I’ve posted some articles summarising the recent round of testing done by website Australia’s Best Cars or ABC for short. You can get their web address and information on our other posts. The company did exhaustive testing in a lot of categories of vehicles from small, medium, SUV categories, etc.
Below, features a look at the report they did on the small and All Wheel Drive (AWD) SUV class of vehicles for 2016.
Best Small 2WD SUV in Australia for under $35000 (As judged by the ABC survey)
The Mazda CX-3 MAXX is one of those SUV vehicles that Australian buyers cannot get enough. The CX-3 MAXX stood strong in the ABC testing compared to Honda and Renault (being similar style vehicles ABC pitched against) when it came to the evaluation standard and stood out regarding depreciation, handling, and performance.
I must remark here that I have never owned a Mazda vehicle but have always been impressed with the quality and build of the cars.
When buying a CX-3, the buyer has a choice from the entry-level Neo, the mid-range Maxx, sTouring, and the Akari. You can select from the Skyactiv-G 2.0L petrol engine or the Skyactiv-D 1.5L turbo diesel from either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
The Cx-3 has a gutsy petrol engine that will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in less than 9sec and claiming an average of 6.1L/100km. The only problem as claimed by some reviews I read outside the ABC review was that the Mazda could become a little bouncy over a series of bumps but still handles well.
The interior is supportive when it comes to style with modern seats and functional dash – while the driver’s seat slide adjustment has plenty of travel with generous leg room for the driver. The cargo space under the removable cargo floor is more than handy. The Cx-3 has up-to-date connectivity with the infotainment system and full-colour touchscreen with satellite navigation. The price for the Mazda CX-3 MAXX model at the time of writing was $27,704 driveaway. That’s for the five-door wagon, six-speed auto, 2.0L petrol model. Competitors with this Mazda model include the Honda HR-V VTiS model at $31,340 and the Nissan Qashqai at $31,776 both at driveaway prices.
Best AWD SUV in Australia for under $50,000
$50,000 buyers is the next price level to look at, a standout, is the Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium. This vehicle was the overall winner in the AWD SUV range for under $50K. The 2.5i is more fuel-efficient than previous Outback models. This SUV also rated extremely well on the ANCAP crash testing. You can check ANCAPs website which compares a broad range of the vehicle. The Subaru has Eyesight driver assistance technology fitted which helps drivers regarding safety while the infotainment systems received an upgrade.
Inside the Subaru, you can find a user-friendly system with touchscreen and Pandora connectivity, voice recognition, and sat-nav. The vehicle offers excellent ergonomics as well as finish. There is more cargo and cabin space built into this model than it’s predecessors, making it a beneficially balanced design than previous. Accessing the load areas done with a powered tailgate and it includes a full-sized spare wheel. For a fair performance when it comes to driving it has a 2.5L boxer engine and AWD handling. The price of the Subaru at the time of writing was $45,679 driveaway. That is for the five-door wagon, CVT, 2.5L petrol model. Other “similar” vehicles in this category include the Subaru Forester at $43,584 and Hyundai Tucson Elite at $42,176 – both at driveaway prices.
Best AWD SUV in Australia for under $65,000
The bigger more refined Kia Sorrento Platinum is a model that’s been around for many years. I remember a friend that bought one of the first models and I didn’t think much of the vehicle then regarding its build so things must have moved on since for it to get ranked in the “Australia’s Best Cars” report. Kia has improved the model as indicated, especially in reducing the engine and road noise. The Platinum is wider and longer with a premium build and finish. The Kia has seven seats with ample legroom in the front and back with ventilation controls in the third row. It has a 2.2Litre diesel engine putting out 147kW & 441Nm more than previous
models. Also, it has an improved safety kit that includes a rear-view camera. You can read a road test done by cars guide. Cars guide in their review of the Kia vehicle said: “The cabin is a cut above anything that’s come from Kia in the past and is getting close to an Audi.” You can see that quote in the review link I provided. Now that’s a big statement when referring to a Korean make of vehicle compared with previous year’s makes.
Features – six airbags; hill start and brake assist with seatbelt prompt. Some other characteristics are the lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and active cruise control. In the ANCAP safety, rating it received five stars for safety. The price for the KIA Sorrento Platinum model at the time of writing was $60,546 driveaway. That’s for the 2.2L diesel, 5-door, 6-speed auto platinum model. If you are looking for alternative brands in this class, I recommend checking out the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander at $60,757 or the Land Rover SD4 SE at $64,689 (both prices drive away as supplied).
Best AWD SUV in Australia under $125K
In this category, the Volvo XC90 D5 was the overall winner in the survey of SUV’s, coming out in front of 20 contenders. The vehicle has a beautiful interior with class-leading ergonomics and comfortable seating. The rimless mirror, tiny diamond-shaped impressions on the toggle switches, the crystal like appearance of the gear lever, and the cover over the centre storage area are all standouts on this SUV. The seven seating from the front to rear termed theatre-styled seating is superb. The sound system is designed for all passengers to enjoy while the subwoofers located in the ceiling of the vehicle.
High on safety (you can check the ANCAP link as provided above) including:
• The City Safety with Intersection Collision Mitigation,
• Run off road protection,
• Cross-traffic alert,
• Rear-collision warning, and
• Curtain airbag protection covers in all three rows
If you’re looking for a safe SUV vehicle for the family, then the Volvo XC90 is one that combines safety with driving comfort. The price for this model was $104,163 drive away. That’s for the XC90 “inscription” D5 model with 8-speed Auto, 5-doors, and 2.0L diesel engine. Competitors to this model include the Range Rover Sport 3.0 TDV6 S 5 door automatic at $98,284 Driveaway and the BMW X5 xDrive at $109,668 also at driveaway.