Best Large SUV: Land Rover Discovery 4
If the Discovery carries on at this rate, it will deserve an outstanding achievement award at our next New Car Awards.
Why it won...
If the Discovery carries on at this rate, it will deserve an outstanding achievement award at our next New Car Awards. It has won the top prize for large 4x4s at our annual awards bash since its debut in 2005.
Then it was the Discovery 3 that wowed our panel of expert judges, and the latest Discovery 4 has maintained that momentum. The winning formula hasn’t changed much in the intervening years, but it didn’t really need to.
On the outside, its bold lines are reassuringly familiar, while its huge cabin is as spacious, versatile and practical as it has always been – few cars can accommodate seven adults in this much comfort.
The cabin is luxurious and the driving experience is better than ever this year, thanks to the introduction of a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. It makes the most of the TDV6 engine’s performance, so the Discovery 4 is cleaner and faster than ever.
You get plenty of equipment – even entry-level XS trim won’t leave you feeling short-changed. And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Terrain Response system must be as brilliant as we first thought, because rival car makers have been tripping over themselves to produce their own versions of it.
The Land Rover is hugely comfortable and relaxing to drive on the road and absolutely imperious off it, so it remains our favourite large SUV. This year sees it scoop an unprecedented eighth consecutive New Car Awards trophy – a feat that may never be repeated.
Our choice: TDV6 HSE
In top of-the-range trim the Discovery 4 feels like a junior Range Rover, so it’s a cut above its large SUV rivals. It comes heaving with gadgets and an opulent cabin. With only one engine/gearbox combination on offer, choosing the best Discovery couldn’t be easier.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The meteoric rise of Hyundai from worthy-but-dull value brand to mainstream contender began with the launch of the Santa Fe. So while the off-roader is one of the company’s oldest cars (and a new version is on the way), it’s still one of the best, with a mix of practicality, performance and value that takes some beating.
An off-roader with a Porsche badge was always going to be controversial, but if the original version confounded its critics, the latest model has left the naysayers looking increasingly out of touch. It’s no longer an ugly duckling and its luxurious interior, incredible agility, superb poise and strong performance in the rough justify the price.
- 1IntroductionThe awards everyone wants to win are back as we name the finest models in 18 categories and crown our Car of the Year for 2012
- 2Best City Car
- 3Best SuperminiPeugeot has rediscovered its touch. The RCZ coupe has been winning awards and turning heads for the last couple of years
- 4Best Compact Family CarIt was always going to take something special to beat the Volkswagen Golf, and the new BMW 1 Series is exactly that.
- 5Best Family Car
- 6Best Five-Seat MPVThe C-MAX has emerged from the shadow of the big-selling Ford Focus, and it deserves to take centre stage.
- 7Best Seven-Seat MPVThe SEAT Alhambra has made the MPV sector its own and after scooping the top prize last year, nothing in the past 12 months has been able to dislodge it from the top of the class
- 8Best Estate CarThe Skoda Superb Estate has scored a hat-trick of wins in the Estate Car category at our annual awards, and it’s going to take something seriously talented to knock it off the top step of the podium next time around.
- 9Best Crossover
- 10Best Compact SUV
- 11Best Large SUV - currently readingIf the Discovery carries on at this rate, it will deserve an outstanding achievement award at our next New Car Awards.
- 12Best Hot HatchA fast Ford is back on top of the hot hatch pile, and having met the people behind the new Focus ST, we’re not surprised.
- 13Best ConvertibleThe best convertibles need to be as good with their roofs up as they are with them folded, and the Golf Cabriolet is exactly that.
- 14Best CoupePeugeot is back with a bang this year – although it never really went away.
- 15Best Roadster