2010 Review Seven Sporty SUV’s for the adventurous lifestyle

Subaru started the trend many years ago of the AWD SUV wagon that blends wagon versatility with the safety and flexibility of all wheel drive. Suzuki and Toyota then took up the challenge and between them they have created a buyers niche that has taken the market by storm.

Seven Sporty SUV’s for the adventurous lifestyle – Rob Fraser Reviews

Subaru started the trend many years ago of the AWD SUV wagon that blends wagon versatility with the safety and flexibility of all wheel drive. Suzuki and Toyota then took up the challenge and between them they have created a buyers niche that has taken the market by storm.

Small and medium sized AWD SUV’s have been the success story of the last 5 years and now almost every manufacturer has one or more in their line up. For many families they have replaced the traditional sedan and in fact have almost killed off the normal station wagon. They are popular because they fill a demand. Drivers want the promise of adventure without sacrificing daily comforts.

Here we choose some of our favourites amongst the many available.

VW Tiguan 2.0L TDI 6 Sp DSG

The VW Tiguan is a stylish Euro AWD SUV for the urban jungle with one diesel and two petrol engines available. The 103kw 2.0L diesel, 125kw and 147kw TSi petrol motors all come with either a 6-speed manual or VW’s clever 6 speed DSG transmission.

The Tiguan is a 5 seat AWD (4MOTION) SUV with a MLP starting at $33,990. It comes standard with heaps of features but like most European vehicles the options list is comprehensive and expensive.

The Tiguan combines stylish design, a premium level of comfort and agility, dynamic chassis properties and high levels of both active and passive safety, having a five star Euro NCAP safety rating. All models come standard packed with safety features.

VW Tiguan 2.0L TDI 6 Sp DSG

Internal comfort is well catered for with power windows all around, 6 cup holders as well as 1L bottle holders in the front door pockets, semi automatic air-conditioning, MP3 compatible CD player, auxiliary input, audio functions on steering wheel. In addition to this there is an abundance of storage areas and six tie down hooks in the luggage compartment, which is protected by a removable hard cover.

The Tiguan has an overall length of 4427mm, wheelbase of 2604mm, width of 1809mm and height of 1683mm. The ground clearance is 200mm and the Tare mass is 1650kg.
Our pick is the 2.0L TDi with 6-speed DSG Transmission which produces 103kw @ 4200 and 320Nm @ 1750 – 2500. The Euro IV-compliant engine delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 7.4L/100km and produces 209g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3-stars.

With a MLP of $39,190, it has great performance, stylish looks, plenty of interior space and VW’s 3yr 100,000km warranty

The BMW X3 is a stylish smaller SUV that seats 5 and is based on the extremely successful X5. In December 2008 BMW upgraded with two new model designations: Exclusive Edition and Lifestyle Edition.

The X3 comes with a choice of 2 efficient and powerful diesel motors and 2 six cylinder-petrol engines that are engineering brilliance. All motors are mated to a six speed automatic transmission.
Internally it is typically BMW in that it is comfortable, somewhat austere but everything works as it should and is designed for unobtrusive ease of use.

The Exclusive Package option includes: BMW light alloy 18” wheels; Walnut light fine wood trim; electric front seats with memory function for driver’s seat; front seat heating; Bi-Xenon headlights including headlight washer system; and, Exterior Lights Package.

BMW x3 2.0d int

The X3 has an overall length of 4569mm, wheelbase of 2795mm, width of 1853mm and height of 1674mm. The ground clearance is 200mm and the Tare mass is 1750kg.
Our pick is the xDrive 20d exclusive edition with 6-speed automatic transmission which produces 130kw @ 4000rpm and 350Nm @ 1750rpm. The Euro IV-compliant engine delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 6.7L/100km and produces 178g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3 1/2-stars.
With a MLP of just under $65,000, for the xDrive 20d exclusive edition it is at the more expensive end of the market. Typically though the more you drive it the more you appreciate it. Often bought just for the BMW badge it is a sophisticated, comfortable and safe SUV for the family. It comes with BMW 2 yr unlimited km warranty with 24/7 roadside assist.

