Down­size and save

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE -

As you point out, Kia’s in­dus­trylead­ing seven-year, un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre warranty is a big en­tice­ment. Other pluses in­clude a stylish in­te­rior with qual­ity fin­ishes and good cargo space. The cheap­est Si vari­ant doesn’t have a lot of stan­dard tech­nol­ogy — sat­nav, rain­sens­ing wipers and au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing aren’t avail­able. The Kia is solid and pre­dictable on the road. The en­gine has slightly more grunt that the Toy­ota but isn’t as strong as a Tiguan. The base model is great value at the mo­ment — the Ac­tive auto has been dis­counted by more than $5000. For an ex­tra $2000 you can up­grade to the Ac­tiveX, which has stan­dard leather, big­ger wheels and a sports mode. Hyundai’s five-year warranty is bet­ter than most and ser­vic­ing costs are rea­son­able. The Tuc­son is great to drive, with an ex­cel­lent bal­ance be­tween cor­ner­ing abil­ity and com­fort. As with the Sportage, though, ad­vanced driver as­sist tech isn’t avail­able. It’s a size smaller than the oth­ers here but that means a lower start­ing price. Honda is clear­ing 2016-build stock and the deal in­cludes ex­tended warranty of five years/ 140,000km, five years’ road­side as­sis­tance and $500 worth of ac­ces­sories. The HR-V is more spa­cious than any of the baby SUVs and the cabin looks fresh and mod­ern. Driver as­sist tech isn’t avail­able on the base model but it has a re­vers­ing cam­era as stan­dard.

VER­DICT

A com­mon mis­take new-car buy­ers make is get­ting a ve­hi­cle that’s too big for their needs. Stick with Honda but save money by down­siz­ing.

Cars in­evitably get dearer to main­tain as they get older but Honda has a good rep­u­ta­tion for dura­bil­ity and the CR-V has a tim­ing chain, so won’t need an ex­pen­sive belt change at 100,000km. That said, it might be wise to put some of your su­per to­wards a newer car while you can. If the Tiguan is out of reach, try these.

If you’re look­ing for trou­ble­free motoring, the RAV4 is an ex­cel­lent choice. The cabin is spa­cious and com­fort­able, if lack­ing the piz­zazz of ri­vals. The en­gine is rea­son­ably fu­el­ef­fi­cient, per­for­mance is OK and it’s a com­pe­tent per­former on the open road. A re­vers­ing cam­era is stan­dard but auto emer­gency brak­ing comes as part of an ex­pen­sive $3800 safety pack that in­cludes sat­nav and other equip­ment. Warranty is av­er­age at three years.

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