Best AWD SUV in 2016

Moving Well | RACV | Posted on 21 February 2017

Australia’s best cars 2015: AWD SUV $50,000 - $65,000

Winner: Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 150 SE

This is a quality field so all credit to Discovery Sport for taking it out. It received a new power-plant in 2016, with the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel replaced by a 2.0-litre engine which delivers identical power of 110kW. It does drop 40Nm of torque to still a healthy 380Nm. The positives of the new unit are the virtual elimination of turbo lag, considerably improved fuel economy – a meagre 5.3L/100km on the official combined test cycle – and significant noise, vibration and harshness refinements.

On the road the Disco Sport has very communicative steering, little body roll and a firm but compliant ride that’s able to absorb significant potholes.  And its off-road performance is well above anything the other finalists can produce. It has better approach and departure angles, greater wheel articulation and a switchable all-terrain system. Add to that roll-over stability and hill descent control and you have probably more capability than any of the other vehicles here are likely to see.

Discovery Sport also delivers in convenience, connectivity and safety. The safety list includes seven airbags plus a pedestrian airbag in the bonnet, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.

Best AWD SUV $50,000 - $65,000

Best AWD SUV $50,000 - $65,000

WEIGHTING

Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 150 SE

Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 150 SE

This much-improved Land Rover has a new engine, and is dressed for success on road and off.
Kia Sorento Platinum

Kia Sorento Platinum

For anything other than off-road adventuring, it’s hard to fault Kia Sorento.
Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander CRDi

Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander CRDi

The Santa Fe has unique styling, features and characteristics to sway buyers its way.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Pricing

High

5

5

5

Cost of depreciation ($)

Medium

7

5

6

Running and repair costs

Medium

7

5

6

Fuel consumption

Medium

9

5

5

Warranty and dealer access

Medium

2

9

8

Insurance

Low

6

7

6

Standard features

High

8

8

9

DESIGN AND FUNCTION
Safety

Critical

9

10

9

Environment

Critical

7

5

5

Seating comfort

High

7

8

8

Space

Medium

6

7

7

Practicality

High

8

9

9

Ergonomics

High

8

8

9

Build and finish quality

High

8

8

7

ON THE ROAD
Performance

Medium

5

6

6

Ride

High

7

7

7

Handling

High

8

7

7

Braking

Medium

7

6

6

Smoothness and quietness

Medium

9

8

7

Off-road ability

Medium

8

6

6

OVERALL AVERAGE

884

872

868

Australia’s best cars 2015: AWD SUV $65,000 - $125,000

Winner: Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d

New to market in 2016 as a replacement for the GLK, the GLC utilises Mercedes’ C-Class sedan’s accomplished platform and drivetrains. Stretched to suit its SUV design brief, the GLC gives rear-seat passengers 60 millimetres more space overall by way of better leg and head room and a higher rear seating position.

Under the bonnet is a 2.1-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel pumping out 150kW and 500Nm and driving through a nine-speed automatic and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. You don’t equate impressive fuel economy with anything larger than a compact SUV, but the GLC can claim an ADR combined cycle figure of just 5.7L/100km.    

Inside, style meets comfort: leather-appointed, powered front seats; well-finished dash; the latest connectivity and clear, commanding vision forward and to the sides.

The ride is rather firm, not surprisingly given the taut suspension and tall 20-inch alloys, particularly over corrugations and expansion joins.

But a firm ride usually equates to sharper handling and, although not quite as dynamic as the F-PACE, the Merc feels agile and athletic on a twisty back road, turning in smartly while offering plenty of reassuring grip and traction.

Best AWD SUV $65,000 - $125,000

Best AWD SUV $65,000 - $125,000

WEIGHTING

Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d

Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d

By doing most things well, the new Mercedes GLC is a sensible bottom-line buy.
Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription

Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription

Comfort reigns supreme in an SUV that also scores 10 out of 10 for safety.
Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 30d

Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 30d

It’s no surprise that Jaguar’s first SUV is quite a performer.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Pricing

High

7

4

4

Cost of depreciation ($)

High

7

4

4

Running and repair costs

Low

3

4

5

Fuel consumption

Medium

9

8

8

Warranty and dealer access

Medium

2

2

2

Insurance

Low

8

5

4

Standard features

High

8

9

6

DESIGN AND FUNCTION
Safety

Critical

10

10

9

Environment

Critical

7

6

7

Seating comfort

Critical

7

8

8

Space

High

6

7

6

Practicality

High

7

7

5

Ergonomics

High

7

9

8

Build and finish quality

Critical

7

8

8

ON THE ROAD
Performance

High

6

6

8

Ride

Critical

7

7

6

Handling

High

8

6

9

Braking

Medium

7

7

8

Smoothness and quietness

High

7

7

7

Off-road ability

High

6

6

6

OVERALL AVERAGE

1026

996

974