Fun Stuff

Top 10 High-Performance Crossovers and SUVs

Once upon a time, if you were a driving enthusiast who wanted to start a family, some tough decisions had to be made about what vehicle would be in the driveway. More often than not, the two-seater had to go in favour of something safer and more practical that could fit car seats and haul grocery bags and strollers. A sedan, a wagon, an SUV, or, heaven forbid, a minivan were typically your only options. But what if you could combine the practicality of a family hauler with the performance of a sports car? Well, you are in luck. You have many options at your disposal; in fact, we’re almost spoiled for choice these days.

Offering an elevated ride height, all-wheel drive, seating for at least four, and horsepower numbers once reserved for only the most elite of supercars, here are our top picks (in no particular order) for crossovers and SUVs that don’t compromise style or performance for their practicality.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

Horsepower: 503 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.8 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,600 L

Last year’s sales numbers showed that the GLC was the company’s top-selling model both in Canada and worldwide. In Canada, this SUV accounted for 65.6 per cent of sales, and one in four Mercedes vehicles sold in this country has an AMG designation. The AMG GLC 63 S features a handcrafted 4.0L V8 that is quite capable of propelling its 2,062 kilograms (4,546 lb) in a spirited fashion with the assistance of a fast-shifting nine-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. Luxury, refinement, performance, and enough room for car seats and a stroller.

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT

Horsepower: 480 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.5 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,691 L

As the owner of several Mustang GTs over the years, I’ve slowly been making peace with the name and pony badge on the front of this all-electric crossover. The GT Performance Edition’s 480 hp and 634 lb-ft of torque certainly assist in easing that trepidation. Packing bigger batteries and an electric motor on each axle, the top trim also gets unique emblems and aluminum instrument panel, 20-inch wheels, Ford Performance seats with metallic stitching, and magneto-rheological adjustable suspension as standard fare. There’s no replacement for the rumble of a V8, but there’s no reason why you can’t add this to the stable too, right?

Audi RS Q8

Horsepower: 591 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.8 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,719 L

Not everybody wants the attention (or price tag) that a Lamborghini will command. While it may offer 50 less horsepower than the Lamborghini Urus, the Audi RS Q8 also comes in at roughly half of the price of its outrageous Italian cousin even though it shares a lot of its mechanical parts and underpinnings. Its styling may be more subdued and refined, but its performance is anything but understanded. Powered by a twin-turbo V8 with 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, it should certainly be enough to put a smile on your face as well as any passengers in the back.

Maserati Levante Trofeo

Horsepower: 590 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.6 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,625 L

A Maserati is a vehicle for those who want to separate themselves from the ubiquity of German luxury marques that fill their neighbourhood. Few vehicles can match the presence of the Levante’s sculpted lines, nor the seductive sounds of its twin-turbocharged V8. All trim levels are mated to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. While some aspects of its interior will be familiar for those who have been in a Dodge or Jeep lately, seating and other surfaces are swathed in high-quality materials commissioned by Ermenegildo Zegna. Packing nearly 600 hp sent to all four corners, its acceleration and handling are suitably athletic, providing a distinctive feeling that no other SUV on the market can match.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe

Horsepower: 541 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.9 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,513 L

Other models on this list may boast bigger back seats or more cargo capacity, but the Cayenne’s sublime light, nimble handling make it more than worthy of consideration for those who wish they could own a sports car but need a back seat. Its 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 is mated to an eight-speed Tiptonic S transmission and all-wheel drive, making for an engaging driving experience.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Horsepower: 707 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.5 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,934 L

It may be heavier, at 2,500 kg (5,512 lb), and have a less luxurious interior than some of the other models here, but the fact that Jeep managed to shoehorn a 6.2L supercharged V8 under the hood of this off-road-ready SUV is enough reason to give it a good ol’ slow clap. Some may scoff at the sticker price, but considering its acceleration falls just shy of vehicles that are far more expensive (like the Lamborghini Urus, for example), it could also be considered a bargain.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Horsepower: 550 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.8 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,957 L

The F-Pace exudes a sense of elegance that only a Jaguar can. Its 5.0L supercharged V8 provides robust acceleration complemented by an alluring soundtrack. Offering a more luxurious and supple experience than some of its rivals, its handling and performance are well-rounded rather than razor sharp.

BMW X4 M Competition

Horsepower: 503 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 4.1 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,430 L

Its sloping rear silhouette may not be conducive to cargo space, but it offers enough room for a stroller, a hockey bag, or a couple sets of golf clubs. Some may be on the fence about its looks, but you can’t argue with its turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine and sublime corner carving abilities.

Aston Martin DBX

Horsepower: 542 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.9 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,529 L

Ever wonder what 007 would drive if he moved to the suburbs and started a family? Chances are, it would be the Aston Martin DBX. Its all-wheel drive system prioritizes the rear axle but can send power to the front wheels if it detects a loss of traction. Not only does it look and sound seductive, it can also tow up to 2,694 kg (5,940 lb) and venture off-road thanks to its adjustable suspension.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Horsepower: 505 hp

Zero to 100 km/h: 3.8 secs

Max Cargo Capacity: 1,614 L

You’d be hard pressed to find a more distinctive and unique crossover than the Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

Its 2.9L V6 making 505 hp enthusiastically crackles and barks, providing endless enjoyment. The Alcantara and carbon-fibre interior feels like you’re piloting a supercar, as does the slot-car-like handling.

Weighing just 1,956 kg, it will hustle from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. You’ll be volunteering to go on grocery runs.