Float our boat
Help us choose a new car. We have a 2.5-tonne boat, three kids and need lots of space for ski gear. Our Mazda CX-9 AWD has been good but I worry because its towing capacity is 2.0 tonnes. We tow the boat twice a month in summer, only 20km to the ramp and back. I am looking at the new CX-9, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Everest and Volvo XC90. The new Mazda BT-50 XTR looks great, too. Craig Saville, email The new CX-9, like its predecessor, tows only 2000kg. You don’t mention a budget or if you prefer petrol or diesel. The vehicles mentioned range from $50,000 to almost $90,000
CHOICES Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, from $72,000
Driveline is a 3.0-litre, sixcylinder turbo diesel (184kW/ 570Nm) tuning an eight-speed auto. It looks great, seats five and is a weapon off-road. The premium for the diesel is $7000 but it brings better economy and tows 3500kg. The petrol V6, rated at 2812kg, will do the job but will use considerably more fuel, especially with a boat on the back. Reliability is an issue but so is servicing every six months, costing $3239 for three years/60,000km. It gets five safety stars. Thirst is 7.5L/100km and warranty is three years/100,000km.
Everest, from $54,990
A proper 4WD that’s based on the popular Ranger ute which in turn shares running gear with the BT-50. Its 3.2-litre fivecylinder turbo diesel (143kW/ 470Nm) is mated to a six-speed auto. It seats seven, has a lower tow rating than the ute but at 3000kg is still more than adequate. The best buy is the mid-range at $60,990. Five-star safety and thirst is 8.5L/100km. Warranty is three years/100,000km and servicing costs $1470 for three years/ 45,000km.
XC90 D5, from $89,950
This one’s not cheap but it’s a classy contender and one of our Car of the Year finalists. Its 2.0litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel (165kW/470Nm) drives an eight-speed auto. It lacks low-range for serious off-road work and the 2400kg tow rating comes up short too. Thirst is 6.2L/100km and safety is fivestar. Warranty is three years/ unlimited km and servicing costs $1850 for three years/ 45,000km.
WILDCARD Mazda BT-50 XTR dual cab, from $50,890
This is one of the best — it tows 3500kg thanks to drivetrain shared with Everest and will do everything you want and more, including dragging that boat to remote locations. Seats five but the rear is not as comfortable as in an SUV. It gets five stars for safety and claimed thirst is 8.9L/100km. The two-year/unlimited km warranty can extend to three years, depending on distance covered. Servicing costs $2014 for three years/45,000km.
The Everest is the pick. You’re not asked to make any compromises with this one. It’s big, roomy with seven seats (a bonus), will be economical to run and will tow that boat easily.
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE VOLVO XC90 MAZDA BT-50