Help to Choose SUV <35k

Hi Guys,

I need to buy a car within 2 months (new or used), I have already done several searches on the internet but it is not easy to find what I am looking for.
I'm not a big fan of cars, I just need to drive in the city, and I have to admit I do not know anything about cars.

All I know is that I want a SUV, small or medium size for my wife and I (hopefully for 3 of us in the years to come)
I've seen a lot of hybrid cars, but I do not know if it's good or bad, so I'm here to get help on this too.

Our budget is about 35k, and we would ideally like a car with low fuel consumption + Automatic+ cheap maintenance (obviously), we will not go off road, so it's mainly for the city / highways, and we would like to to keep this car as long as possible.

I have been driving a toyota Rav4 and was happy with it, so i was thinking about the new Rav4 hybrid coming soon.

thanks a lot for your help on this.


  • +2 votes

    Your topic says you want an SUV greater than $35k… Or do you mean up to??

    Hyundai Tucson Active (Good warranty, cheap servicing, reliable, well made)
    Kia Sportage Si/Si Premium (Awesome warranty. Basically a Hyundai underneath)
    Mazda CX5 (Japanese quality. Servicing can be little more expensive than others.)
    Toyota Rav 4… (And there is no way the new Hybrid Rav 4 will be under $35k on release, but it might not be far off it if the Corolla is any indication of price difference from ICE to Hybrid)

    If you not going offroad, stick with the 2WD models. They will save you up to $10k for something you wont/seldom use. Constant 4WD is nice, but they eat tyres and are less economical to run.

    I need a template for these threads. Does no one look or search any more?

    • +2 votes

      Toyota Rav 4… (And there is no way the new Hybrid Rav 4 will be under $35k on release, but it might not be far off it if the Corolla is any indication of price difference from ICE to Hybrid)

      While RRP hasn't been released, it won't be too far off 😉 we've had indications

      • +2 votes

        My guess for the new Rav 4 Hybrid is it's going to come in at $36,990 for the base model.

        My new favourite game in my corolla hybrid is the "fill the battery gauge" game and drive as far as I can without getting the engine to cut in. :D


          What have you got the average down to?

          • +2 votes

            @Spackbace: Don't know. Only reset it the other day. But when I shut it down, it's always telling me 80+ driving score and lots of green bars!!

            My other favourite part is sneaking up on people in car parks in stealth mode…


            @Spackbace: I got our work Camry hybird down to 4.4 l/100km over a 500 km round trip to country Victoria. Fantastic car.

            My only complaint is that I wish the lane keep assist was more proactive than reactive. I.e. the Infiniti s can keep you in the centre of the lane, the Camry just pin balls you back if you hit the line.


      @pegaxs How about All Wheel Drive, is it as uneconomical as constant 4WD?


        AWD and constant 4wd are the same thing. It just refers to the fact the drive is going to all 4 wheels at the same time, all the time, regardless of the road surface type.

        The reason it is uneconomical compared to part time 4wd or 2wd is that the engine has to run both front and rear drives and overcome the extra grip that a constant 4wd system offers. The other factor is that constant 4wd systems tend to use up tyres at a faster rate, and when you replace tyres on these types of vehicles, you should change all 4 tyres at the same time due to how the all wheel drive system works.


          Ah I see, thanks for the insight!


          FYI, new RAV4 hybrid AWD can disconnect the propshaft, allowing it to be a true 2WD

          Crazy stuff hey :)


            @Spackbace: Crazy indeed; is this a workshop job or an in-car selection?

            Either way, paying for a feature that is not wanted doesn't seem a good decision to me, especially where that feature is less economical to run.

            • +1 vote

              @GG57: Handles it all automatically on-the-fly. Car detects when it needs to do whatever it needs to do


                @Spackbace: Cool, that is a different perspective; more efficient unless it needs to enact the functionality.

                Some would say ' something else to go wrong '



    thanks for the info, the title as been modified when i posted it, I dont know why.
    I'm looking for <35k , I modified it.

