Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar E-Pace stunt.

Small is beautiful, and particularly so when the object of desire is the new E-Pace. This newborn cub from the Jaguar lair has been created to compete in the booming compact SUV segment. It follows on from the F-Pace to give the British brand a two-pronged presence in a sector which continues to grow at a rapid rate. Indeed, globally, the brand sold 26,000 more F-Pace models last year than the total number of Jaguars sold in 2011. That instantly puts the importance of these new SUV models into perspective….

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Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc.

If you think there are a lot of Volkswagen SUVs to choose already, wait till you see what’s coming in 2018. First there will be a new seven-seat version Tiguan Allspace, then a next-generation Touareg which, despite its considerable size, will be based on an extended version of the MQB platform also found in the Polo, and finally a Polo-sized convertible called the T-Cross. Before all that, here’s the T-Roc, which will be available to order in the spring. Slightly smaller than the Tiguan in all dimensions, it’s built in…

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Hyundai Kona

Static shot of Hyundai Kona parked alongside terraces with a glass-fronted building the background.

Just at the point where you might have thought the choice of compact SUVs had become more than wide enough to be getting on with, Hyundai has complicated matters further by introducing the Kona. Like its rivals, it’s what is known in the business as a B-SUV, which is to say a B-segment car (or supermini as you or I would call it) that’s tall enough to provide the high seating position so many customers crave, and to allow a certain amount of off-roading. Uniquely in the class, at least…

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Citroen C3 Aircross

Two-tone Citroen C3 Aircross with white body and red roof.

The first thing to say about the C3 Aircross is that it is not a direct replacement for the C3 Picasso. Picasso is the name Citroen has used for its MPVs, many of which have been riotously successful – remember how popular the Xsara Picasso was back in the 1990s? Nowadays, however, MPVs are on their way out, and car buyers have realised that the only thing they would rather have than a world with lots of SUVs is a world with even more SUVs. Creating a new C3 Picasso…

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Vauxhall Grandland X

Action shot of blue Vauxhall Grandland X on a tree-lined road.

Although it wasn’t particularly surprising, it was still odd to hear at the press conference preceding the UK media launch of the Grandland X that the Astra is starting to be seen as a minority-interest car. In its various forms over nearly four decades, the Astra has been a core part of Vauxhall’s line-up, and to a large extent it still is. The most recent figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that the Astra is the sixth most popular car of any sort in the…

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Volkswagen Arteon

Frontal view of a Volkswagen Arteon R-Line coming out of a dip on a country road.

For a company more accustomed to building hatchbacks, estates and SUVs, Volkswagen is straying into unfamiliar ground by doubling the number of large coupes  (meaning ones significantly heftier than the Scirocco or Beetle) in its portfolio. Like the CC, the new Arteon is never going to sell in great numbers – “don’t expect us to announce that it has become one of our top five models,” a VW spokesman told me – but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. As I hope to demonstrate here, it’s a very good…

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Range Rover Velar

Head-on shot of Range Rover Velar on a banking.

One thing Jaguar Land Rover has been very good at recently is identifying what it calls ‘white space’ in parts of the market it’s comfortable with and creating new models to fill it in. This almost entirely explains the existence of the new Range Rover Velar. It occupes the second from bottom position in what is now a four-car Range Rover line-up, being larger than the Evoque but smaller than the Sport and a lot smaller than the full-size model. There are some technical similarities, but at heart the Velar…

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Volvo XC60

UK-registered Volvo XC60 being driven over Snake Pass in the Peak District.

The concept of Scandinavian design is now so ubiquitous that it’s become a bit of a cliché. But if your understanding of the idea is a combination of clean and simple lines, underpinned by solid and innovative technology, then the new Volvo XC60 has it by the hink-load. It’s an elegant, well-planted, four-wheel drive, five-seat SUV which is one rung down the ladder from the high and mighty XC90. This is the second-generation XC60 and it’s a couple of inches longer and a substantial nine inches wider than the model…

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SEAT Ibiza

Frontal shot of blue SEAT Ibiza.

Car platforms, which are more methods of design than physical objects these days, are more the concern of manufacturers than the likes of you and me, but for the record the fifth-generation SEAT Ibiza has a new one known as MQB A0. As happened with the second and fourth Ibizas, SEAT is the first company to take it to market, though other small products based on it will emerge from other Volkswagen Group brands in the near future. Despite starting from a blank computer screen, SEAT has somehow avoided making…

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Mazda CX-5

Soul Red Crystal metallic Mazda CX-5 Sport Nav on a right-hand corner.

According to Mazda, the 2017 CX-5 is “all-new”. This is an exaggeration. The larger of the company’s two SUVs is in fact a derivative of the one that first arrived in the UK in 2012 and has since accounted for a quarter of Mazda’s global sales, but it’s true to say there have been a great many changes. In terms of visibility, they range from a more rigid body structure to a substantial redesign which makes this car slightly longer, more than an inch lower and far sharper-looking (note the…

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