The best SUVs to buy in 2021

Looking for a new SUV? You're not the only one. The car market is changing rapidly and is currently packed with what we all used to call crossovers, as well as more bespoke 4x4 SUVs in addition to rugged off-roaders. The popularity of these cars shows no sign of abating, as Volkswagen showed in early 2020, when the company announced that the Tiguan had ousted the Golf as its biggest global seller.

So, we understand why you're keen on buying one and are perhaps confused by all the choices. Read on for everything you need to know about SUVs, as well as links to cars to lease or buy, both new and used.

Read our guide to SUVs and the best cars to buy at the bottom of the page

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What is an SUV?

SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. They tend to be large, high-riding cars, often with four-wheel drive. Originally all SUVs were designed for off-roading, but that's not always the case now. Some are little more than tall estate cars and hatchbacks, but that doesn't mean they're not well worth a look.

They are spacious, safe, with lots of practical solutions and storage for luggage and gear. They have a high driving position, and some can even have seven seats, making them ideal for a large family and all their kit and clobber. On the downside, their size can mean they are difficult to park, and they're often less efficient than the equivalent estate car or MPV.

With so many SUVs on the market, it's important to decide what's vital in your choice of new car, and what your budget is. With help from the Parkers experts, you might be surprised at what your budget could stretch to thanks to finance and leasing deals. Plus, you can often get a really large car for a relatively small amount of money - just because an SUV is large, doesn't mean it'll cost the earth.

The best SUVs to buy now in 2021

Scroll down to discover our list of the best SUVs in the UK - or click on your favourites below to jump down.

1. Range Rover 
2. Dacia Duster 
3. Volkswagen Touareg 
4. Volvo XC90 
5. Audi Q7 
6. BMW X5 
7. Jaguar I-Pace 
8. Skoda Kodiaq 
9. Hyundai Santa Fe 
10. Mazda CX-5

1. Range Rover

Range Rover (2020) front view

Now in its 50th year, the Range Rover is still the go to vehicle if you're looking for a countryside workhorse that can double as a luxury limo about town. Some would say there are cheaper alternatives, but none are as effortlessly brilliant than the Range Rover. Cosseting air suspension ensures it's one of the most comfortable cars on sale today, and it will greedily gobble up motorway miles and yomp across moorlands with ease.

The sheer breadth of trims and engines on offer also sets it out from the rest. Yes, they're all big and posh. But five different engines are on offer. There are 3.0-litre and 4.4-litre diesels, 3.0-litre and 5.0-litre petrols, and there's even a 2.0-litre petrol plug-in hybrid model called the P400e for the more environmentally concerned.

Price new: From £84,015
Lease this car: N/A
Search for a used Range Rovers on Parkers here

2. Dacia Duster

2020 Dacia Duster SUV

This offering from Dacia is not only great value, but it's pretty good offroad too. So good in fact, that it was crowned the Best Off-Roader in the Parkers New Car Awards 2019. Now available with the option of dual fuel LPG, running costs can be cut ever further.

It may be the cheapest SUV in the UK, but buyers won’t feel short-changed. It comes with more kit than ever, including keyless entry and climate control. It's a contender on our list of Best SUVs in its own right, even before that rock bottom price is factored in.

Price new: From £11,245
Lease this car: From £174 per month
Search for a used Dacia Dusters on Parkers here

3. Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen Touareg (2020) front view

Volkswagen's flagship car is a highly accomplished all-rounder. While it falls under the branch of SUV, it also fits into large and luxury categories too. Its powerful diesel V6 is a corker, providing near hot-hatch pace when asked. The interior is as easily well appointed as a big Audi, and it brings all of this together at a cheaper price than many more premium-branded rivals.

The tech is top too. The dashboard is a digital-fest called the Innovision cockpit, but despite it being almost entirely made of screens, it's supremely easy to use. In addition, its trailer assist can steer the car and trailer autonomously. No wonder it took home our Best Tow Car of the Year gong for 2020.

Price new: From £46,505
Lease this car: N/A
Search for a used Volkswagen Touareg on Parkers here

4. Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 (2020) front view

Like the Range Rover above, the XC90's breadth of ability really makes it stand out. But not standing out, is also a reason to buy it. You see, Range Rovers, among certain circles, have a bit of an image problem. Footballers love them, for instance. But the XC90 is quieter, more subdued, and almost as elegant inside.

