People-movers are pretty passé, which explains the continual success of seven-seat crossover SUVs like the group tested here. We’ve assembled what we consider to be six of the best, with the added bonus that all are either new models or at least recently upgraded.

There’s the Hyundai Santa Fe and its related Kia Sorento cousin, the new Mazda CX-8, the left-field Peugeot 5008, stretched Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, and its Skoda Kodiaq twin-under-the-skin.

All of these are positioned as five-seaters with small, stowable third seating rows that can be pulled up and thrown into work at the drop of a hat. Many brands have identified this ‘5+2’ market as a sweet spot.

We’ve tested all of these in high-end specification levels, with the pricing as tested ranging between about $58,000 and $61,500 before on-road costs. Naturally, all can be had for much less if you’re willing to forgo some luxuries.


Pricing and equipment

Kicking things off is the Kodiaq Sportline wearing a list price of $52,990 before on-road costs. Next are the Tiguan Allspace Highline and 5008 GT at $54,490, Sorento GT-Line at $58,990 and Santa Fe Highlander at $60,500. The CX-8 Asaki is the most expensive at $61,490.

As you’d expect, all come absolutely loaded with equipment, as our table below shows in more digestible detail. Common features to all include 6–7 airbags (although the curtain bags don’t fully cover the third row in either the Kia or Hyundai), autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control.

All additionally come with 19-inch wheels, electric tailgate, LED headlights, proximity key, touchscreen (varying from 7.0-inch on the Mazda to 9.2-inch on the VW/Skoda), sat-nav, climate control with rear vents, and leather or Alcantara (suede) seat trim.

All come with blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and lane assist (extra-cost options on the Skoda as part of the Luxury Pack, standard on the rest), a 360-degree camera (optional on the VW/Skoda, standard on the rest), heated seats (optional on the Peugeot and Skoda, standard on the rest), and a sunroof (standard on the Hyundai, Kia and Mazda, options on the others).

All bar the Mazda get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto phone mirroring.

As you may see already, the Skoda is the cheapest car here but misses a few things, though at least you can get what you need through options. The aforementioned $3600 Luxury Pack has the safety tech flagged, plus that 360-degree camera, seat heating, and three-zone AC.

Skoda’s $3400 Tech Pack gives you adjustable dampers to change the ride quality, auto parking, a hands-free tailgate, an off-roading mode and a boosted audio system. Tick those boxes and it’s still not the priciest car here. Redemption? Sort of.

Meantime, the Peugeot’s Premium Package adds heated Nappa leather seats (with driver massage!) and a sunroof for $4000, while the VW’s $3000 Sound & Vision Package adds the coveted Active Info Display full digital instrumentation, the 360-degree camera and a boosted sound system.

The other trio? Just sparkly paint and, in the Hyundai’s case, a $295 impost for the dark beige trim inside.

In short, you’re not going to walk away from any of these on account of equipment, so long as you shop with care and spec your car right. Commendations do go to the Korean twins and the Mazda for making everything standard and keeping the options minimal, which in a world dominated by finance-backed purchases streamlines things greatly.

Hyundai Santa FeKia SorentoMazda CX-8
Variant HighlanderGT-LineAsaki
Price before on-roads $60,500$58,990$61,490
Price as tested$60,795$59,585$61,490
ANCAP rating N/A5/5 (2017)5/5 (2018)
Autonomous emergency brakingYes Yes Yes
Blind-spot monitorYesYes Yes
Rear cross-traffic alertYes YesYes
Lane-keeping aidYes Yes Yes
Surround-view Yes YesYes
Active cruise controlYes Yes Yes
Airbags666
Wheels19-inch 19-inch 19-inch
Spare wheelFull sizeFull size Temporary
Tailgate Electric Electric Electric
Headlights LEDLEDLED
Proximity key YesYesYes
Screen 8.0-inch  8.0-inch7.0-inch
Head-up displayYesNoYes
Sat-navYesYes Yes
Apple CarPlayYesYesNo
Android Auto YesYes No
Climate controlYesYes Yes
Rear ventsYes Yes Yes
Seat trimLeatherLeather Leather
Seat heating/coolingYes/YesYes/Yes  Yes/No
SunroofYesYes Yes
Peugeot
5008
Skoda KodiaqVW Tiguan Allspace
Variant GTSportlineHighline
Price before on-roads $54,490 $52,990$54,490
Price as tested$59,180$59,690$58,190
ANCAP rating N/A5/5 (2017)5/5 (2016)
Autonomous Emergency Braking Yes Yes Yes
Blind spot monitorYes OptionYes
Rear cross-traffic alertNoOptionYes
Lane-keeping aidYes OptionYes
Surround-view Yes OptionOption
Active cruise controlYes Yes Yes
Airbags677
Wheels19-inch 19-inch 19-inch
Spare wheelPatch kit Full size Temporary
Tailgate Electric Electric Electric
Headlights LEDLEDLED
Proximity key YesYesYes
Screen 8.0-inch9.2-inch9.2-inch
Head-up displayNoNoNo
Sat-navYes Yes Yes
Apple CarPlayYes Yes Yes
Android Auto Yes YesYes
Climate controlYes Yes Yes
Rear ventsYesYes Yes
Seat trimAlcantaraAlcantaraLeather
Seat heating/coolingOption/noOption/noYes/no
SunroofOption Option Option

