Crossover Class of 2015

So after yesterday’s glance back in time it’s time for me to do as promised and bring you a road test that’s bang up to date. Although I have not had the opportunity to drive any of these vehicles, I have at least had a good nose around all of them bar a couple. I don’t intend to retread over old ground too much in this post but it’s worth refreshing readers who may have not read my previous post that I’m a big fan of the luxury SUV (or crossover if you think they don’t count as proper off-roaders), and with most entries in the segment having been refreshed in the last 18 months or so I thought it a nice idea to do some sort of mega comparison.

Introduction:

Again we have the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Mercedes GLE (formerly known as the ML), Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90 – all suitably premium offerings which on the most part are very similar to their predecessors I spoke about yesterday. One major difference though is that all of them have had a noticeable jump in price and simultaneously an apparent reduction in running costs; a well specced example of any of these cars is going to reach £60k very easily, which is a jump of 25% or so from less than a decade ago, fuel consumption has improved by an even higher percentage in some cases, though how that translates into real life is debatable.

Exterior:

As always exterior styling is very subjective and is down to individual tastes, but certain visual details on these cars marry up better than others and there are some undeniable lookers in the bunch. Unfortunately for Mercedes the brand new GLE is not one of them; technically the newest car here (launched this month), it is nevertheless a heavily facelifted version of the 2012-2015 ML which was never a car I had much admiration for from most angles. The drooping rear 3/4 of that car has remained unfortunately, and whilst larger standard wheels have helped fill out the arches much better than before it still lacks the aggression of the other vehicles here…although admittedly the new coupe version has it in spades and competes well against the latest BMW X6.

The new Q7 can look more like a big estate than a 4×4

Ironically the next two newest cars are also the next two which are least visually appealing to my eye. The Audi Q7 also launched this month and has been credited for formally introducing a new design direction for Audi’s ‘Q’ line-up of SUV’s. Admittedly the facelifted Q3 featured the same silver-edged grille that Audi have slapped on the front of their largest model, but the rest of the angular body is apparently going to be carried across to the upcoming Q5 and Q6 models, although hopefully they manage to come across as a little more aggressive than the low-down and pretty dull Q7. I suspect that with a few more attractive wheel options and maybe a light facelift in a year or two that Audi will be able to recapture the appeal of the original model, but until then I can’t digest it’s looks properly (though I know no everyone agrees). The new XC90 does at least manage to come across as an SUV/crossover as opposed to a bloated estate car, but the short nose and fussy detailing does grate against me slightly especially when you consider how attractive the original model was (albeit a little boring). The ‘Thor’s Hammer’ lights are interesting though, and in R-Design trim the XC90 gets bolder wheels and some sporty accents, plus you know that it will probably age gracefully.

The Cayenne comes across as noticeably smaller than it’s rivals here, but is full size where it counts

With it’s second generation the Porsche Cayenne has now been lifted from class dunce to at least a grade B student; this time round the graceful lines of the 911 coupe have been applied with a bit more care to the SUV body, and although bigger than the first generation Cayenne the new one looks smaller, at least half a class down from cars like the Discovery and Q7 (although it does come without 7 seats admittedly). A 2014 facelift saw some fancy new lights added but not much else, it’s a shame though that Porsche still insist on giving the Cayenne 18″ wheels as standard…stepping up to 20″ rims (standard on most cars here) is nearly £3k extra! The 3rd generation X5 is also a car that needs big wheels to help look it’s best, but thankfully unless you go for base SE spec you are given 19″ wheels as standard, with larger rims being much more reasonably priced than on the Porsche. I was not initially keen on the X5’s looks when it first launched late in 2013 (making it the oldest car here), but time and familiarity has softened my view to the extent that I actively lust after them more than their admittedly beefier predecessors. The modern interpretation of the kidney grille and halo headlights are just very cohesive and it just looks neat.

