2017 Top 5 midsize SUVs under $45,000

With medium sized SUVs getting more popular by the day, we’ve put together 5 that ranked highly in our previous individual reviews and, in our opinion, the best of their class. All comes with 5 seats except for the Honda CR-V, which can be had with a 7-seat layout.

  1. Honda CR-V

Honda has put together a very compelling package with the 5th generation CR-V. It has made big strides in every aspect over its predecessor, especially in terms of drivetrain and refinement.

The new 140kW/240Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged direct-injected V-TEC engine is lively. It is matched with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is smooth and pairs well with the engine to mask the minor turbo lag.

The CR-V is well featured, stylish and with the first ever 7-seats offered on the VTi-L, there’s a CR-V to suit almost everyone.

Coupled with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and 5-year unlimited kilometer warranty, the new CR-V takes the deserving first spot.

Read Honda CR-V full review here

Pros Cons
  • Attractive packaging inside and out
  • Grainy engine at high revs
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Touchy brakes
  • Smooth drivetrain
  • Tight third-row seats
  • Plush ride
  • AEB and Forward Collision Warning only on range-topper
  • Third-row aircon vents
Safety 5-star ANCAP, 6 Airbags, Reverse Camera, Side Vision Camera, Trailer Sway Control, Driver Attention Detection, Tyre Pressure Sensor, Emergency Stop Signal, ABS, BA, TCS, EBD, HAS
Warranty5-years unlimited kilometre
  1. Mazda CX-5

If premium looks and quality is high on your list, then the latest Mazda CX-5 would fit the bill nicely. Everywhere you look and touch exudes that luxurious vibe that you get from cars costing significantly more.

There are also top-notch features such as heads-up display, Bose audio and powered tailgate – albeit on higher end variants.

The CX-5 backs this up with fine power and drivetrain consisting of a 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre direct-injected petrol, 140kW/251Nm 2.5-litre direct-injected petrol or 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel matched with a 6-speed transmission.

Mazda has also finally got it right in terms of NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness). The CX-5 now possesses a level of refinement not seen before with good road and engine noise suppression, as well as a delicate engine stop/start system.

Even more impressive is how Mazda has taken a large heavy car and taught it how to handle like a dream, putting some lighter hot hatches to shame.

Read Mazda CX-5 full review here

Pros Cons
  • Overall refinement
  • Engines still more vocal than some rivals
  • Premium quality and equipment
  • No digital speedo on lower grade models
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Good NVH
  • Good handling and dynamics
Safety 5-star ANCAP, 8 Airbags, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward/Reverse Smart City Brake Support, Reverse Camera, ABS, ESC, TCS, EBD
Warranty 3 years/unlimited kilometres
  1. Kia Sportage

Korean cars have come a long way from its early days of cheap and cheerless econo boxes. These days, with the help of European designers and engineers, Korean vehicles drive as well as they look. It’s backed by great reliability and resale, too.

The Kia Sportage is one such vehicle. It’s stylish, practical and generously equipped, and thanks to Kia’s local chassis tuning, the Sportage’s ride and handling is one of the better ones amongst a sea of SUVs.

Its proven range of powerplants ranging from a 114kW/192Nm 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol to the 136kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel are relatively refined and fuel-efficient.

Inside, the latest Sportage has better quality materials, a sensibly laid out dash and comfortable seating for five.

All these backed by a class-leading 7-years unlimited kilometer warranty and low serving costs make the Sportage a compelling proposition.

Read Kia Sportage full review here

Pros Cons
  • Improved materials and perceived quality
  • Steering lacks feel
  • Good ride and handling
  • AEB and Forward Collision Warning only on Platinum models
  • Comprehensive equipment
  • Diesel engine clatter
  • Visually appealing
  • Generous warranty
Safety 5-star ANCAP, 6 airbags, reverse sensors and camera, DSC, TCS, ABS, EBD, EBA, DBC (Downhill Brake Control), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), Tyre Pressure Monitoring (except Si), LED daytime running lights (except Si)
Warranty 7 years/unlimited kilometres
  1. Renault Koleos

The latest Renault Koleos underwent a significant makeover earlier this year and shed it dowdy looks for sleek new sheet metal. It’s a giant leap up in terms of design, space, features and drivetrain refinement.

Its Nissan X-Trail-sourced underpinnings and drivetrain bring the best of both worlds – bold European design with proven Japanese reliability.

Inside, the Koleos’ interior is slightly more upmarket compared to its Japanese and Korean counterparts, thanks to liberal use of soft touch materials and a customisable digital instrument cluster which is standard on all variants.

Its Nissan-built 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine delivers 126kW and 226Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels (or optionally all-wheels) via a smooth Continuously Variable Transmission.

There’s a generous level of standard equipment, too, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tyre pressure monitor and 7-inch touchscreen. However, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are limited to the range-topping Intens model.

All Renault models also come with 5 year, unlimited kilometer warranty for peace of mind.

Read Renault Koleos full review here

Pros Cons
  • Attractive design
  • Course engine when revved
  • Efficient powertrain
  • Minor ergonomic issues
  • Elegant interior
  • AEB only in range-topper
  • Spacious
Safety ANCAP not rated, 6 airbags, ABS, BA, EBD, ESC, reverse camera, rear parking sensors, ISOFIX
Warranty 5 years/unlimited kilometres
  1. Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai’s Tucson is a practical and reliable midsize SUV that shares its underpinnings with the Kia Sportage. While the Sportage will suit keen drivers, the Tucson is a little duller on the ride and handling front.

There’s a range of four engines, three transmission and two drivetrain layouts, so finding one that suit you shouldn’t be hard. Power outputs range from 114kW/192Nm from the 2.0-litre multi-point injection four-cylinder petrol to 136kW/400Nm from the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine.

Inside, the Tucson isn’t as inviting as the newer Kia Sportage, with a conservative cabin design and hard plastics. Still, it sits 5 comfortably with plenty of storage space. Built quality is also top notch.

Like the Koleos, AEB is only available on the range-topping Highlander. There are the usual mod cons we’ve come to expect from an urban SUV such as a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED DRL and cruise control.

All Hyundai’s come with 5 years, unlimited kilometer warranty.

Read Hyundai Tucson full review here

Pros Cons
  • Built quality and reliability
  • No embedded satellite navigation
  • Good ride quality and confident handling
  • AEB only in range-topper
  • Comfortable interior
Safety 5-star ANCAP, 6 airbags, ABS, ESC, TCS, EBD, BAS, VSM, Downhill Brake Control, Hill-start Assist Control, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera with dynamic guidelines, LED DRL, ISOFIX
Warranty 5 years/unlimited kilometres


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