Cabin design and space

Peugeot

The Peugeot 5008’s cabin has some elements that are best called avante-garde, others that are timeless chic, but none that are passé. It’s just delightful to behold, though issues do emerge.

Some of our favourite touches include the backlit blue piping, driver’s seat Cat’s Paw massage option, in-car fragrance dispenser, the grey felt surfaces everywhere and those wonderfully soft Nappa leather (optional) seats. It’s a minimalist masterpiece.

The ergonomics aren’t to all tastes, though. The dinner-plate-sized signature steering wheel feels great in a little car like the 208, but something this big? Polarising. And not all torso sizes are able to peek over the rim to see the ‘floating’ instrument binnacle, though I had no issues.

Those digital instruments come with a number of different display modes to keep things interesting, while the user interface on the centre screen is generally intuitive, albeit its fuzzy low-res’ reversing camera disappointed. Crucially, unlike the smaller 308, there are also physical buttons for the AC (rather than touchscreen-based submenus), which is a no-brainer.

Fit and finish are generally okay, though there were a few minor inconsistencies we found where panels didn’t meet perfectly. Clutching at straws? Yes. There’s not a heap of storage along the transmission tunnel, but the door bins are sizeable.

Where the 5008 is outmatched against this very strong competitor set is middle-row seat space. On the plus side, its middle row is the only one with three individually moving seats (33:33:33) and three ISOFIX anchors, but it has the least leg room, and that sunroof really eats into head room.

Those seat-back tray tables are a nice idea, but they’re too low for anyone but kids. Like the other cars on test you get sunblinds along the windows and rear vents/LED reading lights. Unlike some on test there are no rear USB points, but there’s a 12V at least. Fellow judge Mandy praised the easy outward visibility through those big side windows.

The third row is obviously tight-ish, too. Mandy drew the short straw because she’s, well, shorter than I am, and extremely kind. She said “knee room is non-existent (have to sit on an angle), though head room is good and it has the biggest space to climb in and out”. So, it’s a mixed bag on that count.

Joining Mandy and I on the test was Kez Casey, who found the Pug’s instruments “interesting”, liked the three individual middle sliding seats, called the centre console generous, and praised “real upper-crust stuff with Boost and Relax cabin ambience settings with massage, ambient lighting and fragrance settings”.

He did, however, flag the lack of a full blockout sunroof blind, the “tiny boot” with all three rows up, and the “upright row-two seat backrests, short seat base, but long slide adjustment”. His overall summary? “Quite successfully blurs the line between modern and luxe, but still some lower-quality plastics and alignment issues with trim pieces”.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen has some aspects that are best-in-class, namely the optional Active Info Display, a digital instrument cluster trickled down from Audi that shows you navigation and more. It also has a chic frameless rear-view mirror. Never gets old…

The large centre screen has novel gesture control (hand gestures control basic functions like the radio station menu), while in typical Volkswagen style the graphics on this slick, iPhone-esque set-up are very sombre and restrained in comparison to the more vivacious Skoda’s. It’s the epitome of ‘business premium’.

Some observations include the strange 360-degree camera display that takes some adjustment (the weird, blurry sides), the way the fascia’s geometric shapes are a departure from VW’s homogeneity, the tank-like build quality and door thunks, and the awesome flip-down roof cubbies that go some way to addressing the lack of sunroof.

