Choosing which SUV tops the list could be one of the hardest jobs in the world, especially when you look at what there is to choose from. We profiled four of the best, and we’re letting you pick your favourite from the crowd of sporty super cars. Germany is the most-represented on this list, with Porsche, Audi and Mercedes Benz, but the lonely Brit included here, Range Rover, holds its ground with the best of them.
The Porsche Cayenne
When you think Porsche, you think pure sports car, or you would have until a few years ago. But as the world has evolved, so has Porsche as a brand. Now if you asked most people on the street to describe a Porsche, they’d describe the Porsche Cayenne. This is not a bad thing, because the Cayenne has allowed Porsche to enter an altogether new market, generating massive earnings from those wealthy enough to afford what could be considered one of the very best SUVs on the road today. The Cayenne comes in several variations, from the tame to the wild, and you can even get a diesel or hybrid version if your heart so desires. Our favourite version of the Cayenne is quite obviously the Cayenne Turbo S. This Porsche could be described as a mommy grizzly bear during cub season. It may seem like a big, bulky car, but if you push the right buttons all hell will break loose. It produces a terrifying 405kW of power and can reach a breakneck top-speed of 283km/h. With a zero to 100km/h acceleration of just 4.5 seconds, the only thing that may take a while with this SUV is choosing a colour. Prepare to cough up just shy of two million rand for the Cayenne Turbo S, but if you are really just looking to get your hands on a slightly more reserved version, the regular Cayenne will only set you back a little short of R800 000 – which still buys you 230km/h.
Choosing which SUV tops the list could be one of the hardest jobs in the world, especially when you look at what there is to choose from.
The Audi Q7
Audi could be one of the best brands on the planet if we were to just go by the makes and models we have tested over the years, and the Q7 is just another example of German engineering excellence. The entire Audi SUV range, including the Q3 and the Q5, all provide for exceptional motoring pleasure, but when it comes to selecting the best of the bunch, the 4.2 litre TDI version comes out on top. You wouldn’t expect a diesel engine to blow our socks off, but we didn’t think twice when choosing between the two. The diesel provides the power and pull that is needed to rocket this monster off the line, while at the same time providing a mix of refined ruggedness and good looks. The 4.2 litre TDI engine delivers a whopping 250kW with over 800Nm of torque. And those 800Nms propel you back into your seat with enough thrust to make you believe you could fly your Q7 to the moon. That powerful engine can get you to a top speed of 242km/h and take you from standing to 100km/h in a shade over six seconds. It will set you back R897 500 plus a few optional extras. Audis are serious cars for serious drivers, and once you own one, you can’t help but love them all.
The Mercedes Benz ML
The ML has always been a staple in the luxury SUV market and over time Mercedes has been able to develop and redevelop a formula that has set them apart for decades. Mercedes is sometimes mistakenly considered an “old man’s” car. But what Mercedes Benz has done over the last few years is keep all the elegance that makes it a connoisseur’s vehicle, but throw in a bit of mischief to make it a petrol head’s dream. AMG is the sports modification arm of Mercedes Benz and is the reason the king of business SUVs has a wild side. The ML 63 AMG has a 5.5 litre V8 petrol engine that pumps out a mind-blowing 386kW of power, and, coupled with the 700Nm of torque you have a fire-breathing dragon under your right foot. Mercedes Benz limits the ML 63 AMG to 250km/h, but they can’t do anything to stop you getting from zero to the magic 100km/h in under five seconds. For a car that weights more than two tonnes that is more than impressive – it’s amazing! An ML 250 BlueTEC will set you back no more than R700 000 and it’s a very good car for that money. But if you’re like us and want to feel your whole world explode as you push that accelerator down, be prepared to pay just over R1.4m for that pleasure.
The Range Rover Sport
No SUV round-up would be complete without Range Rover, a truly royal addition. Range Rover is the only non-German brand here, but that doesn’t mean it is any less perfect. Of all the brands mentioned in this elite list, Range Rover is the most likely to survive a real adventure into the unknown. SUVs are built to handle any obstacle thrown in front of them, but as the world has become more and more developed, the SUVs have become less and less capable of taking it off-road. Range Rover has no such problems! Actually, you are encouraged to push this marvel of British engineering to every limit you can think of. Although the Range Rover looks good in the parking lot, it looks equally as striking in the wild bush. This car can scale sandy hills, through snow and water that is door-deep, and even drive on the beach, all while providing the driver and passengers with first-class comforts. The Range Rover comes in many variations, from the trendy Evoque to the super luxurious Vogue, but our favourite is the Range Rover Sport. It has just enough of the Evoque’s trendy looks, coupled with all of the Vogue’s interior styling, to make it the best of both worlds. Add to that mix a three-litre Advanced Sequential Turbo Diesel engine that gives you 180kW of power and you have a really fast, supremely sexy SUV that can actually be a sports utility vehicle. It will cost you R850 000, but the Range Rover will earn you more than you pay in appreciation from those in the know. This is not an SUV just for the city-slicker; it’s an SUV for the aficionado.