SUVs are dominating the car buying market at the moment, with increasing competition between the different manufacturers. There is, however, a level of uniformity of appearance evident, with little to distinguish between most players. The versatility that is a feature of the SUV has the unfortunate result of creating a wide range of cars that look very much alike.
In reaction to this, a number of the mainstream manufacturers are looking for price to be their differentiator. This is sensational news for the consumer of course, as price has never been this low for a crossover, and, due to advances in technology, value has never been this high. The following is a list of the new SUVs on the market that are plunging prices in order to either increase their profile or maintain their share of the market.
1. Nissan Murano $29,740
A leader in styling, with a starting price of under $30,000 the Nissan Murano is a drop-dead bargain. The Murano is probably the best value proposition on the list, with technology and comfort inclusions that most buyers would only expect from the premium European brands. Nissan has worked hard to establish itself in this space and have delivered a smart attractive and capable market dominator with the Murano
2. Ford Edge $28,950
The Ford Edge is on the way to global dominance as the contemporary styling and perfect proportions are seeing it picked up in other markets. The 2017 model crossover SUV is packed with Ford’s most current driver assistance technology including Ford’s Sync 3 touchscreen, self-parking, and keyless tailgate. Loaded with features and delivered to the market at very sharp pricing, the Edge is trying to steal back the market from the Europeans and Japanese.
3. Kia Sorrento $25,600
The Koreans (Kia and Hyundai) have been offering heavily discounted options for some time, which has had the effect of diminishing their perceived value. Kia have addressed that perception with the strongest warranty offer available in the class (10 years, 100,000 miles). Whether marketing spin or a company genuinely backing the quality of its product, the offer is enough to get people to look at the brand. The Sorrento, a mid-sized Crossover with boxy styling and low quality interior finish, nonetheless represents solid value at this starting price.
4. Hyundai Sante Fe $25,350
Similarly to Kia, Hyundai are continuing to work to disrupt the perception of low quality that has afflicted the company since it first start exporting. Hyundai, however, are further along that journey, and the Sante Fe is a sensational SUV at a remarkable price. Another high point in value for money, Hyundai have stacked the Sante Fe with features, and delivered a well-balanced Mid-Sized SUV which is comfortable and enjoyable to drive. Available in a 7-seat configuration, the Sante Fe is highly attractive as a family car.
5. Honda CR-V $24,045
Honda’s CR-V moniker stands for Comfortable Recreational Vehicle, and the small car specialists from Japan have delivered. The CR-V (and the smaller HR-V) each present great value into the market, and further the ambitions of the manufacturer by stirring up the competition. One of the largest cars in Honda’s fleet, the CR-V provides comfortable seating for 5 adults, and the versatile storage options that are synonymous with the class.
6. Hyundai Tucson SE $23,595
The Tucson is a fleet manager’s darling, and the smaller 5 seat SUV out of Hyundai offers a lot of features for a vehicle with a purchase price under $24,000. Touch screen infotainment system, smooth Bluetooth connection, and standard safety features like rear parking cameras and autonomous emergency braking all go together to make up a pretty impressive value proposition.
7. Subaru Forester 2.5i $23,470
Subaru’s Eyesight technology is undoubtedly market leading. Functioning via two cameras mounted at the front of the car that allow it to ‘see’ the road in front in 3 dimensions, Eyesight is part of what makes Subaru leaders in safety. The Forester is a supremely capable SUV, and at less than $24,000 is a drive-away bargain. AWD functionality, and genuine off-road credentials add to the value offer. While the styling of the Forester is a little boxy, and the instrument displays can occasionally be overwhelming, the drive experience makes up for these slight distractions.
8. Mazda CX-5 Sport $22,735
Mazda is an intriguing company that always feels like it should be more successful than it is. Often criticised for offering its range at a slight premium, the current pricing of the CX-5 demonstrates that is no longer the case. The Skyactiv engine management system delivers class-leading fuel economy, and the overall quality of the car is noticeable as soon as you sit in the driver’s seat. Designed with attention to the driving experience, and a desire to deliver something unique (inside at least – the exterior is a little homogenous), the CX-5 Sport is nonetheless very good value.
9. Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i $22,570
The Forester’s little brother is a sporty little piece, with sharp gearing and responsive steering. Clearly designed with the experience of the driver in front of mind, Subaru deserve more success than they are currently generating from the Crosstrek. Offering slightly more aggressive exterior styling than the Forester (although overall not as attractive as the larger Outback), the current Crosstrek may be offered at runout levels at the moment to make way for the new model release that is pending.
