2017 will be the year that, for the first time ever, sales of SUVs will overtake those of more traditional passenger cars. And with our love for high-riding wagons of all shapes and flavours shows no signs of slowing, manufacturers across the gamut will be rolling out both all-new cars and updated versions of old favourites. Here’s a comprehensive list of what to expect in 2017 and when.
Audi Q2 and Q5
Think of the Q2 as a logical extension of Audi’s plan to use the A1 to drag new buyers to the brand and you won’t go far wrong. Based on the A3’s platform and starting from $41,100, the Q2, which arrives before the middle of the year, will be dearer than the Q3 upon which it’s largely based.
The Q5 is familiar to Audi buying Aussies as one of the brand’s best performers. It’ll be based on a shortened version of the new-generation MLB platform that also underpins the Q7, and it’ll lob here in both petrol and diesel versions half way through 2017.
To be honest, the new X3 may miss out on a spot in 2017, but it’ll be close. Based on BMW’s newest flexible platform that underpins the latest 7-Series, the X3 will be lighter, quicker and better looking (oooh, stop it!) than the current car.
Ford, Escape, EcoSport and Everest five-seater
The blue oval crowd will continue to flesh out their SUV ranks as the company looks to stem the bleeding from a tough 2016.
First up will be the reborn Escape, formerly known as the Kuga. A price cut, model revision and external freshen-up will hopefully spur some sales for the beleaguered mid-sizer, which sold six times fewer cars than the Mazda CX-5 in 2016. It lobs in February.
Finally, the diminutive EcoSport may make its local debut late in the year, but it’s as yet unconfirmed by local sources.
Haval H7 and H2
The Chinese company that specialises in SUVs told Aussie news outlets last year that its new mid-sizer, the seven-seat H7, would come on stream in the second half of 2017.
Its diminutive H2 is also due to get an upgrade, which should hit local roads in the back end of 2017.
Holden Trax and Equinox
At long, long last, Holden can unload the ancient Captiva, which has been on sale largely in its current form since 2006. Its replacement will be known as the Equinox, and will be built on top of the same new D2XX platform that can be found under the new Astra.
Oddly, there’s no mention of a seven-seat version of the Korean-built car, which will cruel its chances in the brutally competitive mid-size SUV sector. Expect a 1.5-litre FWD to lead the charge when it lobs later in the year.
The tiny Trax will also get a mild facelift, lobbing into dealers in February. Expect Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ten airbags, keyless entry and more to be added to the diminutive SUV.
Honda claims the CR-V is the third pillar in its regrowth strategy, and it’s betting the farm on the audaciously styled CR-V. Revealed in the US last year, the fifth-generation CR-V will touch down in Australia late in the year.
Hyundai small SUV
It’s the SUV the Korean giant has been missing for some years now; a compact crossover to tackle the likes of the Mazda CX-3. It’s apparently being pieced together with bits from both the i20 and i30, but it won’t be called the ix25.
Timing is uncertain, but it could lob late in 2017, less than two years after the company pressed the ‘full steam ahead’ button on the car.
Land Rover Discovery
The newest Disco will lob down under half way through the year in a full frontal assault that will encompass no fewer than 12 models.
Amongst that lot will be three diesels and four trim levels, with prices ranging from $64,300 to $130,000.
The Range Rover line will also be expanded with a variant to feature the company’s latest Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel; it’ll be the biggest car the small but punchy engine has ever propelled.
Jeep Grand Cherokee and Compass
Designed to sit between the Jeep Cherokee and the Renegade, the Compass should debut down under before Christmas. It’s designed to look like a smaller version of the American company’s Grand Cherokee, which will score a late-life refresh early in 2017.
An off-road orientated diesel-only version known as the Trailhawk is slated to drop into the range halfway through the year.
The US-built Compass, meanwhile, should be offered locally in a number of grades and with at least three engines (two petrol and one diesel). Expect a range-topping Trailhawk model, 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre MultiAir engines and nine-speed autos to figure in the mix.
Kia small SUV
No word on a name or even a silhouette for a perspective new baby SUV for Kia – but it’s coming. Developed essentially alongside the same device that’s due from Kia’s parent company Hyundai, some pundits suggest that it may be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Mazda rules the SUV roost in Australia, topping the sales charts in the two most popular cateogries of small (CX-3) and medium (CX-5), while its large CX-9 is slaying all comers in the large division.
