Revealed: The best medium SUVs money can buy in New Zealand

Family going camping.
Whether you're a young family needing more space or an outdoor enthusiast, an SUV is an excellent choice. Photo credit: Getty Images

New research has uncovered the best midsize SUVs money can buy in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Whether you're a young family needing more space for all your kids and gear, an outdoor enthusiast looking for something to take you off the beaten path, or maybe it’s just time for an upgrade, an SUV is an excellent choice. 

Balancing generous interior space with maneuverability, and off-roading capability with fuel efficiency and ample safety features, this vehicle type has proven a popular choice for a range of Kiwis in the market for a new car. 

So, for those of us wanting a little more style, performance and versatility from our next vehicle, here are the medium SUVs at the top of their game – seamlessly taking you from city streets to school pick-up to the mountain trails, and back again. 

The best SUVs in New Zealand 

1. GWM Haval H6 

On the lookout for a luxury vehicle with a bit of grunt? Look no further than the GWM Haval H6. This model tops our list of the best midsize SUVs in New Zealand, offering elegance, power and performance in equal measure. With cargo space that can extend from 600L to a whopping 1485L and equipped with formidable 1.5L and 2.0L 4-cylinder engines that deliver 150kW power and 320Nm torque, it's an impressive and hardy vehicle suited to adventure seekers. 

With a refined shape and dimensions of 4,653mm length, 1,886mm width, and 1,724mm height, the Haval H6 is also highly versatile, boasting effortless sophistication that adapts seamlessly to your lifestyle. The 7-speed sports automatic dual-clutch transmission is a real selling point, and it’s an economical SUV to run, with the Haval H6 achieving a laudable 7.4-8.3 l/100km combined fuel efficiency. 

Add to that its 12.3" touchscreen, panoramic roof, and advanced safety technologies – and throw in a 5-star ANCAP rating and a 7-year warranty from GWM – and it's difficult to look past the Haval as the best midsize SUV in the country right now. A stylish, reliable runner for both grocery runs and impromptu hiking trips, the Haval H6 fits the bill in every way that counts.

GWM Haval H6.
GWM Haval H6. Photo credit: Supplied

2. Kia Sportage 

The Kia Sportage's main drawcard is its impressive 1.6L Turbo Hybrid Powertrain, which delivers 227 HP and a potent 258 lb.-ft. of torque. 

But this model is impressive on many other fronts too, offering Active All-Wheel Drive with Center Locking Differential for unrivalled control, 18-inch Alloy Wheels and Roof Rails – not to mention LED lights, which bring a touch of novelty. The 12.3-inch Touchscreen Display and SynTex Heated Seating bring a hint of luxury to the Sportage, and the Kia Drive Wise Driver Assist Technology is a top safety feature that puts this model among the upper echelon of candidates for New Zealand's modern SUV segment. 

Kia Sportage.
Kia Sportage. Photo credit: Supplied

3. Mazda CX-5 

A practical and powerful SUV, the Mazda CX-5 is no slouch – it's capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in a swift 7.7 to 10.6 seconds. With a 438L cargo capacity (expandable to 1,342L) and 5-seat configuration, it's an excellent choice as an adventure vehicle, and the driveline options of Four-Wheel Drive and Front-Wheel Drive supply first-rate versatility, allowing you to traverse terrain of all types. 

Featuring powerful 2.5L/2.5L Turbo Petrol and 2.2L Diesel engines, the CX-5 delivers 140kW/252Nm and 170kW/420Nm, or 140kW/450Nm while maintaining fuel efficiency. Its Advanced Driver-Assistance System gives the CX-5 an extra edge on the safety front, solidifying the CX-5 as one of the most dependable compact SUVs in New Zealand.

Mazda CX-5.
Mazda CX-5. Photo credit: Supplied

4. Mitsubishi Outlander 

The Mitsubishi Outlander offers a spacious interior and cargo versatility with dimensions of 4,710 mm length x 1,862 mm width x 1,740-1,745 mm height. Its 2.5L 4-cylinder engine and CVT transmission pack a punch, with 98kW power and 195Nm torque, and an impressive 1.5L/100km combined fuel efficiency. 

Accommodating as many as seven passengers in three-row seats, the Outlander features advanced tech like a 12.3-inch display, 9.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 10.8-inch head-up display. With various family-friendly amenities, this medium SUV ticks a lot of boxes for those wanting a quality family car.

Mitsubishi Outlander.
Mitsubishi Outlander. Photo credit: Supplied

5. Volkswagen Tiguan 

Melding practicality with tech-savvy features, the Volkswagen Tiguan is another excellent option for those wanting to upgrade to a midsize SUV. 

One of its top attributes is its fuel-efficient 1.4L turbo intercooled engine, producing 110kW power and 250Nm torque, making it a dynamic but inexpensive model to drive.  

The Tiguan also boasts assisted cruise control, auto braking, lane assist, and a rear parking camera, and the interior features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a multi-function control screen, and an 8-speaker stereo. Offering impressive power and tech – not to mention a warranty – the Tiguan is another model with versatility in spades. 

