Despite the fact that gas prices are still on the rise, the SUV market continues to grow, and 2010 brought in plenty of new models to further this growth process. Starting with the new generation Porsche Cayenne , the new BMW X3 , and the long waited Land Rover Evoque , the laundry list of SUVs gave us just about every model we could possibly ask for, and some we wish they would have taken back.
For the avid readers of TopSpeed, it’s no surprise that the Cayenne is on our list of top SUVs for the year. This vehicle was just as admired by us as it was with the dozens of tuners that tried their hand at remodeling it. The Evoque was also popular, but more so in the headlines with news stories of its release dominating the waves for a significant amount of time. The BMW X3 is no stranger to awards with a few already tacked on to its bumper from previous years. The newest model will be no different as its style and luxury has carried on through 2010.
We had our top three picks, but it was time to choose the winner. We based our choice on exterior design, performance, and fuel economy, which is rather important in vehicles of this class. Would tradition reign supreme or will a brand new model spank the competition?
Hit the jump to find out which SUV was our top pick for 2010.
Third place: BMW X3
Unveiled at the Paris Auto Show this September, the new generation BMW X3 is anything but new with only a few minor updates to the exterior. However, with the long list of awards and recognition, the old saying of, "If it ain’t broke, do’t fix it" certainly comes into play.
What the BMW X3 does offer is a very impressive line-up with both petrol and diesel engines to choose from. The X3 xDrive20d is now powered by a 2-liter four cylinder turbo diesel engine that delivers a total of 184 HP and peak torque of 380 Nm between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm. The xDrive35i gets a straight six-cylinder BMW engine with 306 bhp at 5,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 400 Nm being available at 1,300 rpm. The new BMW X3 xDrive35i is equipped as standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, combined - for the first time - with an Auto Start Stop function. The list of standard equipment will include a Heads-up Display, Adaptive Cornering Headlights, High-beam Assistant, and Cruise Control with braking function.
gallery: BMW X3
Second place: Porsche Cayenne
The second generation Cayenne was revealed earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, but unlike the X3, this generation Porsche was dramatically different than its previous version, and in a positive way. The most noted changed was the addition of a new Cayenne S Hybrid, a model that combines a 47 hp electric motor with a 333 hp compressor engine. The two drive units deliver a total of 380 bhp and peak torque of 427 lb-ft at just 1,000 rpm.
In addition to the new hybrid model, the Porsche Cayenne also came in a few other engine options. The standard version is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with an output of 300hp; the diesel one gets a 240 bhp , 405 lb-ft 3-liter V6 engine; the S version gets a 4.8-liter V8 with 400 hp; and finally the top version, the Cayenne Turbo, is powered by a 4.8-liter V8 biturbo with an impressive 500 hp. This final version is one of the reasons the Porsche Cayenne came out on top of the BMW X3.
gallery: Porsche Cayenne
First Place: Land Rover Evoque
Despite all of the changes the competition received for 2010, the SUV that made the most impression on us this year was the new Land Rover Evoque. The Evoque is new, fresh, elegant, and it’s a coupe. It will be offered in three trim levels: Pure, Prestige, and Dynamic, all powered by a new 2.0-liter Si4 turbocharged engine that combines direct fuel injection and twin variable valve timing. Depending on the model, Evoque will come standard with: unique 19-inch wheels and sparkling metallic details, premium leather, twin-needle stitching and real wood and metal finishes, unique bumpers, sills, grille and tailpipes for a more assertive, confident stance, perforated leather seats and unique sports detailing.
What won us over with the new Evoque was the fact that it had such a dynamic look compared to the other two SUVs on the list. Its muscular stance and edgy style set it apart, making it our pick for SUV of the year.