Search for elusive spare
We’re replacing our 2007 VE Commodore Berlina with an AWD SUV. We are looking for a vehicle that will perform well on the highway and unsealed roads, with a comfortable ride around the city, able to tow our 1200kg camper trailer and with a full-size spare. Is diesel or petrol the best option? We’ve looked at the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sorento.
Michael and Rhonda Murray Go diesel if you can afford it. Diesel should be the default setting for SUVs. Your economy will be better and it will tow your camper without breaking into a sweat. Yes, it will cost more, but if you’re planning to keep the car for a while it will be worth it in the long run — we note you’ve had your Commodore for 10 years.
Toyota RAV4 2.2 GXL AWD auto, $43,550 The once-great RAV now plays a poor third to the CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson, the latter by only a small margin. It’s still a keeper. Hooked up to a sixspeed auto, the 340Nm diesel in the mid-range GXL delivers adequate if uninspiring performance. Comes with a reverse camera and rear park sensors but the small 6.1-inch touchscreen lacks satnav. Tows 1500kg but comes with a spacesaver spare (full-size spare is a $300 option). Uses 6.5L/100km, warranty is three years/ 100,000km and servicing costs $1080 for three years.
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport, from $39,490 The CX-5 is the reigning king of the mid-sized SUV segment. You get what you pay for, because the entry Maxx comes with steel wheels. Prices have just gone up, too, but you get more safety gear including blind spot and rear cross traffic alert, as well as auto emergency braking. Doesn’t get a proper spare. Can tow 1800kg. Uses just 5.7L/100km, warranty is three years/100,000km and services cost $1946 with extras for 50,000km.
2013 Kia Sorento 2.2 SLi CRDi auto, from $49,490 The Sorento is a larger vehicle and, with seven seats, naturally costs more. Diesel makes more sense the larger you go but in this case if you want all-wheel drive it’s the only option. Tows 2000kg, has a full-size alloy spare, claimed fuel consumption is 7.8L/100m, comes with a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty and service is $1339 for three years or 45,000km. (You might be better off looking at the smaller, cheaper Sportage, Kia’s version of the Tucson.)
Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Elite, $41,750 Tucson replaces the iX35. The 400Nm direct injection diesel is a gem and, hooked up to a six- speed auto, it’s about as smooth and powerful as the diesel experience gets. And this one comes with a full-size alloy spare. High-end safety gear is reserved for the range-topping Highlander. Warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres. Can tow 1600kg and uses 6.4L/100km. Capped price servicing is $1137 for three years/45,000km.
The Tucson ticks all the boxes, it’s one of the cheaper options and, if you want to save, there is the turbocharged petrol model, which costs $2000 less and doesn’t use much fuel.
TOYOTA RAV4 MAZDA CX-5 KIA SORENTO