Maybe red isn’t the Disco’s best colour, but despite being a pensioner in car terms it is certainly a looker

The looks of the Land Rover Discovery have barely changed in most part since 2006, but while to some that could be seen as a negative it has again proven that familiarity breeds acceptance and admiration as the Discovery has continued to be one of the most distinctive and arguably desirable vehicles on the road. Heavily revised in 2010 the Disco was pushed upmarket from it’s plastic-clad roots, and 2014 saw an updated front end with classier LED lights and ‘Discovery’ branding on the bonnet and tailgate. Against rivals which have moved to a softer and rounder look the Discovery is proudly old-school, and with large wheels and the right colour scheme it looks shockingly modern for a car released 11 years ago. However the latest Range Rover Sport is the car which looks best to me, as it has managed to combine the best aspects of the full size Range Rover and the striking Evoque into a package which is just the right size. It looks genuinely sporty and aggressive without resorting to a lot of the exaggerated detailing of it’s predecessor, but still retains an air of toughness and rugged ability that the Land Rover brand is built on.

Interiors:

Despite coming of age on the outside, unfortunately the Discovery still has to make do with a painfully outdated interior, both in terms of technology and design. The importance of infotainment systems has ballooned in the 11 years since the Discovery was first launched, yet there have been no major improvements to it’s system apart from fancier graphics and support for certain apps…it’s still very slow to use and the screen has not changed in size or resolution (although thankfully the monochrome secondary screen for audio controls is long gone!). The Land Rover does gain back from ground with the masses of space in the boot and comfortable 3rd row of seats, but the mechanism is still clumsy and interior plastics even in the front are noticeably behind class best.

Stylish and covered in leather, the Range Rover Sport’s interior is not the most user friendly

Unfortunately for Land Rover their latest and greatest models have not improved massively on certain fronts either, and so only just ahead of the elderly Discovery is the much newer Range Rover Sport which manages to promise so much yet fall short in a few areas when compared to other vehicles here. Most noticeably is the infotainment system unfortunately which is still a generation behind even the 2011-launched Cayenne – the screen is of average size and resolution, but menus are slow and complicated  and in the sun it can be nearly unreadable. The rest of the cabin is very smart though and material choices are beautiful, it’s just a shame that despite the high equipment levels that certain things are totally unavailable or can be dangerously pricey – it’s also annoying that the £1500 third row of seats are basically unusable to anyone over the age of 10. It’s only by good grace that Mercedes edge past Land Rover’s effort though, as despite being subject to a large update the GLE’s cabin is starting to appear a little less premium – especially when compared to even the Range Rover Sport. The Merc’s saving grace is that it now has the fancier COMAND system which can be found in the latest C Class and S Class models, complete with touchpad controller and much improved screen mounted atop the dashboard (albeit integrated horribly!). The plasticky radio and aircon controls do look a little outdated but thankfully are amongst the easiest to use here thanks to sheer simplicity, whilst material choices do appear to be a notch above a lot of rivals here even if the stitched dashboard is in fact MBTex faux leather. Unfortunately though a lot of the GLE’s options are wrapped up in expensive packages, and it is one of only 2 cars here that cannot be optioned with a 3rd row of seats…you need the larger GL for that.

Button heavy but utterly luxurious and up to date, the Cayenne looks more like a sports car inside

The Cayenne also can’t be had with a third row of seats and it’s equipment levels are in fact even more expensive than the Mercedes’ – even Bluetooth is not standard and navigation (again standard fit on every other vehicle here) is a £3k option. That said the Porsche’s interior is supremely comfortable for 5 passengers and comes across as incredibly sporty and well made – there are admittedly hundreds of buttons (often a lot left blank) but you get the impression that everything will work forever and once used to the layout I expect that most owners won’t have any complaints about their leather lined cabin – it just looks the part. I guess it’s this ‘special’ feeling that is lacking slightly in the X5, which otherwise has a near perfect cabin; it’s just incredibly similar to not only the previous model but also every other BMW on sale today. Synchronicity between models is a much desired trait by manufacturers, but sometimes it results in a £60k 4×4 feeling the same as a £20k 1 Series inside and that’s not great. Otherwise though you have a cabin which outperforms all rivals in terms of usability (iDrive is nearly flawless by this stage) and features…you want it and you can guarantee the BMW can offer it. Most desired options are sensibly priced too and although the optional 3rd row of seats are small, they are still a more habitable place than in the Range Rover Sport.

