Australia's Best-value Cars: Medium SUV $45,000-$65,000

By Jez Spinks, 19 May 2017 Car Advice

Australia's Best-value Cars: Medium SUV $45,000-$65,000

The $45,000 to $65,000 bracket of the hugely popular medium-SUV class is a fascinating point where higher-spec mainstream models start to converge with lower-spec luxury vehicles.

Whether you’re looking for greater amounts of equipment (mainstream) or a greater level of prestige (luxury), the end-of-financial-year period up to the end of June is a great time to buy a new vehicle.

To ensure you’re getting the best value as well as the best price, WhichCar’s sister brand Wheels has dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s for the top three $45-65K medium SUVs based on running costs.

Wheels’ Gold Star Awards scored cars out of 100. Real costs comprising three-year depreciation and a year’s insurance and fuel expenses accounted for 80 per cent of the score, with 10 per cent each for servicing costs and warranty.

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The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson both featured in our Medium SUV Under $45,000 category, and they make the grade again here – this time in range-topping Platinum and Highlander trim grades, respectively.

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Sharing the same fuel costs (with the same 400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel), service intervals, and depreciation, and similar insurance quotes, there’s little to separate the two Korean models.

The Kia, however, edges gold with a warranty that extends two years beyond the Hyundai’s still-generous five years. It’s a big bonus that the Sport Platinum also impresses with the quality of its cabin and engineering.

Mid-sized luxury SUVs priced below $65,000 are helped in the value stakes by being virtually immune to the government’s harsh Luxury Car Tax, and several models – including the Audi Q3 2.0TDI, Audi Q5 2.0 TDI and Lexus NX300h hybrid – were notable contenders in this category.

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It was the Range Rover Evoque, though, which grabbed bronze behind the silver-medal Tucson. In Td4 150 Pure guise, the Evoque costs about $10,000 more than the Kia or Hyundai but its diesel engine is markedly more fuel efficient (4.8 v 6.8L/100km) and it retains its value better after three years (61% v 53%). As with most luxury brands, though, Land Rover provides only a three-year warranty.

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The Kia Sportage Platinum is being offered with a $1000 “factory bonus” deduction as part of the company’s EOFY offers, while Land Rover is allowing buyers to save the GST component on its Range Rover Evoque. There are no deals currently available for the Hyundai Tucson Highlander.