  • +1 vote

    Tucson Active X


    Check servicing costs on whatever car you choose, some are unnecessarily expensive.
    If you are not going "rough" roading avoid 4WD or AWD as servicing costs and fuel consumption increases.

  • +4 votes

    Skoda Karoq. Great fuel economy and low servicing costs - once a year or every 15000km. Looks great and rated better than the Hyundai Tucson on Car Advice here:

    • -5 votes

      Translations of škoda;


      They are some of the blandest looking cars. Very Eastern Bloc, Soviet era retro styling. And Czech made cars… That's a hard no from me. Owned by VW makes it even more unappealing. And quoting a website that is nothing short of paid advertising and cash for comments to promote a car like this is not convincing enough. I would look at sales figures for anything in the Skoda range and compare them to anything in Toyota/Kia/Mazda/Hyundai line up. If the Skoda is so great, why are they not selling like hot cakes?

      • +3 votes

        They are selling like hotcakes - there's a wait list of several months for many of their models!

        Having gone from a Hyundai ix35 (the model before the Tucson) to the Skoda Octavia, the difference in build quality, power, and servicing costs is incredible.

        • +1 vote

          Well, when Skoda outsell Hyundai, I will happily eat humble pie.

        • +2 votes

          They are selling like hotcakes

          16:1 is far from hotcakes. It's more like reheated by microwave to keep it edible.

          there's a wait list of several months for many of their models!

          Waiting lists are a great way to give consumers the impression that something is selling like hotcakes.

          • +1 vote


            Waiting lists are a great way to give consumers the impression that something is selling like hotcakes.

            And a Skoda wait list is because they need to come by steam train across Russia. The wait list for a Skoda is because they allocate so few to Australia as they don't want to risk having a dock full of cars they cant sell. They work more on the "we will take orders now and fill those orders from the factory."

            A wait list for a Skoda is not because they are selling them too fast… but I like the optimism :D

        • +2 votes

          I don't think Skodas have been in the Australian market for all that long. Oldest Skoda I've seen is what like 10 years old? I think it's a bit unfair to compare Skodas with well established brands in this market.


            @smux: They were outsold by LDV last year. A shitty Chinese manufacturer that has less time in Australia than Skoda.

      • +4 votes

        What are you on about? Skodas are mechanically exactly the same as VWs, with pretty similar styling. They are cheaper by a good amount though and tend to be more highly spec'd for the price.

        I don't think they are a better value than a Mazda or Hyundai, but over a Toyota for the same price I'd consider it for the amount of extra kit you'd get.


          Skodas are mechanically exactly the same as VWs

          And that's the issue (except it's a Czech made VW. So, there's that as well.) They are expensive to maintain and expensive to repair. They are not cheaper than a comparable Kia or Hyundai. And after having driven most of these vehicle recently (except a Skoda, because honestly, why bother) they had all the features and appointments I could ever need, cheaper, with better after sales service, wider dealer network and more readily available stock.

          And there is no way on Gods green earth that Skoda make an attractive car. I get it, they need to keep some defining marque values, but daayum, that headlight and grill or those body lines… *vomit_emoji.png* Hell, LDV make a nicer looking vehicle. and more people actually wanted a Chinese made shitbox last year.

          New car sales figures for 2018;

          Make Sales Growth
          LDV 6064 135%
          Skoda 5807 8.5%

          No Skoda model made the top 25 list…
          Ford sold more Mustangs, just a single Ford model that's expensive, it's a 2 seater, niche, safety shitbox sports car and they still sold more than the whole of Skoda's line up combined.
          They were outsold by Izusu by a factor of more than 4:1, who only sell a single model (two if you want to get technical).
          Skoda were almost beaten by Porsche. A god damn luxury $100,000+ minimum spend vehicle manufacturer.

          Sales figures speak for themselves. If it is such a great brand, with such great value and such great reliability, why do they sell about 500 of them a month? Because they are a Czech made VW wannabe shit box, and consumers know it. Hell, Hyundai almost sells more cars a day than Skoda does in a month.

          And have at the negs if it makes you all feel better, but Skoda as a viable alternative to Hyundai, Kia, Mazda or Toyota is an absolute joke, and aint no amount of fake internet points and butt hurt will ever fix that.

