ST-Torque Best Buys of 2017

Sport Utility Vehicle/Crossover

Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Audi Q2.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Audi Q5.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Volkswagen Tiguan.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Volvo XC60.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Peugeot 3008.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Ford Kuga.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Kia Niro.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Jeep Renegade.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Range Rover Velar.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Suggested buys: 1. Audi Q2; Audi Q5; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Volvo XC60; 5. Peugeot 3008; 6. Ford Kuga; 7. Kia Niro; 8. Jeep Renegade; 9. Range Rover Velar and 10. Mazda CX-9.
Mazda CX-9.PHOTOS: ST FILE

Plenty of picks here. The Audi Q2 (from $152,391) is a mighty mite suitable for empty-nesters or first-time buyers. It is a compact package, with enough amenities to keep many people happy and a decent level of driveability.

The Audi Q5 (from $244,000) would be the next logical step up, since the Q3 is just marginally bigger than the Q2. The new model is sizeably bigger than its predecessor and would be adequate for young families. And it is not as unwieldy as a full-blown choice like the Q7.

In the same vein, the new Volkswagen Tiguan (from $159,400) tempts with a bigger body, a more powerful engine and more features.

But if you are looking for something really stylish, dynamic and punchy, the Volvo XC60 (from $215,999) is hard to beat. This car leaves all the other luxury SUVs in its wake.

Costing appreciably less than the Swede, but packing almost the same level of appeal is the Peugeot 3008 ($123,999). There is good reason why this incredible car almost became The Straits Times Car of the Year (it lost the title to the Lexus LC500 by two points).

An old favourite in this segment is the Ford Kuga ($139,999), which still holds its own for smoothness, balance and equipment level.

On an even smaller budget is the Kia Niro ($135,999), a worthy hybrid that offers plenty of bang for the buck and plenty of distance for a litre. More impressively, it is not as anaemic as you would imagine a hybrid to be.

The true SUV connoisseur should, however, consider the Jeep Renegade ($148,888). Although Fiat-based, the Renegade still conveys old Jeep values in the way it moves and sounds. Despite its compactness, it offers a commanding driving position. Never mind that it is a two-wheel-drive.

The Range Rover Velar (from $282,999) still has four-wheel-drive, but the additional traction is more for exiting a quick corner than climbing a muddy bank. It is also over the top when it comes to gadgetry, so tech fans will love it.

Those who want a roomy seven-seater crossover have a few choices, but the most interesting one this year is the new Mazda CX-9 (from $196,800). The car is massive and propelled by a 2.5-litre turbo engine. It has plenty of creature comforts and, best of all, it is surprisingly lively at the wheel.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2017, with the headline 'Sport Utility Vehicle/Crossover'. Print Edition | Subscribe