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Land Rover’s pet ramp

Courtesy of manufacturer

For pet owners who won’t leave home without their four-legged friends, Land Rover makes traveling a breeze thanks to several pet-accessory packages available on larger SUVs such as the Discovery and Range Rover Sport. These “pet packs” include everything from spill-resistant water bowls to foldable pet carriers. An access ramp makes it easy for small, overweight or aging dogs to get inside the cargo area so owners don’t have to hoist their pets inside. The ramp can hold up to 85 kilograms and is covered with a rubberized, high-grip tread to prevent pets from slipping. Another useful feature is a portable rinse system to wash Fido after a muddy, long walk. It holds up to 6.4 litres of water and delivers up to five minutes of constant water flow to get your dog clean as a whistle.

Honda CR-V

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

For young couples starting a family, a safe and comfortable compact SUV such as the Honda CR-V won’t disappoint. The interior is smart and spacious, especially in the back. The rear seats are deep, with enough space to accommodate a child car seat and occasional visits from in-laws. And no need to worry about lugging around strollers, tricycles, toys and grocery bags – there’s 1,110 litres of cargo space, too. The 2020 CR-V also received top safety marks – a 5-Star overall rating – from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota Highlander

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

For growing families who need serious space for passengers and cargo, the all-new Toyota Highlander is the perfect package, with seating for up to eight people. The second-row bench seats recline and slide, while the third-row seats fold flat and can also recline for added comfort. There’s excellent headroom, too – in the first row, there’s 1046 mm while the third row has 918 mm. Even the legroom is respectable in all rows – the second row has 1042 mm while the third row gets 702 mm. When all seats are in use, there’s 454 litres of cargo space. If you’re concerned about fuel consumption, go for the Highlander Hybrid all-wheel-drive. It returns 6.7 L/100 km combined fuel economy. That’s big savings compared to the gas-powered version, which averages 10.3 L/100 km combined driving.

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Hyundai Kona EV

Courtesy of manufacturer

If you’re an environmentalist in search of a green SUV, go electric. The options for zero-emission vehicles with longer electric range keep improving each year. The Hyundai Kona all-electric SUV has one of the longest ranges on the market – about 415 kilometres on a single charge. Just plug it in overnight to charge the battery. The Kona EV’s unique design, especially from the front end, makes it stand out from its gas-powered Kona sibling. Like most all-electric vehicles, it’s expensive, coming in close to $45,000. At least you’ll never have to pay for gas ever again and can save on some maintenance costs like oil changes.

Nissan Kicks

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

For millennials or cash-strapped students, a small, fuel-efficient and affordable SUV like the Nissan Kicks makes the perfect city runabout. Starting under $20,000, the price won’t break the bank. You can customize your ride by mixing and matching exterior colours such as “monarch orange” or “deep blue pearl” with different accent colours on the roof or interior. Even the cabin can be fitted with vibrant shades for the floor mats, rear-view mirror and air vents. Must-have technology features include three USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With 915 litres of cargo space, it’s an ideal choice for co-op students who move every four months.

Mazda CX-30

Courtesy of manufacturer

Aging baby boomers and empty-nesters aren’t just downsizing their homes – their vehicles are shrinking too. A smaller SUV such as the all-new Mazda CX-30 is a sharp, practical choice. The front seats are comfortable, supportive and ergonomically designed. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable with lumbar support, so it’s easy to find a suitable driving position, even on long drives. The height of the front seats is ideal, making them simple to slide in and out of without any discomfort. There’s no need to crouch down or stretch up to get inside. Handy features include rain-sensing wipers, a power lift gate, a power moon roof, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and leather upholstery. Safety technology includes knee airbags for the driver and front passenger as well as larger front and curtain airbags designed for better protection in case of an accident.

Subaru Outback

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

For the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle, consider the Subaru Outback. The roof has cross bars with four loops at the front and rear to safely secure items such as boats or bikes. Scratch-resistant mouldings along the wheel arches, lower cladding, and front and rear fenders protect paint from dings and scratches on gravel roads. And a hands-free tailgate makes it simple to pack camping gear in the cargo area – no keys required. Just wave your hand over the Subaru emblem on the rear gate and it opens. The cargo cover can be retracted with one touch, too, simply by hitting it with an elbow. And don’t worry about dirt – the cargo floor and the seats are water-resistant.

Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Need a rugged vehicle to suit a rugged job like construction or farming? Forget a pickup truck and go for a large SUV such as the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro. It’s no ordinary Sequoia. The TRD Pro is the most capable Sequoia ever built. With a multi-mode 4WD system, it can tackle any terrain. It has rugged styling, seating for seven and serious off-road capabilities. And with the power to tow up to 3221 kilograms, it’s a workhorse. The TRD Pro also has an integrated tow hitch and a driver-selectable Tow/Haul transmission mode with Trailer Sway Control. Plus, its exterior design is unique, with an exclusive shade of army green that’ll have neighbours turning green with envy.

Audi Q3

Courtesy of manufacturer

If you’re single or divorced and searching for a high-end, small SUV, the Audi Q3 should be at the top of your list. With an exterior of understated elegance, the interior is unabashed luxury. On date night, your seat-mate will be equally impressed with the opulent, supportive front seats, the posh interior and the abundant technology features at your fingertips. It’s also smooth, fun to drive and easy to park. Because of its compact size, the Q3 fits into tight spots in crowded downtown streets easily and quickly, making it ideal for a realtor or small-business owner on the go.

Lamborghini Urus

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

For speed demons with money to burn, the Lamborghini Urus will get your blood flowing fast. This ultra-luxurious, high-performance SUV feels and drives like a true Lamborghini. At the heart of this raging bull is Lamborghini’s first twin-turbo engine. It’s a 4-litre V-8 that delivers 650 hp and 627 lb.-ft. of torque. Nail the throttle, and you’ll hit 0-100 km/h in only 3.6 seconds, an impressive figure for an SUV. It also has 4WD, so you can drive it year-round. But the Urus doesn’t come cheap – it’ll set you back a minimum of $232,000.

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