The Q7 has more widescreens than a branch of Currys

It’s testament to the fast pace of car infotainment systems nowadays that the two newest cars also have the best interiors. Which you prefer is really down to personal choice, but for me it is the Q7 which is just nudged into second place. Audi’s interior are always exquisitely made and feature some of the best tech on the market; a minimalist dashboard hides a pop out infotainment screen which is controlled by a large MMI panel sat between the front seats – it has a huge touchpad too and is apparently a joy to use. The Q7’s real trump card though is it’s fully interactive ‘virtual cockpit’, which replaces the whole dial system with a massive interactive LCD screen – easily the best such system out there and for some this will be reason enough alone to buy a Q7 (although it is an option). The rest of the cabin is very roomy and the rear seats are bigger than all rivals here bar the Discovery and XC90. It’s the Swede that really wins it for me though, as aside from the reasonably spacious 3rd row of seats (and impressively sized boot even with seats all in use), it has a quality cabin built with ease of use in mind and comes with a stonking great touchscreen in the middle of the console to control basically all the car’s functions. Some reviews have said that it can be a little tricky to use on the move and that it attracts fingerprints, but that doesn’t stop people using their iPads and the Volvo’s interface is almost as good as the Apple’s – I’ve played with it and I was impressed! It creates an atmosphere which can only be replicated with the £100k Tesla Model S.

Performance:

None of these cars can really be classified as sports cars in the commonly bought diesel guises, but buyers now expect their 2-tonne plus vehicles to perform just as well as a sports saloon with the fuel economy to match. Thankfully the memories of 0-60 times over 12 seconds are long gone, thanks to a mixture of efficient yet powerful diesels and slick gearboxes. Being the oldest and heaviest car here though the Land Rover Discovery is the one that brings up the rear in performance terms though – the 3L SDV6 now puts out 250bhp and has the much loved 8 speed ZF gearbox paired with it, but it can only reach 60mph in a little over 9 seconds…no slouch by any means but still a good second or more behind similarly powered rivals – weight and aerodynamics show themselves here.

The XC90’s sedate looks mirror it’s driving experience, but that doesn’t really matter does it?

The XC90 used to be available with a paltry 163bhp 5-cylinder D5 engine which meant it lagged behind even the Discovery 3 in real world usage. Thankfully the new car gains a 221bhp 4-cylinder engine also called the ‘D5’, which when asked will shift the XC90 to 60mph in a speedy 7.6 seconds with power being channeled through an 8 speed gearbox made by Aisin – still a decent effort even if it doesn’t have as much love showered on it as ZF’s. Most buyers will go for the diesel but those with more cash to burn can get even better fuel economy and performance from the T8 Hybrid which scoots to 60 in just 5.4 seconds. The problem is that in the real world, drivers of the D5 model will find that their car lags a little bit behind most rivals unless they really push the engine – not a very Volvo thing to do. Mercedes also offer a 4 cylinder engine in their GLE which comes with just 201bhp, but the majority of buyers who are not company car drivers will probably do the sensible thing and pony up a couple of grand to upgrade to the impressive 254bhp GLE350d, which also gets a 9 speed gearbox over the 7 speed in the GLE250d. The 350d reaches 60 in just 6.9 seconds and the 250d takes a still respectable 8.3.

The GLE could be a very attractive car if you cover the right half of this image…go ahead and try it!

