Drive Car of the Year 2018: Best Family SUV
Of all the categories in the 2018 Drive Car of the Year awards, presented by BP, the family SUV segment is the one which most resembles a conventional comparison test.
All five contenders are of (broadly) similar size, have similar sales aspirations, a similar target audience and operated within similar dynamic boundaries. Crucially, they also all offer seven-seat flexibility for growing families.
Price is possibly the major defining feature, with a roughly-$12,000 difference between the most and least expensive entrants.
Beyond that, however, and the standard equipment, performance and equipment comparisons that must be made, this category this year has the potential to be a real cat-fight.
How do they compare on price?
It’s interesting that Mazda has managed to occupy both halves of the playing field when it comes to pricing of its CX-9 (the category’s defending champion) and the CX-8 newcomer.
While the CX-9 is almost the most expensive car here at $51,390 ($51,757 as tested) the CX-8 runs away with the budget honours with a list price of $42,490 ($42,760 as tested).
But even the CX-9 leaves change from the purchase price of the Hyundai Santa Fe which will lighten your wallet to the tune of $54,000 ($54,690 as tested).
Both the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and Peugeot 5008 err towards the lower end of the price-scale at $45,490 and $44,490 respectively, but while everything else tested here featured just a few hundred dollars’ worth of extras (mainly metallic paint and carpet mats) the VW came absolutely loaded with optional gear, taking the as tested price to a CX-9-rivalling $51,790.
At $1600, the VW Driver Assistance Package adds adaptive cruise-control, blind-spot monitoring, auto high-beam and traffic-jam assist, while the pricey Luxury Pack at $4000 brings a powered driver’s seat, leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.