Small won­ders

The best com­pact fam­ily SUVs un­der $30,000

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@news.com.au

LOGIC doesn’t al­ways en­ter into a new car pur­chase de­ci­sion.

The clos­est most come to off-road­ing is driv­ing over the kerb or park­ing on the school oval to help set up a cake stall. But that hasn’t quelled the de­sire to at least look a bit like you want to drive the rough way to Broome, via the Gibson Desert.

Let’s be clear — none of the cars listed here would be safe or ideal trans­port for that trek. For the school run or the su­per­mar­ket sa­fari? That’s where we’re at.

A stack of small and medium SUVs slides in be­neath the $30,000 price point — myr­iad choice for new par­ents, emp­tynesters and any­one else who doesn’t want to break the bank.

All have a sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem and five-star safety rat­ing. The re­sale fore­cast is from Glass’s Guide.

FORD KUGA 2WD 1.6 AM­BI­ENTE

Re­sale 46 per cent Price $27,990

PLUS Sync sound and emer­gency as­sist, rear sen­sors, hill-start, ser­vic­ing, en­gine.

MI­NUS No auto (6-speed auto adds AWD; $31,490), 95 RON, steel wheels, weight, no rear cam­era, space saver.

Perky 110kW/240Nm pow­er­plant can be well-stirred by de­cent man­ual. En­try-level Kuga is a classy cat that has a bet­ter in­te­rior pack­age than many here. Cru­elled by ab­sence of auto.

HOLDEN CAPTIVA 5 2WD LT 2.4

Re­sale 50 per cent Price $25,990 (6-speed auto adds $2200)

PLUS Front and rear sen­sors, price ver­sus fea­tures.

MI­NUS Lardy kerb weight, no stan­dard spare, no rear cam­era.

Value for fea­tures is Captiva’s war-cry but it’s un­der­done in terms of ma­te­ri­als and er­gonomics. Don’t ex­pect it to hus­tle with­out a big gulp from the tank — the 123kW/230Nm four-cylin­der is pro­pel­ling a real porker.

HOLDEN TRAX LS AUTO FWD

Re­sale 45 per cent Price From $23,490

PLUS Rear cam­era and sen­sors, MyLink con­nec­tiv­ity, rear power socket, lo­cal chas­sis tune, capped ser­vice costs.

MI­NUS No stan­dard spare, small boot, rear drum brakes, lack­lus­tre en­gine, 95 RON.

Some good safety in­clu­sions and strong value.

Sadly the Holden badge gets whacked on some mun­dane prod­uct and the Trax is in that group.

Styling is bland enough to be a Toy­ota and 103kW/175Nm driv­e­train needs a cat­tle prod.

HONDA CR-V 2WD 2.0 VTi

PG’s Re­sale 51 per cent Price $27,490 (5-speed auto +$2300)

PLUS Peppy en­gine, rear cam­era, proper spare, big boot, ride qual­ity, rear vents.

MI­NUS Hill-start helper on auto not man­ual, plas­tic steer­ing wheel, no rear sen­sors, roof an­chor points.

Char­iot of choice for shift­ing chil­dren with no view to get­ting muddy (the car, not the kids). The smaller 114kW/190Nm front-driver’s en­gine has more char­ac­ter.

Good cargo and in­te­rior space only marred by child-seat an­chor points in roof.

HYUNDAI ix35 II AC­TIVE 2.0

PG’s

Re­sale 48 per cent

Price $26,990 (6-speed auto +$2200)

PLUS Boot space, proper spare wheel, re­vers­ing sen­sors, capped ser­vice and road­side as­sist, five-year war­ranty

MI­NUS Steel wheels, no rear cam­era, plas­tic steer­ing wheel, heavy, re­sale.

With a de­cent 122kW/205Nm en­gine and ad­vice from the style coun­sel, Hyundai’s SUV is a far cry from the brand’s stodgy early days. It’s the seg­ment sales leader yet re­sale rat­ings still hangs heavy around the brand’s neck.

JEEP PA­TRIOT 2WD SPORT

Re­sale 50 per cent Price $25,700 (CVT +$2000)

PLUS Al­loy wheels, Jeep im­age, leather wheel, full-size spare, tyre-pres­sure mon­i­tor.

MI­NUS Five-speed man­ual, no rear sen­sors or cam­era, vet­eran in­te­rior, un­der­pow­ered, no capped ser­vic­ing, war­ranty.

The brand built on off-road prow­ess needs to re­visit its soft­roader. A driv­e­train makeover to im­prove on 115kW/190Nm, a diet and work on in­te­rior would be a good start. Com­ing Jeeps look more promis­ing.

KIA SPORTAGE 2.0 Si 2WD

PG’s Re­sale 48 per cent Price $25,490 (6-speed auto +$2000)

PLUS Road man­ners, boot space, ex­te­rior de­sign, main­te­nance pro­gram, proper spare.

MI­NUS No rear cam­era or rear sen­sors, no light­weight ei­ther.

One Kia that changed

per­cep­tion of the brand, it also gets Aus­tralianised road man­ners that make it work. Good boot space but aver­age rear vi­sion means cam­era and sen­sors should be stan­dard.

MAZDA CX-5 2.0 MAXX

PG’s Re­sale 52 per cent Price $27,880 (6-speed auto +$2000)

PLUS Dy­nam­ics, fuel use, re­vers­ing cam­era, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor, 91 RON fuel.

