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WITH the arrival of the Nissan Qashqai and XTrail, the Kuga’s reign as category champion seemed under threat. Yet the Blue Oval’s crossover remains the benchmark. Last year, the range received new 1,5- and 2,0-litre Ecoboost turbopetrol engines and an uprated 2,0-litre turbodiesel. Apart from excellent practicality, the Kuga delivers satisfying driving dynamics and, on top models, AWD. In addition to cruise control and tyre-pressure-monitoring system, some models boast adaptive cruise control with Forward Alert, automatic high beam, a lane-keeping aid and park assist. Whether being utilised for exclusively for the school run, or as a genuine lifestyle vehicle, the Ford’s peerless.
When we tested the 1,6 dCi Acenta CVT model for last year’s October issue, we were very impressed with the upmarket ambience and overall refinement of the newcomer – and we don’t even think that’s the best value-for-money version of the Qashqai. For great value, consider either of the 1,2-litre turbo-petrol models.
The solidly made CR-V, which has just been upgraded, remains hard to fault. In terms of interior space, it bests most of its direct competitors and its reputation for reliability is ironclad. The fact that we pick it ahead of rivals from a quartet of luxury marques should speak volumes for the Honda’s pedigree.
Last year’s winner in this sub-segment, the Toyota Verso, has been discontinued, which has brought the family-friendly five/seven seater Touran back into the frame. The segment’s shrunk; Renault’s not considering launching its new Scenic, but BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer is here and a new Subaru Outback’s coming.
- Toyota RAV4
- BMW X3
- Audi A4 Allroad
Check out all the winners from our Top 12 Best Buys for 2015 here (click).