Bargain family SUVs: 10 practical wagons for $15,000 or less
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Practicality and functionality aren't necessarily big ticket items in the world of cars. There are plenty of reliable options out there for accessible prices, and today we're looking at family SUVs.
These are primarily medium 5-seater SUVs, all priced at around $15,000. Some flash a more premium badge, while others use tech or unique engineering solutions to prove their point. We've also slid in a couple of jokers in the form of a 7-seater and a compact crossover.
In the end, there's something for everyone in the market. Here's 10 of our picks, as listed for sale on Driven.
We'll start one of the more overlooked platforms in the genre; the Honda CR-V.
The third-gen CR-V came out in 2006, adding relatively sophisticated styling that's stood the test of time relatively intact. Most models in New Zealand come equipped with a version of Honda's 2.4-litre 'K24' four-cylinder engine, which is known to be a low stress, bulletproof unit.
This particular burgundy face-lift CR-V (unique colour, that) is based in Auckland and features a decent level of spec (including half-leather upholstery, climate control, alternative wheels, electric front seats, and more. It's priced at $14,888 and has just 52,000km on the odometer. Click here to check it out.
You'll note looking at this list that the RAV4 is considerably older than most of the rest of the participant. That's because of the brand's eternal reputation for reliability and the subsequent lack of depreciation.
$15,000 is an odd budget for a RAV4. Fourth-gen models are well and truly out of reach for that money, with third-gen face-lifts also reasonably difficult to swing at that money.
Instead, low-kilometre third-gen models like this 89,000km 2.4-litre Auckland-listed model above are probably your best bet. And bonus, it's four-wheel drive. Click here to check it out.
Those wanting a hint of European flair with their SUV could do worse than investigate a Volkswagen Tiguan. Being built on the same platform as the Golf, Beetle, Audi A3 and more means it's relatively simple underneath and parts shouldn't be too hard to find locally.
You can conceivably squeeze a face-lifted first-gen Tiguan under this budget, but it's also good to prioritize low kilometres and unfortunately most face-lift models are likely to have high kilometres at this price. So instead here's a 57,000m 2009 model fitted with the 2.0-litre petrol engine and leather. It too is listed in Auckland. Click here to check it out.
While Kias from the turn of the century are something to be cautious around, by the mid twenty teens the Korean firm was starting to get things right. And the sharp-looking third-gen Sportage was one such vehicle.
After the dumpy second-gen Sportage, this was a breath of fresh air. Slick rounded lines and a cabin that held its own against the opposition helped earn it a nomination for International Car of the Year in 2010.
They're difficult to find for less than $15,000, but are most definitely worth spending a little more money on relative to its predecessor. This 2013 Urban X model is pretty close, priced at $15,990 with 92,251km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
The Hyundai ix35 follows the same narrative as the Sportage, but that's not surprising given that the pair are sister products bult on the same platform.
Curiously Hyundai changed the name of the model for this changed the name of the model for this generation. The 'ix35' was our market's name for what was known as a 'Tucson' in other markets. It was odd given that the model had been called a Tucson in New Zealand for the previous model, and once the replacement came in 2015 the Tucson name returned with it.
Anyway, tangents aside, the ix35 is also a little difficult to find in budget with sensible kilometres on the odometer. This is partially because very few of them come here as imports, meaning that most that get listed for sale online are New Zealand-new models. This 90,000km 2012 model is no different. It comes with Hyundai's 2.0-litre R Series diesel four-cylinder engine. Click here to check it out.
The old Nissan Qashqai and Dualis (the latter is its name in Japan) share a similar 'vehicular cockroach' vibe as that of the Nissan Tiida. Not that that's surprising, given that they're the same car underneath.
But with that reputation comes reliability and handy pricing. And that's why there is so many Dualis SUVs on Kiwi roads. This fresh import example in white comes with a handsome set of alloy wheels, a reverse camera, and just 55,832km attached to its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. Click here to check it out.
It's a bit more compact than most of the other SUVs on this list, but interest in compact crossovers like the Mitsubishi ASX has never been higher so it seemed fair to chuck it into consideration.
While a lot has been made of the current ASX being 'a bit long in the tooth', this 2012 Sport model is shapes up as one of the newest vehicles on this list in terms of platform.
This has some tangible benefits, like the relatively modern touch-screen infotainment system on the red number shown above (being an NZ-new ASX everything on that screen is English, too). A leather steering wheel, alloy wheels, and push-button start are among its features. Click here to check it out.
And now for the only 7-seater SUV on the list; this 2012 Holden Captiva.
They might not be renowned for being particularly heart-stopping machines, the Captiva was nevertheless a strong seller for Holden over its tenure. A $15,000 budget will net you a handy face-lifted 5-seater variant (known as the Captiva 5) or a top-spec first generation 7-seater like this $14,990 Alloytec 3.2-litre V6 model with just 58,224km on the odometer.
However, listed at just a whisker over budget is the above face-lifted 2012 model listed in Manukau. Improvements other than a more modern snout are incremental, but if in doubt newer is generally the way to go. Click here to check it out.
We listed a Holden so it's only fair to list a Ford, too.
Like the aforementioned Hyundai ix35, the Ford Kuga is also a curious case in naming convention. It was the replacement for the Mazda Tribute-based first-generation Ford Escape, before it eventually had its name changed back to Escape for the current generation. To be fair Kuga is a wretched name worthy of replacing, but I digress.
This Auckland-based Kuga is a lot of modern metal for $11,990. It includes a dual-opening tailgate (you can opt to open the top half by itself or the whole thing, which is handy for chucking in small items), a touchscreen infotainment system, and alloy wheels. And it's all wrapped in a funky looking body. Click here to check it out.
10. 2013 Mazda CX-5
We end on the Mazda CX-5, an SUV that many consider to be the daddy of the segment. Among other things, Mazda's mid-sizer is renowned for its keen handling dynamics, excellent interior materials, and solid practicality.
Somewhat unfortunately this generation of CX-5 is also known for recalls. So research CX-5 recalls before purchasing and, if possible, check what recalls the model you're looking at has had.
Regardless, the CX-5 is an excellent SUV for families and this 2013 example listed in Auckland comes very close to sliding under budget at $15,850. Its 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine (a decent pick over the petrol because of the more accessible torque) has just over 100,000km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
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