Surprisingly the V6 diesel GLE is actually quicker than the V6 diesel Cayenne despite it’s larger size and presumably worse dynamics – 7.4 seconds is no slouch though. What the Porsche does have over rivals though is a much larger range of engines with which to woo buyers with speedy expectations; diesel buyers can either have the 3L 241bhp V6 or a stonking 4.2L 379bhp V8…admittedly the V8 is a little pricey but it still manages to reach 60 in 5.2 seconds! Actually the V6 petrol Cayennes have 0-60 times of under 6 seconds too, with the Turbo getting there in 4.4 seconds and insane Turbo S in dead on 4 seconds. Maybe it’s a bit unfair to put the Cayenne mid-table with those kind of figures, but most buyers will go for the V6 diesel which is a bit slower than rivals. The Range Rover Sport also offers a V6 and V8 diesel, but the difference in performance is so minimal it’s easy to see why most buyers don’t bother with the 4.4 SDV8, which takes 6.4 seconds to reach 60. Admittedly it has a lot of grunt and probably feels faster than it is, but the 3.0 SDV6 has only 30bhp or so less in it’s latest guise (300bhp) and reaches 60 in 6.8 seconds…pretty fast for a vehicle which can go hard core off roading.

Don’t worry they’ll be some workers in the local supermarket car park who can wipe that right off…along with adding a load of scratches

Two Germans top the performance stakes though, with both the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 offering different but fast engine options for well heeled customers. The Q7 currently only comes with diesel engines in the UK and a mere 2 of them at that; both are 3L V6 engines, one with 214bhp that reaches 60 in a decent 7.3 seconds but more pertinently a 268bhp version which only takes 6.3. Given that will be the most popular engine option and that it’s a 7 seat off roader it’s a pretty impressive figure, especially when you consider the more sporting Cayenne is smaller and takes a whole second more. The X5 is the winner in the performance stakes however, due to sheer choice and flexibility of engines available. As with the Discovery, Range Rover Sport and Q7 the X5 uses the talented 8 speed ZF automatic in all guises, pumping through power from one of 5 diesel engines. Base cars come with a 218bhp 4-cylinder which takes 7.9 seconds to 60 (the 25d), most popular will be the 254bhp 30d which takes 6.6 seconds to 60, although many buyers will choose the 308bhp 40d which does it in 5.7. Or if you’re completely bonkers you can pick the M50d, which has an insane 375bhp and sprints to 60 in just 5.1 seconds…incredibly all but the 25d are 6-cylinder diesels, just with varying turbos and engine tuning.

Driving:

Handling and ride are attributes which are very hard to measure and in the grand scheme of things something that many buyers don’t really consider when choosing what to buy. Add in the fact that most of these cars can be optioned with fancy suspension and steering options and it makes it more difficult to make any clear conclusions. That said probably the most compromised vehicle to drive will be the Mercedes GLE – I suspect it acquits itself very well in most situations, but being tuned for comfort will mean that handling is not very high on the car’s priority list. Plus although Airmatic air suspension is optional it is still a pricey one, and without it the large wheels are going to result in a firm ride despite the car’s roly poly aspirations.

The GLE’s cabin is built for comfort and that is reflected in the way it drives…you’ll need those bolsters to stop rolling around though

The XC90 suffers from a similar plight to the GLE in that it is a comfort tuned model but with air suspension only as a pricey option – £2000! Other than that the 4-cylinder engine up front gives a better weight distribution than rivals with larger units, but the standard 19″ and larger wheels apparently do give a bit of a harsh ride which isn’t very Volvo-like. The Discovery has air suspension as standard, however it’s tall stance and heavy weight mean that handling is not it’s strong point and if hustled down a windy back road it starts to feel very nervous indeed. Still the driving height is noticeably higher than some of the cars here and even with large wheels that suspension is able to gobble up pot holes and create an excellent long distance cruiser.

