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We are having our third child soon and would like to upgrade our car so that we can fit everyone in properly. Seven seats would be great so that we can fit in an extra person when required. We would like the car to last us for 7-8 years at least, and we drive approx 15000km per year. My husband doesn't like the look of people movers so we are looking at SUV's, in particular the Ford Territory, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Our main considerations are budget (30k tops but the less the better!), space and fuel economy/environment. The Ford Territory 2004-05 models seem to be a bit cheaper than the other options, perhaps because we have also seen them at car auctions and in private sales? It looks like we could get a moderately low mileage Ghia for $25k but I am concerned about the petrol cost over the next few years.

The Santa Fe and Outlander seem to have less leg space in the back than the Territory, but we could manage OK with this. The smaller engine size or diesel options may provide cost savings though. Is it worth us getting a 7-seater Santa Fe diesel? We notice it has done well in the AA Energywise rally. Does it have enough power for the size?

From the "Ask Jack" archives - 29 October 2009
Do you have any advice for us?



The Territory ticks a lot of boxes except fuel consumption in my opinion. The vehicle is a past two time supreme winner of the AA Motoring Excellence Awards and when launched new was a top seller. Efforts have been made since the car entered the market to improve the fuel consumption based mainly around the transmission so you would need to be looking at a fairly late model to be getting the most up to date modifications and therefore the best fuel economy.

Towards the end of the last calendar year the new Outlander had become the best selling SUV on the market and can be purchased with either a 2.4 or a 3.0 litre engine.

The Hyundai is also a very good vehicle and the fact it is available with a diesel engine certainly reduces the fuel consumption dramatically. You need to be a little careful however as you need to pay Road User Charges (approx $36 per 1000km's plus an administration fee of approx $10), the annual registration is higher and service costs can be more expensive. In general the greater the distance you travel per year the more financial viable diesel becomes. Certainly the diesel has its benefits when it comes to towing or when loaded with lots of low down torque and fuel consumption would remain fairly consistent.

The Government fuel saver site lists the following fuel consumption figures;

Territory (around 2004 models) 13.5 L/100km's.
Outlander - 2.4 litre 9.3 L/100km's.
Outlander - 3.0 litre 10.9 L/100km's.
Santa Fe - 7.0 L /100km's

Remember around town on a cold engine the fuel consumption of all three would be considerably higher than that listed above.

It's a buyer's market at the moment so don't be afraid to negotiate on the price. For this reason I suggest you have a good look at what is available from dealers yards. You should get a good deal and have the added bonus of being covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act if anything was to go wrong a short time after the sale. There are no such warranties when buying privately or through an auction.