone integration with the infotainment system.
The five-seater petrol version is priced from €28,795 and the diesel from €35,495.
Skoda's new Kodiaq offers space, comfort and practicality and is an all-purpose family car at a very competitive price. Prices start from €28,795