SUVs are practical cars.

They are spacious enough to seat a family + luggage, comfortable enough for long drives, and have the off-road capabilities in reserve to escape some mud, or the rugby field’s car park if ever the need arises.

SUVs fit the Aussie lifestyle. And nowadays an SUV is economical enough to use as a runaround and responsive enough to drive confidently through the bustling CBD.

Looking for an SUV that is stylish, fun, and modern without breaking your budget? To help you, we have compiled a list of the best SUVs in Australia under $40k as of 2021.

Honda CR-V

Starting Price: 2WD VI = AU$35,300 / AWD from AU$45,500

With a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and winning the Product Review Best Mid-Size SUV of 2021 award, the CR-V packs a lot of stylish features in an affordable package.

Highly intuitive and available in both 5 or 7-seater designs, this car is perfect for families. At an affordable starting price of AU$35,500, the CR-V includes a lot of features including Apple CarPlay, Advanced Display Audio screen, LaneWatch Cameras, and a Multi-angle Reversing Camera.

This little SUV is very powerful, with VTEC Turbo options available and Earth Dreams technology included, minimise your environmental impact. The CR-V offers great value for money, is fun to drive and is highly versatile. Plus, it’s fuel-efficient with 6.6-7L/100km fuel consumption with daily driving (including uphill).

Learn More About The Honda CR-V

Toyota RAV4

Starting Price: AU$36,752 Drive Away

The RAV4 is a favourite of many and for a good reason, this award-winning SUV offers a 2.5L AWD Hybrid that has a 1,500kg braked towing capacity.

With a spacious interior and plenty of tech, the RAV4 is functional and fun to drive. Fuel efficient, packed full of power and being one of Toyota’s celebrated petrol-electric hybrids makes this car one of the best on the market for value. With 4.7-7.5L/100km fuel consumption for daily driving, the RAV4 is affordable to run, making it an impeccable choice for busy families. 

See Our Toyota Rav 4 vs Honda CR-V Comparison

Toyota C-HR

Starting Price: $34,822 Drive Away

Stylish, sleek and modern, the Toyota C-HR is a smaller SUV than its cousin the RAV4. The inspiration for its unique look comes from the diamond, and this SUV is designed to feel luxurious and spacious without breaking the budget.

The SUV comes with a range of features, including LED headlamps, panoramic view monitor, Apple CarPlay, Rain-sensing wipers and multiple engine options. Fancy more power?

This SUV can be fitted with a 1.2L turbo engine or a 1.8L hybrid engine for those of you who are seeking a more environmentally friendly option. For just $34,822 drive away, this Toyota is incredible value for money and is versatile, fun and sleek. 

See Our Complete Review Of The Toyota C-HR

Kia Seltos

Starting Price: $26,790 AUD

One of the most affordable small SUVs on the market, the Kia Seltos starts from $26,790.

For the top of the range Kia Seltos, you are looking at approximately $42,200 AUD. There are plenty of options in between. The Kia Seltos only comes in automatic and the engine size starts at 1.6L.

With a smartly packaged cabin, modern design and quality safety technology, this car is value for families on a budget. Available in eight modern colours, there is definitely a Seltos that you will love. This car offers a maximum of 1250kg braked towing capacity and has a fuel consumption of 6.8L/100km, making it affordable to run.

See Our Complete Review Of The The 2022 Kia Seltos

Mazda CX-3

Starting Price: $26,529 AUD

The Mazda CX-3 is an affordable smaller SUV that is perfect for smaller families with a busy lifestyle. Smaller than some of the SUVs explored on this list, the CX-3 still delivers high value and performance for its price.

With the base model fitted with a powerful 2.0L petrol engine, this car offers high power and torque. Mazda offers a range of optional extras you can fit to your CX-3 to suit your needs. However, the base model is powerful and offers the versatility needed for most families. That’s why this car has well and truly earned its place on this list for affordability.

Read Our Mazda CX-3 vs Hyundai Kona Comparison

Volkswagen T-Cross

Starting Price: $28,390AUD

The Volkswagen T-Cross is affordable and stylish. With a 1.0L, 7-speed automatic engine across all of the models, this car is equipped with a range of standard features, including active and passive safety tech.

This car is spacious, with a boot capacity starting at 385 litres and the rear seat can be moved forward to open up a boost space of 455 litres. This means you can move large bulky items, including a pram. The T-Cross is highly fuel-efficient, boasting an exceptional 5.4l/100km for daily driving.

This means the T-Cross is one of the best city drivers on this list. This car is exceptional value for daily functionality and is a great city SUV for any family. 

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Vs Kia Seltos Comparison


Starting Price: $28,590 AUD

The final car on this list, the Nissan QASQAI is included due to its adaptive technology that ensures one of the safest driving experiences.

With intelligent cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert response systems and quality lighting and braking technology, this car is technologically advanced at an affordable price package. The Advanced Drive-Assist Display positions important information directly in front of you, reducing the risk of distracted driving.

This car is stylish and very safe, boasting a fuel efficiency of between 6.9-7.7L/100km depending on the terrain. Thus, this car is value for money and affordable to run, perfect for the growing Australian family. 

Learn More: Nissan Qashqai Vs Honda HR-V


SUVs are growing in terms of popularity. They are Functional, versatile, stylish, and affordable to run, the SUV is the perfect mesh of city driving and off-road capacity. By choosing one of these best value-for-money SUVs, you ensure that you get all the fun and versatility an SUV delivers without breaking your family’s budget.

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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.