Should I Buy a Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai or Mazda CX-5?

QUESTION

I'm 60 years young and I love driving everywhere. Next year I will be making trips to Queensland to see my family. Currently I'm driving an almost four-year-old Toyota Corolla. I don't really need a 4WD but I'm sick of not being able to see over or around all of them on the road. I even get beeped at roundabouts by pains in the butt behind me who can see I can go left but because there is a SUV next to me, and I can't see what's coming on my right. Makes me really mad!

I can't afford the Santa Fe that you seem to recommend. Are the cheaper versions just as good? I carry a baby's seat for granddaughter. Looking for a comfortable drive because I suffer badly from arthritis. Look forward to your recommendation. I'm an avid listener to you on Sydney Radio 2UE. Regards, Chris.

ANSWER

Thank you for listening on 2UE. Here are four SUVs to short-list. Take some test drives and see which ones you like. I'm aiming at the best you can get for around $30,000 plus on-road costs - but if your budget can stretch a little higher, you can simply pick a better equipped model.

OPTION 1: Hyundai ix35 SE (RRP $32,190)

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0i petrol
  • 122kW @ 6200rpm
  • 205Nm @4000rpm
  • 6sp auto trans
  • 8.4L/100km
  • Towing: 1600kg (braked)
  • Seats: 5
  • Safety: 5-star ANCAP
  • Built: Czech Republic
  • Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km

For

  • Strong 5yr warranty
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent value for money

Against

  • Update due next year; will hurt resale
  • Detail design probably not as good as its twin from Kia
  • Front-wheel drive only (no off-road ability)

OPTION 2: Kia Sportage Si Premium (RRP $29,990)

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0i petrol
  • 122kW @ 6200rpm
  • 205Nm @4000rpm
  • 6sp auto trans
  • 8.4L/100km
  • Towing: 1600kg (braked)
  • Seats: 5
  • Safety: 5-star ANCAP
  • Built: South Korea
  • Warranty: 7yr/unlimited km

For

  • Unbeatable 7yr warranty
  • Great build quality & design
  • Excellent value for money (and cheaper than Hyundai ix35)

Against

  • Brand not as evolved as Hyundai (or the Japanese)
  • Front-wheel drive only (no off-road ability)

OPTION 3: Nissan Qashqai ST (RRP $28,490)

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0i petrol
  • 106kW @ 6000rpm
  • 200Nm @4400rpm
  • Transmission: CVT 
  • 6.9L/100km
  • Towing: 1200kg (braked)
  • Seats: 5
  • Safety: 5-star ANCAP
  • Built: UK
  • Warranty: 3yr/100,000 km

For

  • Great economy
  • Smart design + Japanese build quality

Against

  • Can't compete with Kia or Hyundai on warranty or value for money
  • CVT good for economy but not as nice to drive as a conventional auto.
  • Front-wheel drive only (no off-road ability)

OPTION 4: Mazda CX-5 Maxx (RRP $32,880)

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.5i petrol
  • 138kW @ 5700rpm
  • 250Nm @4000rpm
  • Transmission: 6sp auto
  • 7.4L/100km
  • Towing: 1800kg (braked)
  • Seats: 5
  • Safety: 5-star ANCAP
  • Built: Japan
  • Warranty: 3yr/100,000 km

For

  • Best performer here - beats Hyundai & Kia on both engine outputs and economy
  • Best tow capacity
  • Only all-wheel drive vehicle here (on demand)
  • Japanese build quality

Against

  • Can't compete with Kia or Hyundai on warranty or value for money
  • Mid-life model upgrade coming soon - existing model will take a depreciation hit when it arrives

This is a case of personal preference dictating the best choice. Objectively, the CX-5 is the best vehicle here in terms of performance/economy/towing. But the impending mid-life upgrade is a disincentive to buy now. Neither Japanese vehicle can match the South Koreans on warranty nor on the features you get per dollar spent - so you have to ask yourself if the performance is worth more to you than the consumer protection of a long warranty, and the increased luxury from more features at any given price point.

If resale value matters, there’s certainly nothing wrong with the Hyundai ix35. It’s been recently updated and is a good compact SUV. The diesel is a better bet than the petrol, as it goes better and also delivers much better economy. Just right for those Qld trips. I think you’ll be happy with it. Unfortunately the diesel is significantly more expensive up front - the diesel offers 135kW at 4000rpm and 392Nm at 1800-2500rpm (ie: nearly double the torque at half the revs...) The diesel is also packaged exclusively with an all-wheel drive system, which is a real upgrade, too - but the more advanced driveline and the diesel adds a hefty 45000 to the price.

Personal preference has a lot to do with it because there's nothing objectively wrong with any of these vehicles - but you might find one suits you better from an 'arthritis/comfort' point of view. These very personal considerations are something only you can assess during a test-drive. 

Let me get the sales team from the brokerage to call you today. They are the experts in this area and they'll work with you to achieve the best price on your Hyundai ix35 - or whichever vehicle you ultimately choose.

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