This was a close one to call as the crossover segment is littered with some good cars and, with such a wide scope, narrowing it down to three was difficult and picking the best was even harder. The new Koleos has come a long way since the first-generation model introduced in 2006. The larger car is built on the Common Module Family (CMF-CD) modular platform, packs lots of good tech (it has a 7.0in touchscreen as standard — top trim levels get an 8.7in touchscreen) and is available in both two- and four-wheel drive (its alliance with Nissan helped make the latter more sure-footed). However, the 2.5-litre petrol engine mated to a CVT (we hate those, but to be fair it’s almost like a conventional automatic) only makes 168bhp and 233Nm. There seems a bit of a disconnect between the engine and the gearbox and although it is smooth and quiet, the performance is sluggish at best. Must try harder.
The second-generation Tiguan is far better-looking than its predecessor (the new grille, LED projection headlights, and sharply creased character lines help give it a bolder look and it has a far more purposeful stance than before). It gets a 220bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine, mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission, which is adequate for a car this size. However, on the move the Tiguan’s gruffness betrays the refinement of the styling and the quality of materials used. It’s therefore, er, edged out of the competition by the suitably named Edge. Not only does the Edge have a wonderfully smooth Ecoboost engine, it’s much more practical too.
We drove the Sport and Titanium variants and both impressed us with their comfortable cabin and peppy performance. Comprehensively redesigned, Ford ditched the antiquated CD3 platform and replaced it with the new CD4 global mid-size vehicle platform and offered three engines (the Sport trim has a 340bhp 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6, then there’s a 283bhp 3.5-litre V6 and a 253bhp 2.0-litre four-pot, with all three mated to a six-speed automatic).
With a new adaptive steering, a new suspension, a seamless all-wheel drive system and a raft of driver-assist and safety technologies (park assist, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and automatic braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist) not to mention its wedgy exterior and a muscular stance, the five-seat Edge proved better than the others, but by the smallest of margins.