          Hell, let's drop the bar… When Skoda start outselling Kia… Nay! Nissan… Nay! Suzuki!!, I will eat humble pie. Surely they could beat Suzuki?

          Well, when Skoda outsell Hyundai Suzuki, I will happily eat humble pie.

          • +1 vote

            @pegaxs: Mate, I never said they were the volume selling leader in Australia. Sales figures don't tell you what's a good car. Your own evidence shows that. 6000 LDVs? That's a shitbox.

            I also never claimed they were cheaper than a Kia or Hyundai.

            You might find that LDV better looking but I think it looks like sin compared to the Skoda. They make an understated product that is conservative and non-offensive. You might not like it, but I don't like the new Camry and look at them go.

            VW is one of the biggest car companies in the world that by and large makes a decent product. There is no way you can argue with that. Whether they are expensive to maintain and repair is not relevant to that question. Plus, I don't think calling out Czechia as some manufacturing slum is particularly fair either. Who is to say their factories and methods aren't better than China or Japan or Germany? Presumably they use the same equipment as the Germans making VWs.

            Again, I never said it was a 'great brand' with 'such great value and such great reliability'. You are just being far too harsh on what is essentially a discount VW.

            Also, take the tone down a notch, it's completely unnecessary to be this combative when talking about cars, unless you have had a PTSD-inducing experience with a Skoda in your past or something.

            • +1 vote

              @jrowls: I agree, LDV are a shitbox, but it's sad that Skoda cant even outsell a Chinese shitbox manufacturer. There is only one way you don't outsell a shitbox brand, and that is by selling bigger shitboxes. Skoda finished under LDV. <—- I'm gonna leave that there for you to consider…

              People buy cars based on value for money, ongoing customer support and cost of ownership. That is why sales figures are important. People buy what is good and reliable and cost effective. If Skoda was any one of these things, well… they would sell more.

              I also never claimed they were cheaper than a Kia or Hyundai.

              Never claimed that you claimed they were. I made a statement that they are not cheaper than Hyundai or Kia. I made no reference to your comment.

              They make an understated product that is conservative and non-offensive.

              Sure, if the whole retro Soviet "peoples car" look does it for you. And it's not "understated", it's just not what people want. It may be well appointed, but it's more expensive than the competition, it's made in Europe and it's backed by one of the more despised car makers on the planet. (DSG and Diesel Gate to name a few, or, you know, they did gas monkeys in the name of "science").

              VW is one of the biggest car companies in the world

              Biggest =/= best. You can be the biggest car maker in the world, and still churn out expensive, unreliable shitboxes.

              unless you have had a PTSD-inducing experience

              I have been a mechanic for more than 25 years now. I have worked for or worked on almost every conceivable European manufactures product that is available, along with a lot of Korean and Japanese makes, and I can tell you, VW and the like are absolute shitboxes.

              VW are expensive to buy, expensive to own and expensive to repair and maintain. The parent company don't give a shit about you or your car once you have purchased it. They do everything they can to avoid having to do anything for you that would cost them money. Up to 90% of European car owners I have dealt with in my life (with the exception of BWM owners) hate their car and wished they never bought one. Toyota and Hyundai owners are usually on their 4th of 5th car from that brand…

              Skoda are no exception to the "Euro car" rule. How they can even be considered as a viable alternative to Hyundai or Toyota, is absolutely laughable.

              take the tone down a notch

              Says the guy getting all butt hurt over a really bad selling brand of bland car, so much so that they feel the need to neg comments in some vain attempt to prove me wrong.

              Anyway, I'm out. You're not going to convince me that Skoda is a viable alternative to any of the main brands, not now and maybe not ever, and I'm certainly not going to convince the butt hurt Euro fanbois. I do have my humble pie ready, so when Skoda do outsell Suzuki, I'll warm it up and take a bite…

              • +2 votes

                @pegaxs: Do you have the same issues with Audi as they belong to the same stable Pegasus?

                Same parts bin as far as I'm concerned between Skoda, VW, and Audi.

