Hi John. Love your car segment on Radio 2UE although now being in rural NSW radio receptions not the best, I usually need to have the radio outdoors so lie in the hammock or sit in the car in the driveway if it's cold. The dirt roads around the area I live have corrugations, big potholes and some flooding when there's decent rain. Some of the sealed roads aren't the best either.
I'm looking to buy a small/mid SUV. My budget is up to $50K, auto, probably diesel (in which case preferably turbo), cruise control, AWD/4WD, fold flat rear seats (flatter the better). I drove past a Mitsubishi/Ford/Kia dealer and stopped for a quick look at the Mitsubishi ASX and Ford Kuga. The Mitsubishi ASX looks OK although its Peugeot 4008 sibling is much better looking and both are Japanese made. The Ford Kuga is not suitable as it has a beam behind the rear seats so when they're folded down you can't slide long boxes in.
I really like the Land Rover Freelander 2 but it might be above my budget. My partner likes the new Toyota RAV4 but I'm not overly keen on the high front-to-back roof slope it has. What would you recommend I take out for a test drive?
Thanks for listening on 2UE - I appreciate your interest in the show with Tim Webster at 3pm on Sunday. For $50k you can get quite a nice SUV indeed. The two SUVs I would look at are the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite (diesel) and the Mazda CX-5 Akera diesel. The list prices are $49,420 for the Mazda CX-5 Akera diesel and $47,990 for the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite. Plus on-road costs.
Basically the CX-5 Akera diesel is the absolute 'works burger' of CX-5s. It is positively jammed with features and equipment. In my view it's the best of the smaller SUVs. My comparison between the CX-5 Akera diesel and the Audi Q3 basically lays out just how good the Mazda really is. (Video below.)
VIDEO: Mazda CX-5 Akera Diesel Vs Audi Q3
HYUNDAI SANTA FE
The Hyundai Santa Fe is the best vehicle Hyundai has ever sold here in Australia. It's somewhat bigger than the CX-5 and a seven-seater (nice flat-folding seats are brilliant too).
Hyundai Santa Fe Video Review
I would strongly advise you to take these two for a drive. Obviously the Hyundai comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty whereas the Mazda is three years and 100,000km.
When you say 'preferably turbo' in relation to diesel, I don't think there's a non-turbo diesel engine anywhere among new vehicles. They can't meet efficiency/emissions requirements any other way. My strong advice is: drive both these vehicles, and compare everything else against these. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to get back in touch. When you know which one you want, get back to me and I can have the broker put the purchase out to tender for you. More on that brokering process here. It's the only way I know to get the vehicle you want at the lowest possible price.
Hope this helps mate. Best regards, JC