FUNKY LITTLE CROSSOVERS: These crossovers are as practical as they are stylish. Image: Supplied
Mothers want it all - sexy, functional wheels that are safe, low on fuel and not ludicrously expensive. We’ve picked six crossovers that are as practical as they are stylish.
1. Hyundai Tucson (from R369 900)
The Hyundai ix35 was a firm favourite with the ladies, but the new Tucson (which is the replacement for the ix35) is light years ahead of its predecessor. When you step inside the elegant cabin, ‘refinement’ is the word that springs to mind.
The Tucson is a COTY finalist for 2017, and after having spent a week in the automatic as well as manual models, it is clear why. It handles beautifully, its cabin is super-sophisticated, its added new 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine is punchy and silky-smooth, and there’s a feeling of all-round quality and longevity.
I prefer the manual models - more fun to drive and better suited to extract all the power from the engine.
2. Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 66 kW Turbo Dynamique Sunset Limited Edition (from R249 900)
Available only in limited numbers, the eye-catching new Renault Captur Sunset offers a great amount of space for such a compact little car. Not to mention how easy it is on the diesel, even if you have a slightly heavy right foot!
As far as interiors go, the lively black and orange colour scheme is modern and exciting - but not too way out that you’d grow bored. Removable seat covers are perfect for kids - if Junior’s ice-cream ends up on the seat you need not fret. What’s more - the Captur’s pliant suspension likes dirt roads a lot - even poor ones.
Expect stellar diesel usage of around 4.7-6-litres/100km, and that engine is peppy!
3. Volvo V40 Cross Country (from R421 612)
The Swedes know how to do sleek and sophisticated, and the new V40 Cross Country is sexy in its simplicity of design - it has that clean and minimalistic Swedish look which I love. It also has the most comfortable seats on the planet - nobody engineers seats like Volvo. It’s one of the safest cars on the road, scoring a hundred percent for its assistance systems.
Boot’s a bit small, though. But as an everyday car, you can’t go wrong! I’d stick with regular tyres - the low profiles aren’t too fond of potholes. If you can’t afford the V40 Cross Country, you can always go for the regular, entry-level hatch: the V40 T3 Kinetic at R345 298.
4. Renault Kadjar (from R364 900)
Another COTY 2017 finalist, and with good reason - it has everything but the kitchen sink! The Kadjar is specced comprehensively with safety and convenience features, and boasts user friendliness second to none.
The four-wheel-drive derivative (Kadjar 96 kW dCi Dynamique 4WD) handles sand just as well as any thoroughbred off-roader (yes, we put it to the test on the Atlantis Dunes). Diesel models are super-efficient, so there’s no need for frequent visits to the pump station. The Kadjar truly is the all-in-one family vehicle, and offers a nice big boot as well as a full-size spare wheel. A force to be reckoned with in the SUV department.
5. Suzuki Vitara (from R261 900)
Small but capable, the clean-cut Vitara has plenty of city-kerb appeal, yet it’s not afraid of tackling terrain that makes other urban crossovers quiver in their low-profile boots. If you are the outdoorsy type who likes to venture off the beaten track, I’d go for the AllGrip derivatives that offer four transmission settings selectable via a rotary dial.
Auto is a two-wheel drive fuel-preserving mode for when you’re cruising on the open road, while permanent four-wheel drive modes namely ‘Snow’ and ‘Lock’ will give added stability over wet roads or gravel. ‘Sport’ will send power to the rear tyres when needed.
The interior is uncluttered and Japanese, and looks like it will withstand the test of time (or terrible toddlers). Suzuki has a very good name where mechanics are concerned, so the Vitara’s aspirated 1.6-litre engine isn’t going to let you down.
6. Volkswagen Tiguan (from R378 000)
The previous Tiguan has also been a firm favourite amongst the ladies, but its lack of cabin and boot space deterred some of the more practically-minded folks. Volkswagen has addressed that issue in the new Tiguan with a bigger platform that helps create 50 litres more boot space, so families don’t have to travel so very lightly.
It has new safety features too, such as optional cruise control and a pedestrian-friendly Active Bonnet, to lessen the damage in the unfortunate event of you hitting a jay-walker. Clean and serene, the Tiguan is the kind of car that appeals equally to both parents. The Tiguan is also a COTY 2017 finalist.
You can’t really go wrong with a Volkswagen, can you?