Which SUV Should I Buy?


Thank you for responding to my form submission about a Kia Sorento. My wife and I have test driven many SUVs which is to replace a Ford Falcon AUII 2000 model that is finally ready to retire. As we like lots of boot/cargo space and need the potential to tow a trailer for camping trips the thought was to lean towards the Sorento and Toyota Kluger.

The Kluger has lots of space but lacks the fuel efficiency and features of the Sorento diesel. One worry with the diesel is the constant short runs (not good for a diesel engine?) to the shops/school drop off with the occasional longer distance driving and once/twice year trips from Brisbane to Sydney.

One big factor is the price of the bigger SUVs vs a mid-size SUV that still has a large cargo area, comfortable for long legs and can tow a trailer without struggling. I'm hoping for a great price for a Sorento (one of your readers got 14% off) however in the mid-size SUV range I did like the Subaru Outback 2.0D and Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5L. I looked at the Ford Kuga 2.0L Trend - I didn't test drive, it did have plenty of room but the front layout looked a bit odd/confusing. Not sure how it actually performs.

Test driving the Colorado 7 was with mixed feeling. Loads of cargo room with the 3rd row down, plenty of leg room, makes speed humps disappear and price. Downside is the brakes, vibrations and a minor carsick feeling.


No worries Chris - I respond personally to everyone good enough to contact me via the website.

Tossing up between a large number of SUVs is understandable: there's way too much choice in the market.

The Sorento really is an excellent vehicle.


I sliced and diced the market recently to produce a report on the top 6 seven-seat SUVs >> which is not a bad starting point. Kluger is a solid performer but as you say it lacks the Sorento's value for money features. Sorento also has a seven-year warranty (Toyota: three) and 12-month/15,000km service intervals (Toyota: 6mth/10,000km). You should also check out these Sorento reports >>

The other obvious competitor here is the Hyundai Santa Fe, which is referenced in the Sorento report as well. All of my Santa Fe reports can be found on my Santa Fe home page >> Santa Fe is also a terrific SUV, and is under a bit of pressure from Sorento at the moment.

We are getting some solid savings for Santa Fe buyers and Sorento buyers at the moment. However, not everyone saves 14 per cent - supply and demand ultimately determines the price that is paid, and it varies for everyone, but the savings are typically significant.


I've had a Hyundai Santa Fe on long-term test for some time now, and for the past three months all I've done is short trips. Like: 6km, return dropping off to the train station, and 12-20km one-way trips, etc. Purposely, this is all I've had the vehicle do for three months. It hasn't missed a beat, so I suspect that like all new automotive tech, carmakers are getting better at driving the regeneration process so that it can occur more often, and without imposing unrealistic limitations on users.

I also have a comprehensive background briefing on petrol versus diesel >>


You can - obviously - save a lot of cash by downsizing into a more compact SUV. The obvious proviso is that you still need to be able to do the jobs that are required in the smaller vehicle.

On raw fundamentals (below) you can see that the cost of stepping up to the larger SUV is about $15,000 - which is enough to give you pause to at least consider if it's the right choice. Frankly the vehicles are in different ballparks, price-wise. And $15,000 does seem rather a lot to pay for 34 additional centimetres in length, 3.5 centimetres in width and 6 centimetres in height. (Less than you thought, right?) There's not even that much additional length in the wheelbase: 14 centimetres.

Of course, you also get seven seats, a more potent engine and a more advanced suite of hi-tech features. However, for many people, the smaller vehicle would do the job.

Kia Sorento

2015 Kia Sorento 2.jpg

Length: 4780 mm
Width: 1890 mm
Height: 1690 mm
Wheelbase: 2780 mm

Kia Sportage

2015 Kia SSportage 1.jpg

Length: 4440 mm
Width: 1855 mm
Height: 1630 mm
Wheelbase: 2640 mm


The Holden Colorado 7 is a derivative of the Holden Colorado ute. It has a superb three-tonne tow capacity, a potent 500Nm 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine and something the softer SUVs really can't match: rugged all-terrain capability, inclusive of a low-range gearset for ultra-slow motion with huge torque multiplication.

Of course, if you don't need the huge tow capacity and the ability to climb The Widow-maker, the trade-offs are cast into stark relief: because this vehicle is so good at these things, it's just not as good to drive around the suburbs or on the highway. This is the reason you described the way it rode in terms of its ability to induce vestigial motion sickness.