SUV simply stands for ‘Sports Utility Vehicle’. It is a car classification that merges a typical on-road vehicle with the best features of off-road vehicles, such as higher ground clearance and the all-important four-wheel drive. SUVs typically offer extra seating capacity when compared to sedans and hatchbacks, meaning that larger families are easily accommodated.

Globally, SUVs are on an upward trend. This is one area of the motor industry that is excelling despite downturns with other kinds of vehicles. This is also true for the motor industry in South Africa. SUVs are highly versatile and have become increasingly sought-after at motor vehicle auctions and dealerships – it is an incredibly competitive segment at the moment.

Most SUV models can comfortably contain around five to nine passengers depending on the model, perfect for those with larger families. These vehicles also come with generous boot space to accommodate the sports equipment, toys, prams, and everything else that come with every outing when you have children. Note that you can always count on your SUV to be durable against spills, dirty shoes, mud, sticky fingers and all manner of mess.

Most of these vehicles are built with families in mind, offering easy clean-up to keep them looking and smelling good. Also note that most SUVs offer the driver the option of configuring seating to allow for custom arrangements when you buy one brand new. You can often decide the number of rows and seats to add to the seating you want, including a roomier capacity for a growing family. This also makes them ideal for road trips and holiday travel.

SUVs are quite popular because they offer greater visibility, not just for you, but other cars on the road. Another advantage of the car sitting higher above the ground is the advantage of being able to safely drive over debris, pot holes and small objects on the road, with minimal damage – a great advantage considering the conditions of most urban roads in South Africa.

Another characteristics that endears SUVs to the heart of South Africans is its versatility, and this is perhaps the leading reason why this vehicle has become so popular especially due to the ability of the driver to not only have comfort and safety in the urban environment, but to also have the ability to take those advantages off-road, into the country. The additional space offered by an SUV also allows you to convert a passenger vehicle into a useful cargo vehicle should the need arise.

What is the Most Fuel Efficient SUV in South Africa?

There are a lot of variables to consider when buying an SUV in South Africa, including your budget, driving style, vehicle make and model preferences. No matter what type of SUV you are buying, it is imperative to test drive the specific models you are interested in. It is generally a good idea to consider the resale value of your vehicle when you are shopping for a vehicle. Nonetheless, here is a list of the most fuel-efficient SUV/crossover cars in South Africa.

  1. Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCI Tekna Plus

The Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi is one of the most practical, well-priced and easy to live with SUVs, partly thanks to its low fuel thirst. Nissan, one of the earliest pioneers of the crossover niche has morphed into a refined, handsome and practical alternative. This vehicle is comfortable too, and though available in six-speed manual only, the 1.5 dCI Tekna Plus spec offers many standard luxury and safety items and an 81kW/260Nm diesel motor that consumes a low 4.2l/100km.

Price

  • R473,200
  1. Peugeot 5008 2.0 Hdi Allure

The Peugeot 5008 in 2.0 Hdi Allure turbo diesel form makes it to the sub-5.0l/100km segment by the skin of its teeth. This vehicle remains the largest contender here with a length of 4,641mm, accommodating seven passengers in comfort and style. With its 110kW and 370Nm outputs, it’s optimal for life in the fast lane for a modern family and its diesel engine sips just 4.8l/100km.

Price

  • R571,500
  1. Opel Crossland X 1.6TD Enjoy

The Opel Crossland X TD offers fuel parsimony at the pumps. Basking in the shadow of many popular SUV choices, the Crossland X is not a car you come across regularly. Have it in mind that this vehicle covers the SUV recipe well enough with good handling, spaciousness and handsome looks. It also makes it on to the list thanks to its 4.4l/100km, which you get if you opt for the diesel 1.6l engine derivative with 68kW and 230Nm.

Price

  • R367,000
  1. Ford EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente

Among the many positives about Ford’s Ecosport SUV is low claimed fuel consumption of 4.4l/100km. The Ford’s EcoSport over the years have justified its popularity among small SUV buyers. It’s keenly priced, sufficiently specified and measured to reflect the practicality and performance relative to typical SA requirements. Coupled with a rated 4.6l/100km in average fuel consumption for the 1.5 TDCi Ambiente and you have a winner.

Price

  • R298,800
  1. Renault Captur 66kW dCi Dynamique

The Renault Captur 1.5l turbo diesel is the benchmark in the SUV fuel-sipping stakes. The French company is steadily striving to cut down the fuel consumption levels of its fleets and the Captur is a poster car for this ambition. Boasting of its 3.6l/100km average, the Captur 66kW dCi Dynamique provides an attractive crossover companionship for anyone looking at minimising running costs. This Captur crossover is powered by a 1.5l turbo diesel four-cylinder engine producing 66kW and 220Nm.

Price

  • R343, 900.

Conclusion

The popularity of SUVs in South Africa is about more than just their look and ability to be a great family vehicle – more so than other parts of the world. When you drive an SUV, there is no reason you cannot bring your family with you no matter where you go, and that is ultimately what makes this vehicle so sought-after among families.

Aside from its accessibility, added visibility, and large capacity, an SUV could be the best vehicle for your needs. However, with the different types and options of SUVs available, the best way to decide which is best for you is to experience it – test drive as many models as you can and you are sure to find something you love.

Ajaero Tony Martins