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Family-size SUVs are perfect for New Zealand road trips, so it’s no surprise that they top the list of best-selling new vehicles on the road today. If North Island and South Island getaways are your thing, a family SUV can accommodate everyone and all your gear for on-road and AWD adventures.
What makes SUVs the right choice for family road trips?
The biggest family SUVs can seat 7 or 8 people comfortably with leg space to stretch out and head space to look about. In addition, the latest family SUVs are built for entertainment as well as comfort and are designed for convenient connectivity with the latest technology. In a modern family SUV, the journey really is part of the destination. Here are 8 new family SUV driver favourites that are streets ahead of the competition.
- GWM H6
- Toyota Highlander
- Kia Sorento
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Honda CR-V
- Mazda CX-5
1. GWM H6
It didn’t take long for us to realise that the GWM H6 is the total package for looks, performance, and value for money. GWM has spared no expense on the best European and Asian safety and technology features including a second-generation 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for dramatically improved throttle response and crisp gear shifts. Plus, the intelligent 4WD system can redistribute torque between front and rear axles 50/50 to ensure maximum grip in the most challenging New Zealand conditions.
We appreciated the easy-to-use driver assist programs that help the H6 and H6GT hatchback perform beautifully in both urban and off-road situations. This midsize SUV is suitable for up to five people for a safe and comfortable ride. Supported by the latest safety technology, the GWM H6 is a wishlist favourite you can have confidence in, supported by an extended 7-year warranty.
2. Toyota Highlander
Admiring the new seven-seat Toyota Highlander comes easy. First impressions matter, and this stylish SUV is enhanced with striking exterior refinements that include a black trapezoidal grille, black wheel arch mouldings, and sleek roof rails. We felt visibly safer on the road courtesy of the LED Daytime Running lights and LED Fog Lights, and the muscular Highlander posture showed other road users that we mean business.
The driver’s seat felt made-to-measure, and the rear seats were also comfy. The Highlander Limited’s athletic 18” two-tone machine-finished wheels had heads turning, and with seven exterior colours to choose from, there’s bound to be a Highlander that suits your style. Highly recommended.
3. Kia Sorento
If hybrid electric car fuel economy is your thing, the Kia Sorento is definitely worth a look. The Kia Sorento Hybrid EX includes turbocharged performance for a powerful all-wheel-drive experience. Eye-catching rugged design elements include 19” alloy wheels for road-hugging confidence, and we enjoyed the easy-to-use driver assist features that include front and rear parking sensors and highway driving assist.
Kia has been a New Zealand favourite new car brand for decades, and the Kia Sorento is a hybrid SUV built for the future. Touchscreen navigation is simple, and special features worth mentioning include the panoramic sunroof, 2nd-row captain’s chairs, iPhone and Android connectivity, and a smart power tailgate.
4. Mitsubishi Outlander
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid continues to win awards and accolades for design, style, driving dynamics, towing capacity, and new vehicle technology. We wanted to experience it all for ourselves, and the results didn’t disappoint. The Mitsubishi Outlander hits the sweet spot for Kiwi drivers. For starters, the driving position and driving experience feel rugged and reliable as a tried and tested favourite should. The highly engineered powertrain encouraged optimal torque on all Kiwi road conditions, with unparalleled versatility to adapt to different road surfaces. Now available with a hybrid SUV drivetrain, the Mitsubishi Outlander is an all-rounder worth taking for a test drive.
5. Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe is a Hyundai icon worth knowing about, and a favourite SUV model in New Zealand. The new Hyundai Santa Fe is bigger and more rugged than previous models, and safety remains a top priority. To meet Kiwi demand, the roomy family Santa Fe SUV has been ingeniously reconfigured in both hybrid and PHEV versions. We found that the Hyundai Santa Fe ticked all the boxes for comfort, style, and performance at the right price for Kiwi drivers.
6. Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq is making inroads in New Zealand as one of the best family SUVs available, with trusted safety and reliability all part of the equation. This is one of our family-favourite 7-seaters worth knowing about, redesigned with new features that create a roomy feel and improve all-round functionality. We appreciated the third-row seat legroom and ample boot space cargo area for big family car vacations, plus state-of-the-art technology and infotainment systems to keep everyone occupied and comfortable while on the road. Step out of your comfort zone and into a whole new world of driving pleasure with a Skoda 7-seat SUV.
7. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V hybrid system SUV offers more of everything. We enjoyed the convenience of the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology offered as standard equipment, and the surprisingly spacious interior with plenty of leg room. The luxury leather heated front seats and plush second row seats felt just right, and that was all before discovering additional features such as the driver seat memory system and the panoramic sunroof.
On the open road, the turbo engine means serious business for an invigorating experience behind the wheel. Honda has been a favourite for decades, and this hybrid SUV is right up there with the best Hondas that New Zealand drivers know and trust.
8. Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 redefined the modern SUV as we know it today. The all-new Mazda CX-5 continues to rewrite history when it comes to style, technology, safety, comfort, and fuel efficiency. We found the Mazda CX-5 a pleasure when manoeuvring through busy inner-city streets or exploring rugged New Zealand terrain.
The CX-5 has been reimagined, with the sleek front end, signature wing, and 3D textured grill all turning heads. Next-generation technology guarantees a smooth and quiet ride, even when testing out the torque on the open road. If style and practicality are your considerations, the Mazda CX-5 is a worthy addition to your top ten SUV list.
Are prestige auto manufacturers making SUVs?
Petrol, electric, and hybrid SUVs are the way forward. The expected makes such as Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, and Subaru are being joined by the latest offerings from Volvo, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Tesla, and Range Rover. Petrol, diesel, hybrid, and electric SUVs are here to stay in New Zealand, and the new car options are better than ever.
Are large family SUVs economical?
They certainly can be, Hybrid petrol/electric SUVs, for example, are a popular option with people who want peace of mind on the open road and savings at the pump. Use battery pack electricity for commuting to work daily, and petrol power on weekend adventures away.
Article written by Innovate Online