As well as a Scandi cool vibe that the Range Rover would kill for, its onboard tech is great too. Its semi-autonomous systems are among the best in the business. Obviously, it gets a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, but there's also autonomous emergency braking, whiplash prevention systems, and more airbags than a Zeppelin factory.

Price new: From £54,285
Lase this car: From £558 per month
Search for a used Volvo XC90 on Parkers here

5. Audi Q7

2020 Audi Q7

There’s something special about the Q7, which is why it remains popular despite the arrival of its newer little brother, the Audi Q5. Audi’s aluminium construction means that the Q7 is lighter than you'd expect and consequently, easier to drive than its gargantuan dimensions might lead you to believe.

It comes with loads of standard and optional equipment, and seven seats if you wish – but you can delete that third row at no cost. The quality of the cabin is high – as we come to expect from Audi – with plush, premium materials, solid construction, and finely crafted switchgear.

Price new: From £56,880
Lease this car: N/A
Search for a used Audi Q7 on Parkers here

6. BMW X5

BMW X5 (2020) front view

This is a massive SUV, but BMW offers a range of engines that get this beast moving with agility. The inside feels luxurious, with a choice of comfort or sports seats, and entertainment options for those residing in the back seats.

Tech levels are high; you can personalise the suspension levels, and Parking Assistant seeks out a parking spot and controls the steering, accelerator and brake while it parks itself. The optional head-up display is excellent. The X5 is a monster, and we like it.

Price new: From £61,135
Lease this car: From £756 per month
Search for a used BMW X5s on Parkers here

7. Jaguar I-Pace

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar’s first electric SUV is taking on Tesla – and winning. Jaguar claims it's capable of 298 miles on a full charge, with a real-world capability of 250+ miles if you're careful and don't go overboard with the performance.

It looks sportier than the Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace crossovers and the cabin is roomy with no bulky transmission tunnel. With the seats up, boot space is 656 litres, stretching to 1,435 litres with the back seats folded. We’re holding back the unreserved thumbs-up, however, until there’s a public charging set-up that matches Tesla’s Supercharger network.

Price new: From £64,495
Lease this car: N/A
Search for a used Jaguar I-Pace on Parkers here

8. Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda Kodiaq (2020) front view

If you’re looking for the best SUV in the UK with seven seats without the massive price tag, look no further. Available from just a smidgeon over £26,000, this large SUV is significantly cheaper than its rivals.

The cabin really gives you the feel-good factor, and you’ll wonder if you’re in a car with the Volkswagen badge instead of Skoda – and it certainly gives you more space and equipment than the more-expensive Volkswagen Tiguan. The possibility for seven seats – with a sliding middle row – sets the Kodiaq apart.  

Price new: From £26,810
Lease this car: From £299 per month
Search for a used Skoda Kodiaq on Parkers here

9. Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Winner of the Best Seven-Seater in the Parkers New Car Awards 2019, the Santa Fe has loads of interior space and lots of tech. The latest version has upgraded high-quality materials in the cabin, a more rugged design, and the latest technology.

There are plenty of cubby holes around the cabin, and with the third row of seats folded down you get 547 litres of boot space.

Price new: From £39,420
Lease this car: From £456 per month
Search for a used Hyundai Santa Fe on Parkers here

10. Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 (2020) front view

Updated in 2020, the Mazda CX-5 is in our Top 10 SUVs because it's a consumate all rounder. There's a good chance you've seen quite a few of these striking Mazda SUVs on the road, too. And while Mazda is famous for its brilliant MX-5, the CX-5 is actually its bestselling car.

Deservedly so, too. The sharp angles on the outside are matched with sharper driving characteristics. The CX-5 is more agile and fun than it really needs to be, and if you opt for the manual, it's one of the slickest 'boxes around. There's an excellent, if albeit unfashionable, 2.2-litre diesel on offer too.

Its interior is a minimalist delight - there are no huge touchscreens in here. Just well-made, solid-feeling, and ergonomic buttons and dials.

Price new: From £27,030
Lease this car: From £275 per month
Search for a used Mazda CX-5 on Parkers here

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