QUESTION – RAHUL (asked on 23/4/2017):
I am planning to buy a seven-seater SUV. This is my first SUV and I’m currently driving a sedan. My current car is five year’s old and I have only driven 62000kms. I have a couple of SUVs to choose from: Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorrento, Ford Everest, Toyota Kluger or Mitsubishi Pajero. I’m also trying to decide if I should buy a petrol or diesel.
ANSWER – BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS:
Of the five SUVs you mention, the best one by some margin is the Mazda CX-9. It is the most sedan-like to drive, very comfortable, commendably refined, roomy, practical and very pleasant inside. Plus its 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine is surprisingly efficient as well as deceptively quick. And every variant falls within your budget. The Mazda is our reigning Car of the Year with good reason.
If you are leaning towards a diesel, then the next best option (since the CX-9 is a petrol-only proposition) is the Kia Sorento CRDi AWD, because it is spacious, comfortable, well equipped, easy to drive, practical and has a seven instead of three year warranty.
The main advantage with diesel is exceptional highway economy, though it appears you don’t really do that many kilometres annually to really justify the 10 percent or so premium required. Plus, diesels are noisy and smelly, and though emit fewer levels of carbon dioxide, they are much worse for nitrogen oxides (NOX). Our advice is to stick with petrol and go for the Mazda.
As for the others, the Toyota Kluger is too thirsty (and firm riding), the Ford Everest is a little bit too truck-like, and the Mitsubishi Pajero too old and unrefined.
Lastly, if you’re after a third option, then consider one of the last remaining Ford Territory TDCi diesels. Though now out of production, there is still some stock left in Ford dealerships for this comfortable, roomy and capable car-based SUV. And it’s still the only SUV to ever be designed, engineered and built in Australia specifically for our conditions. Though released way back in 2004, the 2011 update did keep the Territory in contention as one of the best SUV buys right up to the very end. It is also likely to become a collector’s item, though that won’t happen for many years.