Best sports SUVs 2022

Best sports SUVs 2022

Want something fast and fun to drive, yet still practical? A performance SUV could just be the ticket

If you wanted to combine performance with practicality, it was always a sports estate car that would have ticked both boxes. 

However, as more buyers favour SUVs these days as their family car, there has been a real emergence of performance models in this segment, ranging from more compact crossovers all the way up to large seven-seaters. 

But what are the performance SUVs you should consider? Let’s take a look…

Cupra Formentor

Cupra is really starting to find its feet in the UK market, and the Formentor has worked wonders for this new Spanish brand since its introduction last year. Bringing a stunning design, high-quality and tech-laden interior, this SUV is also brilliant to drive, regardless of the configuration. 

Though Cupra offers a range of ‘standard’ engines – and even a plug-in hybrid – it’s the top spec 306bhp 2.0-litre petrol that’s the one to go for if you’re looking for performance. Using a similar engine to that of the Golf R hot hatch, it’s able to hit 60mph in just 4.7 seconds.

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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo’s very first SUV really hit the nail on the head, and any Stelvio derivative is impressive behind the wheel. But here it’s the Quafrioglio version that grabs our attention, and things get off to a perfect start with its 503bhp Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre V6 engine. 

Managing 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds, there’s a lot more to the Stelvio than just its pace, as it handles incredibly well, feeling almost as good behind the wheel as the exemplary Giulia saloon which it’s based on. 

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Ford Puma ST

The Puma has quickly become Ford’s most popular car, and even the regular mild-hybrid versions are among some of the best cars to drive in their segment. However, it’s the ST version that really is the one to go for if you want extra thrills. 

Using the same 197bhp 1.5-cylinder petrol engine as the Fiesta ST, it might not offer the sheer pace of other SUVs on this list, but it makes up for that with its agility and involving experience. At the same time, it retains the same practical cabin as other Puma models – not least the clever MegaBox boot.

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BMW X5 M Competition

BMW was one of the first manufacturers to venture into the world of performance SUVs, and it now has a full line-up of sporty high-riding models to choose from. It’s the X5 M Competition that is our pick, feeling far more special than any 2.3-tonne SUV this size should. 

Its 616bhp 4.4-litre V8 engine is hugely powerful, while it retains the stunning upmarket interior from the regular X5. Though no seven-seat option is available, it remains a seriously practical option.

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Hyundai Kona N

Hyundai has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the performance car world, and the latest model to come from the brand’s ‘N’ division is the Kona crossover. This is usually a sensible small family car that is offered with a range of electrified powertrains, but Hyundai has really turned up the heat here. 

Using the same 276bhp engine as the i30 N, this Kona is a seriously talented car behind the wheel, and huge fun – something that certainly can’t be said about many crossovers.

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Porsche Macan

Porsche’s SUVs have proven hugely successful over the years, and none more so than the Macan. Sitting in the very popular premium SUV class, this model offers that real Porsche sparkle behind the wheel, particularly if you opt for the racier GTS version. 

Yet despite this sporty focus, the Macan is still comfortable and very easy to live with on a day-to-day basis, assisted by a practical interior and exceptional build quality. A recent update means the Macan remains back on top form.

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Aston Martin DBX707

An Aston Martin SUV? Yes, you read right and these days it’s the DBX that’s actually this British brand’s most popular product. Though the regular DBX is still one of the best SUVs on the market, Aston Martin has recently launched a tuned ‘707’ model. 

This number references its metric horsepower figure, and means it’s the most powerful SUV on the market. But there’s a lot more to the DBX707 than just its power, as it’s a thoroughly overhauled model that is nothing short of exceptional behind the wheel. 

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Audi RSQ8

Audi’s ‘RS’ division is well-known for its fast estate cars, and though these continue to be offered, the German marque now has a great selection of performance SUVs. Sitting at the top of that list by a mile is the RSQ8.

Sharing quite a lot in common with the Lamborghini Urus – though the supercar brand wouldn’t want to admit it – this Audi packs a 592bhp 4.0-litre V8 under its bonnet, allowing for a 0-60mph time of 3.6 seconds. With a stunning interior and impressive refinement when you’re simply wanting comfort, it’s a very impressive all-rounder.

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Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Jaguar has produced some fantastic sports cars over the years, and that knowhow is going into its SUVs too. The F-Pace has proven a popular addition to the British firm’s line-up since 2016, but if you want performance, take a look at the SVR. 

Using  a mighty 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, the SVR puts out 542bhp, and is able to go from 0-60mph in just 3.8 seconds. Recent updates to the F-Pace see the addition of a significantly better touchscreen system, alongside fresher exterior styling.

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Volkswagen Tiguan R

The Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the most straight-laced cars on the market, and an exceptional family car. It is not, however, very exciting – something VW has successfully addressed with the addition of a new ‘R’ version. 

Coming with a 316bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, it’s able to hit 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds, while getting racier styling inside and out to go with it. At the same time, it remains a seriously practical choice.

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