Is It Worth Spending $44k on a Compact SUV?

Hi Guys,

Wife is looking at sub compact SUV. Prefers a high seating ride and all the bells and whistles. She currently rides a Toyota hatch that is around 11 years old and it’s time to upgrade.

Have narrowed it down to the new (facelift) Kona Highlander and Kia Seltos. I checked the prices and both are around $44k! Kona will be available in a week or two but I think Seltos may have months waiting period from what I have read.

Are these care even worth that kind of money?

What do you reckon?

Car should have -

All safety features including blind spot monitoring
Heated seating
Front and rear sensor
Reversing camera


    • Looks can be deceiving

      • +1

        I tend to disagree. Our 2016 focus has been pleasant

        • What does a 2016 focus have to do with a puma or escape?

          • +1

            @MS Paint: Tech, safety features and engine (excellent torque for size of the car).

            In terms of safety features, I find them to be one of the better ones. E.g. radar cruise control brakes alot more subtle than other brands (mitsubishi and honda).

            One of the most user friendly media unit interface.

            Cost of ownership is relatively cheap $400 for annual minor service and $800 for a major one. Unlimited map update too. (Well, AA and Apple CP are both supported).

            Been given the current Focus, Puma and Escape as loan cars. All quite impressive for what they cost.

            No major reliability issue aside from the infamous dual clutch that they have used previously, as well RS gasket leak.

            Hm… i guess when I've said "look", i meant the cars overall. Not just the look.

  • +23

    $46.5k gets you a Mazda CX5 GT or Rav 4 Hybrid, how on Earth can Hyundai charge $44k for a Kona.

    • +1

      Supply and demand

      • +2

        Doubt demand is high.

        • +1

          Have you paid attention to how many Kona's there are on the roads now?

          • @Nereosis: Yes. But not many "highlander" trim.

    • +2

      RAV4 feels like a better choice than a Seltos and Kona. Would assume it would have a better resale value. Seltos or Kona would be a better buy if buying second hand.

      I am kind of bias because I brought a RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser with premium paint and accessories for 42K. Has all the perks listed plus a hybrid engine for <6.0l/100km efficiency.

      • That price would have to be for the 2WD right? I am also interested in one.

  • +5

    I have just bought a Subaru XV with all bells and whistles including a sunroof I don’t want. Didn’t want new either but secondhand was not much cheaper. Cost was $44,044. I have had a Peugot 307 for 17 years and if I could have updated the safety features I would have kept it. I wanted high seating in the passenger side for my husband as he has mobility issues, a small car for parking easily and driving in the city but also lane departure, automatic breaking, backing camera etc because my husbands car has all these and I have got used to them. I looked at Mazda, Honda, Ford and Skoda but the Subaru was cheaper for all the safety features I wanted. Hated paying the price but if it lasts 17 years I will be happy.

    • +1

      I've just traded in a Subaru XV after owning it for three years (2.0i-S with all the bells and whistles). I loved that car and I miss it. The safety features are superb and the CVT works much more smoothly than an automatic. The engine isn't that big, but it is tuned to be revved as needed and responds to that. The AWD and chassis design makes it feel very planted on the ground and it also makes up some ground on bigger engines that way. I've combined into a BMW with my wife (we decided to become a one-car family, but she insisted on a nice one) and while it's more luxurious, I think the safety features on the XV were actually better and safer than on the BMW, and the XV also has cred off-road. I reckon you've made a great purchase and the XV is the compact SUV I'd recommend to anyone. Hope you enjoy it.

    • May I ask why you didn't stay with Peugeot and go with a 3008 SUV instead of the Subaru XV?

  • +3

    Get an Outback. It's a raised wagon so it's actually a nice car to drive and use but has a higher ride for…whatever it is that people enjoy that for.

  • +12

    Do you think this SUV surge is a result of less competent drivers on our roads and the need to feel as though they can see more?

    The Mother angle doesn't hold up, less interior and cargo area and bigger externally so a pain to park and a hinddremce in shopping centres.

    • +4

      Right, and when the majority are in SUVs, fewer have a height advantage!

      • +5

        I get quite annoyed at the shopping centre, where the biggest SUV being driven by probably the least competent driver that needs a 20 point turn to park.

