Another set of eyes on the SUVs

The Road Ahead Editor Deb Eccleston test drives SUVs.

We are at two extremes of the automotive spectrum at the moment, with a small hatchback and a people mover occupying the driveway.

What I wouldn’t give for something in between, with enough room to ferry around three kids comfortably yet compact enough to cope with city traffic and unforgiving car parks.

I’ve learned that the term ‘small’ means different things to different people in the SUV world.

When I saw the Hyundai Kona I questioned whether I’d confused the brief, as it looked more like a hatchback than an SUV. That said, though, there was enough room to seat three passengers in the back relatively comfortably.

And in terms of manoeuvrability, it was a dream to drive. Solid braking and steering, excellent visibility, attractive interior and exterior styling (including side mirrors that fold down automatically upon parking) completed the package.

The Nissan Qashqai was next level in terms of size and comfort. Far bigger than the Kona, it was a head-turner both inside and out. I wasn’t a fan of the push-button start and push-button handbrake, but aside from that it was definite contender.

With a centre console and armrest combo providing lounge chair comfort for the driver, I could have driven it for miles.

Overall, the Mitsubishi ASX was like vanilla ice cream – satisfying in flavour but in need of some additional toppings. The exterior styling was nice, but the interior was very basic. The ASX offered a smooth ride and handled in the way you’d expect from an SUV.

Rear split seats provided plenty of additional storage space.

The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ certainly applied to the Suzuki S Cross Turbo. The exterior wasn’t anything to write home about, but inside was a different story with its full leather interior and high-end dash.

Turbo in name and turbo in nature, the vehicle was not only smooth and comfortable on the school run, but had the grunt to satisfy the lead foot in the family.

My pick of the bunch? The Nissan Qashqai.

The Road Ahead thanks Dayboro Shed Antiques for its assistance with the photo shoot.