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.
Peugeot 3008 Allure $44,510-$45,890
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
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
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.
Renault Koleos S Edition from $44,990
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.
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.