                And as a mechanic, or in that industry, you should know that VW Australia are shafting Skoda by pricing similar specced VWs at the same or slightly cheaper price point than Skoda's thereby enticing people to a better known brand than one which is relatively new - hence those sales figures you're keen to point out.

                Regardless, they're the same cars, look at a Passat CC and compare to a Superb and they've very similar, ofcourse styling is the obvious difference. Engines etc are the same between those and the Audi A6/A8. Build quality is also pretty good. Don't be bias by sales only… There's a reason they do well in the UK but we're just too far away from where they're produced and we have buyers who frankly don't know any better - including those who haven't been in one.

                Just look at the market segment we've had for years where people have been happy with big V6/8 Ford's and Holden's - some people are happy with what they know… including mechanics.

                In saying that I wouldn't buy any Audi and dislike VW with a passion because of their deceitfulness.

                Tell me what you think of the BMW X6/7 or Porsche Panamera Pegasus, curious what alternatives you'd suggest for them, if you do.


                  @khomeini: Same issue with Audi. It’s just another same same VW clone parts sharing, over priced, over marketed, over hyped shitbox. They are expensive to buy, expensive to own and very expensive to repair. And with Audi, it’s not a case of if it needs fixing, it’s a case of when.

                  I don’t know what dream state people are in when they recommend any of these Euro brands as being a viable alternative to buying the main players. If people want a Euro car, have at it. It can be an expensive experience. But to suggest a VW or Skoda as an alternative to a Hyundai or a Toyota is a joke.

                  And yes, VW gouging their own brands does sound like the kind of shit they would do. Apparently they have a 1.99% loan offer on at the moment. And those only exist because they need to get bodies into stealership to try and sell excess stock they can’t otherwise move.

                  I do have to say that VW styling is miles ahead of Skoda. The Skoda look is what I kind of expect if I’m looking for cheap, nasty, eastern bloc or Chinese made vehicles. I get it, they need an image, but sheesh.

                  As for the BMW or Porsche question, either. If you can afford to buy these vehicles, you can afford to own them. It’s a completely different kettle of fish then someone asking, “what’s a good car under $30k?” And suggesting a VW or one of its shitbox child companies offerings. You buy an X6 or a Panamera for a totally different reason to why you would by a Corolla or an i30. So, if you are in the market for either the high end X series or a Porsche, I say, have at it.

  • +7 votes

    Why do you need a SUV?
    You could get a sedan / hatchback for a lot less, with most likely reduced running costs (fuel, tyres, etc.), and could be more comfortable than some SUVs.

    • +1 vote

      Yes. Lighter, more aerodynamic and lower centre of gravity so better to drive and less likely to roll. Better for the environment too, in comparison.

  • +1 vote

    Thank you for all the answers.
    I want an SUV simply because I like to see "far" when I drive and find it comfortable to be slightly higher in an SUV rather than in a "small" car, which is generally lower.
    Ideally I would like a 4x4 / UTe because they are even more "high" , but the prices are really out of budget, so my choice is on SUVs.

    I'll be focus on 2WD rather than 4WD or AWD, knowing that I really don't plan to go Off road.

    The Hyundai Tucson seems to be a good car in view of your comments, I just look into it and indeed that seems to be something that could suit me.
    However as I said, i know nothing about car and even basic thing such as a engine : 2.0 GDI petrol or 1.6 TGDI petrol (written on the description on the Hyundai website) is blur to me, I don't understand what that means.

    I'll check all the cars you mentioned .


      2.0 GDI = Gasoline Direct Injection
      1.6 TDGI = add the word "Turbo" to above.

      Turbo engine is probably a little more powerful and a little more fuel efficient. Drive both and pick the one you like. Or pick the cheaper option, as both will get you to where you need to go.


    Surprised that none mentioned Mitsubishi outlander.


    Ether the Hyundai Tuscon or the Honda CR-V. Both of them seem to be on the lower side of the servicing cost and within' your price bracket.

    Keep in mind you are entitle to get the car service at any registered mechanic. The manufacture cannot void your warranty if you choose to service it somewhere else.


