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Barry ASKED THE GUIDE

What small or mid-sized SUV should I buy?

I'm looking to purchase a new small to mid-sized SUV. After some online searching I have settled on a short list of the Subaru XV 2.0i S, $41,000, (I own a 2013 XV now) Seltos Sport Plus AWD, $37,000 and the unknown SsangYong Korando ULT petrol $38,000 (all prices approximate). Do you think it is risky to consider the Korando? I can't find a lot of information about how reliable they would be.

For a start, some owners are not mad about the Subaru’s CVT transmission. It’s not that it’s necessarily unreliable, they just don’t like the way it works with an occasional hesitation and a slight jerkiness at light throttle applications. Some people never notice it, but others find it a real distraction. The Kia meanwhile, has been getting good reviews across the trade, largely thanks to the Australian-input into the model’s suspension settings.

Of course, you need to personally drive all three cars on your short-list as there will be things you like and dislike about each one, some of which will be deal-breakers.

The SsangYong is certainly the unknown quantity, but mainly because of the brand’s on-again-off-again relationship with the Australian market. But now, with head-office support (the Australian operation is the only factory-owned distributorship outside the brand’s native South Korea) things are looking a bit brighter for buyers and that’s backed up by the factory seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty that also includes fixed price servicing and roadside-assistance for seven years. That’s got to represent peace of mind.

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