Never get overtaken by a Q7, you’ll have to look at it’s odd rear end

The new Q7 is a much better prospect than it’s predecessor in all respects and comes out looking as a proliferate all-rounder – adaptive air suspension is an option at £2000 but even without it the ride is quite supple and the car has sturdy road holding…I guess Audi may finally have cured their infamous harsh ride with the Q7 but only time will tell if the larger wheeled models uphold this progress longer term. The BMW X5 on the other hand does have a ‘sporting’ ride when optioned with M Sport wheels and suspension, but on the whole it is a sharper drive that rewards the driver in a way which the Audi and other rivals mention so far probably wouldn’t. Admittedly the adaptive suspension and active steering packages are additional extras but M Sport cars (ie most of them) will have certain drivetrain options as standard.

The X5 is very competent on road but has lost it’s competitive edge

Finally we come to the best all-rounders, and I myself am quite surprised that I’ve narrowed it down to the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne. In the final sprint though it’s the Sport which falls a little behind thanks to it’s beefier steering, larger size and less sporting dynamics; this is still a 2.5 tonne vehicle and the fact it handles so well is astounding, plus it has standard air suspension to give a comfortable ride even on wheel sizes which can be optioned as large as 22″ from the factory. I haven’t really spoken about off-roading talents in this test either, but if they are needed then the Range Rover Sport can knock any rival bar the Discovery out of the park. But we’re talking about on road handling and ride and I guess there was never any doubt that it would be the Porsche that would top the table. It may not be the most powerful in diesel guise and yes if you want any of the fancy suspension options they are very pricey, but even the standard vehicle without any of that handles like a much smaller vehicle and yet rides reasonably smoothly on all but the most broken surfaces. I don’t think any of these cars would scare off the average driver, but it is the Porsche that will always appeal to those who want the sportiest and most car-like driving experience.

Running Costs:

So this is going to be a rather difficult segment to write about because running costs on new cars don’t only take into account fuel and road tax, but also depreciation and probably servicing packages too. That said all of these cars are going to be cheaper to run than their predecessors were when new 9 years ago; emissions regulations and rising fuel prices mean that every mpg and g/km of CO2 counts a lot for even just the average buyer. As such it is clearly the Land Rover Discovery which rolls into last place here – fuel economy of 35.9mpg and road tax of £295 a year is commendably better than the very similar Discovery 3 could manage even as recently as 5 years ago, but still isn’t great when compared to rivals, especially when real life fuel returns are still likely to be sub 30mpg. Still the Discovery currently holds it’s value very well, even if a successor is due soon.

The Discovery’s fuel consumption and interior hark back to the mid 00’s if we’re being honest

Also pricey to run is going to be the other Land Rover offering here; fuel economy of 37.7mpg doesn’t sound too bad when you consider that the base diesel on the original model could barely muster that with nearly half the power, but realistically you’re going to be looking at around 30mpg if you drive the car sensibly (and I’ve seen reports with mixed driving as low as 24mpg!). Road tax is also £265 per year which is not too bad compared to Range Rovers of old, but is still notably more to pay for company car users, and add in the high list price and things get even worse. Again though depreciation is very low, with even 18 month old cars exchanging hands for not much off list price! The opposite may well be said of the Mercedes GLE though. A new model it may be but the ML it replaced never managed to hold onto it’s value as well as rivals and I suspect the still-ungainly GLE may need some hefty discounts to detract from it’s loftier list price. Still the 250d engine apparently returns over 50mpg and is a mere £130 a year to tax, with the gruntier 350d still managing nearly 45mpg and costing £75 more per year. Those numbers would have been unheard of even 5 years ago, and even if the 250d only manages 40mpg it would still be very impressive.

She ain’t no looker but neither does she have the drinking problem of most rivals

The Cayenne is also £205 a year to tax in it’s most common guise and should manage to achieve 42.8mpg – something I’d imagine is not too far off the truth given that Porsche tends to be more accurate with it’s figures than most. The diesel V8 only manages to achieve 34mpg and has suitably more expensive tax, but given that it’s £12k more in the first place most buyers aren’t going to care that much. Residuals on all Cayennes are outstanding though – even the first 2011 models can command over £40k! On paper the Volvo XC90 should be the cheapest to run here with it’s range of efficient 4-cylinders and hybrid technology. I don’t think it’s fair to take too much notice of mpg on actual road tests, but the XC90 has not performed nearly as well as it’s official 48mpg figures suggest…I’d think that high 30’s is a more realistic figure which is just fine, though maybe not what owners will want to see. Road tax is £180 a year, but if you really want something cheap to run then the T8 hybrid model is free to tax, has a 25 mile electric range and can achieve a realistic average of 35mpg despite having around 400bhp, plus business users will pay peanuts for it thanks to those low emissions. Not sure on residual values though, as the previous generation was heavily discounted by the end of it’s life.

