It’s getting to that time of year again where everybody is planning for their summer holidays. And while for some jetting off to exotic locations to lie on a beach is the ideal trip, for others it’s all about hitting the road on a long journey through unexplored terrain with family or friends.
Whether it be a family camping trip up the Scottish highlands, a cross-country jaunt to a music festival or driving around France with your mates this summer for Euro 2016, the road trip itself is a major part of the experience.
So what better way to hit the road than in an SUV? A vehicle type renowned for their practicality and performance over long distances in the toughest of driving conditions.
With that in mind, we've selected 5 of the best SUVs that will surely make your next road trip a memorable one.
Two crucial vehicle requirements for a family holiday involving long journeys are space and comfort, and the luxurious Audi Q7 SUV flourishes in both.
Its cleverly designed interior allows space for 7 adult passengers whilst still leaving 770 litres of rear storage room. This makes packing the car for a family camping trip or a festival a far less stressful experience, without having to compromise on the comfort of your passengers.
The Q7’s comfort and performance technology sets it apart from many of its competitors. Notably, the Audi Drive Select system allows the driver to switch between 5 different settings (Auto, Comfort, Efficiency, Dynamic, and Individual) in order to optimise the driving experience depending on the kind of journey you’re on.
For the more adventurous among us, The Land Rover Discovery Sport is as comfortable tackling muddy off-road terrain as it is gliding down the open road.
Using Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, the engine can adapt to all types of driving surfaces such as mud, snow, sand and rock, making no road trip a challenge too big for the Discovery Sport.
Additionally, the Discovery Sport is one of the most efficient in its class. The TD4 SE variant can return up to 58mpg and has an impressive 129g/km of CO2 emissions, resulting in just £110 a year road tax. So for an SUV that has low running costs yet can handle the harshest conditions, you won’t go wrong with a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
If you want all the practical benefits of an SUV but provides the sports car experience, look no further than the Porsche Macan – an SUV designed for high performance off-road that can give its sports car siblings a run for their money on a motorway.
You’d be hard pushed to find a faster SUV, with the most powerful variant including a 3.6 litre two turbo V6 engine which can achieve 400bhp and 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds. So if your road trip involves plenty of long stretches, the Porsche Macan will not disappoint on speed.
But its qualities don’t just lie in its performances on main roads. The Macan’s four-wheel drive capabilities and five-star Euro NCAP safety rating make it a great off-roader if your journey involves crossing challenging surfaces.
The ŠKODA Yeti is an incredibly fun crossover SUV. But at under £20,000 for a nearly new four-wheel drive variant, the ŠKODA Yeti has all the great off-road capabilities of the more expensive SUVs while being more affordable.
Additionally, the Yeti’s cruise control functionality can make a long journey infinitely more relaxing and contributes to why it’s such a great road trip vehicle. It’s also a brilliant all-rounder, so if you need an SUV equally capable of driving through the streets of Paris as it is meandering through the Alps, whilst being cheap to run and extremely safe, the ŠKODA Yeti won’t let you down.
An exceptionally classy and luxurious SUV, the Volvo XC90 has the all the practicalities and family friendliness so synonymous with a Volvo, making it a perfect SUV for a family road trip.
If you’re looking for an efficient SUV, the XC90 is one of a few SUVs available with a plug-in hybrid variant. The T8 “Twin Engine” comprises of an 80bhp electric motor that powers the back wheels and emits just 60g/km of CO2, making it completely exempt from road tax.
Not only is the XC90 an incredibly spacious 7 seater but it also immensely safe with an abundance of innovative safety technology. The Safe Positioning feature, for example, automatically tightens the seatbelts of every passenger if it detects imminent danger. This will give owners peace of mind when driving their family up tricky mountain passes.