MI­NUS Steel wheels, tem­po­rary spare, no rear sen­sors, no rear vents.

The en­try CX-5 has a chas­sis for cor­ners but won’t de-skin a cus­tard with this driv­e­train (the diesel AWD is the pick). Rear seat space is ad­e­quate, boot vol­ume less so.

MIT­SUBISHI OUT­LANDER 2WD 2.0 ES

Re­sale 50 per cent Price $27,740 (CVT adds $2000)

PLUS Trimmed weight, rear vents, rear cam­era and sen­sors,

con­nec­tiv­ity, main­te­nance plan.

MI­NUS Ex­ter­nal styling not to al­ways ad­mired, an­other gear ra­tio needed.

Not the pret­ti­est but one of the nicer con­veyances in this group, with a quiet cabin and de­cent boot space and ride qual­ity. Not the punchi­est with 110kW/90Nm nor the paunchi­est at 1395kg.

MIT­SUBISHI ASX 2.0 2WD

Re­sale 50 per cent

Price $24,990 (CVT +$2000)

PLUS Re­vers­ing cam­era and sen­sors, five-year war­ranty, capped ser­vic­ing, road­side as­sist, con­nec­tiv­ity.

MI­NUS En­gine needs stir­ring, rear space tight, awk­ward look.

So good Peu­geot had to pinch it; the quiet achiever picks fights with larger SUVs and scores points.

Sharp pric­ing on this 110kW/197Nm soft-roader is key to Mit­subishi’s vol­ume growth.

NIS­SAN DUALIS ST 2WD

PG’s Re­sale 50 per cent Price $25,990 (CVT +$2500)

PLUS Sat­nav, re­vers­ing cam­era, cabin com­fort and space, ride.

MI­NUS Op­tional rear sen­sors, vanilla styling, no rear vents.

Ef­fec­tive rug-rat trans­port, if a lit­tle slow and snoozy with 102kW/198Nm shift­ing 1371kg.

Three-year road­side as­sis­tance and stan­dard sat­nav are wel­come (and all too rare for the seg­ment).

NIS­SAN JUKE ST 1.6 2WD

Re­sale 50 per cent Price $22,090 (CVT +$2400)

PLUS Dis­tinc­tive styling, cli­mate con­trol, road­side as­sis­tance, econ­omy

MI­NUS Slug­gish 95 RON pow­er­plant, space-saver, tilt-only steer­ing, no rear sen­sors or cam­era.

Look­ing like a bull­frog on meth, the base model lacks all­wheel grip as well as key safety gear.

If you could get four driven wheels, the turbo and a man­ual gear­box it’d be a real gig­gle.

NIS­SAN X-TRAIL 2.0 ST 5-SEAT

Re­sale 46 per cent Price $27,990

PLUS 40/20/40 split­fold, styling, perky new pow­er­plant, con­nec­tiv­ity, rear stor­age.

MI­NUS No auto in base model, space-saver, no rear sen­sors.

The new­est kid on the block only slides in un­der $30K as a man­ual (a CVT is on of­fer with the carry-over 2.5, at $30,490).

But the new look for the once-boxy X-Trail will get at­ten­tion.

App-based in­fo­tain­ment and ac­tive ride con­trol among the other new bits.

SKODA YETI 77TSI

PG’s Re­sale 56 per cent Price $23,490

PLUS Key­less en­try, seven airbags, rear-view cam­era, 17-inch al­loys

MI­NUS Man­ual only, 1.2-litre just ad­e­quate.

Check this then buy the 90TSI for $25,790 with stan­dard auto. Love Yeti’s mod­u­lar Var­i­oflex seat­ing.

SUZUKI S-CROSS 1.6 GL

PG’s Re­sale 45 per cent Price $22,990 (CVT adds $2500)

PLUS Lithe, cabin and cargo space, airbag count, war­ranty and ser­vic­ing.

MI­NUS No hill-hold on man­ual, plas­tic helm, no rear sen­sors or cam­era.

Based on the SX4 but larger, leaner and meaner, the S-Cross adds to the Suzuki soft-roader ar­se­nal.

Out­puts (86kW/156Nm) look anaemic but the skin­fold test shows no fat with 1085kg kerb weight.

De­sign gu­rus have con­jured good cargo space.

TOY­OTA RAV4 2.0 GX 2WD

PG’s Re­sale 48 per cent Price $28,690 (CVT +$2000)

PLUS Her­itage, rear cam­era and sen­sors, de­cent boot, 91 RON fuel.

MI­NUS Weighty and un­der­pow­ered, plas­tic steer­ing wheel, steel wheels, no USB.

The RAV4 in base guise looks it and is a leisurely ma­chine. It re­lin­quished its sales throne in the seg­ment to the CX-5 last year but is neckand-neck with it so far this year.

VW TIGUAN 118 TSI 2WD

Re­sale 50 per cent Price $28,990 (6-speed DSG +$2500)

PLUS Clever pow­er­plant, leather helm, qual­ity in­te­rior, au­dio.

MI­NUS Portly, no rear sen­sors or cam­era, main­te­nance costs, thirst for 95 RON.

The Golf on stilts has found many friends and the driv­e­train and road man­ners have done more than any­thing else to win them over.

Boot space is a lit­tle un­der­done and ser­vic­ing is capped but pricey.

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