Compare SUV models from Audi, BMW, Ford, Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota on after sale service, driving experience, reliability, car servicing, value for money, point of sale service and overall satisfaction.
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Finding a new car that you can easily picture yourself in the driver’s seat of can be a tough gig, with the Australian car market as competitive as ever. With the variety on offer, it often becomes decision after decision, which can be a stressful time for many. How and where we drive has become almost as big of a factor as what we drive, with small cars popular due to reduced running costs, while big 4WDs and utes remain a solid option for those who like to get away on weekends. But SUVs are now the go-to for many Aussie families, finding the middle ground between fuel-efficient sedans and spacious 4WDs.
Picking a new car for yourself can be hard enough, but finding the right one for your family adds an extra element to the decision-making process. Fortunately, Canstar Blue is here to offer some guidance, as we have surveyed hundreds of SUV owners across the country to find out about their experiences with their new wheels, meaning you can get a good idea of how the major brands stack up before you head to the dealers. This year, more than 800 Aussies have ranked 12 SUV brands on our roads.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 SUV ratings saw 12 brands compared, which have been rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Last year, Mazda had to share top spot with Holden, but in 2019 the Japanese brand stands alone at the top of our SUV standings. Choosing a new SUV will ultimately come down to your circumstances, driving habits and budget, but keeping our ratings in mind is a great place to start. A popular vehicle type, SUVs offer plenty of room for Aussie motorists, but also come with a larger price tag, with survey respondents spending an average of almost $40,000 on their new set of wheels, our research found, meaning that to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible, it’s best to shop around. Before you waltz into a dealership and sign your life away, take a look at the brands below to see what’s on offer in the SUV market.
In the market for Car Insurance? Below is a snapshot of featured 4 or 5 Star Rated policies on Canstar’s database, with a link to the providers’ website. The results are sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), and was formulated based on a male aged 25-29 in QLD without coverage for an extra driver under 25 years old. To see policies more relevant click below to view all Canstar rated Car Insurance products.
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Still in the winner’s podium, Mazda is one of the go-to options for motorists when it comes to finding a new ride to drive off the lot. The Japanese manufacturer’s SUV line-up consists of the popular CX series, including the small CX-3, medium CX-5, and the larger CX-8 and CX-9 models, giving motorists plenty of options regardless of how much space you need. If none of these currently tickle your fancy, Mazda also unveiled the new CX-30 at the Geneva Motor Show, with release slated for 2020. Receiving five stars for driving experience, point of sale service, reliability, after sale service and overall satisfaction, Mazda also managed to score four stars on value for money and car servicing.
Known for its larger vehicles, like the popular LandCruiser and Prado models, Toyota’s SUV range offers motorists something smaller that will still let you pack plenty for those trips away. With a collection that includes the C-HR, RAV4 and Kluger SUVs, Toyota additionally offer a RAV4 Hybrid model, giving Aussies plenty to test drive. Improving from last year’s results, Toyota was rated five stars for driving experience and car servicing, with four stars in all other categories, including reliability, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Offering the Outlander, ASX and Eclipse for those after an SUV from the Japanese brand, Mitsubishi has been pushing more PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) models in recent years, with more expected to be released in the coming years, making the brand worth looking into for those considering something environmentally-friendly. In this year’s ratings, Mitsubishi rated four stars for overall satisfaction, driving experience and after sales service, with top marks on point of sale service, reliability and car servicing. It also achieved the only five-star rating for value for money.
With the Subaru Forester and Outback models popular in the SUV market, the Japanese manufacturer’s recent addition of the ‘XV’ has added a sleeker style to the range. While a new-look Ascent is available overseas, Aussie motorists will unfortunately have to stick with the current line-up, although based on this year’s results, there may not be much complaining. Subaru got four stars across multiple categories, including driving experience, point of sale service, reliability, value for money and overall satisfaction. It scored three stars for after sale service and car servicing.
Best-known for its small car range, Korean brand Kia has looked to increase its presence within the SUV market in recent times, offering Aussie motorists both the Sportage and Sorento models to tempt them over to Kia, away from the more established SUV brands. Unfortunately for local Kia drivers though, its latest SUV release – the Telluride – won’t be making an appearance Down Under anytime soon, sticking to left-hand drive only. Rated four stars for overall satisfaction, point of sale service, reliability and value for money, Kia was rated three stars for after sale service, but got five stars for driving experience.
