The c cost of SUV liv­ing

We run the ruler over to­day’s must-have life­style ac­ces­sory for the fam­ily

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­

SMALL SUVs are the auto equiv­a­lent of smart­phones: you have to be seen with one. Those who haven’t al­ready caught on are rush­ing to buy (or build) light and com­pact crossovers. In Aus­tralia, cou­ples and fam­i­lies hold the view that SUVs rep­re­sent the

best of both worlds’’. With fuel econ­omy and com­fort to ri­val a small car, the space to carry fur­ni­ture or friends and a high ride height for the

com­mand’’ seat­ing, SUVs are a mul­tipur­pose life­style ac­ces­sory. It’s just a case of which de­sign suits that life­style.


Four of the five com­pared here are front-wheel-drive and the Forester is all-paw. All are en­try-level au­to­matic or con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion ver­sions. And all sold more than 1000 ex­am­ples last month, mak­ing them as main­stream as a Toy­ota Camry.


SkyAc­tiv tech­nol­ogy gives the Mazda CX-5 the lead in the weekly fuel costs at $26.33. That’s at least $8.50 cheaper than the dear­est ve­hi­cle here, Hyundai’s iX35. It is small change over a week but siphons an ex­tra $425 a year out of the wallet/purse, so it’s worth con­sid­er­ing.


Caps off to the capped-price car

mak­ers. On­line dis­clo­sure means it is easy to see how much ser­vic­ing a Toy­ota or Hyundai will cost. As yet, Honda doesn’t have capped­price ser­vic­ing, while Subaru and Mazda want ve­hi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion be­fore they’ll quote the costs. Hyundai heads this pack with one yearly visit to the dealer that will cost $259.


Buy­ing a new car is an in­vest­ment in emo­tion, not prac­ti­cal­ity. The best- per­form­ing of this group— the Mazda, Subaru and Honda— will be worth just 54 per cent of the new price in three years, ac­cord­ing to Glass’s Guide. The Hyundai and Toy­ota, mean­while, will have halved in value over that pe­riod.


Govern­ment charges vary. Check with your lo­cal au­thor­ity for regis­tra­tion costs. Capped price ser­vic­ing won’t cover items such as tyres, wind­screen wipers and brake pads.

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