Herald Sun - Motoring - - COVER STORY -

THOSE who most need a seven-seater of­ten can’t af­ford to buy a new one.

The used car lots are lit­tered with se­cond­hand peo­ple-movers as fam­i­lies trade-up to a new model or trade-in for a smaller ve­hi­cle as the kids grow up. With a $20,000 bud­get it is pos­si­ble to buy some se­ri­ous real es­tate with plenty of life left un­der the bon­net.

The stand-out SUV buy is the Ford Ter­ri­tory. They may not be mak­ing them any­more but the seven-seater re­mains one of the best-han­dling peo­ple-movers and gets over a gravel road bet­ter than most sedans. A 2010 TS vari­ant with 100,000km on the clock can be had for about $20K. The 4.0-litre six-cylin­der uses about 12L/100km with the six-speed auto.

Kia’s Grand Car­ni­val is the big daddy of peo­ple-movers and it is pos­si­ble to find 2012 Si vari­ants with 80,000km in the $20,000 ball­park. Be­yond eight seats, the Kia has the added re­as­sur­ance of the bal­ance of the seven-year war­ranty (as­sum­ing it’s been cor­rectly ser­viced). The 3.5-litre V6 with four­speed au­to­matic claims 10.9L/100km.

Nis­san’s com­pact Dualis +2, the X-Trail’s pre­de­ces­sor, is pow­ered by a 2.0-litre four­cylin­der matched to a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion. Ex­pect to pay about $20,000 for a 2012 front-wheel drive Ti vari­ant with less than 100,000km. Don’t bother with the all-wheel drive ver­sion un­less you re­ally plan to use it, given it will be dearer to buy and thirstier to run.

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