Sports utility vehicles pack plenty of power and capability. They’re also the place to be, if you want to sit confi dently in comfortable surroundings.

Citroen C5 Aircross

French marque Citroen’s latest contribution to the crowded SUV market is the C5 Aircross. With many rivals in the market, it needs something to make it stand out from the crowd, so Citroen have gone with comfort.

Described by the company as “An ambassador of the Citroen Advanced Comfort programme”, it claims to have two innovations that make the ride smoother. The first is suspension with progressive hydraulic cushions that filter and absorb major and minor surface unevenness – something that is bound to be popular on Britain’s pothole-riddled roads.

The second is advanced comfort seats that are wider than standard car seats and designed to feel more like home furniture. The front seats are also heated – perfect for driving on a cold, winter day. Additionally, there are also three full-width individual rear seats in the C5 Aircross, so all three passengers in the second row have the same comfort, rather than the person in the middle feeling cramped. Those rear seats also slide individually and can be folded flat to increase the boot space signifi cantly from 580 litres to up to 1,630 litres.

Returning to the comfort theme, the C5 Aircross has been designed with increased soundproofi ng to reduce external road and wind noise, thanks to double-laminated front windows.

The C5 Aircross also has an AQS – Air Quality System, in the cabin that purifies the air by filtering it and adjusting the mode of circulation in the cabin.

Mazda CX-3

Mazda’s CX-3 SUV has received a refresh, with some relatively minor bodywork changes on the outside as well as introducing more technology inside.

For instance, Mazda has retained the traditional dialbased dashboard, rather than going fully digital as some have, but there is a 7” colour touchscreen display as well, which can be connected with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and is a paid for option – and the Mazda Navigation System with three years of free European map updates. Controls are placed within easy reach of the driver and are clearly labelled.

The CX-3 is available in 2.0 litre petrol and 1.8 litre diesel versions. You can also choose between a manual or automatic gearbox on the petrol version and for those that prefer it, is available with all-wheel drive (again, petrol only). It’ll make 0-62pmh in nine seconds, and Mazda says its combined mpg is 42.8.

While the CX-3 comes with a decent number of features as standard – such as curtain airbags, DAB radio and heated auto-folding wing mirrors – there are a range of extras that are worth considering. For instance, the CX-3 has optional Adaptive LED Headlights. With this, the headlights automatically adjust between high and low beams by switching LED bulbs on and off as necessary. This means you don’t have to flick between main beam and dipped headlights to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Standard from SE-L Nav+ is Advanced Smart City Brake Support which automatically puts the brakes on if a collision is likely, and a lane departure warning system that beeps if you wander out of your lane on a motorway or dual carriageway.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes-Benz’s GLA is a compact SUV but looks-wise it’s more akin to a sports car. However, with all-wheel drive it is more than capable both off and on-road and its optional ‘race’ mode unleashes the engine, which is great fun.

The GLA comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard, although there is an automatic version available too – featuring paddle shifts behind the steering wheel so you can manually change gears as well.

The interior is as comfortable as you would expect from a Mercedes-Benz and the dashboard is intuitively designed with everything in clear sight and buttons within easy reach. A useful add-on is 360 degree vision – where four networked cameras provide a realistic all-round view, which is great for reversing, parking or manoeuvring, especially in tight spaces. Technology is to the fore and the “Hey Mercedes…” online voice control operates in the same way as the domestic smart speaker systems that are becoming increasingly popular. You can ask the car to perform a task – such as to tune to a different radio station – completed via the Mercedes me connect system. It’s a great innovation and helps the driver to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, rather than fiddling with buttons and dials.

Suzuki Vitara

Even though the Vitara has been updated for 2019, Suzuki have been careful to keep its rugged styling. You might just spot that the front has been slightly redesigned with a new grille and that the rear lights have been replaced by new LED lights and that it also sports new alloy wheels.

Suzuki will tell you that the Vitara is “Built to excite” and “Designed to thrill” and backs these claims up by presenting it with an efficient Boosterjet turbocharged engine, which when combined with the ALLGRIP 4-wheel Drive system, enables the Vitara to take on a range of tasks and conditions with aplomb.

Although, the Vitara is still very much a SUV its compact dimensions and lightness of touch mean that you won’t wrestle with it in slower traffic – and given that it features an automatic stop-start system, you won’t have to listen to any snoring at the lights.

At speeds around 40mph the lane departure warning lends a reliable hand. It’s designed to predict the path of the vehicle and issues visual (display and indicator) and tactile (vibrating steering wheel) warnings to the driver, should they stray. There’s also a cruise control and speed limiter and daytime running LED headlights to keep things cool – as does the automatic climate control, especially when combined with the somehow refreshing aspect of the panoramic sunroof (available on the SZ5 model). It’s joyful.

Naturally, the Vitara features Bluetooth connectivity but the real goodies are found in the SZ-T and SZ5 with the Smartphone link giving access to the sat nav and your other apps on the car’s display.