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Best crossovers and SUVs we drove last year

It was an incredible year for car enthusiasts in 2022, with all manner of new models being introduced in quick succession.

Last year saw the debut of everything from small hatches like the Suzuki Baleno and Toyota Starlet to electric supercars like the Audi RS e-tron GT, but one vehicle segment, in particular, received a plethora of memorable newcomers.

That segment is SUVs and crossovers, which have been rapidly growing in popularity over the last few years.

Standouts from 2022

Given that the practical body type is quickly becoming the preferred choice for many road users, TopAuto took a look back at a few of our favourite models we drove in 2022.

BAIC Beijing X55

The BAIC Beijing X55 is playing fast and loose with the concept of what it means to be an entry-level vehicle.

This Chinese crossover has a space-age look and feel with a slick design both inside and out, and this is only reinforced by the impressive amount of tech that comes with it.

This includes fitments such as a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and not one but two 10-inch digital screens, making for a stand-out model in the segment in terms of value-for-money.

Ford Everest

The next-generation Everest is an improvement over the outgoing seven-seater in just about every way.

While its price tag may have seen a significant increase, the upside is that the Everest is now competing slap bang in the middle of the luxury-SUV market with a revised interior equipped with soft-touch materials and a cool new tablet-style infotainment unit.

Additionally, a new V6 engine on the Platinum trim has brought the power up to a staggering 184kW and 600Nm, ensuring a well-rounded ride that is just as happy off-road as it is strutting about Sandton.

Kia Sonet Turbo

Style is the name of the game with this crossover, as Kia has really hit its stride with the design of their recent models.

This mini-SUV has the looks to compete in the premium segment with its patterned-gloss black finishes and chrome highlights, and it’s not shy on features either with additions like dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, and an 8-inch entertainment screen.

The newly-added 1.0-litre turbocharged engine also delivers satisfactory performance for a car in this market.

Mahindra XUV700

The Mahindra XUV700 is an enormous jump in quality and presentation over its predecessor, the XUV500.

Its interior is simply gorgeous with a two-tone black and white upholstery and a dual-screen setup adorning the dash, and the two rear seats come with a generous amount of room not found in many other seven-seaters.

What’s perhaps most impressive about the XUV700 is its sub-R500,000 starting price, as it is only slightly more expensive than the old XUV500 despite the two SUVs feeling worlds apart.

Range Rover

The new Range Rover continues to be the class leader of luxury SUVs, for good reason.

This car couldn’t have felt more at home in the winelands of the Western Cape, and its interior continues to put five-star hotels to shame with supremely comfortable seats and other fittings like large HD screens on the back of both front seats.

Despite all of this, the flagship Range Rover can still perform with the best of the best thanks to a 4.4-litre V8 bringing an absurd 390kW and 750Nm to the fore.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

Electric cars are still in their infancy, especially in South Africa, but the Volvo XC40 offers a good taste of what’s to come.

It avoids the overly-pretentious design that other EVs have fallen into with a down-to-earth appearance both inside and out, yet it has all the amenities you could want from a typical family car.

Living with an EV is certainly an adjustment compared to your average gas-guzzler, but the XC40 makes a strong argument for the future with sports car performance and a workable range of 300-400km.

VW Taigo

The VW Taigo is looking to start a segment of its own as a coupe-style crossover that plays very differently to any of Volkswagen’s other T-badged SUVs.

Fans of the Polo will instantly feel at home with this high rider, providing an excellent stepping stone for motorists looking to upgrade from their small hatchbacks.

While it may only have a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, the Taigo’s sharp handling gives it a sporty undertone that translates to a fun time whenever you get behind the wheel.

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