With an SUV range consisting of the HR-V and CR-V models, Honda’s suite of larger vehicles has proven a common sight on Aussie streets lately, although motorists Down Under likely won’t see the return of the brand’s Passport model, which appears to be sticking to American markets. In this year’s ratings, Honda rated four stars for overall satisfaction, along with four stars for point of sale service, reliability, value for money and car servicing, with three stars for driving experience and after sale service.
Offering plenty to choose from in the SUV market, Japanese brand Nissan’s models include the smaller Juke, medium-sized Qashqai and X-Trail, as well as the larger Pathfinder models for those who need a bit of extra boot space. The off-road Terra model – based on the Navara dual-cab ute – is also set to come to Australia in the near future, although no official date has yet been announced. In this year’s ratings, Nissan earned three stars for after sales service and car servicing, with four stars in all other categories, including value for money and overall satisfaction.
Likely up near the top of the list for those looking for a luxury SUV model, German manufacturer BMW offers potentially the largest line-up for motorists to choose from, with plenty of models available in the ‘X’ series. And if this series isn’t exciting enough, you can always upgrade to the ‘M’ model, giving you a sportier exterior and a bit more power under the hood. Rated four stars for overall satisfaction and after sales service this year, BMW also rated three stars in remaining categories, including driving experience, reliability and value for money.
Another German luxury brand that offers a fairly extensive SUV range, Audi’s Q range includes small and larger SUV models for motorists to choose from. If you’re looking for something with a bit more grunt to it, the ‘S’ range may set your heart racing, but is only available on select models. Similarly, if you’re after an environmentally-friendly model, the e-tron may be the ride for you, with a Sportback model expected to be released sometime in 2020. Despite its three-star rating for driving experience, Audi got four stars in most other research categories this year, including reliability, value for money and overall satisfaction. Audi was also one of only two brands to score five stars for after sale service.
While it might have dropped off from last year’s results, Holden’s SUV range is one of the larger line-ups currently available to Aussie motorists, with models such as the Acadia, Equinox, Trailblazer and Trax all up for sale, making a Holden dealership worth visiting, regardless of whether you’re after a small SUV, or a larger model. Rated four stars for reliability and value for money this year, Holden scored three stars in all other categories, including car servicing, driving experience and overall satisfaction.
Korean brand Hyundai seems to be going from strength to strength in the new car market, with an SUV range currently consisting of the Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe models, ideal for those after either a smaller model, or something to suit the whole family. The SUV range looks to be expanded to include the Venue model, which was unveiled at the New York International Auto Show, and is set to go on sale in 2020. In this year’s SUV review, Hyundai rated three stars for point of sale service, after sale service, car servicing and overall satisfaction, but scored four stars for driving experience, reliability and value for money.
Rounding out the results for this year, Ford offers plenty of SUVs available for motorists to choose from, including the EcoSport, Escape, Endura and Everest. While it seems that there are currently no plans on the horizon to expand the range, those after an SUV still have a good variety to consider, whether you’re after a smaller ride or something with a bit more legroom. Ford was rated three stars in most categories this year, including reliability, after sale service and overall satisfaction.
SUVs offer motorists a middle ground between plenty of cargo space and leg room, without having to go for a larger 4WD option, making them perfect for both those long car trips and short dashes through the city centre. But with plenty of manufacturers jumping on the SUV bandwagon, as well as offering electric or hybrid models, Aussie motorists are almost spoilt for choice when it comes to finding one to drive off the dealership lot. As a result, which SUV you decide to call your own will come down to your individual preferences, your driving habits and of course your budget, meaning it’s best to shop around to find the most suitable option for your lifestyle.
In our survey, respondents stated that lifestyle reasons and style were the biggest factors in which brand they chose, with size, price and safety ratings trailing behind. With SUVs that middle of the road option, it’s not surprising that many motorists are picking one up for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, there is a lot to consider when it comes to picking up a new car, so be sure to take your time, as well as book in a test drive, before you sign on the dotted line.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Canstar Blue surveyed 9,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have bought a brand new SUV from a dealership in the last 3 years – in this case, 857 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
SUV + 4WD