The new XC90 is a premium product, let’s just hope buyers recognise it

Finally we have the Q7 and X5…being an Audi the Q7 is bound to be a big success with buyers and equally residual values will hold up well, even though the car is actually quite reasonably priced compared to rivals. MPG wise the official figures are 48/47 mpg for the less and more powerful models respectively, which strangely equates into different road tax figures of £145/£180. Real world fuel economy is more likely to be 10 or more mpg less than official figures but still far better than the 24mpg many owners of the original Q7 have cited…and this one shouldn’t have tyre issues either! The X5’s large number of engine choices can complicate things slightly if you pay too much attention to them but thankfully the similarities between the engines mean that all xDrive versions do around 47-49mpg and cost £180 a year to tax, apart from the M50d which understandably gets 42mpg and is £205 a year to tax. BMW engines have a reputation for being efficient and the X5 should still have strong residuals for the next few years, 40mpg is probably doable and 18month old cars are still going for around £40k which is good for new buyers (if not used!). X5 buyers also have the option of buying a fixed price service package for 5 years, which beats the 3 year deal Land Rover offers and the standard servicing prices of other rivals! Oh and as a final note on running costs the tax issue will become redundant in a few years though, as a new system means that any vehicle costing over £40k new (all of these) will be subject to a £300 a year tax regardless of emissions.

Reliability and Value:

It’s always hard to gauge reliability for a brand new car – we can only go on the reputation of a brand which can be unfair but often is not too far from the truth. Dead last by any means has to be the Land Rover Discovery, a vehicle which despite being on sale for over 10 years has never had a stellar reliability record in any area. I’d like to think that this latest version has had most major kinks ironed out (god knows they’ve had time) but only time will tell. I also think it’s bad value that a car this old, with utilitarian underpinnings and a reasonably cheap cabin and old tech, routinely sells for well over £60k. OK so if you don’t want leather or fancy wheels it’s possible to get one for under £45k, but surely at this stage in the car’s life they should be trying to offload them for less? Not that it’s harmed sales figures as I see loads of new ones around.

Deeply flawed but a handsome old git, the Discovery is popular with women of all ages

The GLE is also pretty poor value considering it too is a relatively old model once the shiny new bits of chrome are peeled away. Admittedly 4 years is little over a third of the Discovery’s age but the GLE’s dated cabin architecture and funky styling would have suggested to me that a little price cut would be helpful in increasing sales. The GLE starts at just under £50k but bear in mind that price is for the 250d in SE trim. Add the beefy AMG Line body kit and 350d engine and you’re pushing £60k…a startling figure considering that the much more impressive GL (with room for 7) starts at that price, although when it becomes the GLS next year I fully expect that price to jump noticeably. Still at least it’s reliable on the whole, as is the Porsche Cayenne which also slips down in the value stakes when compared to it’s predecessor; £50k just about gets you into the Cayenne-club, but if you want anything close to resembling luxury features you need to add at least £7-8k as a bare minimum. No navigation, bluetooth, reasonable alloy wheels or heated seats are standard on the Porsche and as such it means that the average price can be well over £60k for even the V6 diesel (the V8 diesel is nearly £70k to begin with!). Still it’s cheap for a Porsche, and considering that you can’t get the smaller Macan for much under £50k it gets a pass from me.

Not too long ago you could buy a house for the price of a nicely optioned Sport!

