Performance SUVs are among the most divisive cars on sale. They’re powerful, but also heavy and often shaped in ways that will make an aerodynamicist wince.
But they’re effective, mixing sports car pace with the fashionable – to some eyes anyway – image of an SUV.
As the list of 10 cars below shows, they’re all quite unique and make this class one of the most eclectic in today’s new car market. These are cars for people who want it all – luxury, performance, space, desirability, plenty of four-wheel drive capability and plenty of driver appeal. So, should we all so stubbornly refuse to compromise?
Such a car can be widely admired, but most certainly will not be roundly loved. For some, its flagrant thirst, weight, expense and comfort-limiting excess smack too obviously of needlessness. For others, more is simply more – and the hottest Range Sport does excess like few others.
A diesel V8 is, after all, plenty quick enough. However, this is a question of taste, not quality. Admirers of the super-SUV niche – and they are numerous and growing in numbers – deserve an unclouded verdict that recognises the outstanding prospect among many.
No rival better mixes handling prowess, off-road talent and an SUV-flavour sense of luxury and functional plushness. But more importantly, none other comes close to matching the lewd sense of fun it keeps so amply on tap.
When Jaguar started making SUVs, that it would one day make a performance SUV became a pretty bankable probability. And the day it did, it showed so many of its faster-moving German rivals where they’d been going wrong by launching a fast 4x4 brimming with pace and sporting sense-of-occasion, but also more laid back in its dynamic character than many.
The F-Pace SVR is the sports car for someone who wants a car to use on the office commute and school run, and for weekend errands – and not one so stiffly suspended that it feels like a gigantic, rolling vehicular contradiction. Its snarling 5.0-litre supercharged V8 gives it all the speed and drama a car of this size ever needed, and its purposeful handling is exciting to boot; but its practical cabin and boot, and its pragmatic chassis tuning, also make it a car well-suited to the real world, too.