Chris Harris Approves Of These New Cars, Calls Compact SUVs S**t Boxes

In the latest episode from Top Gear’s Series 26, there’s a segment in which Chris Harris dishes out some car buying advice as quickly as possible.

Over the course of a little under four minutes, the Top Gear host takes us on a journey through the following seven segments: city car, supermini, compact crossovers, compact hatchbacks, sports executive saloons, large SUVs and mid-size executive saloons.

He begins by laying waste to the Hyundai i10, Renault Twingo and Toyota Yaris, saying that the VW up! is the one to have when it comes to really small cars. In the supermini category, he’s got the VW Polo, Mini Cooper, Vauxhall/Opel Corsa and the Ford Fiesta, and the latter is his number one choice.

Up next is the compact crossover segment, where Harris begins by identifying the VW Tiguan, Vauxhall/Opel Mokka, Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai, though he wouldn’t have any of them because they’re all “complete s**t boxes”.

Instead, he’d rather have a C-segment hatchback – more specifically, the VW Golf, totally ignoring the Peugeot 308, a Vauxhall/Opel Astra and Mercedes A-Class that were also present.

As for sports executive saloons, he’d take a Mercedes C-Class over a BMW 3-Series, Alfa Giula or Audi A4, althoughin the mid-size executive saloon segment he’d prefer the 5-Series over the E-Class. Oh, and with large SUVs, he’d rather have the Volvo XC90, but only as a compromise – he’d really just have the 5er instead.

Unfortunately, Harris didn’t spend much time justifying his recommendations, so we’re curious to see if you agree or disagree with his assessments.


  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    Like Clarkson , he is a bit disconnected from reality. A Tiguan isn’t a shítbox. There have almost superceded the typical hatchback. The Tiguan outsold the Golf last year.

    • Rocket

      You’re right … the Tiguan isn’t a shitbox. It would need a whole lot of improvements to be upgraded to shitbox.

      • Matt

        Like what improvements? Amazing that such a well-received model on a modern platform could be considered, in your view, worse than a ‘shitbox’.

        • Rocket

          Fixing the gutless engine, lazy gearbox and cheap interior materials would be a good start.

    • R55

      The SUV market as a whole has almost outsold their hatchback counterparts.

      Just because something sells doesn’t make it a fantastic car.

      • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

        True, but it is completely disingenuous to say that the Tiguan isn’t a good car. It’s consistently been reviewed well and I’m not even a VW fan.

        • R55

          To be fair, all new cars, are good cars, they’re all well built, and smothered in tech. A car is only “good”, based on someone’s opinion, when it meets their needs.

          To me, the Tiguan isn’t a good car, its a well built German car, a monotonous SUV, what’s important to me is how does it handle on B Roads? How does it give you a sense of driving pleasure?

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            Well exactly. It’s what you prioritise. I’d say it handles pretty well. Just because it isn’t a 911 , doesn’t mean it’s not a good car. Think about the class it is in and what it’s appeal is. Ironically, out of all the compact SUV’s it probably handles and rides the best.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            Well have you driven one? Why does every car have to handle well on b roads? I couldn’t give a toss about that personally as that is unimportant to me. What does it look like? Is it economical? Is it safe? Does it have good tech? Does it decent performance? Is it spacious and comfortable? All of these things can be one persons priority over another.

          • R55

            Every car doesn’t need to, but its what I want from a car. I did just explain that. I don’t care about dropping kids to school, so the Tiguan is pointless.

            Why would I want to drive one, I buy older cars that are better value for money. All thats important to me is, is it fun?

  • xDRAN0x

    CH is done and has been for a long time.

  • I couldn’t agree more.

  • TheBelltower

    The XC90 is gorgeous, but the engine is just rotten. A 4cyl engine is fine in a large car for a year or so, but they age badly and get rattier and less refined quickly. The drone and endless gear changes are infuriating. The 5 series is okay. Is it wrong that I found the most interesting car in this video to be the Fiesta?

    • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

      The Fiesta has been the best small car you can buy for the last 20 years.

