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‘Kodiaq, Qashqai, Junior: it's been a huge week for new SUVs’

Editor Paul Barker takes a look at three new cars this week - the Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan Qashqai and Alfa Romeo Junior

Opinion - Skoda Kodiaq

There are various types of new-car arrivals. Take the Skoda Kodiaq. It’s almost the perfect example of ‘please don’t have messed it up’. When a firm is replacing an excellent family car that’s at the top of the class, even when newer and shinier competition has come along, the most important thing is that it hasn’t made the car worse – that it’s still the very recommendable and clever seven-seat SUV it always has been. No need for anything radical, just make it a bit better in every way. It’s what Volkswagen has been doing for years, although not always with complete success. But the Kodiaq is a great car – update it without doing anything silly and ruining it.

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Then there’s the Nissan Qashqai. It’s a decent mid-life overhaul of the runaway smash hit, but I wonder what terrible things Nissan would have to do to turn people off a car that was outsold in the UK only by the Ford Puma in 2023. It’s really struck a chord with car buyers, despite there being other really good candidates for their money.

At the other end of the scale is the Alfa Romeo Junior – a baby Alfa SUV. At last, the firm’s product planners have noticed small SUVs are big business, and that there’s a gap for a stylish one among the likes of the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Audi Q2. It’ll be a while before we find out how it drives, and I’m desperate for it to be more Stelvio (genuinely recommendable when it first came out, but showing its age now) than Tonale (much less impressive). But get the styling right and you’re a long way there.

We’ve had a good long drive in the new Kodiaq, and without plot-spoiling, I’m relieved. The Nissan already looks like a sensible yet notable update that will maintain the sales success. The Alfa’s styling is more subjective – take a look and see what you think. It’s not as elegant as I’d hoped, especially at the front, but I can say for sure that it looks better in red than the leaked pictures of a white prototype that made the grille look messy. Then again, all Alfas should be ordered in red anyway.

Click here for our list of the best family cars...

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As Editor, Paul’s job is to steer the talented group of people that work across Auto Express, Carbuyer and Driving Electric, and steer the titles to even bigger and better things by bringing the latest important stories to our readers. Paul has been writing about cars and the car industry since 2000, working for consumer and business magazines as well as freelancing for national newspapers, industry titles and a host of major publications.

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