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What is the best family SUV for around $20000?

Asked by Brad

I'm looking for a family SUV for around the $20k mark (maybe more). I've been looking at Diesel or Petrol Mitsubishi Outlanders as we want something quite spacious inside, but still small and economical enough to nip around town with as it will be my partners daily drive. The only thing I really desire is that it be suitable for beach driving/sand tracks as we often hit the sand over summer here in Western Australia. Is there any other cars that you would recommend? I have looked at Grand Vitaras but my partner doesn't like them. I know the Subaru Forester or Outback would do the job but aren't as economical as the Outlander.

Answered by CarsGuide

11 Sep 2020 Byron Mathioudakis

While the Mitsubishi Outlander is spacious, reliable and easy to drive, our experience testing it against rival medium SUVs have found it to be noisy and a little too firm riding to be truly comfortable and relaxing. At your price point, there are better alternatives out there. 

Have you considered a Mazda CX-5? In petrol or diesel, we have found it to be a superior and more economical proposition, and is definitely quieter and more refined. Plus, the Mazda's all-wheel-drive system is more sophisticated and better at dealing with loose surfaces like sand.

A late-model (post 2014) S5-series Subaru Forester 2.5i petrol is far more economical than the earlier iterations, since it switched to a more efficient CVT continuously variable transmission. And there's also the 2.0D turbo-diesel which is economical. This, too, is a fine SUV on-road or for light off-road driving.

Finally, the Nissan X-Trail diesel is a roomy and capable choice, especially from 2017, when it received a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel to replace the older 1.6L unit.

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