What to Buy? Used SUV under $30k

Hi all,

In the market for a used SUV for my parents. Ideally want something relatively new +2017, looks modern and has some guts. FWD and petrol preferred.

Things that come to mind:

  • CX5
  • Tucson
  • Escape

Still tossing up with the option of bumping the budget up to $40k and buying new given the state of the used car market.

Happy to hear everyone's thoughts.


    • +4

      Have a look at anything but an MG.


  • -1

    Hard to go wrong with CX5, Tucson, RAV4. Sportage could be added to the list. Then there’s outlander and forester to look at.

    Keep it Japanese, Korean and can’t go wrong really.

  • -2

    Id forget the Sportage and anything Kia/Hyundai if you want to keep it. Have experience with these once they get 70 or 80,000km on them they seem to wear really quickly. For example two sportages with around 70,000ks both sound like old falcon taxis - some kind of whirring in the rear end/diff that the dealer says is normal road noise. Headache inducing on long trips.

  • +2


    • +1

      You forgot the /s tag.

      • +1

        I assumed people wouldn't need it, and also that the other 500 "what suv should I buy" threads should pretty much have everything covered.

        • +1

          Based on what I’ve seen lately it is highly unlikely that anyone has read ANY of those 500 threads.

    • +2

      You left the 'r' out.

    • +1

      To be fair the OP mentioned nothing about reliability as a priority.

  • Rav4 or Tucson imo (Would lean more to the Tuscon because Toyota interior is very boring imo). Ford Escape have had a few recalls and engine problems so I would steer clear (personal experience).

    • +1

      Also, if you want a car with ‘guts’ the base models of most of the cars won’t cut it. Driving a 2.0L vs 2.5L Rav4 from personal experience made a huge difference (of which came with the GXL I believe).
      Also a VW Tiguain isn’t a bad option either and their turbo engine makes them very responsive. Reliability of VW has increased a lot in the past few years, but servicing and maintaining may be a bit more expensive.

      • +1

        Hearing good reviews from the 2021 Escapes but pushes up the budget to maybe around 38. Considering we'll be paying the premium for anything with grunt as you mentioned, this is looking more and more appealing.

        Unfortunately the family tends to steer away from European just out of bad personal experiences.

  • TBH - there is nothing on the market that jumps out at me and says good looking, powerful, sounds good, looks good, drives smooth, reliable, good looking, and good value… Hasn't been anything to me that I'd buy new for many years.
    Even worse with Covid tax and delivery delays of months


    • +1

      Agree. Nothing exciting about a mid sized SUV.

      However other descriptors might be reliable, functional, basic. They are just a high riding hatchback.

      Not for me but they are selling like the proverbial.

      • I mean modern cars/hatches/SUV/etc … Supercars yes :D but touch out of my price range. even worse the Prius type drives who all tell you 20 times an hour they drive one..

        The wannanbe modern "sports" cars like pissy little audi's n golfs that fart each gear change make you look like a flog, and shitboxes like that don't interest me at all

      • peugeot 5007 is fun, hard pressed to find a recent model at 30k though

        • I dont know where you go if you like 'driving'. I've driven sports cars and V8 sedans etc. but really, there's not much out there if you need a CUV for day to day.

          eg. I need to move bits and pieces and handyman stuff and strollers and stuff and child seats.

          A CUV is it. Otherwise you go for a 4x4 like a Triton Ranger etc. I'd rather not go larger than a CUV eg. like a Kluger Pathfinder and really dont want or need a diesel 4x4.

          I'd like a Porsche Macan or a Model Y but I want a lot of things.

          One other thing… they aint exactly like a high riding hatchback. A larger CUV can carry 7 people (and little else mind you) or close to 2,000 litres with all seats down. No common hatches can do that. Nor does an avg. hatch have any semblence of 4x4 capability, granted most CUVs have weak 4x4 but its still not nothing.

          No CUV is "good looking, powerful, sounds good, looks good, drives smooth, reliable, good looking, and good value…"

          You want a CUV that drives like a sport cars but is cheap and reliable as a Camry, it aint happening.

          • -2

            @tonyjzx: You are confusing sizes. Tucson, CX5 are 5 seaters, not much more than a hatchback on stilts. Eg a CX5 is a tall Mazda 3. Then there are the ones that are smaller again. CX3, ASX etc.

            Mid sized SUV are seven seats. Like outlander, Sante Fe. A size bigger, it probably still a touch smaller than a kluger and pathfinder.

