Which seven-seat SUV should I buy?

08/08/2018 Posted by admin

The dilemma
Nanjing Night Net

Giorgio drives a Holden Captiva diesel seven-seater but is finding it a little ordinary and short on cabin width. He’s looking to buy another seven-seat SUV but doesn’t know whether to go new or used, or whether he should stick with a diesel. He wants something with strong safety, Bluetooth and an iPod-friendly stereo.

The budget

Less than $40,000

The shortlist

The pickings aren’t especially rich if you want a new seven-seat SUV, don’t want a Captiva and absolutely must not broach the $40,000 mark.

Mazda’s CX-9 is closer to a $45,000 proposition even in base Classic form, while the cheapest Ford Territories and Toyota’s Klugers squeeze in by only $10, which might be cutting things a little fine here.

Hyundai and Kia, however, have both just launched new seven-seat SUVs that offer a little more breathing space on the budget front while satisfying our key requirements.

Switch focus to the used market and there’s much more choice. You could get a good Japanese contender in upper-level form with a low odometer count or – if you’re not scared off by higher than average maintenance costs – an older prestige European. Or you could target our third entrant here.

2011-on Ford Territory TDCi, from $29,250*

The Territory isn’t as niggle-free as Asian alternatives and – despite a serious overhaul in 2011 – its presentation is a little passe. A style leader it most definitely is not.

But it also has many strengths, like a sprawling, versatile seven-seat cabin and brilliantly agile, comfortable road manners. Strong, refined TDCi diesels are thriftier than petrols and therefore more desirable.

At this budget Giorgio might struggle to land a topline Titanium but a mid-range TS with a low odo count is a possibility and even base TXs satisfy his basic toy/safety-gear needs. Unless he has a serious dirt-driving agenda, rear-drive models are preferable to their all-wheel-drive brethren.

Read Drive’s Ford Territory reviews:

Seven-seat SUV road-test comparison

Hyundai Santa Fe Active, from $36,990

This Hyundai is a brand new design and looks it with its svelte exterior and contemporary, high-quality cabin ambience.

It also has much-improved on-road credentials compared to its predecessor, as well as competitive petrol/diesel four-cylinder drivetrains. All models also get seven airbags, a reversing camera, Bluetooth, iPod-friendly stereo and five-year warranty.

Great value even on the base Active is a good thing because an auto adds $2000 and more lavish models test the budget (so do gutsier, thriftier diesels, which start at $39,990). He shouldn’t expect it to match the Ford for on-road finesse, either, or be quite as roomy or easy to see out of.

Read Drive’s Hyundai Santa Fe reviews:

Hyundai Santa Fe first drive

Kia Sorento Si, from $37,490

The newly updated Sorento is in many ways its Santa Fe cousin by another name but they are not exactly the same beast.

The Kia is a little costlier in base Si 2WD petrol form but you get a gutsy V6 and standard auto. AWD diesels (running the same drivetrain as the Hyundai) start that bit cheaper at $38,990, though that price applies only to the manual version.

Other differences? The Kia, despite its facelift, doesn’t look or feel quite as modern as the Santa Fe and base Si models don’t get a reversing camera. But for space, safety, quality, warranty coverage and on-road ability there’s not a lot to separate them.

Read Drive’s Kia Sorento reviews:

Kia Sorento first drive

Drive recommends

The Territory drives like an upmarket SUV and its refined diesel V6 enhances its on-road superiority here. If that kind of experience is important to you then trading some new-car smell (and some style) in order to get this sweet-driving, highly versatile package is worth considering.

More buyers, though, are likely to put a greater value on the Korean cars’ new-car security, long warranties and stronger reliability prospects.

Take that easy-ownership philosophy to the extreme and the Hyundai – with its more economical four-cylinder petrol engine – has the edge, and it also brings more style and a standard reversing camera.

Assuming Giorgio isn’t willing to live with potentially hefty petrol V6 fuel bills or a manual gearbox in order to get the diesel (in which case the Kia can’t be counted out), the Santa Fe is the obvious choice.

* Values are estimates provided by Glass’s Guide for private sale based on an entry-level model averaging up to 20,000 kilometre per annum and in a well-maintained condition relative to its age. Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau

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