Best buys family crossovers: Another niche is ticked by best-looking Toyota

Our choice of the family crossovers on the market right now

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Best One: Toyota C-HR

There are a few big caveats that come with recommending the Toyota C-HR. One: the boot is surprisingly small for a mid-size crossover. Two: ditto the back seats. Three: it’s likely to be very overshadowed by the incoming new RAV4. Aside from those issues, though, the C-HR is a very tempting car. It’s the first mainstream Toyota with truly desirable, eye-catching styling. The interior, if it is a touch small, looks as if it’s been designed by Lexus. There’s no diesel option, but the Hybrid model makes a compelling case for itself (although the 1.2 petrol turbo is a touch under-powered). It’s also, remarkably, really quite engaging to drive, with sharp steering and a willing chassis. A hugely appealing car, if a touch pricey.

Best model: 1.8 Hybrid Luna Sport for €31,950 Price range: €26,985 to €32,950. Finance from €247 per month. Co2 emissions: 87 to 136g/km Sum up: A truly desirable Toyota

Worthy Contenders

Seat Ateca

If the Arona gets the nod because it’s the least mediocre, then the Ateca does so because it’s actually really rather good, both more affordable and sweeter to drive than the (mechanically identical) VW Tiguan. The downsides are cabin that looks a touch dowdy, and refinement that could be better, but you do get a lot of car for your cash. The boot and back seats are big and broad enough for family life, and there’s a broad range of engines. The 150hp 1.4 TSI turbo petrol is probably the best all-rounder. Sporty FR spec now available, and hot 300hp Cupra version is waiting in the wings.

Best model: 1.4 150hp TSI SE for €28,825 Price range: €25,145 to €40,645. Finance from €249 per month. Co2 emissions: 118 to 159g/km Sum up: Barcelona’s best work

Peugeot 3008

We had been waiting some time for the sleeping giant that was Peugeot to wake up, but when it did so, the French brand gave us a car that became an instant family classic. The 3008 looks particularly good for a mid-size crossover - managing to look both low-slung, but imposing at the same time. The cabin is the real treat, though, with quality levels to worry the Germans, and a sense of design flair that you just won’t find in other rivals. It doesn’t feel subjectively as spacious as some, though, and not everyone will like the tiny-wheel, high-up-instruments layout. Diesel engines are excellent, but don’t discount the 1.2 PureTech turbo petrol.

Best model: Allure 1.2 PureTech 130hp Automatic for €30,895 Price range: €26,595 to €44,995. Finance from €189 per month. Co2 emissions: 103 to 129g/km Sum up: Puts the Lion back on top

Skoda Karoq

The Karoq is a bit of a funny car. Obviously, being as it’s a mid-size Skoda SUV, it’s appeal is not difficult to imagine, and it is pleasant to drive and hugely spacious and practical inside. It’s a touch bland to look at on the outside, though, and it doesn’t take a lengthy perusal of the price list to see that it can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly. Given that Skoda says it doesn’t do an entry-level model (the cheapest Ambition-spec version is pretty well equipped) it’s probably best to take the firm at its word, and buy the cheapest 1.0-litre TSI petrol Ambition model.

Best model: MWB BlueHDI 115hp Feel for €40,175 Price range: €27,715 to €37,765. Finance from €291 per month. Co2 emissions: 114 to 138g/km Sum up: Keep it cheap for best effect

Wild Card: Jeep Compass

Jeep has been trying to set itself up as a premium player, of late, but the Compass is aimed squarely at the family-friendly crossover market. And while it doesn’t hit the target bang-on, it is kind of intriguing. It’s a little crude to drive at times (noisy, a touch rough-riding) but you, oddly, forgive it that as it feels authentically off-road-y. The cabin is roomy, comfy, and rather well built. The boot is a little small, but well-shaped. The styling makes it look like a mini Grand Cherokee. And the badge is that of the original, legendary, 4x4. All of which adds up to a strangely appealing whole.

Best model: 2.0 M-Jet 170hp Longitude for €34,695 Price range: €27,995 to €41,995. Finance from €307 per month. Co2 emissions: 117 to 148g/km Sum up: Legendary name, family-friendly car

Incoming: Toyota RAV4, Citroen C5 Aircross, Subaru Forester facelift,

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