2018 Honda CR-V VTi-LX.
2018 Honda CR-V VTi-LX.

Which family SUV should I buy?

I AM about to upgrade my 2013 Renault Koleos "Bose", which has been very good. I have made a short list of midsize SUVs, all priced between $40K and $50K- Peugeot 3008, Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback, Ford Escape. I'd also consider another Koleos or the Holden Equinox. I'll cover 15,000km-20,000km a year, some of it interstate but not off-road.

The good news is some of the vehicles you're considering start considerably under your $40,000 minimum if you're prepared to buy the base models. We've gone with variants sitting in the middle of your price range. The mix covers the midsize SUV spectrum, ranging from the Peugeot as the most style-inspired of the group to the smart packaging of the CR-V and the wagon-based practicality of the Outback. All have a five-year warranty.

CHOICES

Peugeot 3008 Allure $44,510-$45,890

Supplied Cars Peugeot 3008
Supplied Cars Peugeot 3008

The Allure is an alluring SUV if you're looking to stand out from the crowd and still enjoy a decent ride around town.

The spec level is high, including an eight-inch touchscreen with satnav, digital audio and smartphone mirroring, a full suite of active driving aids and an interior layout that is more refined than most cars in this class.

Its 1.6-litre turbo (121kW/240Nm) is paired with a six-speed auto transmission and fuel use is just 7.0L/100km. Boot space is 591L.

The 3008 needs servicing every 12 months/20,000km and the first three trips will cost $1709.

Honda CR-V VTi-LX $47,740-$49,345

2018 Honda CR-V VTi-LX.
2018 Honda CR-V VTi-LX.

The top-of-the-range CR-V is pushing the pointy end of your budget but it has a lot of features in a family-friendly package.

Active safety is as good as it gets in a mainstream car, with the exception of traffic sign recognition.

Default kit includes a seven-inch infotainment screen with smartphone mirroring, satnav and digital audio, auto lights and wipers, leather-highlighted upholstery and a 522L cargo area.

Progress comes from a 1.5-litre turbo (140kW/240Nm) powering all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

Fuel use is rated at 9.3L/100km. Servicing is at 12 months/10,000km and each dealer visit is capped at $295.

Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium $46,520-$47,970

Supplied Cars Subaru Outback
Supplied Cars Subaru Outback

The all-wheel drive Outback, effectively a high-riding wagon, drives better and has less body roll than a regular SUV.

The features list is extensive in this grade, matching what the opposition brings. Subaru's active safety consistently tops the tables in overseas tests.

The Outback uses a 2.5-litre engine (129kW/235Nm) matched to a continuously variable transmission and claimed fuel use is 7.3L/100km.

Cargo space is solid at 512L and the load height is lower than a soft-roader. The downside to the Subie is it needs servicing every six months/12,500km and the first three years will cost $2282.

WILDCARD

Renault Koleos S Edition from $44,990

Supplied Cars Renault Koleos S-Edition
Supplied Cars Renault Koleos S-Edition

It's Renault's take on the Nissan X-Trail, which is the world's top-selling midsize SUV.

This special edition includes an 8.7-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, 12-speaker Bose audio, satnav, heated and cooled front seats plus AEB, blind-spot and lane-departure alerts.

Its 2.5-litre (126kW/226Nm) drives the front wheels via a CVT. Claimed fuel use is higher than its rivals at 8.3L/100km but the upside is service intervals are an impressive 12 months/30,000km, with the first three trips capped at $349.

VERDICT

If your interstate trips involve B-roads, the Outback is probably the pick of this lot purely for its ability to absorb corrugations and potholes without affecting the drive. If the servicing is an issue, have a serious look at the Koleos.



BURNT ALIVE: A story of faith, family and forgiveness

premium_icon BURNT ALIVE: A story of faith, family and forgiveness

20 years on from the shocking attack on Graham Staines and his boys

Staines Memorial College: Where Graham's spirit lives on

premium_icon Staines Memorial College: Where Graham's spirit lives on

“We ask ‘How can we turn something bad into something good?”

80 jobs on offer for intellectually disabled

premium_icon 80 jobs on offer for intellectually disabled

Warehouse workers, production assistants, forklift operators wanted