    If you are after a ute have a look at the 18MY Mitsubishi Triton. Can be had for under $35k easily

  • +5 votes

    Subaru XV 2.0i-S or the lower models. But not the base model.

    Fully loaded driveway for about 36.5k, starts at about 30k. Interior quality is excellent. 5 year unlimited warranty. yearly servicing now instead of six months.

    Great safety and outstanding resale.

  • +2 votes

    (Toyota salesperson here)

    Honestly it would be difficult to recommend anything other than the RAV4 hybrid in your situation

    • price - should be near enough to your budget
    • economy - yep, especially as you're a city driver, constant braking is where hybrid excels
    • cheap to maintain - 5yr warranty, servicing should be every 12 months at approx $220/yr for the first 5. 5yr warranty
    • features - nothing else will have its modern safety features in entry level form

    Oh and she's getting CarPlay 😉 (though no word on Android Auto yet 😕)


      As a Toyota salesperson, do you have any other vehicles (other than a RAV4) that meets OP's requirements:

      "…with low fuel consumption + Automatic+ cheap maintenance (obviously), we will not go off road, so it's mainly for the city / highways…"


        Camry hybrid would be the other option of course, except OP wants the SUV form-factor

        I want an SUV simply because I like to see "far" when I drive and find it comfortable to be slightly higher in an SUV rather than in a "small" car, which is generally lower.
        Ideally I would like a 4x4 / UTe because they are even more "high" , but the prices are really out of budget, so my choice is on SUVs.

        And RAV4 hybrid is a better, more modern option than the CHR (which also has polarising styling)


          Yep, saw that. And yet the driver's seat height (or some similar measure???) is never shown in any vehicle stats.
          What I can see is reasonably significant fuel economy differences, minimal ground clearance differences, different size tyres, different emissions, and even different crash ratings, etc.



            And yet the driver's seat height (or some similar measure???) is never shown in any vehicle stats.

            Because seat height can be manually adjusted…?

            Nothing to stop you physically looking at cars and sizing them up for yourself. Only you know if you feel comfortable in a car and getting in and out.


      Is the Rav4 Hybrid out yet?


      Spackbace, do you recommend the Lexus varients (UX or NX) or are they just glorified Toyota's?

      Styling wise they do look good to me, imo. Unsure if they're much the same under the hood or feature wise in comparison with the Toyota's.

      Would those be options for the OP (other than having to get a used one).

      Also thoughts on Infiniti qx30. I thought of those for him but in terms of the Infiniti would be a huge depreciation cost.


    Thanks for all these answers that is really helpful!
    After review all these I have narrow my selection to

    Toyota RAV4
    Hyundai Tucson active x
    Honda CRV
    Mazda cx3/cx5
    I have also saw the Jeep Compass Sport < any thought on this?

    Now how to choose within these?
    They all look almost similar , so how to differentiate them?
    Obviously I’ll try to do a test drive but that will only help on the feeling not on all the other criteria such as due consumption etc..


      No-one even mentioned the CX3 or the Jeep.


        That's because I have done some research on my side too.
        I'm also asking people advices on them, as I don't want to be too limited in my option.

        • +5 votes

          FFS, take that Jeep off your list. Good lord, I wouldn't wish a Jeep on anyone.

          If you are going to look at the CX3, you may as well add the Hyundai Kona to the list.

          They all look almost similar , so how to differentiate them?

          • Look at features vs $$'s. Look at what they come with standard. Think of things like safety features and creature comforts.
          • Then look at running costs, things like service intervals, service costs, fuel economy.
          • Once you have does all the maths part, go down and sit in them. Feel them. See what "feels" right. Adjust it to be comfortable. Look at the blind spots and how accessible the controls are.
          • Lastly, drive them. Which one is quiet, refined, comfortable, easy to drive and smooth. What does the power delivery feel like. What car is more responsive. Some cars will feel much easier to drive than others. You need to find what suits your driving style.

          At the end of all that, people can say "Buy the *insert model here*", but you might find you feel more at home in the *insert other model*. You have to live with it and pay for it and take care of it, not the person telling you what to buy.

