SUVs under $80k
Audi’s latest-generation Q5 is incredibly refined and handsome, and the 2.0-litre petrol engine under its bonnet is so advanced that is almost matches the equivalent diesel’s torque. Quattro All-wheel drive is a given and the Sport specification adds a welcome touch of prestige. If you can bust the $80k cap by $4000 however, you can grab the V6 diesel 50 TDI and we recommend that you do.
Like the Audi, BMW’s mid-range mid-sized SUV brings a lot to the table for less than $80k, including a powerful but efficient turbo petrol engine, great interior build quality and design, and a rewarding drive. And again, like the Audi, if you can squeeze another $4000 into your budget, you’ll put the wonderful six-cylinder diesel 30d on the options list. You should.
At the summit of the Everest range you’ll find the gear-heavy Titanium which combines the preferable 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, four-wheel drive, excellent off-road ability and the most equipment you can get included as standard.
Paying $60k for a Hyundai might seem unusual, but taking this option pairs one of the company’s most impressive models with the highest level of specification. It has the muscular diesel engine, all-wheel drive, beautifully appointed interior, and seating that will comfortably accommodate seven.
The entry point into this iconic model is not to be sniffed at. You’ll still get a strong 500Nm diesel engine coupled to a transmission that still has the go-anywhere ability that put this model on the map.
Luxury and style does not come at this price every day. With a budget of $80k the gutsy 221kW/400Nm four-cylinder petrol comes into play or you could opt for the less powerful P250 or a diesel in a higher level of specification. Allow a good couple of days to browse the extensive list of variants and specification combinations. All variants have delicious looks and presence.
An $80k cap will allow you to reach up to the range-topping Sports Luxury in both petrol and hybrid. But the wise money is in the combustion-powered F-Sport, which has more purposeful looks, a rewarding chassis and will leave you with about $14,000 change.
At the pointiest end of the CX-9 range, Mazda’s big SUV makes the most sense without breaking the bank. Tons of kit, space, seven seats and a dynamic character that defies its two-tonne weight are all reasons this model won Wheels Car of the Year in 2017 and continues to land heavy punches among some strong rivals.
You won’t get V8 SUV action for less. The Patrol’s 5.8-litre engine combined with 2.8 tons to drag around results in fuel consumption you shouldn’t be surprised at, but for blasting around the outback in comfort, there’s little that will beat it for the price.
Skoda’s flagship Octavia is unrivalled in the affordable high-performance SUV segment. It has a 2.0-litre diesel engine that manages to wind up 500Nm of torque but still returns four-pot diesel economy. It has seven seats, a sporty interior, beautiful chassis and delightful convenience and design features throughout. If you can get over the stigma of dropping $65,990 on something with a Skoda badge you will not regret it.
Both the entry-level 200 series GX and virtually fossilised 70 series fit the price bracket and offer much to be liked. The 200 will provide modern comfort levels and cavernous cabin space, while the 70 series sacrifices all of that to go even further off-road than the still-capable 200. Take your pick.
Another Wheels Car of the Year – this time the 2018 victor – Volvo’s mid-sizer is almost unbelievably well rounded. Subtle and restrained styling is still handsome, diminutive 2.0-litre engine pumps out a massive 246kW and there are brilliant interiors range-wide. The XC60 is a clear standout in a segment that’s spoilt for choice. An $80k budget rules out only the flagship hybrid so you’re spoilt too.