The new generation Subaru Outback is sizing up inside, with a spacious new cabin, refined ride and multiple engineering changes. Widely respected for its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive ability, the Outback is now truly a 5 seat family tourer.

With a choice of 4 and 6 cylinder boxer motors and a CVT, 5-speed automatic and 5 speed manual transmission there is ample choice. The range was completed in November with the introduction of Subaru Australia’s first diesel model, the turbocharged Outback 2.0D.

Australia’s original crossover wagon maintains its super-safe status with a five-star ANCAP occupant safety rating. It has all the acronyms you could possibly think of in terms of safety. Vehicle Dynamics Control, Subaru’s electronic stability program, is standard across the range.

Internally the Outback is full of features that you would pay thousands for with some other manufacturers. Suffice to say it is a very comfortable place to sit, with the driver’s position being one of the best I have experienced.
The Outback has an overall length of 4790mm, wheelbase of 2745mm, width of 1820mm and height of 1615mm. The ground clearance is 213mm and the Tare mass is 1536kg.

Our pick is the Outback 3.6R boxer with SatNav automatic wagon with 5-speed automatic transmission which produces 191kw @ 5600rpm and 350Nm @ 4400rpm. It delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 10.3L/100km and produces 242g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3 1/2-stars.
With a MLP of just under $55990, for the 3.6R Premium it represents awesome value. Subaru continue to produce outstanding quality vehicles that fit their purpose perfectly. It comes with Subaru 3 year unlimited km warranty with 24/7 roadside assist

Hyundai’s upgraded MY10 Sante Fe features a muscular look. Already well equipped for the price the MY10 adds enhanced safety features, new styling cues, upgraded interior design and comfort and suspension which has been dynamically optimised for Australian road conditions.
It comes with the same ‘R’ series 2.2L diesel motor and 6-speed manual or automatic transmission as the Sorento. The 4WD is a single ratio (high range) 4WD system, with a default status that delivers 100% of engine torque to the front wheels. ’Lock Mode’ splits the torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles for better stability and maintain that split up to a speed of 30 kmh.

With a 5-Star ANCAP rating it is equipped with dual front airbags, dual front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (linked to rollover sensors as well as impact sensors) maximise head protection for all occupants.
The Sante Fe has an overall length of 4675mm, wheelbase of 2700mm, width of 1890mm and height of 1795mm. The ground clearance is 203mm and the Tare mass is 1996kg.
Our pick is the high-tech R-series 2.2l turbo diesel engine with 6-speed automatic transmission. It produces 145kW @3,8000rpm and an astounding 436Nm from 1,800 – 2,500rpmtorque. The engine delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 7.4L/100km and produces 194g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3-stars.
Sante Fe has a MLP of $48,490 for the Highlander ‘R’ Series 2.2L diesel with 6-speed automatic. The Sante Fe comes Hyundai’s amazing 5 yr Unlimited km warranty, stylish looks, great performance and interior space.

The Land Rover Freelander 2 is designed to be more than a show SUV as it has the brilliant Terrain response system, which makes AWD simple. It has a choice of 3.2L V6 petrol or a 2.2L TD4e diesel motor with either a sophisticated 6 speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual with the new intelligent stop/start system.
The Freelander 2 is a 5 seat AWD (Terrain Response) SUV that is as capable as many larger 4wd’s with Landover’s Full-time intelligent 4×4 transmission optimising traction and economy, featuring new electronically-controlled centre coupling.

Internally the front elevated seats have good under-thigh and back support, plus strong side bolsters to give excellent lateral support, Six-way adjustment is standard on all driver seats, including height adjustment. The HSE especially is full of features for the price.