          Oh, and did I mention, don't buy a Jeep??


          A cx3 has to be the most pointless car I've ever seen but good on Mazda for throwing function out the window to sell form! I had a Honda jazz until recently and it was a taller car than a cx3 if that impacts your decision, i.e. it's a small hatch marketed as an SUV.


      While the CX3 has good interior styling, I find it super cramped. It feels like it expanded on the Mazda2 platform and not the Mazda3.

      Jeep… no


        CX3 is based on the 2 platform
        CX5 based on the 3 platform

        New RAV4 based on Camry platform, hence more 'boot' space



      This belongs in the same bucket as VW/Skoda.

      • +4 votes

        Nope, even lower than those 2

        • -4 votes

          Seriously… how did Skoda even get a mention on this thread? Troll post, surely… Then OP throws "Jeep" into the mix… where the hell did that come from?

          If I was given the money for a new SUV and told I could only have a VW, Skoda or a Jeep, I would walk.


            @pegaxs: Well as i said, I really know nothing about car and Jeep seems to be a really good brand at least I thought !

            At least the list reduced a bit:

            Toyota RAV4
            Hyundai Tucson active x
            Honda CRV
            Mazda cx5

            I will look at their features now.

            One more question, I often found the choice between 2.0L Gasoline or 2.5L Gasoline or even 1.5L Gasoline.
            What does the liter represent? The higher the number, the better?


    We had exactly the same use case as you. We got the 2018 rav gxl with $2k leather upgrade because we wanted a few things in particular. $35.5k all up. Overall, very happy with the car. Dealer and servicing not so much. We found a scratch on the windscreen in the first week. Had to battle with the salesperson to get it fixed - tried to allude us and ‘gone on annual leave’; didn’t call back, etc. Funny how the Toyota finance and insurance sales guy was talking about how expensive it was if you had a scratch on the windscreen to replace the screen on our model - coincidence? Later had some side rails put on and a squeak appeared. Still not resolved. Diagnosed as misaligned bonnet striker. Sent video in advance to help them and they still didn’t seem to give a crap. The squeak is greatly reduced now but ghosts back to remind me but not enough to go back and fight again with them. I’ve changed dealership now anyway. In short, great car. Toyota ‘service’ in my experience, a real liability for the brand in Australia. Your call. In my case they really destroyed the joy of our first ‘new’ car ever.



      Of course it was 😂 the business manager was trying to sell you insurance, and yes given the sensors attached to the screen in a lot of the new models it makes them expensive to replace.

      Surprising it had a chip in the glass tho, very rare tbh


        Yeh, suspect it occurred in transit as they needed to get it from another place (other dealer/site). Their own mechanic said the whole screen would need replacing so although it was hairline and not easy to see - it should have been picked up pre-handover. Sloppy. Not being able to get in touch with someone quickly having just dropped $35k and being given the run around really stuck in my craw.


    You're 2 month time limit means that it will will you up to end of financial year. You might get more bang for your buck come June.

  • +1 vote

    If you are happy with your RAV 4 then you have yourt answer.

    But otherwise if you want to try others just get out there and spend the weekend test driving the others

  • +1 vote

    Hi be careful with the back columns for visibility I bought a Nissan Duke and the back columns are really awful and I think it makes it really dangerous because you can’t see properly when you turn your head. So I would be very careful of all cars with the thick columns at the back


      I think that's pretty well any car built within the last decade. Enormous C-pillars are a safety thing, paradoxically. The thick C-pillar gives the car more structural integrity when you roll the vehicle in a crash caused by another vehicle in your C-pillar blind spot. SAFE


  • +1 vote

    low fuel consumption + Automatic+ cheap maintenance (obviously), we will not go off road, so it's mainly for the city / highways

    And you think a SUV fits this??

    • +1 vote

      OP also states they are not a fan of cars or knows anything about them so I would say an SUV fits perfectly.

      Just get the Hyundai Tuscon and be done with it.