The seat trim is a nice leather, though we thought the Skoda’s leather/Alcantara mix was nicer still, and noticed the harder plastic trims in the rear than the front. Back occupants get airplane-style tables that are more solid and higher-mounted than the Peugeot’s, and you also get a rear USB plug. Those middle-row seat bases are very long and supportive as well.

Third-row tester Mandy noted one cupholder and two storage bins, found knee room “not great”, called out the lack of vents or speakers, and said her head hit the roof. It’s very much aimed at people under 160cm.

Kez noted in the third row that “my head is on the ceiling, my knees are up against the second row, and there’s no room for my feet! This is really pretty bad (worse even than the 5008) and there are no third-row vents”. He did temper it by adding that the “boot is quite reasonable with three rows up, and the underfloor cargo blind storage is handy”.

Skoda

The Skoda obviously shares a lot with its Tiguan Allspace platform-mate, though it doesn’t yet get the Active Info Display (it soon will). It’s more well-made and workmanlike than the last word in style, though the brand’s signature ‘Simply Clever’ touches proliferate.

We’re referring to the double gloveboxes, umbrellas hidden in the front doors, LED torch tucked away in the cargo area, parking ticket holder on the windscreen, cute little rubbish bins in the doors, and the pièce de résistance: spring-loaded plastic things that prevent damage if you open the doors onto the car parked next door. Absolute genius.

“Seriously, this should be mandatory on everything,” Kez reckons.

That slick centre screen works just like the VW’s, but has much lairier and more interesting graphics and has ample processing power, while the overall look is tough, functional and minimalist. On the downside, the plastics act as veritable dust magnets, the inner door handle plastics are a bit creaky, and the plastic filler in the front seat headrest isn’t fitted very well.

In the middle row, there’s a heap of foot room, rear seat heating and temperature controls, a 12V input, and while the one-piece front seats meant the (otherwise standard) cool iPad holders have to go, the middle-row seats’ headrests have little cushiony bits that pull outwards to offer neck support – a bit like those naff half-donut plane pillow things.

Third-row canary in the coalmine Mandy said “head room is better than the CX-8”, cited the reading lights, and found knee room tight. In the boot, there are little levers to fold down the middle seats as with the others on test, and there’s a cargo-blind nook under the floor.

She also loved the heated back seat bases, while Kez liked the easy entry/egress into the third row and the fact there was a touch more head room than the VW despite the sunroof. He also liked the flocked door bins, and auto-up (one-touch) function on all windows.

Kez will kill me for writing this, but another note he sent said “The reversible centre console doodad makes sense on the side with cupholders/key holder, but flip it over and the shiny gripless tray side is rather pointless”. I think I get it?

Kia

If there were a phrase to sum up the Kia, it’d be ‘practical, spacious, well made, focused on utility and ease of use instead of mould-breaking style’. Wait, that’ll do… Everything is highly functional, but the red-on-black digital ventilation readout looks old school and the grainy black plastics err towards sombre.

That sunroof is absolutely massive, with kids in the back sure to love spring days, while the console and door pockets are spacious, the digital instruments are legible, the multi-angle parking camera crisp, and leather trim hard-wearing (and both heated and cooled up front, which is very nice). Family-focused all the way.

The touchscreen is pretty slick and has the de rigueur phone mirroring, but lacks a Qi wireless pad unlike the Santa Fe. This updated model has a slick new steering wheel and crisp digital instruments that simply ape an analogue look.

The rear seats sport a flat middle floor, rear seat-base heating and vents plus 12V/USB inputs. One thing Mum or Dad up the front may want to be wary of is the fact rear occupants can adjust the front passenger seat, because the car has a sort of ‘limo mode’.

Mandy applauded the reclining middle-row seats and blinds, and said the third row proved quite spacious. It’s more of a legitimate seven-seater than, say, the VW or Peugeot. The rear USB plug charged up her phone an additional 18 per cent in just 10 minutes.

Kez liked the “expansive knee and leg room in the second row” and the “full blockout sunblind” up front. “The third row has a very low seat base and low roof, leg and knee room are generous, but 165cm+ passengers won’t fit easily,” he said.

