Top 10 best mid-size SUVs to buy 2023
We reveal the top 10 best mid-size SUVs to buy or lease in the UK right now…
The mid-size SUV is a common sight on Britain’s roads, with a huge number of drivers being enticed by the abundance of space, high driving position and attractive styling that these models offer. In fact, SUVs are so popular that they have replaced hatchback, estate cars, and even MPVs as the default family car of choice for many people.
Car manufacturers are well aware of the popularity of this sector, too, with many brands seeking to take their share of this increasingly profitable market. This means that the best mid-size SUVs have to be good enough to fend-off all the competition.
SUVs come in all sizes, but we’re talking about mid-size models here. That’s the medium SUV model similar in length and width to a C-segment family hatchback but often a little larger. They’re generally a good size for a growing family, but if you need less space there’s no shortage of supermini-size small SUVs, and for those who need extra space or need seven seats may want to opt for a large SUV.
The best mid-size SUVs
So, which mid-size model should you buy? To help you decide we’ve picked out the top 10 best mid-size SUVs on sale right now, based on our extensive road testing of every model on the UK market. Several of the selections which we’ve listed in reverse order below are Auto Express award winners - so keep reading to find out more…
10. Citroen C5 Aircross
While most manufacturers seem intent on giving their SUVs a sporting flavour, Citroen has taken a different path and has instead made comfort one of its top priorities. As part of these efforts, the C5 Aircross is fitted with 'Progressive Hydraulic Cushion' suspension and ‘Advanced Comfort Seats’.
Both certainly live up to their names and work towards making this SUV one of the most comfortable cars in its class, but this does come at the cost of driver enjoyment. If you aren’t too fussed by the fun-factor, though, then a generous level of standard equipment and an efficient range of engines go a long way towards making this spacious Citroen a genuinely tempting purchase - particularly for day-to-day family use..
9. Nissan Qashqai
If there’s one car that can be credited with the sheer number of SUVs on sale now, it’s the Nissan Qashqai. Now in its third generation, the SUV’s blend of style, technology and practicality makes it one of the most desirable family cars on sale, even if it’s not the most ground-breaking car within its segment.
The latest Qashqai looks a lot sharper than its predecessors, and its well designed interior features plenty of soft-touch materials. There’s also a decent amount of space, a 504-litre boot and, in all but the base model, an eight-inch touchscreen running a new infotainment system that’s a massive step up from the previous Qashqai’s.
It may not be as entertaining to drive as a SEAT Ateca, but the Qashqai is composed and comfortable. There are two engines to choose from: a mildly electrified 1.3-litre petrol or a 1.5-litre e-Power hybrid. The latter uses the petrol engine to charge the on-board batteries, while drive is provided purely by an electric motor.
8. Jaguar F-Pace
It’s been with us for some time now, but the Jaguar F-Pace continues to be one of the best mid-size SUVs you can buy. Following a refresh in 2020, the F-Pace received smarter exterior styling and JLR’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system in order to keep it competitive.
There are plenty of powertrains to choose from, ranging from a reasonably efficient 163bhp diesel to a 542bhp V8 petrol. There’s also the plug-in hybrid P400e that offers lower running costs combined with decent performance.
Whichever F-Pace you pick, you’ll enjoy a great driving experience as the Jaguar handles better than nearly all its main rivals. It shares a platform with the XE and XF, so feels very car-like to drive while remaining composed over bumpy surfaces.
7. BMW X3
If driving satisfaction is at the top of your shopping list, then look no further than the X3. Despite its high stance, it handles with as much engagement and accuracy as some sports saloons, with meaty steering, tenacious grip and good body control. Yet it also soaks up bumps and is refined on a long run.
The X3’s most recent facelift enhanced the already spacious and upmarket interior, along with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance for the engines. There’s a choice of four and six-cylinder motors, plus a 503bhp X3 M that’ll do 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. Alternatively, you could opt for the all-electric iX3 which claims up to 285 miles of range on the WLTP combined cycle.
6. Hyundai Ioniq 5
Just like its sister-brand Kia, Hyundai has big ambitions to rise up from the budget end of the market and into the premium leagues. While the majority of its range has already seen a notable improvement in terms of quality and desirability, the all-electric Ioniq 5 is arguably the best current example of the Korean carmaker’s goals.
With its quirky retro-modern styling and pixel-style LED lighting, it has more road presence than some supercars and stands out from just about any other car on the road today. Many will see the Ioniq 5 as more of an oversized hatchback, rather than an SUV, but it’s hugely spacious cabin and enormous 527-litre boot makes it more than worthy of a spot on this list. And that’s before we discuss the high level of overall refinement, extraordinary rapid charging capability or impressive on-board tech.
