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Which diesel SUV for rural use?

We currently drive a Mercedes-Benz SLK and a Fiesta but with both of these cars I am now experiencing back/leg pain after driving for an hour or so. Earlier in year we holidayed in the USA where we drove long distances in a Jeep 4x4, which caused me no discomfort at all. In view of this we are considering buying an SUV. Even though we live in a very rural area we don't plan to go off-road, and the only possible justification for having four wheel drive would be for snow covered lanes, for typically two or three weeks each year. We do around 17,000 miles a year in the Fiesta and 7000 in the SLK and we would be looking to buy a diesel of 12 to 18 months old. Although I really like the performance and economy of the X3 the initial outlay looks a bit steep. Does the X3 justify its price tag, and can you suggest any other alternative SUVs, about the size of the X3 with reasonable performance that we should consider?

Asked on 19 January 2013 by RD, Peasenahall

Answered by Honest John
The BMW X3 2.0d 4WD (X-drive) is the best. Other contenders include the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V (tested here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/), the forthcoming new Toyota RAV4 (www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/toyota/rav4-2013/), forthcoming new Ford Kuga (www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/ford/kuga-2013/) and VAG models such as the Skoda Yeti, Audi Q3 and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Remember that the deeper the profile of the tyres the more comfortable the ride will be. Do not go below 55 and preferably not below 60 profile tyres on an SUV.
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