“It falls behind on quality of materials looking more dated and utilitarian than others,” he added. But there’s absolutely no shame focusing on practicality and space, which the Kia does.

Mazda

Second on the podium in the cabin area is the Mazda, which justifies its premium pricing by being exceedingly luxurious inside. We love the softness of the brown Nappa leather, fake wood inserts, and crisp head-up display with digital speedo and nav’ directions. It’s old-world luxury with modern tech.

Granted, the screen is the smallest here and the camera display is a little fuzzy, and while it has a slick little rotary dial to control the infotainment, it lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto unlike the others here. If you’re a tech-head, the CX-8 isn’t for you, probably.

In the middle row, the seats are mounted high, giving a commanding road view. Kez called it “stadium seating”. We liked the double map pockets, rear temperature controls, and the continuation of leather-bound luxury craftsmanship that doesn’t rip off passengers 3–7.

Mandy cited the rear climate control plus heated seats, and the pair of rear USB inputs. As for the third row? “Really comfy seats, deep storage and cupholders, speakers, no vents or connections, and knee room is good.”

Kez reckoned the middle position of row two was very high, but said the outboard seats were almost lounge-room chairs when it came to comfort, and praised the “Quality feeling … everything from padded front and rear door cards, soft leather, nice stitching details etc,” adding that the “Nappa leather and the rich colour scheme are very upmarket”.

Hyundai

But the best interior here belongs to the youngest car on test, the Hyundai. It’s a bit more upbeat, upmarket, contemporary and modern than the Kia and Mazda, ergo it gets the edge.

We dig the blue digital instruments, nice fake chrome inserts, cool leather dash and door inserts, gorgeous quilted graphite-coloured headlining, ambient cabin LEDs, Jaguar-aping wraparound cowling, Qi charger, ’Benz-style wavy speaker covers and fluffy sunglasses holder. Hyundai has made a genuine effort on form as well as function, which it has not always done.

In terms of space, my 201cm tall colleague Scott (not a typo) could sit behind me, at a comparatively short 193cm (6ft 3in), despite the panoramic sunroof. That’s good packaging. In a snippet? ‘Practical, attainable, yet thoughtfully premium’ sums it up.

Kez applauded the “very interesting (and complementary) mix of textures and finishes. The optional brown interior may not be to all tastes, but makes a nice change from basic black”.

“Real stitching on the dash and doors. Plenty of nice details and finishes, and the shelf ahead of the front seat passenger is a thoughtful touch. Trim quality exudes class, but still can’t match the Mazda,” he added.

He also said that the clever push-button access to the third row “couldn’t be simpler”, but added that the lack of seat-return memory is annoying. The third-row seat base is very low, but every other dimension is quite roomy for the class.

So…

For the more sensible elements, such as the different boot spaces, the table at the bottom of the story with dimensions tells a tale. However, in short, we decided to eschew the manufacturer-supplied figures (OEMs use a few different metrics) and just measure their dimensions.

The biggest-to-smallest cargo space lengths (meaning the edge of the boot to the middle seat-back, with the third row folded) were in order: Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Skoda, Volkswagen and then Peugeot. Interestingly, the humble Peugeot’s cargo area was the tallest and widest between the wheel arches, though, belying its small footprint overall.

So, to sum up, the Peugeot’s interior is très chic, and if you’ve got a young family, absolutely great. To call it last is a disservice; it’s just geared at a different audience. The Volkswagen and Skoda are obviously very close, the former edging the latter on tech, and the latter making up ground with its array of neat little touches.

The Kia may be a little austere, but it’s big, well made and unashamedly family focused, while the Mazda has a kind of mahogany bookshelf, crackling fire and Old Spice luxury to it, though lags with its cabin displays. That’s why the spacious, practical and yet both stylish and modern Hyundai takes the win. There are $100K luxury cars with inferior interiors.


Drivetrain performance

We’ve opted to drive all of these with turbocharged diesel engines geared towards weekend getaways. Engines running on diesel are more fuel efficient, especially in larger vehicles, and have a nice dose of torque from low down in the rev band, giving them a relaxed feel.

The engine with the lowest outputs here is the Peugeot 5008’s. It’s a 2.0-litre making 133kW of peak power and 400Nm and is rated to tow 1500kg. It’s matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.