5. Nissan Ariya
The Ariya EV was worth the wait, though, and we were so impressed with the finished result that we declared it our Car of the Year in 2022. The sleek styling looks great, combining fashionable SUV kerb appeal with a dash of coupe sophistication, and it’s beautifully finished inside with clever Japanese-inspired detailing.
Range anxiety isn’t a problem, either, with the option of a 63kWh or 87kWh battery pack claiming up to 250 or 329 miles of range respectively.
4. Lexus NX
With its efficient hybrid powertrain, luxurious interior and sophisticated tech, it’s not very difficult to see why the Lexus NX is a top-seller for the Japanese luxury brand. It’s popular with us, too, as we named the NX our Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year in both 2022 and 2023.
This upmarket Lexus boasts rather strong credentials as a family car, too. A high-standard of overall build quality should mean the interior can withstand most of what the youngest passengers can throw at it. There’s also plenty of space in the cabin, along with a 521-litre boot. A plethora of safety-kit is also included as standard, which helped the NX to score a full five-star Euro NCAP rating.
3. Skoda Enyaq iV
Sometimes less can be more, and that’s exactly what the electric Enyaq delivers. Skoda’s first bespoke electric vehicle is built on the same MEB platform as the Audi Q4 e-tron and Volkswagen ID.4, however, despite costing thousands of pounds less than the Q4 and ID.4, the Enyaq is arguably the best model of the lot.
As you’d probably expect from Skoda, the Enyaq iV offers more space and versatility than its siblings. More surprising, though, is the fact it feels more upmarket, while also being more comfortable and engaging to drive. Those with reservations about switching to electric power won’t have to worry about range anxiety, as the Enyq can cover up to 339 miles on a single charge. If you want a little more style and speed, there’s a twin-motor four-wheel-drive option and a sleek vRS Coupe, too.
2. Kia Sportage
As Kia continues its upmarket trajectory, the latest Sportage is a much bolder and more striking car than the rather anonymous-looking model it replaced. While this new direction was initially a bit of a gamble, it has undoubtedly paid off as the Mk5 Sportage is one of the UK’s best-selling cars.
Even with its new distinctive look, the Sportage’s roots remain intact. There’s a roomy and versatile interior, lots of standard kit and an easy-to-use infotainment system. Rivals such as the Ford Kuga are more fun to drive, but the Korean machine has a strong range of engines, including full-hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. If that wasn’t enough, Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty should give drivers peace of mind.
1. Hyundai Tucson
None of the Tucson’s countless rivals have been able to break its winning streak, as we named it the Mid-size SUV of the Year in our 2021, 2022 and 2023 New Car Awards.
The Tucson is one of the most distinctive cars currently on the road, thanks to its eye-catching lines and bold details. It also boasts an interior that combines class-leading space and a cavernous 620-litre boot with a list of standard equipment that would shame an upmarket executive saloon. Robust build quality and cutting-edge tech only add to this car’s considerable appeal.
On the move, the Hyundai feels composed and comfortable, while the range of engines runs from a punchy turbo petrol to a refined plug-in hybrid that can manage 38 miles of electric running – making the Tucson PHEV a very wallet-friendly company car, too. Factor in an excellent five-year warranty and the availability of confidence-inspiring four-wheel drive, the Tucson has all the family SUV bases covered.
Top 10 best mid-size SUVs
- Hyundai Tucson
- Kia Sportage
- Skoda Enyaq iV
- Lexus NX
- Nissan Ariya
- Hyundai Ioniq 5
- BMW X3
- Jaguar F-Pace
- Nissan Qashqai
- Citroen C5 Aircross
How to find the best mid-size SUVs for your family
If you’re buying any car that will most likely be used as family transport, such as with one of these mid-size SUVs, the obvious thing is to take your family along when you have a test drive.
Check they’ll fit, and find out if you can easily install any child seats you might be using at the time. This is often made easier with SUVs because they sit higher up from the road, so you don’t have to bend down as far to install them, and the doors tend to open wide for better access. Every car in our list features ISOfix mountings, and it’s also worth checking that any items you might need on a family day out will fit in the boot.
Whether you buy with cash or on finance, if you’re committing to spending a significant chunk of money on your new family SUV then you’re well within your rights to test it out. Any dealership that wants your business should oblige by giving you some time to do exactly this. Check that you and your family like the comfort on offer, too, and that everyone feels comfortable sitting it.
One more thing worth doing, as with any new-car purchase, is to check the spec and options fitted to the car that you test, and make a note of any features or extras that you like and feel might be a help in everyday life.
Looking for something smaller? Check out our list of the best small SUVs and crossovers...