Tips for buying an SUV

By NRMA Motoring on 14 September 2016
Family SUV
SUVs have become the station wagon of our time. Families appreciate the lifestyle flexibility they provide along with the wide opening doors and higher seating positions that make fitting child restraints and capsules easier.

The higher floor in the cargo area also provides better access to prams, leisure equipment and for loading and unloading groceries.

Due to their popularity, the SUV market is filled with options. Brands such as Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Subaru and Audi all make viable models, but which one is right for you? Aside from cost, here are the things you should check when buying an SUV.

1. Check the ease of rear seat access. Do the seats tip or fold? How much usable load space is created?

2. Does the rear seat fold into a flat floor?

3. Is there a full-size or space-saver spare wheel?

4. Check the position and ease of child seat top tether points.

5. Does it have a reversing camera? You'll find the extra vision very useful.

6. Can you stand under the rear door? You'll realise its desirability when loading shopping bags at the supermarket in heavy rain.

7. How high is the load lip? This is important if you carry pets in the load area and handy if you want to slide groceries in and out of the vehicle.

8. Is there a light over the load area or rear seat area?

9. Are there power sockets for accessories such as tablet computers and where are they located?

10. Consider two-wheel-drive versions for better economy - they're like a traditional Aussie wagon on steroids.

11. If you have children, you might want rear ventilation and door pockets in the back of seats to keep their bits and pieces tidy. Check compartment size and if there are enough cup holders. If the car is a 7-seater, be sure to check there are airbags at the back of the vehicle.

12. Are the seats easy to clean when the kids spill their ice cream? Also consider what material will be most comfortable and durable.

13. Consider the shape of the back seat and whether it's entirely suitable for a child seat. Can someone sit comfortably in the middle seat?

What's the real cost of an SUV?

Use our NRMA car loans calculator to find your budget.