These ‘low’ outputs are of course graded on a curve, and it’s worth noting that the Pug is also by some margin the lightest car on test (see table below), meaning the vital power-to-weight ratio comes back to the pack.

The driving experience is pleasant. The engine is quiet from inside the cabin, and it takes a very heavy right foot to feel vibrations through the wheel and seat.

The other major benefit is the fuel economy, which was the best here. On our combined-cycle test loop it averaged just 5.4 litres per 100km. That’s remarkably good. Hybrid-like.

Next are the VW Group twins, the Tiguan Allspace and Skoda Kodiaq. Both use a 2.0-litre with 140kW/400Nm matched with a seven-speed DSG (dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is more efficient and quicker-shifting, but can be less smooth in traffic).

The engine in both is a little clattery from outside at idle, but there’s plenty of insulation to keep occupants in serenity.

The DSG in each is extremely decisive once you’re rolling, but its integration with the stop/start system and the fact it suits a more progressive, rather than violent, pedal application mean you’ll find the odd jerk or hesitancy when diving into gaps.

Showing the importance of throttle tuning, the Volkswagen requires a little more pedal travel to get the same result as the Skoda.

This pair are below-average for kerb weight, with the Skoda the lighter of the pair. It was the fastest-accelerating on our test, and also slightly more efficient than the VW (we matched the factory claim of 5.9L/100km).

On the other hand, the Tiguan tows 2500kg – 500kg more than any other on test. Volkswagen went to the trouble of getting its factory tow bar rated to this capacity, and deserves a hat tip.

The Mazda is one of three cars on test running a 2.2-litre engine, and unlike the others it has two variable-geometry turbochargers, which operate either independently from one another or in tandem depending on engine speeds.

It produces 140kW and 450Nm, the highest peak torque figure here, and is matched to a six-speed automatic of the torque-converter type. Our fuel read was 10 per cent above the claim at a middling 6.6L/100km.

Despite weighing in excess of 200kg more than the Skoda, the CX-8 was the second-fastest car on test to 100km/h. It’s also extremely quiet and refined under load. To give you one example of why, the timing of fuel injection and subsequent combustion can be mapped out so as not to overlap points where parts that resonate are at their least smooth frequency. Nerd out.

The engine with the highest power figure is used in the Korean twins, the Santa Fe and Sorento. This long-lived but long-refined R-Series 2.2-litre makes 147kW plus torque of 440Nm (Hyundai) or 441Nm (Kia, which obviously uses a different dynamometer). Both get an in-house eight-speed automatic transmission.

These are the two heaviest cars on test, nudging two tonnes before you load them up, so naturally there’s a performance impact. It’s also less refined than the Mazda’s engine. However, it’s a powerful, strong and muscular unit that chugs happily along in most situations.

Both the official factory fuel-use claims and our test results were higher than the others on test, averaging out at 7L/100km. That’s still amazing for such big cars, we’d counter. Both are rated to tow 2000kg, though the Hyundai’s 150kg downball rating is 50kg higher than Kia’s.

All up, we’re very impressed with the Mazda’s diesel, and can see why the company brought this car here as a counterpoint to the petrol-only CX-9. It’s super refined, and balances performance with efficiency well. You can also argue that six gears is plenty.

None of these lack refinement or punch, though. Shelve those old-world preconceptions about what a diesel is like, because there’s still a place for it at this end of the market.

Ride comfort and handling

I know it sounds a little like a cop-out to say, but no big car company makes urban-biased SUVs that are particularly bad to drive today. There are simply too many similar (often shared) parts and too much engineering money for that to happen.

The Peugeot is a slight outlier in that it’s the only car without all-wheel drive (AWD). If you, like most people, never go off the path well travelled, you won’t mind overly. But for some it’ll be an issue.

Consider the fact we lined all six cars up at a slippery grass hill like you may find at any picnic spot. It was the only car that battled for traction, given the other five cars simply directed some engine torque to the rear wheels to help them clamber up.

It’s also the only car without a spare wheel, either full size (like the Korean twins and the Skoda) or temporary speed- and distance-limited (Mazda/Volkswagen). Instead it has a repair/patch kit. Peugeot does offer five years of roadside assist, however.

Beyond this, though, it’s a doddle, with a decent turning circle and good outward visibility. That tiny steering wheel feels a little strange in such a big car, but lends a weirdly sporty vibe.

