Just thought I'd send you an email to thank you for you advice 12 months ago regarding 7-seater SUVs. You pointed me towards the Hyundai Santa Fe >> and Kia Sorento >>
which until that point had not really interested me.
I ended up opting for a top-of-the-range Santa Fe Highlander for less than $50k, and I couldn't be happier. After driving it for nearly a year now, it's the best vehicle I have owned. Thanks again for broadening my horizons.
Thanks very much for letting me know how you're going with the Santa Fe. It's a great SUV - one of those rare 'sweet spot' vehicles that ticks just about every box that's important to consumers. It's good to drive, offers tremendous value (equipment and performance for the price) and is backed by one of the best warranties and cost-effective ownership arrangements.
I have no hesitation recommending Santa Fe to anyone in the market for a family-friendly SUV - as long as they don't aspire to crossing the Simpson Desert in it. It puts the likes of Toyota's Kluger to shame on things like warranty and service, value, dynamics, etc.
It's certainly a perception-changer in terms of the brand, too. For background, and reference for other SUV buyers, I've included your original enquiry below. Enjoy the Santa Fe, and sing out if you need anything else.
Quentin's Original Enquiry
I'm looking for a medium SUV, 7-seats, auto, diesel on a novated lease. Have researched a little, and test driven a couple. I like the Land Rover Discovery Sport SE although it is a little pricey and I have heard bad things about reliability and maintenance/service costs of their past vehicles. Have you had a look at this new model yet? Any opinions on Land Rover?
Others I am looking at are the Isuzu M-UX, Mitsubishi Outlander XLS and Nissan X-Trail. I realise it is probably a difficult question but based on build quality, reliability, initial and running cost and resale value, which of these vehicles would you recommend? 4WD is not an important factor... running costs, reliability and value for money are.
Land Rover Discovery Sport: Basically it's a bare-bones vehicle with a lot of high-priced options. Everything you want is $2000-$4000 extra. This is, essentially, how Land Rover dealers (and most other prestige dealers) make money. More on this here:
Also, as you noted, Land Rover is renowned for poor reliability and high operating costs, as well as poor resale value. You have to really want a Land Rover - to the point of infatuation - to buy one.
MU-X is a ute-based 4WD that's as rough as guts compared with a more city-friendly SUV. It simply cannot compete on refinement and equipment levels with (say) a Kia Sorento >> or a Hyundai Santa Fe >> and even among the ute-derived wagons it operates in a massive power and torque deficit >>. This is mainly because Isuzu hasn't invested in anything like decent R&D to upgrade the engine. Instead they gloss over this with (some very convincing) marketing BS that (as usual) fails to address the underlying deficit. If you want this kind of vehicle (and it sounds like you do not) then the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport >> is a much better bet in the 'hardcore 4WD' space.
X-TRAIL and Outlander are kind of B-team players at best (with X-TRAIL bordering on being dropped to the C-team imminently...) If you are really on a budget and cannot afford a Santa Fe Highlander (or Elite) or Sorento Platinum (or SLi), then Outlander is an option.
Frankly, you should look hard at the Santa Fe and Sorento. They're both sensational objective choices. And then, if you decide to go in another direction, at least you know you've done the due diligence on the market research front.