It’ll be a year of consolidation for the brand, launching the second-generation CX-5 in July or August that’s designed to appeal to its legions of current owners.
The uber SUVs keep coming thick and fast, with Italian stallions Maserati rolling out its Levante in February. To be sold as a diesel only and based on the company’s Ghibli sedan, the Maser starts at almost $140,000.
Mercedes-Benz GLA update
Mercedes-Benz took the covers off the updated GLA baby SUV at the recent Detroit motor show, revealing a minor exterior makeover with new engine and driveline options, along with revised suspension ride height settings.
Australia won’t get the new 2.0-litre GLA220 4Matic, which sounds pretty awesome, instead sticking with the GLA180, GLA 250 4Matic, AMG GLA45 and the diesel GLA220d. The updated cars should be here halfway through 2017.
The least mini Mini ever built will launch down under in the third quarter of 2017. An astonishing 175mm longer than the previous car, the BMW X1-based Countryman will come in various flavours, with Mini bosses telling CarsGuide that it’ll come to Australia in plug-in hybrid form.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi is set to give its mid-size Outlander PHEV a lift in 2017, with tweaks to the drivetrain and chassis as well as a makeover front and rear. Mitsubishi Australia says the updated PHEV will go on sale in April.
Nissan Pathfinder and X-Trail
Nissan is set to launch a thoroughly tweaked mid-life facelift of its popular Pathfinder SUV this year, with Nissan claiming that more than 50 per cent of the car has been changed. An updated engine, revised suspension, tweaked interior and a restyled exterior are the headlines for the seven-seater, which should arrive in February.
Similarly, the smaller X-Trail will be updated locally later in the year, with a reasonably hefty exterior redo unveiled in the US late last year a very good guide as to what we can expect here. A plug-in hybrid version was also previewed, but no news on whether that might reach our fair shores yet.
Peugeot 2008 and 3008
Hamstrung back the lack of SUVs in its stable, Peugeot will come out swinging later in 2017 with the all-new 3008, which feature a host of tech already seen in the excellent 308 (it’s built on the same EMP2 platform, as well).
A digital dash, all new engines and ‘proper’ automatic transmissions (as opposed to CVTs) are on the cards for the 3008, which was revealed in the middle of 2016.
Its smaller 2008 sibling, meanwhile, will launch in February with a 1.2-litre turbocharged engine and six-speed auto upgrade across the board, along with reasonably significant equipment tweaks that will include Apple Carplay and Android Auto via a 7.0-inch screen across the entire line.
Skoda is looking at the incoming seven-seat Kodiaq as the car to thrust the VW-owned Czech brand into the mainstream. Based on the Volkswagen Tiguan but beating it to market by some months – and by some years with a seven-seat version – the Kodiaq will kick off with a 132kW petrol engine version first, before adding a diesel variant later on.
Look out for the Kodiaq halfway through 2017.
The late-blooming XV has turned into a bit of a hot property for Subaru, and with the advent of the all-new Impreza, a fresh version of the perky little crossover is due down under around the middle of the year.
The covers will come off at the Geneva motor show, and Subaru insiders tell us that the company won’t stray too far from what’s become a winning formula.
Tesla Model X
EV maker Tesla’s first SUV, the gullwing-doored Model X, has been on sale overseas for almost a year, and will land down under by March or April.
Toyota CH-R and Kluger
Toyota will, at long last, add a compact crossover to its fleet to sit beneath its category-defining RAV4. Called C-HR, it’ll debut down under with a 1.2-litre turbocharged engine, while the best seller is set to use a CVT transmission. A front-wheel-drive version will be available with a manual, while the CVT will be linked to all-wheel-drive.
Expect to see it in February, along with an updated version of the faithful Kluger mid-sizer. It cops an updated V6, revised looks and more gear – and a higher price.
The Chinese-owned Swedish car company is set to unveil an all-new XC60 later in 2017. It’ll replace the current model – which is getting on for seven years old- with a car built atop the same architecture as the large XC90.
And while it won’t be on sale in 2017, expect to see an XC40 drop at the Shanghai motor show in March.
It’s a long shot for a 2017 debut, but it’s a quiet year for VW locally so the third-generation Touareg may make the grade after launching in major markets overseas.
The largest – and the oldest – SUV in the Aussie stable will be built atop the MLB platform that underpins the Audi Q7, and may actually end up shrinking a little in size