A budget of around $35,000 offers plenty of options and also indicates a buyer looking for great value and safety. With this kind of budget, SUVs are some of the greatest all around purchases a buyer can make. They offer great safety features and are known for their reliability, minimising possible repair costs. Compact SUVs provide style, are manoeuvrable around town, and have decent off-roading capabilities, offering a dynamic not found in other vehicles. Several models offer the latest possible safety technology such as autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot sensors to make the driver aware of other vehicles. Below is a brief list, in no particular order, of some of the newest Compact SUVs that fit budgets of around $35,000:
- Hyundai Tucson AWD: This Korean vehicle is starting at $38,240, so a little over the budget, and the most expensive of this four car set. However, it boasts several features and an overall great ride to make up for the price. The Tucson offers lifetime capped-price servicing, versus the ordinary seven years. It is a comfortable ride and provides plenty of space within. Handling and other road manners provide a driver with confidence. The 1.6-litre turbo engine is a diesel, providing plenty of power and reliability, not only in urban areas but also on the open road. Unfortunately, with this model, it does not offer the above-mentioned safety features such as the autonomous emergency braking or the blind-spot and lane departure warnings, which only offered on the Tucson models starting at over $43,000.
- KIA Sportage AWD: The Sportage starts at $33,990, fitting within the budget range. It offers a seven-year warranty and KIA also has AWD models at a much lower price point than the Hyundai Tucson. The 2.0 litre, the non-turbo engine is not quite as strong as the Tucson’s, but it requires less servicing, usually annually or per every 15,000 km. The KIA is roomy and spacious, providing plenty of room for its five-person seating. KIA is known for its good servicing credentials and offers great value. Yet, as with its Korean counterpart, the Sportage does not offer high-end safety features unless you’re willing to pay over $43,000. Models for the “Platinum” model come in both petrol and diesel.
- Mazda CX-5 AWD: This Mazda model is starting at $32,190, making it the most affordable of this four-car lineup. This SUV does not offer nearly as great a warranty as the others, only a three year with yearly or 10,000 km servicing, indicating it does not allow for high-mileage needs. The Mazda also is not quite as spacious as the Korean models and can be somewhat noisy on the open road. However, despite some of its issues, it makes up for them in a few other categories. The Mazda has the high-tech safety features within this budget including autonomous emergency braking and blind spot detection. It also has a solid diesel engine and Mazda provides lifetime servicing.
- Toyota RAV4 AWD: The Toyota RAV4 starts at $32,990. The mid-range Toyota AWD models offer all the possible safety features desired: autonomous emergency braking, blind spot warning, and lane-departure warning. This model offers the most safety tech against any of its competition, albeit a higher price than the Mazda. However, the rest of the vehicle is decent. The engine is solid and the handling is reasonable. Space is limited in comparison to the other vehicles on this list. It does offer a 45,000 km/three-year servicing request, but not much else to back it up.
|Hyundai Tucson AWD|
|KIA Sportage AWD|
|Mazda CX-5 AWD|
|Toyota RAV4 - AWD|
When taking into consideration affordability and functionality with a $35,000 budget, the recommendation here is the Mazda. With enough safety features to provide peace of mind and solid servicing, the CX-5 does its job well enough. However, if the high-tech safety features are not that necessary to you, the clear choice is one of the Korean vehicles. They offer great space and top of the line functionality to get you where you’re going. You also might want to check out a series of articles we did on Australia’s best car awards.