Peugeot used its best weapon – style – to create an SUV for an excellent price ($33,990 + On Road Costs – ORC) using a Common Modular Platform before adding its compelling design. The end result: a compact SUV that stands out from the crowd in a competitive market. The exterior has triangular accents, a bold grille and claw-like tail lights. The signature ‘i-Cockpit’ features a high-end futuristic 3D instrument cluster that must be seen to be believed. Coco Chanel once said: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” The 2008 does just that.
Toyota Yaris GX Hybrid
The pint-sized Yaris was well overdue for a refresh but it was worth the wait.
The Japanese manufacturer gave us far more than we expected, and now offers the Yaris in multiple variants. The stand-out is the entry-level GX Hybrid – a sub-$30,000 hatch with outstanding frugality; it consumes just 3.3-litres over 100km.
Multivan Cruise T6.1
We were very impressed with the VW Multivan Cruise, which raises the bar when it comes to passenger transport. It includes a host of enticing safety aids as standard, such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist.
The true stars of the show with this retro reincarnation are its rear seats which can be rotated to face each other, and the foldaway circular table that’s perfect for card games, a picnic, or even an occasional home office while on the move.
Hyundai i30 N Fastback
Based on the i30 N hot hatch, the new Fastback has that special something that gives it an edge. Aside from the obvious coupe-like rear, the Fastback adds more space, a sunroof, a higher spec and comfort-focused ride. The i30 N Fastback appeals to the sophisticated sports car buyer; it’s seriously fun, looks outstanding and is priced competitively at under $60,000 (before ORC).
One of the funner cars we drove in 2020 was the MINI Electric. MINI has always been renowned for its excitement on the road and for its go kart feeling, and this isn’t lost in the emissions-free package. Oh what fun we had on our launch test! This car is thrilling to drive, goes very fast and looks outstanding. The claimed range sits around 233km and, at $59,990, it comes at a lower price point than the extremely popular Nissan Leaf.
Perhaps one of the best new SUVs to be launched on the back of 2020 is the fourth-generation Kia Sorento. Paired with a larger body to maximise cargo space, the new platform ensures the Sorento is one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs on the market, providing ample room for seven occupants and their luggage. We enjoyed this one because it’s big, looks great, is easy to drive and has some pretty cool technology.
One of the largest utes released in 2020, Isuzu has gone all out and transitioned from cheap, tough work utility vehicle to one that’s refined and full of tech, albeit at a higher price. A large array of safety features are added as standard across the range and there are an impressive 105 different configurations to choose from to get the ute you want. We love the fit and finish of the D-Max. It has a great balance of on- and off-road poise and capability and also has a better turning circle than most other utes on the market.
The Mazda CX-30 is a compact SUV that sits between two of Mazda’s other SUVs – the CX-3 and CX-5. Its build quality and good looks made the crossover one of our favourite cars to drive in 2020. Four variants are on offer, from the FWD GSX to the AWD Takami, which boasts a new system combining petrol and diesel technologies to help create the ‘ideal combustion engine.’ We tested all of the variants and each was a pleasure to drive.
Mercedes-Benz GLB 250
The seven-seat Mercedes-Benz GLB was our pick of the best luxury SUVs for 2020. The GLB is designed to sit between the smaller GLA and the larger GLC and has a tall, boxy look that equates to excellent driver visibility. As you might expect from Mercedes, the GLB 250 comes kitted out with all the latest mod cons including a superb infotainment system and wireless phone charging as standard. The two-litre inline-four turbocharged engine is paired to an 8G-DCT eight-speed transmission that powers the 4MATIC AWD system.
MG ZS EV
MG Motor New Zealand cut the price of the MG ZS EV before deliveries began, with the idea of attracting more New Zealanders to EV technology. With a sub-$50,000 price tag and a claimed range of 263km on a full charge, this medium-sized SUV certainly has the potential to tempt buyers over to the ‘green side.’ The cabin is well equipped, with heated front seats and an electric adjustable driver’s seat. The 44.5kWh battery creates 105kW of power and 353Nm of torque, and allows the 1,966kg car to get from zero to 100km/h in just 8.2 seconds.
Reported for our AA Directions Autumn 2021 issue
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