WITH the arrival of the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail, 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.

Runners Up:

Nissan Qashqai
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.

Honda CR-V
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.


  • Toyota RAV4
  • BMW X3
  • Audi A4 Allroad


In terms of crossovers, the Citroën C4 Cactus, Jeep Renegade and an update to the Audi Q3 arrive in the next few weeks. The introduction of the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Lexus NX, as well as the Suzuki Vitara, will provide keen alternatives in premium and value divisions of the compact-SUV market.