  • +1 vote

    I'm in almost the same situation as OP. Decided to go for Honda CRV VTI, RRP 33K, 140KW, 7L/100km, decent boot size, spacious interior, nice looking alloys :)


    Well, I'm still not decided.
    but I removed one of these cars from the list again

    I have 3 cars left:

    Toyota RAV4
    Hyundai Tucson Active x
    Honda CRV

    I plan to do road tests as soon as I can

    If I buy a used car directly from the manufacturer, is it worth it? or should I rather orient myself towards a new one?


    In a similar position to OP

    Is there any reason no one has mentioned the xtrail?
    I’m a bit of a sucker for extras, wouldn’t go for anything that didn’t have rain sensing wipers, automatic lights, Bluetooth and blind spot monitoring. Oh and a good sound system. So I was thinking the xtrail was a good option.

    The one feature I don’t really understand is the button to close the boot - Does anyone actually care about this? Am I missing something


      I just look, indeed that seems to be a good car.
      i found the Nissan X trail 2018 ST 2WD for 35K.

      What's your point of view on this car?


    Have you considered upping your budget slightly and getting a G63 AMG? The new model is great.


    OP - unless you are doing say >25,000km/year, your biggest ownership/operating cost will be depreciation, and not fuel etc. Having said that, get some comprehensive insurance quotes, servicing/repair costs, coolant/brake fluid/brake pads/tyre replacement cost etc. before you buy, if you really want to get into it all :)

    The more versatile your vehicle type, and the more proven its reliability track record (look for patterns in owners' reviews), the more futureproof it will be, and the less money you will lose in depreciation and stamp duty etc. due to less frequent vehicle changes. Better for the environment, too :)

    With this in mind, my recommendations - biased towards value for money - are as follows (from best to more compromised):

    —> Kia Rondo (current shape). My friend with a family of 4 traded their RAV4 for a Rondo, and much prefers the latter. The best attributes of a wagon, people mover, and SUV, with none of the drawbacks for anyone who never goes off-road. Not many around, but definitely worth hunting one down for a closer look.
    Honourable mention: Toyota Prius V.

    —> Kia Carnival (current shape with 5-star ANCAP rating). As per the Rondo above, but arguably even more futureproof. Probably not necessary if you cannot envisage ever needing to carry more than 5 people and/or lots of luggage regularly.

    —> Kia Cerato Sport+ / Kia Cerato GT. Pump the driver's seat up to its highest setting before you discount it. Has all the latest safety equipment, and the GT drives rings around any new SUV at your budget whilst using less fuel. Just avoid creeping and stomping on the accelerator as soon as you take your foot off the brake with the GT, and you will be fine. No such adjustments needed for the Sport+, although it is slower and thristier.
    Honourable mentions: Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo (less safety equipment), Hyundai Elantra Sport or Sport Premium (ugly), soon to be superseded Mazda 3 Astina sedan (noisy?).

    And if you must have a SUV:
    —> Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed 2WD. All the safety equipment, and very strong adult crash protection rating by ANCAP (97% from memory). Better at the "moose test" than even the current KF series Mazda CX-5 (search on YouTube).
    Honourable mentions: Mazda CX-5 (even the superseded KE series has very good crash protection numbers, and proven 5-star Used Car Safety Rating) / Hyundai Tucson / Kia Sportage

    —> Mitsubishi Outlander (from ZJ series onwards) if you need more space, or occasionally carry a smaller 6th and/or 7th person. Proven reliability, longevity, and good value. Even the older ZG and ZH series are already rated 5 stars for Used Car Safety. Has an interesting PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) option, although that is 5-seat only.
    Honourable mentions: Hyundai Santa Fe / Kia Sorento / Mazda CX-9. But you will soon see that for the much greater external bulk, these vehicles offer hardly if any more interior room than the Kia Rondo, let alone the Kia Carnival

    And if you can wait, you can also consider the following (subject to identifying any further caveats):
    —> Upcoming Mazda 3 sedan (premium and quiet interior, but will be expensive if the prices for the just-landed hatch are any indication)

    —> Upcoming Toyota Corolla sedan (wagon will be even better, but that may never be imported into Australia)

    —> Upcoming Toyota RAV4 (as per Spackbace our resident Toyota salesperson :))

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