SUVs are fast becoming Australia’s most favourite type of car, outselling passenger cars in February this year. But for many Aussies, the SUV lifestyle comes at a price too far outside the budget.
But don’t lose hope, yet. Here are eight options for those wanting an SUV, without the $30,000-plus spend and expensive running costs.
Suzuki Ignis – from $15,990
The Suzuki Ignis is one of the cheapest SUVs on the market. It’s also one of the smallest, and while it’s a closer relative to hatchbacks than dirt track tourers, its ride-height makes it tall enough to consider it part of this category. Just.
Ignis starts from a crazy low price – in fact, it costs the same as it did in 2005 – and for an extra $3000, you’ll get a bunch of extra gear, upping the value and still paying less than $20k. And thanks to its light weight, the Ignis claims fuel usage of just 4.9L/100km, which is good even for a small, nimble city car.
Its only downfall from a value point of view is Suzuki’s three-year warranty, which is beaten by the Renault Captur and Mitsubishi ASX’s five-year warranty.
Mazda CX-3 – from $19,990
Like most cars in this segment, the Mazda offers a three-year warranty with 12-month service intervals, but even at the least expensive level, the Mazda CX-3, which is basically a Mazda2 on stilts, comes packed with equipment.
The only area the CX-3 is less convincing is fuel consumption, but at 6.3L/100km, it’s hardly the thirstiest on this list.
Suzuki Jimny – from $20,990
As the only truly off-road capable option on this list, the Suzuki Jimny is one of the most affordable options for those wanting a small city SUV with the adventure traversing ability that can tackle roads other small SUVs wouldn’t dare attempt. Don’t be fooled though, the Jimny isn’t an SUV for those wanting the space or refinement of others; it’s small inside, despite being built on a truck-style chassis.
It also misses out on a bunch of gear, so in terms of value for those hanging around the city, it’ll feel a lot less worth the spend – there’s no cruise control, Bluetooth, or active safety features. It’s also only got the standard three-year warranty and uses the most fuel in this list at 7.3L/100km. So why does it get this spot as an affordable car? Because, aside from a few Chinese-made utes, the Jimny is the cheapest off-roader you can buy by a fair margin, with your next available options taking ute form and hitting the $30,000-plus price range.
Suzuki Vitara – from $21,990
It seems when it comes to affordability, Suzuki is dominating the small SUV market for variety, with the Ignis, Jimny, and Vitara all making the list. However, the Suzukis combined account for a smaller percentage of the small SUV market than the top individual sellers such as the Mazda CX-3 (20%), Mitsubishi ASX (14.5%) and Honda HR-V (13.4%).
The Vitara is another relatively economical model (5.8L/100km) with the same standard three-year warranty and a good level of standard equipment. It offers more cabin space for passengers and cargo space for luggage than the other two Suzukis, and has its own unique character and unique colour options to choose from, the latter of which doesn’t add value but will add appeal for some buyers.
Nissan Juke – from $23,490
The Nissan Juke was last updated in 2015, when it got a facelift, better packaging and an additional engine option. It’s not the cheapest on the list, and still has a three-year warranty, but recording 5.6L/100km fuel economy puts it middle-ground for running costs. It is, however, an option for those wanting something outside the box when it comes to design and that prides itself on individualism.
When compared with the Suzukis above, the Juke offers much of the same gear, only sacrificing the sat-nav and reversing camera in the base model.
Renault Captur – from $23,500
The biggest appeal of the Renault Captur is that on this list, it has the best after sales cover with Renault’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assistance. When the 2015 Captur arrived, it came with excellent packaging, and became a buzz to drive thanks to its Clio base. It’s also packed with features for its price tag, even compared to others on this list. It comes with rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, reversing camera and satellite navigation at base level.
Captur’s fuel use is 4.9L/100km which measures in as the lowest on the list alongside the Suzuki Ignis.
Holden Trax – from $23,990
The Holden Trax is one of the least fuel efficient on this list, recording 7.0L/100km behind the Jimny’s 7.3L/100km, though that’s not particularly bad overall. It is, however one of the most expensive on the list, so the added fuel usage is not so forgivable there.
In saying that, Trax features excellent smartphone connectivity and is boosted by a turbo-petrol engine option. It doesn’t necessarily come with any more gear than its small SUV competitors but it handles well and is a good-looking choice for those wanting something with a little style finesse without being as OTT as the Juke or as conformist as the CX-3.
Honda HR-V – from $24,990
The Honda HR-V is middling for fuel efficiency in this group at 6.6L/100km, it’s also top of the list for price in this bunch of either, and has a slightly more expensive servicing schedule – but – it’s the most spacious, one of the best to drive and offers an excellent choice for families looking for a smaller SUV without the premium price tag.
The HR-V, despite being the most expensive here, doesn’t offer an AWD option but that isn’t a big issue for most Australians who are looking at SUVs purely for space, rather than weekend getaways along dirt tracks. Sure, it’s certainly not the sharpest for value on this list, but it’s the largest option, stacked with equipment, looks good and is easy to drive while still sitting under $25,000.