We did find that more tyre roar emanated into the cabin than the class average, especially on typical Australian coarse-chip road surfaces. The ride proved slightly stiff, with a firm damper tune, meaning it can get ‘busy’ and struggles over sharply corrugated surfaces compared to the best in class.

The Skoda looks sensational on the big wheels, but the trade-off is slim low-profile rubber, which makes it hard to tune out road noise and the odd brittleness to the ride over potholes and the like. And that’s in the car’s cushiest mode setting. Then again, it’s called Sportline, so we should expect a sporty ride!

The steering feel seemed a little less direct than the darty Peugeot’s. Some other observations were the slightly dopey radar cruise control that took a while to get up and going once a gap formed ahead, and the brilliantly seamless AWD torque transfer.

The car is also fitted with a sound enhancer that enhances the volume of conversation between the seat rows, but it can sound a little ‘echo-y’ as if you’re speaking through a PA speaker. Switch it off, we reckon.

The overwhelming impression we all got in the Kia was that it just felt massive, despite not being the biggest car here. Maybe it’s the driving position? You feel as if you’re commanding the road.

Top to bottom: Peugeot, Kia, Mazda

Like the Hyundai it gets its own suspension tune native to Australia, and designed to suit our unusually diverse network of roads and tracks. Korean-market tunes tend to be too floaty and numb for our tastes, so this is always a good policy.

Many people will love the Kia’s softness, and the way it dispatches potholes and corrugations with disdain, though it’s not as quiet as the class-leaders.

In many ways it’s better than the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, and in others not. The VW’s active safety tech is great, with a very well-tuned system that steers you between road lines (and tells you to put your hands back on the wheel, where they belong). Ditto the excellent radar cruise-control tune.

The ride quality is what you’d call ‘Germanic soft’, which means there’s an underlying firmness and less travel before you hit the stops on compression. Wouldn’t want to run the risk of the body control getting awry… It’s also extremely quiet, reflecting its upmarket positioning.

Top to bottom: Hyundai, Volkswagen, Skoda. 

Given it’s half a generation ahead of the Kia, it’s to be expected that the Hyundai Santa Fe is a little comfier. Which it is. It feels supremely composed and cosseting, and in typical Hyundai fashion is a great all-rounder, capable of a little more spirited driving. It also backs up that luxurious cabin by being hushed at highways speeds.

Splitting the Hyundai and Mazda is tough. As much as we’re waiting for the latter to slip up, the CX-8 is actually a really well-sorted machine, with passenger comfort clear at the forefront of its development.

I always think about it like there’s an extra layer of foam between you and the road – you still feel bumps, but less so than in the others. This opinion was shared across the group, and it really amplified (ironically) the vibe given off by the quiet engine.

On the downside, it’s not geared low enough for mild off-roading, given it spun its wheels the whole way up the grassy hill more than any AWD rival.

However, that really relaxed and comfortable ride makes it settled and quiet over choppy roads. The steering is direct without being nervous or darty off centre, and there are very low levels of wind and road noise.

Servicing costs, warranty

Volkswagen is toying with a five-year warranty, but at the time of writing its official policy remained three-year/unlimited distance. Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first), with three years at the current capped rate to cost you $1513.

Narrowly the most expensive car to service if you don’t drive lots of miles is the Peugeot, with three services capped at $1650. However, the annual intervals also allow 20,000km between visits, longer than the others. The warranty is five years with no distance limit.

The Mazda comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty now, and three services is a very reasonable $1028 – with a catch. The intervals are every 12 months or 10,000km, so if you drive longer than that in a year you’ll need to squeeze in another service.

Both the Skoda and Hyundai have five-year warranties with no distance limit, and service intervals of either 12 months or 15,000km. The former sells a pack that costs just $950 for three services, whereas the Hyundai costs $1197.

Kia has the equal-best warranty in the market, seven years with no distance ceiling. It has the same service intervals as the Hyundai, which should surprise nobody, with three years to cost $1184.

For those not across these things in detail, warranties and capped service plans are transferable to the next buyer if you sell up.

Each of these capped service visits is subject to change, usually linked to inflation or currency flows, but each OEM must publish this on its website, and dealers cannot exceed the stated amount. Unfortunately, there can be some extra charges, given not everything is covered. There are Ts and Cs on each company’s website.