  • Bash

    Without a logical explanation this remains an utterly personal opinion at its best, means nothing. Although I personally I agree with his choices.

    • salamOOn

      thumb up for the first sentence.

  • TheAmerican2point0

    Same man, same.

  • WI11C4S

    I agree with most of what CH said, but do wish he had elaborated more on his thoughts. The only one I disagree on is his choice of the 5-Series over the E-Class. I test drove both models in the 2018 model year and found that, while the 5-Series may have been slightly more fun to drive the E-Class still provides a fun experience. The E-Class also provides more comfort and a much better standard of build quality and design. I found that the 5-Series interior stooped down to the level of a 3-Series, however the E-Class was closer to the S-Class in design and quality. I also found the E-Class to be more technologically advanced with high-end driver assists while the 5-Series had more basic radar cruise systems. I ended up buying a 2019 E300 Luxury Pakage and really enjoy the car.

    • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

      WHy do you want or need those driver assists though? I think that’s the difference: a BMW is a drivers car, a Mercedes more of a cruiser.

      • WI11C4S

        The BMW may have been designed to TRY to be a driver oriented car I don’t know if that is necesarily true, as the BMW 530i I drove had a very jerky transmission when under harder acceleration. It alsmost seemed that the car got stuck in gear and it lurched forward in a weird way while the engine made a very unpleasant noise (This happened multiple times on a very short test drive). The “Active Integral Steering” also made the cars actions too unpredictible as the same input on the steering wheel would lead to a different reaction from the car. I do agree that maybe the Mercedes is more comfort biased but the BMW isn’t a great drivers car given that it is supposed to be more driver focused. To answer your question I wanted the driver assists becuase they are helpful on highway driving, which I do alot of.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    Apart from a “commanding” driving position, what are the advantages of those shitboxes over a normal hatchback?

    • supermanuel

      Access. Getting in and out when you have back or knee problems. Putting children in and out of childseats without having to stoop.

      • Loquacious Borborygmus

        Can you do that in a minivan/people carrier?

        • supermanuel

          Yes. And?

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Well. I thought I would just ask if it does something that no other car does?

        • McFly

          Yep. I’ve never seen the practical point of buying a tall car, and putting the extra space under the car rather than inside it. But that’s just me, buying cars for practical reasons.

          For non practical goals I have much more efficient means to appear to live a active and rugged outdoor life.

      • LeStori

        Roll more easily. Poorer emergency handling. Take up more exterior space. Boot no bigger than a hatch back. So unless you are “crippled”or a breeder who likes agood roll, they are stupid.

        • supermanuel

          He asked for advantages…

    • Ary Wisesa

      If you live in a country with excellent road system (smooth, no potholes, free of flooding), low ground clearance vehicles will surely much more fun and convenient.

      But unfortunately not all countries have the luxury of smooth roads. Some even have dirt roads or damaged one with potholes as big as 50cm or more and deep as well. For that kind of roads, SUVs and crossovers are the best choice.

      And many modern crossovers ride and handle just like sedan or hatchback. I feel no very big difference between VW Golf and VW Tiguan in handling and ride comfort. OK, I must admit that the vehicles I tried both are equipped with 1.4lt engine.

      So I would choose a CUV over its hatchback counterpart because it’s much more convenient for the road condition in my country. And during flooding, the higher ground clearance also gives me more peace of mind.

      • Loquacious Borborygmus

        I can understand your rationale for that choice but the suspension isn’t any different, i.e. it’s not heavy duty in any of those four cars shown that will make it any better in the potholes.

        • Ary Wisesa

          Yes, probably CUV suspension won’t be much better in absorbing the jolts & shocks caused by potholes than its hatchback counterparts. In fact they tend to be harder. In case of my Honda CRV vs Honda Civic, the Civic surely more comfortable and absorbs the shocks better than CRV, but I must trade off with worrying about the underbody of Civic scratching rough surface. I presume people won’t just smack the acceleration pedal on bad roads. They usually slow down on such condition, and that’s when higher ground clearance really shows its advantage: helping vehicle body stays clear of the ground and minimize damage. Perhaps you guys should really visit developing countries whose road systems are not as well as developed ones.

