The Hyundai Kona.
The Hyundai Kona.

Which baby SUV should I buy to fit in my garage?

THE QUESTION

I'm looking to buy a new or near-new small SUV automatic front-drive, less than 4.25m long to fit in my townhouse garage. The only one to meet the criteria so far is the Suzuki Vitara. I want built-in navigation but would prefer a car without engine stop-start - my current VW Golf Mk7 has this and we find this feature annoying. Can you recommend any others? How do you rate the Vitara S Turbo?

Lynette Wallace

 

ANSWER

You've done your research. The Vitara is the closest to your requirements but we've listed others that almost make the grade, in case your preferences change. Some are short enough to fit in your garage but lack built-in navigation or have stop-start engine technology. Others are a touch too long but have features you want.

CHOICES

Suzuki Vitara Turbo, from $29,990 drive-away

Suzuki Vitara Turbo (2016 model shown). Picture: J
Suzuki Vitara Turbo (2016 model shown). Picture: J

The regular Vitara is available from $23,990 drive-away, the Turbo from $29,990 drive-away. Both are fun to drive and feel sure-footed in corners - or roundabouts - and are comfortable over bumps. Vision is good and the Vitara is roomy for its size. The Turbo has as much zip as a hot hatch. Dislikes: the touchscreen audio unit lacks a volume dial, the driver's power window lacks the Golf's "one touch, auto up", servicing costs are relatively expensive and Suzuki's recommended six month/10,000km intervals are shorter than most others.

Holden Trax, from $23,990 drive-away

Supplied Cars Holden Trax LTZ
Supplied Cars Holden Trax LTZ

This car is 7mm longer than you requested (4257mm) and lacks built-in navigation but it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that use maps from your smartphone. The turbo 1.4 is zippy (and, as requested, lacks stop-start tech), the six-speed automatic is a smooth operator and the service intervals aren't bad at nine months/ 15,000km. It has only a three-year warranty but keep an eye out - Holden has had five and seven-year warranty deals in recent months.

Hyundai Kona, from $26,990 drive-away

Supplied Cars Hyundai Kona base model. Picture: Supplied.
Supplied Cars Hyundai Kona base model. Picture: Supplied.

The Kona squeezes into your garage at 4165mm, has five-year warranty coverage, good 12 month/15,000km service intervals and low running costs. As with the Trax, it lacks built-in navigation but comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to mirror your phone maps on to the central display screen. The Hyundai has the option of autonomous emergency braking - not yet available on the Holden or the Suzuki - in a $1500 safety pack.

WILDCARD

Honda HR-V, from $26,490 drive-away

Supplied Cars Honda HR-V (2015). Photo: Supplied
Supplied Cars Honda HR-V (2015). Photo: Supplied

The HR-V is one of the roomiest in the city-SUV class but pokes 44mm beyond your specified length. It has built-in nav (but lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and there's no stop-start. Warranty is good at five years (or seven years when there is a promotion), service interval is 12 months/10,000km. That distance is a touch short but may suit your needs. Routine maintenance over three years costs almost double that of the Hyundai if you cover the average 15,000km annually.

VERDICT

The Vitara meets your criteria but the Kona has a longer warranty and lower running costs, although you'll need to tether your phone to load maps.



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