I’ve heard that the average Range Rover Sport sells for around £75k at a dealership, and when you consider that the starting price of the car is over £60k it’s not hard to see why. There are plenty of posh options with which to drain your bank account, but unlike the Porsche the Sport actually comes with a large list of standard equipment, and unless you want to add a load of features that you won’t use that often it is possible to walk out with a very handsome and quite well equipped model for under £65k…not bad considering the strong residual values and the fact that this means lease rates can end up being very low. The X5 also gets a decent list of equipment as standard including premium navigation and front heated seats with memory, but unfortunately it’s option list is so vast and interesting that it’s quite easy to jump up by £10k without too much difficulty. Entry level models start at a very reasonable £45k for a sDrive25d SE, but adding important M Sport spec and the larger 30d engine push that up immediately to £54k before options – maybe the 25d is worth considering seeing as though it costs £6k less like for like.

The X5 is a great car, but is it £70k great? Try speccing a 40d and come back to me

It probably isn’t a surprise that the two newest models here can also be considered the best value. The Q7 starts at £47k for one of the lower powered SE models, and given the reasonably impressive performance on tap it would be tempting to stick with that as it’s not easy to keep the car below £55k even if you are careful with the options list. Still at least the 7 seats are standard, and the Q7 should prove one of the most reliable cars here provided you keep clear of the expensive adaptive suspension – strong residuals should keep lease payments down but Audi will be keen not to offer many discounts on one of their flagship models. Like for like the XC90 is probably a couple of grand cheaper than the Q7, yet comes with a few more fancy gadgets as standard and a bit less baggage. Admittedly performance isn’t as good but even sporty R Design spec costs under £50k and not much needs to be added to make it into a car to suit every driver’s needs. Volvo are also keen to offer reasonable discounts quite early on, meaning you could end up paying closer to £40k for one of the best vehicles on the road.

Verdict:

Exterior: GLE 1pt, Q7 2pts, XC90 3pts, Cayenne 4pts, X5 5pts, Discovery 6pts, Range Rover Sport 7pts

Interior: Discovery 1pt, Range Rover Sport 2pts, GLE, 3pts, Cayenne 4pts, X5 5pts, Q7 6pts, XC90 7pts

Performance: Discovery 1pt, XC90 2pts, GLE 3pts, Cayenne 4pts, Range Rover Sport 5pts, Q7 6pts, X5 7pts

Driving: GLE 1pt, XC90 2pts, Discovery 3pts, Q7 4pts, X5 5pts, Range Rover Sport 6pts, Cayenne 7pts

Running Costs: Discovery 1pt, Range Rover Sport 2pts, GLE 3pts, Cayenne 4pts, XC90 5pts, Q7 6pts, X5 7pts

Reliability and Value: Discovery 1pt, GLE 2pts, Cayenne 3pts, Range Rover Sport 4pts, X5 5pts, Q7 6pts, XC90 7pts

Totals: Discovery: 13, GLE: 13, Cayenne: 26, Range Rover Sport:26, XC90: 26 Q7: 30, X5:34

Still a winner! The BMW X5

So there we have it, victory once again goes to the BMW X5…in an article written by a BMW X5 owner admittedly but I have tried to be as unbiased as possible. Reading through the many reviews of these cars over the past 18 months I have gotten the impression that there is not one clear winner and the results of my little test actually mirror that pretty well; the Discovery and GLE are pretty outclassed here due to very different reasons, but the rest of the pack is pretty closely fought and had it been but for a few different scores any of these vehicles could have made it to the top of the leaderboard. If you want a sporty SUV and are prepared to pay for it then get the Cayenne, if you want a family friendly machine then plump for the Volvo without a doubt. Buyers who want a compromise could easily choose between any of the remaining 3…if I had the money I’m not sure I could resist the Range Rover Sport, although the X5 is going to work out the cheapest and if you like the Q7’s looks then if offers better practicality than either without giving much away in terms of driving dynamics or prestige. If you’re still confused after reading this then just remember how lucky you are if you’re choosing between these models used or new!

 

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