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Australia's best value medium SUV 2019 winner

By James Whitbourn, Alex Rae and Andy Enright, 11 Jun 2019 Best Value Cars

Australia's best medium SUV 2019

What is the best value medium SUV you can buy in Australia?

Best value car award

Wheels' Gold Star car award uses data such as depreciation and running costs to calculate what the best value new cars in eight different segments are. To understand how we calculate the numbers and what considerations were put into the algorithm, read the 2019 Gold Star Car Award 101 here.  

The top 3 medium SUV contenders

  • Mazda CX-5 Maxx

  • Kia Sportage Si

  • Ford Escape Ambiente

What the numbers said

It’s been coming for more than a decade: sports utility vehicles now surpass passenger cars in the Australian sales charts from month-to-month. It’s only a matter of time until they top normal cars in full-year sales.

The popularity of SUVs has resulted in an increasingly crowded class, which is good news in terms of the broad selection on offer. It also makes a coveted Gold Star Cars gong that much sweeter in the popular medium-SUV class.

The CX-5 was a game-changer when it arrived, remains a class favourite, and duly takes gold. At $30,380 as a manual, it’s bang on the entry price for the segment and, with 56 percent resale, sheds the least to depreciation here. Meanwhile, the 2.0-litre petrol engine is miserly, runs on regular unleaded, and only needs a trip to the spanner-man every 12 months.

The Sportage runs a close second, its terrific warranty offsetting only average official fuel economy, with stout resale and class-cheapest insurance. Ford’s mid-size SUV isn’t a sales frontrunner, but it’s a decent steer, with a sharp price, strong resale and excellent economy, so perhaps it should be.

Mazda CX-5 GT $45,390

It’s surprising Mazda even offers our GSC winner in its range, because the hard truth is not many Aussies shopping in this segment want a manual-equipped, front-drive Maxx.

Much nicer, if you can finance it, is the GT, available with the CX-9’s lovely 2.5-litre turbo-petrol, all-wheel drive, and far nicer kit – alloys wheels (instead of steelies), leather trim, Bose sound, sunroof, adaptive cruise control… the list is long. The family will love it.