VERDICT

You could throw a very small blanket over this field. Our judges were not unanimous in their thoughts. There’s nothing that stands out for the wrong reasons, which makes our task harder, yet should leave buyers feeling more reassured.

The Peugeot 5008 looks chic outside and gorgeous inside, and has a certain charm. But something has to finish last, and its moderately tighter cabin, lack of AWD and less polished road manners seal the deal.

The Kia Sorento is absolutely excellent, perhaps the pick for family buyers after a big, spacious and sharp-looking option with an unbeatable warranty. It’s just that the other Korean alternative edges it.

The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is also shaded by its funkier platform-mate, but it’s a refined, classy offering with real brand equity and lots of clever touches nevertheless, and should please many family buyers.

The Mazda CX-8 may look a little frumpy and its infotainment is below par, but its cabin quality and comfort feel a cut above – matching its premium pricing – and its twin-turbo diesel engine is perhaps the best here.

The Skoda Kodiaq makes a strong case for finishing second, and its clever, functional and yet high-tech interior, sharp design, good refinement and Euro cool mean its place on the podium feels assured.

The Hyundai Santa Fe stands out as the best all-rounder, though.

Not only is it practical inside, well made, brimming with features and comfortable from behind the wheel, but there’s also some real design nous and attention to detail that sets it apart from the Kia.

Given it’s newer, this is precisely what we’d have expected, and Hyundai hasn’t let us down.

***

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Hyundai Santa FeKia SorentoMazda CX-8
Variant HighlanderGT-LineAsaki
Price before on-roads $60,500 $58,990$61,490
Price as tested with options $60,795$59,585$61,490
Engine 2.2 turbo diesel 2.2 turbo diesel 2.2 twin-turbo diesel
Power/torque 147kW/440Nm147kW/441Nm140kW/450Nm
Transmission 8-speed auto 8-speed auto 6-speed auto
Drive All-wheel drive All-wheel drive All-wheel drive
Fuel economy claim 7.5L/100km7.2L/100km6.0L/100km
Fuel economy real world^ 7.1L/100km6.9L/100km6.6L/100km
Towing, downball rating (kg)2000/1502000/1002000/100
Weight (kg)199519851957
Length (mm)477047804900
Width (mm)189018901840
Height (mm)170516851725
Wheelbase (mm)276527802930
Seats 777
Boot l/w/h mm*1100/1050/7801150/1050/7801200/1010/730
Spare wheelFull sizeFull size Temporary
Origin South KoreaSouth KoreaJapan
ANCAP rating N/A5/5 (2017)5/5 (2018)
Options fitted – Dark beige interior

TOTAL: $295

– Metallic paint

TOTAL: $595

 None

Peugeot 5008Skoda KodiaqVW Tiguan Allspace
Variant GTSportlineHighline
Price before on-roads $54,490$52,990$54,490
Price as tested with options $59,180$59,690$58,190
Engine 2.0 turbo diesel2.0 turbo diesel2.0 turbo diesel
Power/torque 133kW/400Nm140kW/400Nm140kW/400Nm
Transmission 6-speed auto7-speed DSG auto7-speed DSG auto
Drive Front-wheel driveAll-wheel driveAll-wheel drive
Fuel economy claim 4.8L/100km5.9L/100km6L/100km
Fuel economy real world^ 5.4L/100km5.9L/100km6.1L/100km
Towing, downball rating (kg)15002000/802500/250
Weight (kg)157517301822
Length (mm)464146994701
Width (mm)209818821839
Height (mm)164616831665
Wheelbase (mm)284027912790
Seats 777
Boot l/w/h mm*910/1170/8001080/1000/7201050/990/720
Spare wheelPatch kitFull sizeTemporary
Origin FranceCzech RepublicMexico
ANCAP rating N/A5/5 (2017)5/5 (2016)
Options fitted – Premium pack

– Metallic paint

TOTAL: $4690

– Luxury pack

– Tech pack

– Metallic paint

TOTAL: $6700

– Sound + Vision pack

– Metallic paint

TOTAL: $3700

 

^Our fuel economy test run had average speed ~ 60km/h, combined-cycle, three passengers  

*Boot dimensions: third seat row folded down, width between wheel arches, length the back of second-row chairs to tailgate lip, height is the opening aperture

 

Audio