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Ken ASKED THE GUIDE

Should I buy a Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5?

Considering a 2020 RAV4 GXL, 2.0 petrol, two-wheel-drive automatic. Most reviews seem to be for Hybrid versions. How does the 2.0 petrol CVT auto stack up? Also considering Kia Sportage Sport Plus 2.0 petrol, auto. Your thoughts? Leaning towards RAV4 for big boot (to carry lawn mower, whipper snipper, blower and soon to be baby stroller and equipment). I think Mazda CX-5 is an older version now and ageing a bit, what are your thoughts?

The RAV4 in its current guise is the best the model has ever been. Of course, that’s exactly how it should be, but some car-makers don’t always crack the newer-is-better code. You’re right about the new RAV4 Hybrid being the headline grabber, but that’s because it’s the big change in the RAV4 formula and the one that is likely to attract the most new customers to the franchise. There’s nothing wrong with the two-litre CVT RAV4 per se, but you might find the performance of the smaller petrol engine a bit on the weedy side, especially with a full load of bodies and luggage on board. And, as with any CVT car, the advice is to drive it before you decide, and make sure you don’t find the CVT’s behaviour too foreign. Some people do, others never notice it.

The Kia Sportage Sport is another good package but suffers the same lacklustre engine performance issue in two-litre petrol form. It does, though, have a conventional six-speed automatic transmission rather than a CVT. And while the Sportage was facelifted in 2018, its basic design goes back to 2015. Which, in fact, makes it an older design than the Mazda CX-5 which was first launched here in 2017. Any of the three vehicles you’ve nominated will do the job but history suggests the Toyota will hold more resale value when trade-in time rolls around. And congratulations on the new addition to the family.

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