            Than again, there are so many classes and so many vehicles that fit between them it’s hard to narrow what competes with what at times.

            • -1

              @Euphemistic: Just an fyi. I just googled Mazda 3 hatch capacity in litres.

              Its about 1,300.

              The CX5 is about 1,700 litres.

              The Xtrail is about 1,950. The new Haval H6 is about 2,000.

              These numbers itself should really tell you that the CX5 is more than just a "Mazda 3 on stilts". About 30% more.

              I'm not interested in anything smaller than a medium sized CUV like a CRV Xtrail CX5 etc so I make no comment about CX3 or that size.

              You can go on and on about personal perception but the numbers are there.

              • -1

                @tonyjzx: What is this CUV you speak of exactly?

                The CX5 is built on the 3 platform. It’s about the and length. Just because the interior space is a bit bigger doesn’t mean most of the other dimensions are pretty much the same. It’s probably a bit taller in the body and has a less aero hatch section. 200l isn’t a lot of space.

                • @Euphemistic:

                  What is this CUV you speak of exactly?

                  Compact utility vehicle?

                  • +1

                    @kerfuffle: That’s my guess, but it’s not a common term and IMO doesn’t apply to xtrail, crv, RAV4 etc. those are the epitome of SUV. The name they came up with for the RAV4 originally and they’ve grown a lot since then.

                    The smaller ones like ASX, HRV etc are compact.

                  • +1

                    @cruiserbruiser: Found two sites listing the cx5 as being built on the 3 platform. The next gen will apparently be built on a RWD Mazda 6 platform.

                    Originally cx5 was built on a 3. They’ve since upsized it and slotted a smaller model underneath, But it’s currently still based on a 3.

                    Seems it’s the normal way. Build a car and grow it every time you build a new version then slot a smaller one underneath.

                    Anyway. I have no interest in buying one, it’s too small.

                    • @Euphemistic: yes, same platform doesn't mean same size or just a raised version

                      • @lk0811: It’s pretty close. The platform was extend all of 10mm in length for the CX5.

                        You’ll note however that I said ‘not much more than a 3’ or basically a hatchback with a lift. Never did it actually is a 3 with a lift kit.

                    • @Euphemistic: The Mazda 3 and Mazda CX30 are currently the only two cars in Mazda's line-up which are built on Mazda's latest SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture, thus the Mazda CX-5 is not based off of the current Mazda 3

                      • @cruiserbruiser: But it’s still built on a Mazda 3 platform, just the older gen until the next generation.

                        What is it with you lot. Can’t cope with someone making a basic comparison without getting all madly about minute detail. You are worse than my son.

                        • @Euphemistic: If you make the claim then maybe sometimes expect people to bring the evidence that such a claim is in fact, not correct.

                          A sign of a man is someone who can concede a point. Let us hope our sons are better than us.

                          Further, 300 litres is a fair bit, in my Xtrail its probably the entire rear cargo area up to the glass line.

                          • @tonyjzx: I’m unlikely to change my OPINION that the CX5 isn’t much more than an overgrown Mazda 3, especially the originals. Maybe the current one is a bit more like a Mazda 3 wagon with a lift due to extra cargo space and the current 3 having a much more aero rear than a couple of gens ago. The next gen CX5 seems to be filling the slot of the cx7 which will mean its more of a wagon.

                            The xtrail was originally an SUV - a wagon with AWD. Current one ihas dialed back the ‘tough’ wagon look a lot, but it’s still a wagon IMO.

                            There are plenty more SUVs that are just what the marketing department thinks we need when the equivalent 2wd wagon we can’t buy would do the job.

                            I also had a look and apparently a CUV (crossover utility vehicle) is what we used to call an SUV (like RAV4) and 4WDs (Pajero, Prado) are called SUVs now. No wonder there’s conjecture as to what is what.

  • +3

    Mazda Tribute. It's not the greatest car in the world…

  • What about a Subaru Forester? Asking for opinions for myself too. Thanks

    • This is just by biases so forgive me.

      I'm not a fan of the way their 4wd system works and how its on all their cars (barring the Toyota BRZ).

      Also I'm not interested in flat fours when inline fours work just as well but with lower maintenance.

      As much as I like 4wd systems, the reality is most CUV owners dont need it, dont need the initial expense and mpg hit and service costs and most CUVs do not have good 4wd capability anyway.

      And if you are going down that path you're better off with a part time 4wd system that has full terrain control anyway.

      Saying that I do like WRXs but thats another thing entirely.

  • Rav4 or CX5 for sure.

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