Five cool medium SUVs for less than $40k (that aren’t a brand-new Toyota RAV4)
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The Toyota RAV4 is New Zealand’s favourite SUV and one of the top selling new vehicles of any kind. It hits the spot for styling, technology and especially price: the leading two non-hybrid models (GX and GXL) are both under $40,000 with Toyota’s Driveway Pricing (TDP).
That’s a great benchmark for medium-SUV buying then. But what if you really, really don’t want a RAV4? If you’re prepared to step away from a brand new vehicle, what will $40k buy you in the used market that’s a bit more, shall we say, special? Let’s find out.
The XC60 was a key model in taking Volvo from a maker of practical wagons to sophisticated SUVs – all with the maker’s trademark focus on state-of-the-art safety.
This budget won’t get you a second-generation model, but the original (2008-17) is highly regarded and for a time was even the top selling SUV in Europe.
It looks the part, it’s good to drive and you’ll have a range of engine options, including diesel and a character-packed five-cylinder turbo-petrol.
Range Rover Evoque
A modern Range Rover for less than $40k? It can be done with the entry-level Evoque, which is the brand’s first attempt at a more urban-focused SUV – although it’s still way more capable off-road than your average “soft roader”.
It won’t be the latest second-generation shape, but the Evoque was only launched in 2011 so you’re still guaranteed a properly premium-looking and feeling SUV.
Unlike the latest version, the original Evoque also came in a choice of body shapes. There’s a five-door but if you want to be a bit more fashion-forward you could search out the sleek three-door version. That was also used as the basis for the slightly left-of-centre Evoque convertible, but that’s another thing entirely…
The Tiguan is a massively popular SUV around the globe – the second best-selling SUV in the world for 2019, in fact (RAV4 was number one, in case you were wondering).
But the Volkswagen brand has a whiff of premium about it in NZ and the Tiguan is considered a lot more exclusive here than it is in other markets. It's not that much more expensive than a RAV4 new at entry level ($46k), but going secondhand means you'll be able to up the specification level significantly.
Again, a good choice of engines and specification levels. This budget will indeed get you into the latest shape (2017 onwards), although it’s only now at the stage where buyers will be moving out of them and into something else, so there aren’t a whole lot to choose from.
The previous generation is well-proven (it was produced for a decade, from 2007) and there are lots around – and you won’t have to use all of that $40k budget to get a good one.
You can go all the way into full-size premium SUV territory for $40k. How about a Porsche Cayenne?
It’ll be 8-10 years old but still a wagon with a lot of presence and performance. You won’t necessarily have to skimp on the powertrain at this money: a V8-powered model is certainly attainable, along with the V6 and turbo-diesel options.
And you’ll own a Porsche!
Toyota Land Cruiser
We started with Toyota so we thought it would be nice to finish there are well. And what Toyota SUV is more iconic than the Land Cruiser?
Cruisers are robust, reliable and sought-after – which means they’re not exactly used-vehicle bargains.
The full-size Land Cruiser is a little out of reach in this price bracket (worth a look if you don’t mind big numbers on the odometer though), but the smaller Land Cruiser Prado is well within reach.
The Prado is a truly tough off-road wagon that’ll seat up to eight, depending on model.
Keep an eye out for the model change to the latest generation in 2009, plus the move to a more modern 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine (same as Hilux) in 2015.