Why are SUVs so popular?
Some fans like their “rugged” looks, while others enjoy the convenience of a higher driving position. Regardless of how driving enthusiasts (who make up a small percentage of buyers) feel about them, SUVs won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Although SUVs might sound like an expensive proposition, you’d be surprised to learn that there are models which are relatively affordable. With that in mind, we decided to look for 11 models priced between $100,000 and $110,000.
In no particular order, here are the 11 models we think are worth checking out.
SUZUKI JIMNY STANDARD – $99,900
Don’t let its compact size fool you into thinking that the Suzuki Jimny is a softie, because it’s actually a bona-fide off roader.
It’s got a ladder chassis, four-wheel-drive, and a no-nonsense cabin that actually feels rugged. The “old school” analogue gauges are pretty darn cool as well. (Click here for more info about the Suzuki Jimny!)
The Jimny’s only drawbacks are its lack of space and tricky on-road handling. But if three-door SUVs are your thing and you’re an attentive driver, then the Jimny’s a real charmer.
MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER MODERN – From $107,999
The Mitsubishi Outlander continues to be convincing because of its value-for-money proposition. In Singapore, it’s the most affordable seven-seater SUV that’s made in Japan. That also makes it a unique entry on this list.
Styling tweaks and numerous updates over the years have kept it looking fresh. It’s driver-friendly, easy to manoeuvre, and has a cabin that’s both spacious and flexible.
The 2-litre model has always been more popular than the 2.4-litre one, which is probably why the latter is no longer available. We wish that Cycle & Carriage still carried it, though!
SUBARU FORESTER 2.0i-L EyeSight – $109,800
The Subaru Forester ticks all the right boxes for many buyers. Roomy cabin with lots of headroom? Check. A smooth flat-4 motor with zero vibration? Check. All-wheel-drive? Check.
More significant than all those features is the standard EyeSight system, whose functions include autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping. These are features you normally find on more expensive luxury models.
On the go, the Forester offers a quiet and pliant ride. For most consumers, these abilities certainly make this SUV an attractive package.
SSANGYONG TIVOLI – $99,888
Ssangyong isn’t as well-known as the other two Korean brands in Singapore, but the brand’s offerings are steadily improving.
Take the Tivoli for instance. We found this compact SUV to be relatively well-made and quite practical, thanks to its big door bins and a glovebox than can even fit a 15-inch laptop.
Recently updated, its cockpit features a digital instrument panel and larger infotainment display. The SUV’s performance has gotten a boost, too, thanks to the new turbocharged 1.5-litre that replaces the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine.
RENAULT KADJAR – $102,999
The Renault Kadjar, the least expensive European model on this list, is another SUV that has flown under the radar of many buyers. When we first drove it, we came away impressed with its numerous standard safety features, decent ride and efficient turbo-diesel engine.
The Kadjar wasn’t the perkiest in terms of performance then, but that has changed following a mid-life update.
The turbo-diesel has been swopped for a turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol unit, which also does duty in Mercedes-Benz’s A, CLA, and B models. This motor has given the Kadjar pep in its step, making it more delightful to drive around town.
MG HS STANDARD – FROM $108,888
We haven’t had a chance to drive the MG HS yet (the circuit-breaker has delayed that), but from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like it has potential.
The exterior design is inoffensive, and we were surprised by the sporty touches in the interior. These include a flat-bottomed steering wheel, motorcycle-inspired gauges and paddle shifters.
Also surprising is the HS’ drivetrain. Its turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder produces 160hp and 250Nm, and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. (Click here for more info about the MG HS.)
The HS doesn’t skimp on safety features either. It’s equipped with six airbags, a tyre pressure monitor, and eight different systems (the brochure lists eight acronyms) associated with its electronic stability programme. That’s probably why it has a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.
PEUGEOT 3008 ACTIVE 1.2 – $109,888
If you want the most avant-garde SUV for under $110k, then the Peugeot 3008 is probably your best bet. Its exterior design lends it a lot of road presence, but you’ll really be blown away by the swanky and high-tech interior.
Digital screens and cool graphics dominate the dashboard. The steering wheel looks like it belongs in a racecar, while the gearshift lever resembles something out of a spaceship.
Powering the 3008 is a turbocharged 1.2-litre 3-cylinder, which pumps out 129hp and 230Nm of torque. Paired to an 8-speed automatic, the 3008 sprints from rest to 100km/h in a respectable 10.9 seconds.
KIA NIRO HYBRID 1.6 EX – FROM $106,999
If you want a crossover that handles like a hatchback and has lower running costs, consider the Kia Niro.
The Niro’s petrol-electric hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.6-litre inline-4 and an electric motor that’s paired to a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The switchover between the petrol engine and electric motor is seamless.
Kia says the Niro has a combined consumption figure of 25km/L. Indeed, driven in a gentle manner, we easily averaged 20.6km/L. With a bit more discipline, you could easily get closer to the official number.
That gentle driving manner will complement the Niro’s other strength: its quiet and pliant ride. Find out more about the Niro Hybrid here.
Read our review of the Kia Niro Hybrid SX!
SKODA KAROQ AMBITION – $109,900
Skoda has made a name for itself by offering affordable cars that are practical and full of clever features, and you can expect the same in the Karoq.
Said features include a cooled glovebox, a storage compartment beneath the front seat for a small umbrella, and cupholders with rubber feet. The latter helps grip bottles so you can twist their caps open with one hand.
Powering the Karoq is a turbocharged 1.5-litre producing 148hp and 250Nm. Driving the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it gets this crossover from rest to 100km/h in 9 seconds.
The engine has ACT (Active Cylinder Technology), which shuts down two cylinders at low engine loads. Safety features include Front assist with city emergency brake (autonomous braking) and seven airbags.
HYUNDAI TUCSON 2.0 – $104,999
As petrolheads, we naturally prefer the Hyundai Tucson Turbo variant, but since that exceeds the budget, we’re looking at the naturally aspirated 2-litre model instead.
As we’ve mentioned before, the Tucson is yet another model that exemplifies what Hyundai is doing right. Here, you’ll find solid build quality, good reliability, and a cabin that’s both functional and ergonomic. Boot space with the rear seats up is a useful 488 litres.
Although this variant doesn’t have the Turbo’s punch, it still delivers 153hp and 192Nm, which give it a century sprint time of 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 181km/h. The proven 6-speed automatic gearbox is pretty seamless, too.
Click here to read more about the Hyundai Tucson!
MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS STYLE – FROM $108,999
We like the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross because of its unique character – it’s the only “coupe-SUV” on this list. If you’re a fan of this design trend, this is a crossover to check out.
The cabin is pretty spacious and despite the sloping roofline, headroom in the rear isn’t compromised. Keener drivers will be surprised when the touch the paddle shifters – they’re made from expensive magnesium alloy instead of cheap plastic.
Other positives include a smooth ride and punchy performance. The turbocharged 1.5-litre here is good for 163hp and 250Nm, the latter being available from 1800rpm to 4500rpm.
The result is meaty low-end and good midrange for overtaking on expressways. Click here for information about the Eclipse Cross.
Check out our review of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross!