If you wanted to combine performance with practicality, it was always a sporty station wagon that would have ticked both boxes.
However, with more and more buyers turning to SUVs as family cars, there has been a real boom in performance models in this segment, ranging from more compact crossovers to large seven-seaters.
But what are the performance SUVs to consider? Let’s see…
Cupra is really starting to gain a foothold in the UK market and the Formentor has worked wonders for this new Spanish brand since its introduction last year. With a stunning design, a high-quality and technically charged interior, this SUV is also brilliant to drive, regardless of the configuration.
While Cupra offers a range of ‘standard’ engines – and even a plug-in hybrid – it’s the top-spec 2.0-litre petrol with 306 hp that’s the one to go for if you’re looking for performance. With an engine similar to that of the Golf R hot hatch, it can reach 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds.
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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo’s very first SUV really hit the nail on the head, and every Stelvio derivative is impressive behind the wheel. But here it is the Quafrioglio version that catches our eye, and it starts off perfectly with its 503 horsepower 2.9-litre V6 engine from Ferrari.
The Stelvio can go from 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds and has much more to offer than just its speed, as it handles incredibly well and feels almost as good behind the wheel as the exemplary Giulia saloon it features on. is based.
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Ford Puma ST
The Puma has quickly become Ford’s most popular car, and even the regular mild-hybrid versions are among the best cars in their segment. However, it’s the ST version that you should go for if you want extra thrills.
With the same 197 horsepower 1.5-cylinder petrol engine as the Fiesta ST, it may not offer the pace of other SUVs on this list, but it makes up for it with agility and immersive experience. At the same time, it retains the same practical cabin as other Puma models – not least the smart MegaBox case.
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BMW X5 M Competition
BMW was one of the first manufacturers to venture into the world of performance SUVs and now has a full range of sporty high-riding models to choose from. It’s the X5 M Competition that’s our pick, which feels much more special than any 2.3-ton SUV of this size should.
Its 616 hp 4.4-litre V8 engine is hugely powerful, while retaining the stunning luxury interior of the regular X5. While there isn’t a seven-seat option available, it remains a seriously practical option.
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Hyundai Kona No
Hyundai has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the performance car world, and the latest model to emerge from the brand’s ‘N’ division is the Kona crossover. This is usually a sensible little family car offered with a range of electrified powertrains, but Hyundai has really kicked it up a notch here.
With the same 276 horsepower engine as the i30 N, this Kona is a seriously talented car behind the wheel, and a lot of fun – something that certainly can’t be said of many crossovers.
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Porsche’s SUVs have proved wildly successful over the years, and none more so than the Macan. Sitting in the very popular premium SUV class, this model offers that real Porsche sparkle behind the wheel, especially if you opt for the racier GTS version.
But despite this sporty focus, the Macan is still comfortable and very easy to live with in everyday life, aided by a practical interior and exceptional build quality. A recent update means the Macan remains in top shape again.
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Aston Martin DBX707
An Aston Martin SUV? Yes, you read that right and nowadays the DBX is actually the most popular product from this British brand. While the regular DBX is still one of the best SUVs on the market, Aston Martin recently launched a tuned ‘707’ model.
This number refers to the metric horsepower and means that it is the most powerful SUV on the market. But there’s a lot more to the DBX707 than just its power, as it’s a thoroughly overhauled model that’s nothing short of exceptional behind the wheel.
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Audi’s ‘RS’ division is known for its fast estate cars, and while these are still on offer, the German brand now has a large selection of performance SUVs. At the top of that list is the RSQ8 by a mile.
This Audi has a lot in common with the Lamborghini Urus – although the supercar brand won’t admit it – has a 592 hp 4.0-litre V8 under the hood, good for an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. With a beautiful interior and impressive refinement if you are simply looking for comfort, it is a very impressive all-rounder.
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Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Jaguar has produced some fantastic sports cars over the years, and that know-how also goes into its SUVs. The F-Pace has been a popular addition to the British company’s lineup since 2016, but if you want performance, check out the SVR.
Using a mighty 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine, the SVR delivers 542 horsepower and can go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Recent updates to the F-Pace see the addition of a significantly improved touchscreen system, alongside fresher exterior styling.
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Volkswagen Tiguan R
The Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the most straight-laced cars on the market, and an exceptional family car. It’s not terribly exciting, though – something VW has successfully tackled with the addition of a new ‘R’ version.
It comes with a 316 PS 2.0-litre petrol engine and can go from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, while getting a racier design inside and out. At the same time, it remains a seriously practical choice.
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