New Honda ZR-V and Renault Austral versus Kia Sportage: costs

High-riding and hybrid powered, these family SUVs couldn’t be trendier. But which is the hottest outfit?...

Honda ZR-V side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Despite being the newest car here, deals are already available on the Renault Austral, and it’s the cheapest car here to buy outright once our New Car Deals discounts have been factored in. Honda ZR-V is the priciest; in fact, it’s the only car here that you’ll not find discounts on. The ZR-V also works out as the most costly to own over three years, mainly because it’s predicted to shed its value more quickly than its rivals.

If you take the route of PCP finance, Honda does at least match Kia’s £1500 deposit contribution (Renault offers a less generous £1000), but this doesn’t quite offset the ZR-V’s higher list price and quicker rate of depreciation. Over three years, with a £4000 deposit and a limit of 10,000 miles a year, the ZR-V will cost £625 per month, versus £581 for the Kia Sportage and £523 for the Austral.

Renault Austral side

The Austral continues to save you money by being the most economical car here. On a test route simulating motorways, country roads and town driving (at our test track so our results wouldn’t be influenced by traffic), it returned a real-world average of 49.4mpg. That’s some way off its official 57.7mpg figure, but it beats the 45.2mpg of the ZR-V and the Sportage’s 43.8mpg.

The Austral is also the cheapest option for company car drivers; its 110g/km CO2 output puts it in a lower benefit-in-kind company car tax band than the Sportage and ZR-V, both of which emit 132g/km.

In their respective range-topping trims, all three cars are fantastically well equipped. Each comes with adaptive cruise control, those panoramic glass roofs, keyless entry and full LED headlights. While the ZR-V and Austral each has a head-up display for the driver, you can’t have one in the Sportage, even as an optional extra. That car is the only one of the three with ventilated front seats, though.

Kia Sportage side

In the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, Kia ranked an impressive seventh out of 32 in the brand league table, putting it ahead of Honda (12th place) and Renault (18th). Being so new, the ZR-V and Austral have yet to feature in the annual survey, but the Sportage performed well, finishing within the top third of the family SUV league table by placing equally with the Skoda Karoq and Volvo XC40 in 12th place out of the 39 models included.

As for safety, independent crash testing body Euro NCAP awarded the Sportage and Austral its highest rating – five stars – when they were tested last year. The ZR-V has yet to be tested, but all three are equally well kitted out with safety and driver assistance technology; each comes with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance, as well as road sign recognition.

New Honda ZR-V and Renault Austral versus Kia Sportage costs

Used alternative

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe front

Around £36,000 buys you a one-year-old, used Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid. It’s bigger and more practical, with seats for seven, yet 44.1mpg official economy means it’s still an efficient choice. If you have closer to £40,000, consider the plug-in hybrid version; with its official electric range of 36 miles (20-25 miles is more likely in the real world), you could be quids in if your journeys are mostly short.

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