          Btw, please come to Indonesia, our country has so many beautiful tourist destinations that will make you forget about the vehicles and just admiring the sceneries. I know this is out of the topic, but still… LOL.. 😛

          For the starting, just try to visit Bali. And if you want to stay longer, come visit Banyuwangi which is nearby. You won’t be disappointed nor regret it.

        • gfurry

          Ever heard of snow? Extra ground clearance can make a big difference for several months a year in the midwest. Even if the suspensions are exactly the same a small suv over a regular car it can make the difference between scraping your front end or not.

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Is that the white precipitate?
            There might be occasional circumstances where a bit of extra height may help but real drifts are a no-go for most SUVs. You can get jacked up estates/ tourers with 4 wheel drive that will do equally well. Height in these is also in the cab as well as ground clearance. Most models in those 4 cars’ range are two wheel drive and your average driver thinks winter tires are for arctic circle.

      • tkindred

        I would guess the vast majority of SUVs are purchased and driven in countries with excellent road infrastructure. A passenger car would suffice in these conditions and even excel in most categories, fuel efficiency, lower emissions, handling, meunaverabilty (parking, turning radius). CUVs, which I think are great, satisfy the desire for some consumers who want an SUV but get better fuel economy, handle better than a full size SUV and are well equipped for the vast majority of real world road conditions. But CUVs are no more rugged than a sedan, hatch, etc which their chassis are built on. I personally prefer compacts ans xpirts cars.

      • TheHake

        Totally agree with you! Plus when you go on holiday you can take some nice unpaved roads. The sceneic road…

    • Gazzom

      speaking as a Seat Ateca owner, the fact that your wife (who has spinal arthritis) can get in and out comfortably was the no1 driver for me changing from a Leon (in the sector where Harris declares the golf can do everything the ‘sh1tboxes’can)

      • Loquacious Borborygmus

        Fair enough. Old skool MPVs also sit higher up than traditional sedans/saloons.

  • R55

    He aint wrong. They truly are a plague on humanity .

  • Wandering_Spirit

    Finally someone who says what SUVs are. The idea to put an estate on high wheels and raises suspensions to give you the impression you’re on a 4×4 sucked since day one.

    • TheHake

      I disagree.

      • Wandering_Spirit

        And i do not object on that.

  • Six_Tymes

    tiny suv’s are stupid, they are for suckers. they are too small and over priced. most buy a suv for room and convenience. the small compacts have so little room. as always Chris is spot on.

    • TheHake

      What do you see as a ‘tiny’ SUV?

  • Giziclown

    We need to close Chris Harris in a shitbox too.

  • Craig

    When did he become a jerk? Are the ratings slipping and someone said, “Be more Gordon Ramsay like. People seem to tune it for that!”

  • Shtekeris

    I have heard rumors, that some people buy cars they personally like the looks of. I know, sounds crazy.

  • TheHake

    It irritates the sh*t out of me when idiots like these say things like that. All they like are rear engined sedans or sports cars. REAL people with families and dogs that go on holiday, and don’t always stay on perfectly surfaced highways and A-roads like something with a bit of height. Something that you can go fishing, camping, kayaking with. But which is still small enough to drive to work with every day.

    • Bo Hanan

      Small SUV’s were created for females who were intimidated by the size of “regular” SUV’s. They are basically a raised small station wagon. Note- the marketing for them is also geared towards females.
      And I agree with Chris.

      • TheHake

        Small SUV’s were created because they are taxed less than “regular” SUV’s. I can not afford the tax on a Touareg, so I’ll have to buy a Tiguan/Ateca. Not everyone lives in minimally taxed countries like the US.

        • Bo Hanan

          Oh, poo.

          • TheHake

            I would CERTAINLY prefer to drive a Touareg over a Tiguan, or a Grand Cherokee over a Compass, but €€€€€€€€€€€…

      • TheHake

        And compact SUV’s are not only raised station wagons. The driving position is totally different.

  • sidewaysspin

    Of course now he’s rich he would wouldn’t he?

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