Used sports SUVs - practicality and performance can go together
For anyone who’s ever wished that the practical family cars they own could be just a little more fun to drive, we present to you the fast-growing world of sports SUVs. Combining big practicality with exciting performance, sports SUVs have been bending the rules of physics in a bid to bring you the best of both worlds for a couple of decades now.
Best of all, there are sports SUVs to suit most price brackets - and no more obvious is that than in cinch's digital showroom. Nine performance-oriented SUV stars of which are listed below, in no particular order...
Land Rover's plush Range Rover line-up includes one of the best sports SUVs you can drive. If you have the budget - around £40k upwards at the time of writing - this is a car that will entertain and impress in equal measure, especially if you go all out and choose the 5.0-litre V8 SVR version. It. Sounds. Epic.
Whatever version you go for, the Range Rover Sport's interior is luxurious and refined (no fizzy drinks or sticky sweets inside please), and it’s also a genuine off-roader too, albeit with a clear focus on road handling first. Still, it's nice to know you can get it mucky now and then.
Once upon a time, Jaguar was known for its saloons and sports cars – but now, with the F-Pace having broken most of its sales records, the company is equally as famed for its SUVs.
Jaguar has squeezed all of its sports car handling know-how into the F-Pace, and the result is an SUV that drives like a performance car. The interior is largely copied from the XE saloon, and that's a good thing, making it very comfortable with lots of practical features added into the mix, thanks to the F-Pace's extra space. Oh, and F-Paces start from well under £25k on cinch. Wowza.
The Audi Q7 is a big SUV, so it can seat seven passengers and carry a family holiday's worth of luggage. But it can also entertain thanks to elastic engines that make use of Audi's clever turbocharger technology, which - to simplify a complicated process - uses a small electric motor to make them offer more punch, more often.
Extend your search to include Q7s equipped with Audi's 'Driving Dynamics' package, and you'll have a car that corners as well as it accelerates. Not bad for a 2.2-tonne machine. Especially when you realise Q7s start at little more than £30k on cinch.
BMW has been knocking out the X3 since 2003, and the version that's on sale now has naturally benefited enormously from the gradual evolution of its predecessors. Despite the size, this is a strong driver’s car, handling brilliantly and always feeling responsive, whatever the driving and road conditions.
There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines to choose from - from the pretty frugal 2.0-litre diesel through to a turbocharged V8 petrol of the X3 M. Whatever version you choose - X3s start from under £25k on cinch - you can expect an authentically BMW experience in SUV form.
While you can spend over £100k on a GLC at Mercedes, on cinch, GLCs cost from a quarter of that on cinch. Best of all, even the most basic versions of Mercedes's mid-sized SUV are well-equipped with mod cons like heated front seats, climate control and a first-class infotainment system.
If you’re planning to go off-road with the car, it’s well worth looking out for one that has been equipped with optional downhill speed control technology and reinforced underbody protection. This is a premium car worth caring for.
To say the Porsche Cayenne is as hot as the pepper it’s named after would be no understatement - both in terms of its performance and its desirability. The Cayenne rewrote the rulebook when it came to making SUVs that perform like sports cars back when it launched in 2003.
Like the BMW X3, this extended history has only made the latest versions even better. Whether you opt for a 2.0-litre petrol engine, where Cayennes can cost under £40k, or go for a more powerful 3.0-litre model, there's plenty of fun to be had. For the greatest thrills, Porsche's 4.0-litre V8 model packs plenty of heat.
Price-wise, a used Volkswagen T-Roc is one of the cheaper sports SUVs you can buy from a relatively premium brand. Its sporty qualities are alluded to in the “Roc” part of the name, a nod to the now discontinued Scirocco model of yesteryear. Like that car, you're offered both sensible and sporty versions of the T-Roc.
Be sensible, and you can pick up a T-Roc on cinch for under £20k. Ask for more performance in a T-Roc R with its 300hp engine, and you'll be edging over £40k. But this is a car well worth its premium.
In case you didn’t know, Cupra is the more up-market and sporty sub-brand of Spanish car maker Seat. The Cupra Ateca is the hotter version of the parent company’s popular SUV with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that can accelerate the car from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. Quick.
For such a fast car, it’s very roomy inside with plenty of legroom in the back. The interior is also a considerable step up from the Seat version, obviously to justify the higher price. Although we're speaking relatively here; nearly new cars go for under £40k, which is a good deal.
If you’re in the market for a small sports SUV that packs maximum value for money, then it’s hard to beat the Ford Puma ST. With the same brilliant three-cylinder engine as the Fiesta ST and a near-identical handling setup, it's excitable and engaging. It even comes with Recaro sports seats that add to the racy feel of the car.
While with 200hp it's at the lower-powered end of the sports SUV world, it packs plenty of punch. Above all else, it looks like a right old bargain, with prices starting at little over £25k on cinch. Want even more of a cut-price deal? The ST-Line versions pack the same clout and character with a little less power, for a saving that takes the price closer to £20k.
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