No.4 – The Chelsea Tractor (SUV’s)

Today, it’s time to look at some of the vehicles that fall under the category of the SUV. Let’s begin with a car that I’ve mentioned before, the Audi Q7.

Audi Q7

Now, probably the first thing you’ll notice about this car is it’s size. There is no other way to put it, it’s huge. But somehow, Audi seem to have made this colossal car seem nimble, and sporty.  So, the design is deceptive, but is this ‘Schwarzenegger’ of a car actually quick or is the deception short lived? Well, Audi sell a version of this car with a 6.0l V12 engine. That’s hardly going to be slow when it’s got 493bhp to spare, is it?

Inside, it’s the typical black or cream leather served up with a dollop of wood or aluminium trim, and being honest, that’s just what we like here at 0to60. And don’t think this thing won’t go off road. It can take just as much of a beating as any Land Rover can, and ultimately, it will get you to your destination in more than a modicum of style. I’d recommend buying a Q7 with one of the smaller engines Audi has to offer, unless you can afford the diesel for a 493bhp engine. Either a petrol or diesel 3.0l engine should help you comfortably to your destination. Specifications for a basic 3.0l diesel are as follows:

Price: £40,995

Power/Torque: 245bhp/ 295lb ft

Top Speed: 135mph

Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.8sec

Fuel Economy: 38.2mpg

CO2 emissions: 195g/km

VED Band: J

For such a large car, the fuel economy for the Q7 is excellent. But, if you’re looking to buy one right now, hold on until 2012. I’m told that Audi will be releasing a new model, and if so, it should be even better than this one. Nevertheless, great car. 9 out of 10.

Next up, a personal favourite of mine, the Mercedes Benz M-Class.

Mercedes Benz M-Class

Now, the first M-Class, which was stopped in 2005 was renowned for being the least satisfying car to own. So, not off to a good start. But, it is clear to me that Mercedes have listened to the complaints and taken everything into account to make a truly excellent car. The car is spacious and although it only has 5 seats, can still accommodate 5 full sized adults. It is comfortable, quiet, and a nice place to be. Mercedes have just announced the release of the next generation M-Class, and although I am not keen on the new styling that Mercedes have adopted (that I have mentioned before with regards to the E-Class), I’m sure it will still be as good to drive. Prices are bound to start high, as you’re not only paying for the quality product, but the badge as well. So, onto engines. At the bottom of the range, we’ll have the typical 3.0l diesel engine and at the top end, the mighty 6.2l V8 of the AMG M-Class, pictured. With Mercedes Benz constantly working to improve the efficiency of their engines nowadays, we should see some of the best MPG numbers in the SUV class. Because this car is going to be newly released, I can’t give you any specifications for it, but I can give some for the current model, which should help us speculate with some accuracy as to what Mercedes will have to offer. These are for the basic 3.0l diesel:

Price: £39,135

Power/Torque: 190bhp/325lb ft

Top Speed: 127mph

Acceleration: 0-60mph in 9.8sec

Fuel economy: 32mpg

CO2 emissions: 236g/km

VED Band: L

It may cost a fare bit to tax, but this, like the Audi, is another great car. 9 out of 10.

Now, to finish on one of my least favourite cars of today, the Range Rover Sport.

Range Rover Sport

Nicknamed ‘The Footballer’ (by me), in my mind, this car destroys the good name of Range Rover. All of the tradition, all of the regality of the Range Rover is lost in this car. And yet it sells in its hundreds, so who am I to comment. I don’t see any attraction that somebody could have to this car and my only advice if you are considering one of these is, buy the proper Range Rover. It costs more, but it makes a world of difference. Specifications for the Sport with a 3.0l diesel engine:

Price: £50,695

Power/Torque: 242bhp/443lb ft

Top Speed: 120mph

Acceleration: 0-62mph in 8.8sec

Fuel Economy: 30.7mpg

CO2 emissions: 243g/km

VED Band: L

So as we can see, it isn’t even that sporty, it has the lowest top speed out of the 3 cars reviewed today. You know what I think. 5 out of 10.

Other recommendations: BMW X5, Range Rover Vogue

Don’t buy: BMW X6, Anything American.

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