AA Buyer's Guide: choice compact SUVs
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New Zealand roads are flooded with Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs); the classic hatchback is much less popular than it was a decade ago.
Looking at the Motor Industry Association (MIA) figures year-to-date, compact SUVs cover a large chunk of new passenger car registrations, making up a massive 18 per cent - a jump from the 15 per cent the segment held in 2019. SUVs are now the second most popular new-vehicle genre on our roads.
Why so hot?
These vehicles come with the added benefit of ground clearance, which makes it easier for occupants to enter/exit the car, as well as improving visibility.
They’re also comparable with hatchbacks in terms of affordability and practicality, meaning they appeal to a broad range of consumers.
Here are the latest and most popular SUVs that AA members are asking us about.
Kia Seltos: from $27,990
Buyers are spoilt for choice in the Korean-built Seltos range, with five options on offer - the LX, LX Plus, EX, Limited and Limited turbo. The most popular choices are powered by the same 2.0l petrol engine, which delivers 110kW and has fuel economy of 6.8l/100km.
Driving the front wheels is what Kia calls its Intelligent Variable Transmission, which is essentially a refined CVT. Space-wise the Seltos offers a generous 468l with all the seats up.
If you opt for the LX Plus, you’ll benefit from enhanced safety features like Enhanced Autonomous Braking, Blind-Spot Detection and Smart Cruise Control, which you don’t get in the LX. This alone is worth the extra $2000.
If you have deeper pockets, you might be tempted by the AWD 1.6l turbocharged model which comes with a snappy DCT transmission.
Hyundai Venue: from $29,990
The Venue is Hyundai’s smallest SUV and the second cheapest car in its fleet. The Venue Elite is $4000 more expensive then the base model. It’s powered by a familiar 1.6l powerplant which develops 90kW, and consumes 7.2l/100km. Cargo space isn’t too bad, with a 355l capacity with all the seats up.
The Venue has a traditional six-speed automatic transmission. Despite only being front-drive, the Venue offers three different traction modes: Snow, Sand and Mud. But we wouldn't recommend heading off-road – it’s definitely more at home in the city.
Volkswagen T-Cross: from $34,240
Based on Volkswagen’s MQB AO platform, the Volkswagen T-Cross is quite the package. Four options are available - the three-cylinder engine can be found in the Life, Style and 1st Edition models, while the top-spec R-Line receives a more powerful four-cylinder TSI engine.
The 999cc three-cylinder turbocharged engine is just fine for this sort of vehicle, with 85kW, and an enviable fuel economy of 5.4l/100km. In the driver’s seat you will have the pleasure of a seven-speed DSG transmission.
Despite being only 4235mm long, the T-Cross has a seats-up luggage capacity of 455l, and it’s nice to see that even the lower cost Life and Style models come with a wireless charger for your smartphone as standard.
Mazda CX-30: from $41,490
The GSX is powered by the Skyactiv-G 2.0l with “i-stop” and makes 114kW. It has a consumption of 6.5l/100km and you get a conventional six-speed automatic transmission. The GTX and Limited models get more power under the bonnet with a 2.5l, 139kW engine; but with cylinder deactivation they sip just 6.8l/100km.
The CX-30 has an opulent yet minimalist interior design. Unfortunately though, all variants offer just 317l of storage with the seats up.