Car Reviews Motoring

Family-Focused SUV reviews

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

If you like SUVs, read on to discover what Tim thought of this trinity of motors he drove this week.

Follow motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay on Instagram @tbarnesclay and Twitter @carwriteups.

Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 B5 petrol, as tested here in Inscription form, makes it easy to munch miles. It floats over the blacktop, with its automatic transmission switching cogs so gracefully, you almost forget it exists.

You also get an excellent view out, and there’s a lot of adjustment available on the steering column and seats to get the best driving position.

Performance-wise you can expect this seven-seater, five-door SUV to get from nought to 62mph in 7.7 seconds, and the top speed is 112mph. Perhaps less impressively, you only get around 30mpg out of this Volvo – and that’s with some mild-hybrid tech thrown in under the bonnet.

But the comfort of the Volvo’s seats is hard to outdo. The automaker seems to be able to produce the right measure of cushioning and support in its vehicles, no matter which model or grade you select.

Furthermore, the XC90’s equipment is plentiful, with more than enough safety technology to keep everyone, especially your kids, protected.

Anyway, to sum up the car, it’s easy. Depending on your driving requirements, the SUV will switch from handling lively urban environments and motorways to meandering dirt tracks with ease.

Because, let’s face it, if you have a dynamic lifestyle you’ll want a dynamic car, and the XC90 is built to make sure you get the best of both worlds.

Fast Facts – Volvo XC90 B5 Petrol AWD Inscription Automatic:

  • Max speed: 112mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.7 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 32.4
  • Engine: 1,960cc, four-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 250
  • CO2: 199g/km
  • Price: £61,685

Nissan X-Trail

Nissan’s long-running X-Trail has proven to be a triumph for the Japanese automaker. Thousands of X-Trails have been retailed in Britain since 2000, and the firm’s flagship Tekna trim, as tested here, has accounted for a lot of those sales in recent years.

On the move, the steering is on the soft side and there’s a bit of body roll. But the X-Trail, especially in 1.7-litre diesel all-wheel-drive guise, is a decent cruiser.

The all-wheel-drive model is accomplished when challenged by soft-roading, too, and elements, such as hill-start assist gadgetry, are built with non-blacktop surfaces in mind.

The Nissan, with all seats in position, has 565 litres of boot room, while in the cabin there’s space for up to seven people. Well, that’s if you tick the £660 Tekna seven-seat upgrade option box. Bear in mind, with these extra chairs in place cargo capacity shrinks considerably.

Overall, despite being on the market for a long time, the X-Trail is great if you’re after comfortable, practical, family transport.

If you want one, you might get a good deal now. Why? Well, the model is being replaced next year with an all-new X-Trail containing hybrid technology.

Fast Facts – Nissan X-Trail Tekna 1.7 dCi 150 4WD:

  • Max speed: 121mph
  • 0-62 mph: 10.7 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 39.8
  • Engine: 1,749cc, four-cylinder turbo diesel
  • Max. power (PS): 150
  • CO2: 154g/km
  • Price: £33,595 (+£600 for two extra rear seats)

Jeep Compass

The Compass has a bunch of attributes that includes 4×4 off-road capability as well as contemporary and authentic Jeep design.

In Britain, the SUV offers petrol and diesel engines for different powertrain combinations and four configurations: Longitude (from £26,750), Night Eagle (from £28,260), Limited (from £29,760), and Trailhawk (from £37,985), which gives trail-rated 4×4 traction.

Having driven the Limited 4×4 Multijet-II model with automatic transmission, I reckon the Compass is a compelling proposition. Why?

Because it delivers a comfortable, commanding on-the-road ride for five-up, and houses an array of safety technologies.

What’s more, you’re assured of a connected driving experience off the beaten track.

Fast Facts – Jeep Compass Limited 4×4 1.4 Multijet-II 170:

  • Max speed: 124mph
  • 0-62 mph: 9.5 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 34.0
  • Engine: 1,368cc, four-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 170
  • CO2: 190g/km
  • Price: £35,350

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