Help me: Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross or MG/Haval? | Practical Motoring

Question: I’m looking at a medium suv with all the bells & whistles in safety, like all the sensors. I have been looking at the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed and Kia Seltos Sports Plus among others & I don’t know which to buy.

Thought I might look at the Haval & MG but not sure of the brand as they haven’t been out here long enough.

Has to be under $40,000. The eclipse cross is my front runner at the moment. Is it a good choice?

First off, if you have looked at the Eclipse Cross and Kia Seltos then you are looking at small, and at best small-to-medium size SUVs. Medium is a step up, so something like the Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, or the Mitsubishi Outlander. In the medium SUV realm you will get a bigger boot and more interior shoulder and leg space, but less value for money.

Something else for anyone to consider…the bigger the car, the harder things like brakes and tyres get worn, and that all costs more to maintain.

The small SUV options

We’re not much a fan of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Yes, it does have a fair amount of gear packed in, but in our own back-to-back testing over the last few years we notch this car down as being lacklustre in performance and average for handling. We just don’t enjoy driving this as much compared to most competitors.

The Kia Seltos we rate above the Eclipse Cross. It feels much newer and looks it.

The interior room is quite good for the size (the boot is bigger, too) and the backseat occupants have a handy space around them. On the safety front, it has more active safety systems packed in plus we have had some annoyances with the Eclipse Cross systems like AEB and adaptive cruise control. Under the bonnet, the 2.0L gets along nice enough while the 1.6-litre turbo petrol is a bit of a goer compared to the 1.5L in the Eclipse Cross.

For the money, we’d look at the Kia Seltos top-spec GT-Line, currently priced at $42,990 driveaway (Vic), or the Sport Plus from $33,990 driveaway. The Sport Plus gives you plenty of equipment and goodies, and for an extra few grand can be equipped with the 1.6T engine which is a good drivetrain.

Onto the two Chinese offerings you mention, there is MG and Haval. Haval doesn’t have a competitor in that segment right now we’d recommend.

MG has the HS, priced at $38,990 driveaway in top-spec Essence trim. This is a slightly larger car inside and rides with a higher seating position. There is also the MG ZS model, but that’s a touch smaller than the Seltos. The HS comes with a five-star ANCAP rating, like the Seltos and Eclipse Cross, and also MG Pilot which is full of active safety systems – adaptive cruise control, AEB, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist plus more. The safety system works pretty well, though we’d give the edge to Kia as when we turned off MG’s alert sound we couldn’t keep lane keep assist on.

Inside, the design is simple but pleasant, and there are many materials similar in look and feel to the Seltos. The 1.5-litre turbo engine in the HS doesn’t match the smoother transmission feel and power of the Seltos equipped with the 1.6-litre turbo. We can’t really talk to reliability as the new MG brand is so young, though we can’t report much in the way of problems either during our time driving them or from others.

Both Kia and MG have a seven-year warranty, so it’s splitting hairs there. Resale is likely to be worse off with the MG compared to the Kia, so if you don’t plan on owning it a long time this will cost you.

Our preference:

  1. Kia Seltos
  2. MG HS
  3. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

This pretty much flips your current preference on its head, but as always, make sure you spend a good amount of time driving and sitting in the cars yourself and buy something that suits you, your expectations, and your budget.

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