If you want the space of an SUV, without the premium price tag, then check out the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Tucson.
It’s a happy coincidence that our affordable Medium SUV podium reads like a shortlist of the best steers in this booming class. The Kia Sportage, like its rivals here, is a front-drive machine, which saves you in both purchase and fuel costs, and takes little away from its sealed-road handling capability compared with all-wheel-drive versions.
It’s a bit pricier than the CX-5 and Tucson because it comes with a standard six-speed auto while its rivals are manuals. Given this is at least partly a ploy on the part of Mazda and Hyundai to be able to advertise lower starting prices, it’s pleasing to see it isn’t enough to derail the Kia’s charge, with the brand’s seven-year warranty powering it over the line.
The Mazda CX-5 Maxx is less costly and thriftier than the Sportage, with a stronger 56 percent three-year resale and cheaper insurance. It only misses the Gold by a whisker.
If you discount the difference between the Tucson’s warranty (generous) and the Sportage’s (exceptional), you could consider the Hyundai to be every bit as value-packed as its Korean cousin.
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