10. Dodge Journey SE $22,240
The Journey is almost the largest SUV on the list, and runs out at this low-price due primarily to it being substantially out of date. Offering only a 4-speed auto when all its contemporaries are at 6 to 8 is only part of the problem. The Journey also has an unimaginative, box-like construction that has been completely overtaken by the sleek styling of the current generation of SUVs (Nissan continue to lead the pack on exterior style). Looking dated as soon as you drive out of the dealership, and offering sluggish performance at best, the low price point of the Journey reflects its place in the market.
11. Chevrolet Trax LS $21,895
Essentially a hatchback with AWD, the Chevy Trax is a capable, if uninspired, small SUV. Due to its expansion into international markets, however, the Trax offers some quite modern features even in the base model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as does rear parking camera and keyless entry. The 2017 model has also had an exterior styling enhancement that leaves it with a slightly more muscular appearance. There remains some work to do with this model to bring it to the top of the market, however, and in the meantime Chevy are keeping the price low to maintain turnover.
12. Nissan Juke S $21,190
A genuine styling mis-fire from Nissan, who have otherwise delivered some very attractive SUVs into a crowded market, the Juke has a funky, slightly unfinished look to it, like a teenager wearing his Dad’s suit. The experience of driving the Juke, however, can remedy some of the damage the style of it delivers, as it is the most powerful crossover in its class, with input into the engine by Nissan Motor Sport. Unfortunately, the current model has replaced the manual transmission option with the much maligned CVT, although the standard features in the entry level model are still very impressive.
13. Fiat 500X Pop $20,990
The Fiat 500X shares its engineering development with stablemate the Jeep Renegade, but unfortunately shares its exterior development with the Fiat 500 hatchback. The hitched up AWD capability cannot distract from the distinctive rounded front end and circular headlights, making the Fiat one of the least attractive SUVs on the market. From the perspective of performance however, the Fiat has plenty of zip and agility, and is actually quite enjoyable to drive. If only it looked different.
14. Jeep Compass Sport $20,935
The current Compass model is another vehicle that has outlived its market appeal. With dated styling and uncompetitive performance, it is a mystery how the car continues to sell in the numbers it does. Jeep have announced the impending release of a new model Compass which we can only hope drags the platform into the modern era, however in the meantime expect runout pricing offers.
15. Mazda CX-3 Sport $20,860
Small inside, the CX-3 looks like a jacked-up Mazda 3, and drives like one as well, which is not as bad as it sounds. The CX-3 is sharp and responsive to drive, with a nice finish inside. There is too little cargo space, and rear legroom is at a premium, but apart from that there is little to criticise. The CX-3 knows exactly what it’s for, and at whom it is aimed, and it hits that mark quite nicely.
16. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES $20,690
The Outlander Sport (ASX in other markets) is a very capable and comfortable small SUV, and is now being offered at a very strong starting point. Slightly larger inside than the Mazda CX-3, and with some sharp exterior design to complete the picture, the Outlander Sport offers some very good value from a manufacturer currently specialising in SUVs
17. Honda HR-V LX $20,405
Undersized and underpowered, in order to generate an enjoyable experience in the HR-V buyers will need to fork out for the higher spec models. The engine and transmission remain the same, however the internal features like heated leather seats and sat nav can make the drive slightly more enjoyable. At least the LX retains the old-school tuning and volume knobs on the radio, rather than the unresponsive touch screen controls evident in the rest of the range.
18. Jeep Patriot Sport $19,035
The Patriot is another Jeep nameplate that is all but done. The new Jeep Compass is intended to replace both the Patriot and the Compass Sport. The Patriot however currently retains the antiquated boxy appearance that was once synonymous with the brand, and also features an underpowered motor and hand-cranked windows. While the power of the Jeep brand continues to bring in buyers, Fiat Chrysler (owners of Jeep) will be seeking to runout this dinosaur quickly to make way for the future.
19. Jeep Renegade Sport $18,990
The Renegade Sport small SUV can be seen as an example of Jeep’s styling direction. A more rounded appearance that doesn’t turn away from the classic Jeep cues marks the car as contemporary, but distinctly Jeep. The company have driven the price down to garner attention, and subsequently the Renegade Sport is lacking features such as air conditioning and power mirrors that should really be standard, even at sub $19,000.
20. Kia Soul Base $16,995
One of the cheapest crossovers on the market, the Kia Soul is not an unattractive purchase. Keeping the distinctive Kia grill, the Soul otherwise offers very modern styling, and a vast array of options. The base model described here is delivered with a zippy 1.6L engine and a 6-speed manual transmission, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port for music streaming. Gradually adding in the features you might want has the obvious effect of escalating the price, but the Kia Soul remains a value option at the small end of the market.