Monday 24 June 2019

The family favourites

With a high driving position, smart styling and practicality, compact SUVs make great family cars, writes Geraldine Herbert. Here is a selection of some of the most popular on offer

Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
VW Tiguan
Toyota RAV4
Nissan Qashqai
Hyundai Tucson
Ford Kuga
SEAT Ateca

Geraldine Herbert

Dacia Duster

A new and improved Dacia Duster arrived in showrooms late last year but still with a price tag of less than €18,000. Outside, it's more muscular; inside, the dashboard and interior have been totally revised. It's still a little dull and plasticky but there is plenty of space to fit four tall adults - or five at a push - and storage is generous. On the road it's not thrilling to drive but it is noticeably more comfortable and refined. The Duster is still a functional, comfortable and a rugged-looking SUV that costs thousands less than its big-money rivals.

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Engine Range: 1.6 petrol; 1.5 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 142-178g/km

Price Range: €17,390 - €24,750

Trim Levels: Essential, Comfort, Prestige

EuroNCAP rating: HHH (2017)

Ford Kuga

Ford has recently tweaked the Kuga to keep it competitive against newer rivals. On the road it is a smooth and understated cruiser  that is good to drive. Well priced and well equipped, the mid-spec versions are the ones to opt for as range-topping versions are pricey and don't justify the extra cost. An all-new Kuga with a plug-in hybrid powertrain will be here at the end of the year.

Engine Range: 1.5 and 2.0 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 163-198g/km

Price Range: €28,450 - €41,987

Trim Levels: Titantium, ST Line, Vignale

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2012)

Hyundai Tucson

With striking looks, good equipment levels and comfort throughout, the Tucson has been one of the most popular choices among new car buyers in Ireland since its launch. Designed, built and tested in Europe, the Tucson is relaxing to drive and the steering feels satisfyingly responsive. It embodies all that Huyndai does well: generous standard equipment, economical to run and well priced.

Engine Range: 1.6 petrol; 1.6 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 125-162g/km

Price Range: €27,495 - €41,795

Trim Levels: Comfort, Executive, Premium, Executive Premium

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2015)

Kia Sportage

A new and improved Sportage was launched in time for 192 sales. Changes include a more streamlined look and a redesigned front bumper, while there's new  safety and infotainment technologies inside. Spacious and airy throughout, both driver and passengers will have nothing to grumble about. Kia also replaced the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine with their new 1.6-litre CRDi engine, the cleanest diesel engine Kia has ever made. On the road the Sportage handles well and is smooth, comfortable and safe - everything you would want from a family car.

Engine Range: 1.6 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 126-136 g/km

Price Range: €29,815 - €36,640

Trim Levels: K2, K3, K4, GT Line

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2015)

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan may not have reinvented the wheel when they launched the Qashqai but they certainly came close - and spawned a whole raft of imitators with this clever crossover. New engines were recently added to the range along with an improved infotainment system. Despite ever increasing competition, the Qashqai delivers a smarter interior and quality throughout and it is still a tempting family car that is hard to beat.

Engine Range: 1.2 and 1.3 petrol; 1.5 and 1.6 diesel.

CO2 Emissions: 99-155g/km

Price Range: €26,370 - €34,620

Trim Levels: XE, SV, SV Premium, SVE

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2014)

Peugeot 3008

The 3008 has been a huge success for Peugeot. The chiselled, fluid appearance of the exterior styling makes it one of the best-looking cars in the class. But if the outside is a surprise, the inside is what that truly sets it apart from the competition. The finish is modern, understated and elegant. On the road, the good looks are complimented by a polished ride. So if the striking exterior looks doesn't seal the deal, the stunning interior will.

Engine Range: 1.2 and 1.6 petrol; 1.5 and 2.0 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 142-175g/km

Price Range: €26,990 - €45,540

Trim Levels: Access, Active, Allure, GT Line, GT

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2016)

Renault Kadjar

The Renault Kadjar has a proved a popular alternative for those seeking a little more space than the Captur. Inside, the cabin is spacious and Kadjar drivers will enjoy the high driving position and stylish, well laid-out interior. The boot can hold 527 litres and if you're carrying something especially large, you can always fold the back seats down. The Kadjar is ideal for someone who loves the practicality of a family-sized crossover combined with French style and panache.

Engine Range: 1.4 petrol; 1.5 and 1.8 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 128-155g/km

Price Range: €27,145 - €40, 145

Trim Levels: Play, Iconic, S-Edition, GT Line

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2015)

SEAT Ateca

The Ateca is robust and handsome outside while functional and durable inside. A compact SUV needs to provide plenty of space, and front and back seat passengers fare well with lots of headroom and legroom. The Ateca's great strength is that it handles and drives like a hatchback, with good grip, plenty of pep and less body roll than you may have anticipated. The suspension is, however, a little on the firm side. The Ateca is good to drive, spacious and comes at an affordable price.

Engine Range: 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 petrol; 1.6 and 2.0 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 120-159g/km

Price Range: €25,995 - €33,299

Trim Levels: S, SE, Xcellence, FR

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2016)

Toyota RAV4

Nissan may be largely credited with popularising crossovers when it launched the Qashqai but it was a decade earlier, in 1994, that Toyota invented the Compact SUV category with the introduction of the RAV4. Offered in both front and all-wheel-drive versions, the RAV4 is one of the few hybrid compact SUVs available. The latest version is a smart-looking car and remains a good choice for families looking for an efficient, spacious and economical option.

Engine Range: 2.5 hybrid

CO2 Emissions: 100-105g/km

Price Range: €35,900 - €47,450

Trim Levels: Aura, Luna, Sol, Sport, Platinum

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2013)

VW Tiguan

Volkswagen's second-generation Tiguan was launched last year. With 76mm added to the wheelbase, there's plenty of legroom in the front and rear and the boot is a decent size that can be extended by folding the rear seats back. Inside, it is spacious, practical and a comfortable family five-seater. If you need a little more space and are in the market for a 5+2 SUV, the Allspace version is ideal. On the road, the Tiguan is very refined, although the ride is a little harsh compared to rivals. It offers plenty of room and all the key safety features SUV buyers want at a price they can afford.

Engine Range: 1.6 petrol; 2.0 diesel

CO2 Emissions: 148-210g/km

Price Range: €30,770 - €52,770

Trim Levels: Trendline, Comfortline, Highline, R-Line

EuroNCAP rating: HHHHH (2016)

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