Mazda CX-9 Luxury AWD
The Mazda entry is undoubtedly the priciest, but really does earn its luxury tag. It has a 5.8” LCD display in 100% colour, CD stereo, Bluetooth and is all powered by a Bose 10 speaker system. You won’t feel chilly in the winter months with heated seats, too. It boasts a 3.7L V6 petrol engine giving it a fluid feel. If you like bells and whistles and don’t mind the hefty price tag ($57,480) and fairly boggy fuel economy (11.2L/100km) it’s a solid choice.
Hyundai Santa Fe Diesel
The Hyundai is almost a 180 from the Mazda, coming in $16,000 lighter and likely to save you even more on fuel with an economy of 7.3L/100km. It’s a steady and durable ride and a 2.2L four-cylinder turbo is quite capable in a variety of settings. The seating split into 40/20/40 is a good touch and they really take care of passengers, giving them their own fan and A/C controls. It comes in handy when your passengers complain of aches and bumps – it’s not exactly big on creature comforts in that respect. At least you have a generous capped-price servicing agreement on offer.
Ford Territory Diesel
The Territory Diesel is a sturdy turbo V6 but falls short of the benchmarks such as the Mazda and Hyundai. But its redeeming feature is the comfort on offer inside for the family. It has an insane 30 storage slots, a five-star ANCAP safety rating and an 8” colour touchscreen that connects to Ford’s own Sync 2 applications. The ride is smooth and the seats will stay comfortable long after the kids have tired themselves with cries of “are we there yet?” If you are a long-hauler, the Ford Territory is your go to choice for large SUV. That’s in full view of a slightly high fuel thirst (8.2L/100km combined), though.
Kia Sorento Diesel
The Kia Sorento is a great find if you’re not content with the flashy exterior upgrades of its cousins mentioned here, opting for old-school squarer designs. It comes with a six-speed sports auto and 2.2L over four cylinders. The interior doesn’t inspire a torrent of words, and the steering is underwhelming at the best of times. Why consider it? Because it has superior fuel economy and capped servicing. It only sips 7.3L/100km and the cost of three years of servicing is $1064.