BEST ONE: Toyota Land Cruiser
People assume that big 4x4s are all slick, smooth and drive like saloons. The Land Cruiser is not like that. It still uses a separate ladder-frame chassis and body, so it’s not as sharp around corners as rivals and it’s not as refined nor as smooth. It doesn’t get a sonorous V6 engine, but instead a big four-cylinder unit, tuned for maximum torque. The interior is well appointed but definitely angled more towards practicality than luxury. Which is exactly why we love it so. The capabilities of the Land Cruiser are such that you are never likely to seriously stretch them in Ireland. It’s dependable, that’s why you should buy one.
Best model: Platinum LWB auto for €67,780 Price range: €59,450 to €104,630. Finance from €POA per month CO2 emissions: 190 to 194g/km Sum up: Unstoppable, indefatigable, unbeatable.
Recently named as the safest car of all time by UK crash testing experts Thatcham, the XC90 presents an image of robust Swedish luxury, combined with exceptional practicality. It has a beautiful interior of rare comfort and space. The downside is a ride quality that’s often too firm, and four-cylinder engines that are not as smooth as those deployed by some rivals. T8 plugin hybrid has excellent tax figures, but is seriously thirsty in real-world motoring.
Best model: D5 Powerpulse R-Design for €80,000 Price range: €74,250 to €130,250. Finance from €POA per month CO2 emissions: 59 to 189g/km Sum up: Big, tasty Swede
Land Rover Discovery
Everyone talks about the off-set numberplate on the back of the Discovery, and the fact that it’s (a) ugly, and (b) doesn’t need to be there because it’s not a split tailgate anymore. That’s true, but to be honest we don’t mind the way it looks (actually kinda like it a bit) and anyway, it’s missing the point of just what a good all-rounder the Discovery is. As comfy as a luxury car, as practical as a home economics teacher, and now with the option of more affordable four-cylinder diesel engines. If Land Rover can finally convince on the reliability front, it could be a truly great car.
Best model: 2.0 SD4 240hp HSE for €80,435 Price range: €56,085 to €102,455. Finance from €POA per month Co2 emissions: 128 to 156g/km Sum up: Land Rover's best current product
The big Audi doesn’t really have looks on its side, but what it lacks in prettiness, it makes up for in imposing bulk. From the inside, it’s a little more kiddy-friendly, with big, comfy seats, leg-stretching room and extra foldaway seats in the boot. The way it’s put together pegs the needle on the quality-o-meter, but you do have to sacrifice the seats in the boot if you want the (generally impressive) plugin hybrid eTron diesel version. Regular diesel works well, but maximum respect goes to the 430hp triple-turbo V8 diesel SQ7, which is not only fast, but also manages to make this two-tonne-plus machine handle with twinkle-toed delicacy.
Best model: Feck it – go for the SQ7 for €123,150 Price range: €73,950 to €123,150. Finance from €669 per month CO2 emissions: 50 to 199g/km Sum up: Big bruiser with a delicate touch
WILD CARD: Tesla Model X
Tesla’s reputation has grown to the point where its market valuation puts a company that makes a few thousand cars a year as being worth more than General Motors, with its millions of sales every year. Insanity? Maybe, because there are serious limitations to its cars, including the Model X. Yes, you really can go further than you think on one charge (300-400km); yes you can fit between six and seven people in; and yes, Ludicrous Mode really does mean you can beat a 911 Turbo away from the lights. But equally, those panel gaps are not acceptable on a car costing this much, and Autopilot mode is nothing of the sort – you NEED to keep your hands on the wheel. Tesla still needs to do a lot of convincing that it can build cars as well as it designs them, but if it can then the world may well be its oyster.
Best model: Model X 100D for €121,380 Price range: €104,020 to €158,202 Finance from €1,029 per month CO2 emissions: 0g/km Sum up: Could be the future if Tesla gets its quality levels sorted out Incoming: Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q8, Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Ssangyong Rexton, BMW X5, VW Touareg