Sub-$45k medium SUVs have grown their market share considerably in recent times - so much so that it's the fastest-growing vehicular segment in Australia as far as outright sales are concerned. You're spoiled for choice if you're shopping in this segment, but here are the cars you should have at the top of your shortlist.
1st: Kia Sportage Si
The automatic-only, entry-level petrol 2.0-litre front-drive Sportage and the manual Mazda CX-5 go virtually head-to-head on price – and power output, at 114kW apiece – but the latter’s slightly better three-year Glass’s resale means the Kia needs to work harder elsewhere.
A neat interior, tidy dynamics and good refinement, with a pleasingly low annual insurance premium and a 12-month service interval, ensure the driving and value fundamentals are sound. But it’s the Korean brand’s seven-year, unlimited-kay warranty that springboards it to the top of the Medium SUV podium.
2nd: Mazda CX-5 Maxx
Sharp pricing and 56 percent three-year resale set the Mazda CX-5 Maxx’s Gold Star Value campaign off to a terrific start. And its 6.9L/100km combined-cycle economy and reasonable annual insurance bill seal a deserved silver.
3rd: Mitsubishi Outlander LS
Mitsubishi’s medium SUV is the least costly to fuel among the placegetters, and most models considered for the class, while the brand’s five-year warranty matches Renault and Hyundai while elevating it above Japanese rivals.