Safety features include seven airbags, traction aids, including ETC, DSC, HDC, ABS, EBD, EBA, CBC, and Roll Stability Control system.

The Freelander 11 has an overall length of 4500mm, wheelbase of 2660mm, width of 2180mm and height of 1740mm. The ground clearance is 220mm and the Tare mass is 1770kg.
Our pick is the 2.2L TD4e HSE with 6-speed automatic transmission which produces 118kw @ 4000rpm and 400Nm @ 1750 – 2500rpm. The Euro IV-compliant engine delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 7.9L/100km and produces 214g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3-stars.

With a MLP of $45,590, for the TD4e it is the SUV to buy when you want to do more than play at 4wd. In many ways it sets the benchmark in handling, performance and versatility and comes with Land Rover’s 3yr 100,000km warranty

Kia’s all new 7 seat SUV Sorento is modern and crisp in its styling. Launched in October 2009 the new Sorento loses the superseded models 4wd credentials but significantly lifts the comfort stakes.

It comes with a choice of 2.4L petrol or 2.2L diesel motors with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. The 4WD is a single ratio (high range) 4WD system, with a default status that delivers 100% of engine torque to the front wheels. ’Lock Mode’ splits the torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles for better stability and maintain that split up to a speed of 30 kmh.

With a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating it is equipped with dual front airbags, dual front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (linked to rollover sensors as well as impact sensors) maximise head protection for all occupants.

Inside styling has an entirely new ambience. Immediate impressions are of the cabin’s generous proportions, sweeping dashboard design, high-quality fit, discreet trim accents, leather and the availability of numerous high-tech features.

The Sorento has an overall length of 4685mm, wheelbase of 2700mm, width of 1885mm and height of 1710mm. The ground clearance is 184mm and the Tare mass is 1959kg.
Our pick is the high-tech R-series 2.2l turbo diesel engine with 6-speed automatic transmission. It produces 145kW @3,8000rpm and an astounding 436Nm from 1,800 – 2,500rpmtorque. The engine delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 7.4L/100km and produces 194g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3-stars.

Sorento has a MLP of $48,990 for the Sorento Platinum ‘R’ Series 2.2L diesel with 6 speed automatic. The Sorento comes Kia’s amazing 5 yr Unlimited km warranty, stylish looks, great performance and interior space.

Holden’s Captiva range was introduced in October 06 and was their first stylish modern SUV-style offering in Australia. It is fairly large for a SUV being close in exterior dimensions to the BMW X5 and offers five or seven-seat capacity depending on the model.

It comes with a choice of 3.2L V6 petrol or 2.0L diesel motors with a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. There is even a premium model the Captiva MAXX with European flair. Holden will add a new Captiva five-seater to its popular SUV range in December this year.
Captiva 5 will be powered by a 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine and will be available as a 2WD with manual transmission or an AWD with automatic transmission.

Internal space is maximised comfortably accommodating five or seven people, depending on model. Fold flat seating transforms the vehicle from a family-friendly wagon to a versatile and adaptable load carrier. Tinted windows, power-operated all round, cruise control, power mirrors and air conditioning with particle filter are standard. Captiva boasts a competitive feature and safety list.

The Captiva has an overall length of 4637mm, wheelbase of 2707mm, width of 2110mm and height of 1720mm. The ground clearance is 200mm and the Tare mass is 1805kg.

Our pick is the 3.2L V6 motor AWD with 5-speed automatic transmission which produces 169kw @ 6600rpm and 297Nm @ 3200rpm. The engine delivers fuel consumption (ADR Combined) of just 11.6L/100km and produces 278g/km of CO2 emissions. The Green Vehicle Guide rating is 3-stars.

Captiva has a starting MLP of $27, 990 for the Captiva 5 with 5-speed manual. All Captiva’s come with Holden’s 3yr 100,000km warranty, stylish looks, great performance and interior space.

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About Rob Fraser 726 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, many years ago. He has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive.

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