When cost is a consideration, deciding on an SUV that's going to give the performance, reliability and comfort you deserve without breaking the bank can be a challenge. We're here to help!
Read on to discover seven of the top SUVs in Australia that you can purchase new and still have change from $30,000.
We consider the pros and cons of each, as well as describing the type of driver who would be best suited to each model. If you want a budget SUV that will still give you plenty of bang for your buck, one of the suggestions listed below is going to tick all the right boxes.
1) Skoda Kamiq
Pivotal to Skoda's growing market share here in Australia, the Kamiq offers excellent value. A great all-rounder, reviewers are impressed by its solid performance, amazingly spacious interior and a good range of extras.
- Fuel efficient (5.6l/100km)
- Reviewers are impressed by power, handling and performance.
- Spacious interior.
- Poor resale value.
- Some people find the interior to be too full of plastic.
- Unremarkable exterior.
Who Should Drive the Kamiq?
This is a solid, dependable workhorse of a car that does what it says on the tin. If you're a driver who likes street presence and the cachet of a well-known brand, the Skoda isn't going to be for you. For drivers who prioritize value, versatility and a surprisingly fun driving experience, the Komiq is a good option.
2) Kia Seltos
Kia is one of the up-and-coming brands, gradually increasing its market share year on year. Well-known for cars that offer great value and a high level of tech, the Seltos showcases the key strengths of the brand wonderfully well.
- High-grade infotainment unit that's slick and easy to operate.
- Spacious in the rear
- One of the largest boot spaces in the class.
- Missing little touches such as keyless entry and an auto tailgate.
- The all-black interior may put some people off.
- Poor resale value.
Who Should Drive the Seltos?
Kia, like Skoda, offers excellent value for money. Ideal for families, due to its roomy rear, the large amount of storage space means it's capable of carrying everything needed for holidays or longer trips. If you value your gadgets and features, however, there are other SUVs available that give you more.
3) Hyundai Kona
In many respects, the Kona is very similar to its South Korean rival, the Seltos. The 2021 Kona benefits from an updated drivetrain, some additional technology and a fresh exterior. The upgrades may not be enough to push the Kona towards the front of the pack in the highly competitive SUV class.
- Good selection of features, including keyless entry, LED daytime running lights and a Harmon/Kardon speaker system.
- Reviewers rate the driving experience highly.
- No wireless Apple Carplay.
- No LED headlights.
Who Should Driver the Kona?
Hyundai usually offers excellent value and the Kona is no exception. This is an exciting, engaging car to drive, with plenty of mod cons! Probably not the best for tech enthusiasts (the lack of Apple Carplay is a significant oversight), it's a sound, family-orientated SUV from a well-respected manufacturer.
4) Honda HR-V
If you want to invest in an old-style HR-V, 2021 is your final year to do so! The current incarnation was launched back in 2014 and is set to be dramatically altered for a fresh launch in 2022. The 2021 HR-V features some updated tech, an exterior rework and a reconfigured interior that provides more space than in previous years.
- Good visibility
- Plenty of rear space, including a large boot.
- Roomy exterior
- Reviewers are positive about the driving experience.
- Beginning to feel a little dated.
Who Should Drive the HR-V?
In its day, the HR-V was towards the front of the SUV pack. Whilst it is still a good all-rounder, there are other SUVs that probably offer better value in the current market. If you are considering purchasing an HR-V, you may wish to wait until next year when the fresh version is launched.
5) Mazda CX-30
The CX-30 is Mazda's contribution to the budget SUV sector. Better known for the CX-3 (which accounted for around half of light SUV sales last year), it's debatable whether the CX-30 provides the same level of value in its class.
- Quiet engine.
- High-grade sat-nav and infotainment
- Stylish interior and exterior.
- Reviewers are less than positive about the drive and bemoan the lack of a turbo option.
- The ride isn't particularly comfortable.
- Cramped rear.
Who Should Drive the CX-30?
If you like a car that looks the part, the CX-30 is the one for you. Whatever its other drawbacks, it benefits from beautiful styling. It's not the best for families, due to the relatively cramped rear and narrow doors. Although critics argue about engine performance, if you want a quiet drive with some excellent tech, the CX-30 works really well.
6) Volkswagen T-Cross
The third best-selling light SUV in 2020 (behind the CX-30 and the Toyota Yaris)the T-Cross is comfortable, spacious, safe and packed with a good selection of tech. Its popularity is well-deserved - if you want a good all-rounder, the T-Cross is a great option.
- Good suite of tech
- It's not particularly fast or powerful.
- Fuel efficiency isn't especially good, particularly around town.
Who Should Drive the T-Cross?
The majority of prospective SUV owners are looking for a reliable, versatile vehicle that will work well for commuting and longer trips. It needs space, comfort, safety and enough storage to ensure everyone's kit can be transported where it needs to go. The T-Cross ticks the majority of these boxes.
Although fuel efficiency isn't the best, it's not that much worse than others in the sector. Drivers who like a little something beneath the bonnet won't be thrilled, but this is an SUV, not a hot hatch. If you're looking for a budget choice, you could do far worse than the Volkswagen T-Cross.
7) Nissan Qashqai
As you would expect from the self-proclaimed inventor of the cross-over, Nissan's Qashqai is a force to be reckoned with. Globally this is one of the best-selling SUVs out there. Nissan's impressive SUV pedigree ensures that if you opt for a Qashqai, you won't be disappointed.
- Strong tech (it has Apple Car Play and Android Auto).
- Stylish exterior
- Good suite of safety features and autonomous tech.
- Not the fastest or most powerful SUV out there.
Who Should Drive the Qashqai?
A little like the T-Cross, this is an SUV that does what an SUV should do - conveys a driver and passengers safely and comfortably. With enough space, tech and styling to ensure an appealing drive, the Qashqai's generous offering of autonomous tech takes the strain off the driver. A good option for any traditional SUV owner!