Volkswagen Tiguan.
Volkswagen Tiguan. Photo credit: Supplied

6. Subaru Forester 

Combining impressive engineering and safety features, the Subaru Forester has a 2.5L Direct Injected Boxer 4-cylinder engine that produces 136kW power and 239Nm torque, coupled with a Lineartronic CVT for efficiency. 

Equipped with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Vehicle Dynamics Control, it ensures stability, while the EyeSight Driver Assist system offers adaptive cruise control, lane keep, and departure features. With ample cargo space (1060L max), Vision Assist, and Auto Stop Start, the Forester is a practical and safe choice. 

Subaru Forester.
Subaru Forester. Photo credit: Supplied

7. Toyota RAV4 

The Toyota RAV4 impresses with the versatility of its engine choices, including a 2.0L and 2.5L 4-cylinder, with the latter AWD Hybrid Electric delivering stellar power and towing capacity. 

The Plug-in Hybrid variant boasts 163kW combined power, and like most modern medium SUVs, it provides a premium experience with features like a moonroof, power back door, Apple CarPlay, and advanced safety features. With its performance, comfort, and technology, this hybrid electric vehicle delivers a compelling SUV package. 

Toyota RAV4.
Toyota RAV4. Photo credit: Supplied

8. Hyundai Santa Fe 

With a spacious cabin for seven with smart storage solutions and connected tech, the Hyundai Santa Fe is perfect for the family that’s always on the go. 

The Santa Fe comes with a choice of turbo 1.6L and 2.5L 4-cylinder engines, both of which deliver efficiency and power. Advanced safety is a key concern, and this model offers Hyundai SmartSense, including AEB, blind-spot collision avoidance, and lane-keeping assist. 

It also shows off its versatility with its various driving modes, an 8-inch touchscreen, heated seats, and a panoramic moonroof. For those looking for an allrounder, the Santa Fe successfully strikes a delicate balance between technology, comfort, and safety. 

Hyundai Santa Fe.
Hyundai Santa Fe. Photo credit: Supplied

9. Audi SQ5 

The embodiment of sophistication and refinement, the Audi SQ5 is a leading candidate for the medium SUV buyer that has luxury top of mind. The SQ5's lavish interior features Nappa leather, a 12.3-inch configurable display, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen. 

This model also has an impressive diesel turbo 3.0L engine that generates 251kW power and 700Nm torque, as well as an 8-speed automatic transmission that ensures seamless power delivery, and safety features like adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, and lane assist enhance security. Equipped with Audi's advanced tech, comfort and power, the SQ5 is the embodiment of Audi's commitment to excellence. 

Audi SQ5.
Audi SQ5. Photo credit: Supplied

10. Škoda Kodiaq 

The Škoda Kodiaq is a versatile 7-seater that has the tech-savvy customer in mind. 

The Kodiaq features a 10.25-inch instrument cluster, a 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a virtual cockpit, as well as advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise control, adaptive lane guidance, and emergency assist. 

It also has a Turbo 4, 2.0L engine that delivers 180kW power and 370Nm torque, and luxury features like ventilated front seats, leather-appointed interior, and a panoramic sunroof. With striking LED lights and gloss black accents, the Kodiaq exudes style while delivering a comfortable and connected driving experience. 

Skoda Kodiaq.
Skoda Kodiaq. Photo credit: Supplied

11. Nissan X-Trail 

Powerful and practical, the Nissan X-Trail offers driving experience like few others. 

Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7 seconds, its performance is impressive – and the 2.5L straight engine, packing 126 kW power and 233 Nm torque, offers a dynamic ride. With cargo volume ranging from 465L to 585L (expandable to a generous 1396L with seats down), it effortlessly adapts to your needs. The X-Trail is a harmonious blend of power, versatility and advanced safety, perfect for New Zealand’s varied terrain. 

Nissan X-Trail.
Nissan X-Trail. Photo credit: Supplied

12. Ford Escape 

The Ford Escape combines the best of versatility and technology. 

Equipped with a 2.0L Turbo 4 engine generating 183kW power and 387Nm torque, it's a powerhouse, and the 8-speed automatic transmission ensures seamless shifts. 

The Escape's luxurious cabin is adorned with adjustable seats, a leather steering wheel, and a user-friendly 8-inch touchscreen, and it also boasts LED lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a striking design. If you're looking for a stylish companion for your on-road and off-road adventures, a Ford Escape is among the best in the business. 

Ford Escape.
Ford Escape. Photo credit: Supplied

Time to upgrade? 

Buying a new car is one of life's great pleasures – not just because you're upgrading the vehicle you spend a sizable chunk of each day in, but because choosing the right car can enable you to embrace an entirely new lifestyle. 

For the outdoorsy types, families, or those with a lot of gear, medium SUVs are an excellent choice combining power, space and style – allowing you to easily trade day-to-day activities like shopping, commuting and school pick-ups for spontaneous off-roading without a second thought. 

So why settle for less? Whether you're drawn to sleek designs, innovative tech, or versatile performance, there's an SUV waiting to become your new road companion. 

It's time to turn the ignition on your upgrade journey and hit the road with a vehicle that's as dynamic and adventurous as you. 

Article created in partnership with Innovate Online.