The premium SUV market is one of the fastest-growing in Australia. Almost every mainstream manufacturer is seeking a piece of the pie. Which ensures there are plenty of options for families to choose from.

But with so many different models available. It can be difficult to know which one is right for you. So in this blog, we are going to assume a budget of up to $80,000. This puts us right in the middle of SUV territory and gives us plenty of options.

We’ve chosen seven of the best cars in this price range. Each has been ranked based on driving enjoyment, value for money, style and efficiency. So if you are in the market for a mid-range SUV. Make sure you check out one of the following seven models.

1. Mazda CX-9

Price: $45,990 - $73,751

The Mazda CX-9 is a good-looking sporty SUV that drives as well as it looks. On the road, the car feels nimble and light-footed. This is despite the fact it has less power than most rivals. But what it lacks in power it more than makes up for in fuel efficiency.

On the road, the CX-9 is the best-handling car here. The ride is firm and sporty, but it rides bumps and potholes well. On the downside. The driver's seat lacks adjustment and the towing capacity isn't as good as some rivals. But if you value driving dynamics over practicality, the Mazda CX-9 is the car for you.


Looks great

Limo-like driving experience

New infotainment system


Lack of adjustment on driver's seat

Base models poorly equipped

Low towing capacity

See How The Mazda CX-9 Compares To The Kia Sorento

2. Ford Everest

Price: $50.090 - $73,190

The Ford Everest arrived in 2016 as a replacement for the popular Ford Territory. Based on the Ford T6 Ranger. The Everest is a great value SUV that offers a choice of 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains. Owners can also choose from a choice of 4 cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel engines.

Inside the Everest comes well equipped with Ford’s SYNC 3 Multimedia system as standard. This includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and a full colour 8.0 touch screen. On the road, the Everest handles well for a car this size. But there is no denying its size. This is a big car for driving around town.


Well-equipped for the price

Quiet cabin

Very efficient


No pano roof option

Engine not very refined

Large for a town car

Read Our Ford Everest vs Toyota Kluger Comparison

3. Volvo XC60

Price: $59.990 - $100,690

The Volvo XC60 sits in the middle of Volvo’s SUV lineup, between the XC40 and the XC90. This puts it up against some tough competition including the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery. But for our money, the mid-range Volvo is the pick of the bunch.

The XC60 looks the part with sharp styling which still looks fresh despite being five years old. While Inside passengers benefit from Volvo’s trademark minimalist interior. And naturally, being a Volvo, the XC60 comes well equipped with safety equipment. The only downsides are a small boot and a somewhat outdated infotainment system.


Stylish interior

Packed with safety features

Sleek styling


High-end models expensive

Outdated infotainment system

Small boot

Related: 7 Best Family SUV's In Australia

4. Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Price: $39,690 - $59,990

The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace received a facelift in 2021. This freshened up the looks and overhauled the interior. The updated styling gives the Tiguan a more refined upmarket feel. While inside drivers now get a digital dash and 9.2-inch infotainment screen.

For those unfamiliar with the Tiguan. The Allspace is a long-wheelbase version of the standard Tiguan. This allows an extra row of seats to be fitted, making this a seven-seater. Inside the updated interior feels luxurious. And families will also love the 615-litre boot. However, the third row of seats is pretty tight. And towing capacity falls behind rivals.


Fuel-efficient engines

Great ride

Premium interior


Tight legroom on the third row of seats

Lacks performance

Low towing capacity

5. Hyundai Santa Fe

Price: $44,700 - $65,200

The Hyundai Santa Fe is the car that put Hyundai on the map when it launched in 2001. So much so, the company had to ramp up production to meet global demand. But Australians had to wait until the fourth generation was launched in 2020 to see what all the fuss was about.

The fourth-generation takes over where the previous generations left off. This is a great looking car that is both spacious and well equipped. Standard equipment includes a head-up display, alloy wheels and an 8-inch infotainment screen. The only real drawback is the ride quality on 20-inch rims feels a little unforgiving.


Spacious interior

Plenty of safety equipment as standard

An almost endless range of options


Poor ride quality on larger wheels

Base models poorly equipped

Top-spec models are a bit pricey

Read Our Hyundai Santa Fe vs Hyundai Tucson Comparison

6. Kia Sorento

Price: $46,850 - $79,330

The 2022 Kia Sorento is based on the same platform as the Hyundai Santa Fe mentioned above. However, the body and interior are very different. The Sorento has a squared-off look, reminiscent of the original Jeep Grand Cherokee. While the interior is more spacious offering more legroom front and back.

On the road, Sorento drivers benefit from an impressive safety suite. The car scored an impressive 82 percent for adult protection. And 85 percent for child protection from ANCAP. So if you are looking for a good-looking, spacious, safe, good-value family SUV. The Kia Sorento is the SUV to have.


Upmarket interior

Spacious cabin

Great infotainment system


High-end models expensive

Uncomfortable ride on big wheels

Transmission lacks refinement

Learn More About The Kia Sorento

7. Skoda Kodiaq

Price: $46,390 - $68,890

The Skoda Kodiaq is built on the VAG MQB platform. Which also provides the underpinnings of the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. This is a car platform. So the Kodiaq drives more like a car than most of the other SUVs here. Save for the Tiguan and the Mazda CX-9, which is also based on a car platform.

On the road, the Kodiaq is a nice place to be. The ride is comfortable and the steering is light, much like a car. And because the Kodiaq weighs 1730 kg. It has brisk performance and good fuel economy. However, off-road ability is limited and it doesn't offer as good value as some of the other cars here.


Quality interior

Nice to drive

Large boot


Expensive with options

No USB ports for passengers

Limited off-road ability

Read Our Review Of The 2022 Skoda Kodiaq

Final thoughts

With so many SUVs on the market in this price range, buyers are spoilt for choice. So how do you go about choosing the right model for you? The best way is to think about what you need most from your SUV.

For example, if you value handling over off-road performance. Then the Mazda CX9 is the way to go. While buyers looking for a spacious family SUV that comes well-equipped. Won’t go far wrong with a Kia Sorento. And, if you want luxury but don’t want to pay the premium for one of the big German brands. Then Volvo XC60 is the way to go.

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Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.