    • +1

      People should save the cash and get more driving lessons. Small up front investment saves a fortune. But you know people don't like been told they are bad drivers.

  • +2

    Cars are getting good dollars right now due to Covid and supply issues. Perhaps wait a few months?

    • can someone explain why cars and JDM's surge prices during covid? I understand that everyone want to go do long drives now that we can't go overseas but less jobs plus less money to spend plus less time outdoors during lockdown would mean the market goes down right?

      • +2

        You're absolutely right thinking that, and I thought that at first too. However what's happened is that the Australian economy hasn't tanked as badly as people originally thought and dealers are having trouble getting stock due to Covid slowing down international shipping and logistics plus the lock downs taking place in the countries of manufacture… People are still buying cars and dealers can't get them in stock quickly enough and the factories can't make enough of them.

        Consequently, user car prices are high and you can't knock down a dealer's price as aggressively as you used to, because there's always going to be someone else willing to pay the asking price (at the moment… at least until global shipping and logistics catches up again).

        • that does make sense, imagine if they didn't outsource ford and holden manufacturing somewhere else…

          • @bakemon0: haha you make a good point - imagine if Ford and Holden had their act together 10 years ago and actually built cars here that people wanted to buy (LOL not that I want to open that old chestnut…)

        • Combine all that with the people who would normally go on OS holidays have spare cash and are spending it on a car while they can.

      • +1

        Blame Marty and Moog for buying a Suzuki Jimny and a Kei tipper… #MCMLyf #Chopped

  • +5

    2021 Ford Escape is sexy as. Can get 2.0T FWD ST-Line from just under 40k.

  • +1

    I have a GT Line Seltos and I love it. Worth every dollar to me but I spend 2hrs+ in the car every day. Note that the Seltos has a slightly larger boot than the Kona and that was why I went for that one. The delays are also variable. Some people are waiting months but others get them in a week or two. It all depends on your exact model choice.

  • BMW X3 Diesel is what I'd like to upgrade to from an uninspiring Tucson.

  • +2

    This is an option to consider, SUV like with a good Warranty. Mitsu Outlander

    2WD petrol models start from $29,990, AWD petrol from $34,990, AWD diesel from $41,490 and AWD PHEV from $47,990.

  • We have a Kia sportage GT petrol 2017 ex demo $42k and my wife loves it, I had a quick look at up dating to the new model but didn't think the few extras were worth the cost of updating and will wait for the next update before I look again, I will also look at everything else around the same price but as I say we are very happy the the GT

  • +8

    $44k for what is basically a compact car is crazy money. Back in the day, the same dollars could buy you a brand new Commodore Sportswagen SV6. Now you get an I30 on raised suspension.

    • +1

      i miss holden

    • +4

      Yeah I paid $36K (RRP $46K) for an XR6 which is the same. Sports suspension, premium interior, all the tech at the time. Actual power behind the pedal, not half like all these 2.0 4-cyls. Car prices are insane after Falcon/Commy exit.

      • +1

        you forgot toyota too. The 3.5 aurion was around 30k. now the camry is around 30 but only 2.5 litre

        • +1

          Tops motor the 3.5L.

          I picked up with the help of a $5K friends of Ford discount a brand new G6E Turbo in 2013 for $45K.

          Then in 2018 I picked up a 2016 SSV Redline with 12,000KM for $45K.

          These overpriced SUV's are inferior in everyway, more so the non turbo versions. They're a death trap, particularly on highways. Try and overtake with confidence, they're gutless and dangerous.

      • @StickMan and you had car (SV6/XR6) that you could be proud of and enjoy owning. If I was ever able to afford a brand new commodore back in the day I reckon I'd be chuffed to pieces.

        However, there is nothing wrong with the Seltos/Kona and I get why people like them, they are good little cars with great safety tech but the price is crazy.

        • +1

          nothing wrong with the Seltos/Kona

          Well Kona shares the same hideous front lighting layout of other styling classics such as:
          * Pontiac Aztek
          * Fiat Multipla
          * Nissan Juke
          * Citroen C4 Cactus
          * Jeep Cherokee KL OG

          Up to you how to rank the lineup, but Kona sits within it…

          • @BobLim:

            Well Kona shares the same hideous front lighting layout of other styling classic

            I actually don't mind the look of the brand new Kona, its got a little bit Audi styling going on. But yeah, I don't think there is much you can do with the styling of the sub compact SUV's apart from mucking around with the lights and grille.

            • @Brick Tamland: Looks ok with just the DRLs, but headlights look bad (and worse again with foglights too)

              Rear isn't great either IMO.

              Other than that, probably a great car other than the price hike from an I30…

    • I went from a Toyota Lexcen (VN Commodore) to a Subaru 2.2l Liberty. From 130 so kW to 100kW. The Subaru felt 100 times safer. The loss of power was mitigated by a car that properly stayed on the road, actually drove past bogged Pajeros on Fraser Island and was endles fun with room and a feel to get home alive! Hard to beat the power distribution of a Subi!

  • +4

    Imo for that money you can get Mazda CX-8 Sport with 7 Seats

    • +2

      7 seats only worth if u have lots/tiny kids

  • +1

    OP - check out the Nissan Qashqai Ti. All the bells and whistles and safety stuff. Lane keeping assist. Cycle pedestrian detection, 360 camera, rear cross traffic alert. Adaptive cruise. Apple CarPlay. Full panoramic glass sunroof. Napa leather seats. Dual zone climate control. Heated front seats. I got one last month for fam member. Negotiated down to $39k drive away with $1k worth of accessories chucked in and 3 (or was it 5?) years free service Hard to find stock but great deal for why you get. Seltos was also in our shortlist but had 3-4 months waiting list at the time. Having test driven both we preferred the finish and drive of the qashqai TBH (but looks of the seltos, which is of course more modern)

    • +2

      Agreed not sure why negged. Kia/Hyundai have done a terrific marketing job in Australia, paid off blokes like John Cardogan to bag everything else…

      • Yeah, its a big conspiracy.
        I wonder how much Won they gave to Mr JD Power, probably billions and billions and billions


  • +4

    I’d keep the Corolla few more years :E

    10 yrs is not that old

  • Why do some people still drive 30+ yr old cars chugging out poison? like their phone is probably more expensive

    • Hahaha, yeah it's a mystery how they even get roadworthy…

    • +7

      probably cant afford new cars or if they can, they still prefer driving their rust buckets than to show off to the world that they're rich enough to buy brand new 2021 year cars…

      • leave my 1k phone alone

        • how about not paying $1000 for a phone and just get a cheap $20 one? Or not use one at all?

    • +8

      A 30yo car will have most of the pollution controls of current model. If it is in good running order keeping an older car running may cause less pollution than manufacturing a new one and shipping half way round the world.

    • +5

      30yo cars still have catalytic converters so are reasonably clean. Perhaps they just enjoy driving a car with steering feedback, manual transmission, some engine noise and some interesting body design. Versus using a car to get to a destination. Like yeah totally, like yeah, like, like…

    • I guess having a new car just isn't important for everyone. Some people attach high importance to their choice of ride, some of us just don't get excited about cars.

      • +1

        TBH I’m more excited about 30yo cars as I don’t see spending my hard earned on anything performance oriented that’s is new as worthwhile

  • Family has a Seltos GT, no complaints so far. Top of the line tech + safety. Some of the driving features are really incredible… lane keep and lane follow is like driving on easy mode. I should say that I don't have knowledge of how these features compare to other cars but can happily recommend the Seltos.

  • +1

    check out the Mazda CX-3 - we purchased one late November, and love it. Ok, we got the Maxx Sport, and the two things I would have liked 'extra' are "auto-folding" side mirrors when locking the car, and the front sensors (which I can get for about $400).
    We had checked the Toyotas (we had high hopes for the Yaris Cross - blech!), and tested a bunch of others (Kia, Mitsu, Hyundai, and a couple of others). Our main criteria was that my wife could get in and out easily (arthritis in the spine / neck region).

  • No. Way too slow. For 44k you could get a nice CX9 2.5T base model!

  • +1

    For that price I'd be looking at a Toyota RAV4.

  • +10

    For 44K, she better off getting hybrid rav4.

    • And chuck in a CommaII kit, lots of fun!

  • -2

    Fk spending that much on a Korean car. Get a Kluger second hand.

    • +1

      Wants compact suv. Recommends Kluger?

      • -1

        compact SUV is an oxymoron and a waste of money.

        • If you think a compact suv is an oxymoron I’m not sure you know what an suv is. Then again, I’m not sure the marketers know what an suv is either, they seem to lump everything from a Prado to a 2wd cx3 into the same bucket.

          And offering a kluger is a waste of time. You’d be better to recommend a corolla as it’s closer to the size of what OP asked about.

        • Well we should be calling them crossovers (or CUV I suppose) and leaving SUV to actual utility vehichles.

          IMO a true SUV should be 4WD only with at least 1.8 ton towing capacity.

  • +5

    Linking an earlier post I made with a quick bit of tyre kicking:

    In summary, only Mazda (CX-30) is worth the money at 40k range.

    For every other brand, say their base trim is 25k, for your 15-20k extra, you're still sitting in a 25k cheap car, but you've paid the extra for tech.

    With the Mazda, you actually get a car that looks like it's worth at least 45k before you turn it on.

    Another summary: if you're spending 25k on a small SUV: they're all kinda similar, but at 45k I wouldn't consider anything except the Mazda's or maybe the XV.

    Oh and the CX-30 has the new interior styling (not the CX-3 or CX-5).

    If its not clear: check out the Mazda before making any decision.

    • +1

      Just be aware for comparison purposes the CX-30 isn’t made in Japan.

    • 100% this comment. Also it's based on the larger platform. Cx3 is a properly tiny car. Xv and cx30 have enough size to go outside the city.

  • +2

    Limited Edition Kamiq

  • OP do you have the cash or do you need to finance it?

    • Can pay in cash.

  • +2

    45k could privately get a 1 to 2 year old Alfa Romeo Stelvio
    Get heated seats, front and back sensors ect

    • Great suggestion, fabulous car

  • +4

    Is heated seating really that important? I have a car with it but I can't think of an occasion in Sydney where I have ever wanted to use it. I rate good air con much higher on the list.

    • +4

      haha yeah I'm the opposite, got my car with cooling seats!

      • I've used my heated seats about a dozen times in 3 1/2 years use the cooling just about every time I drive except in winter

    • I’ve got heated seats but haven’t ever had to use it. The only time I can imagine using it is doing a winter trip down to Kosciuszko.
      Definitely not a feature as useful as cooled seats in Australia.

      • agreed. sadly cooled seats are only on much higher spec'd cars

    • Now that you asked and thinking about my own car, I have literally rarely used the heating option every year during winter.

  • Depends on your income, wealth, and how much you’ll use it. 44k could be good value depending on your position and how badly you want it or like it.

  • +1

    Madness. A bit of sharp negotiation will get you into a top spec RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid for about the same money. Absolutely twice the car, way more power and space and will use less fuel to boot. Capped price servicing at $1075 over 5 years, cheaper than the Koreans.

    • Are they even negotiating on price though. They have more orders than cars as far as RAV4 is concerned.

      • Some dealers are not, but if you are prepare to put in the work (or go to a broker) you can get a competitive price. The big problem is the wait, not only is it long but they can’t guarantee you a date and some buyers have had their promised delivery date pushed back a few times.

      • +1

        Can't speak for all states and dealers, but I ordered an AWD Hybrid Cruiser with premium paint and a towbar for $48.5k in September. Built Dec, delivered January. Minus AWD and towbar should get you around the $45k mark I reckon. Ordered from a regional NSW dealer.

  • +1

    Get her 4-5 year old Lexus NX for $30

    • +1

      I doubt it would be 30k even for a 4-5 year old NX unless its done upwards of 150k or so.

    • I had this in mind. But no NX available in that range.

  • I'd wait for the new Tucson to arrive and check that out for the price range, it looks really nice from the early reviews and wireless carplay/andriod auto should be on the must have list this year for that price range.

  • +2

    The consensus seems to be getting the flagship Kona/Seltos is a poor outcome for $44k.

    With that money, a mid-spec to flagship car in the CX5/Tucson/RAV4/Forester/etc range is probably better value. You’re arguably getting more material (larger engine, larger space) for your money with similar modcons.

    • Consensus?

      We must be looking at different threads……..

      • People only absorb information that aligns with their preconceived opinions.

  • -1

    Happy Wife = Happy Life, get her what she wants.

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