Browse over 9,000 car reviews

This might seem controversial, but really it’s just logical. If the idea of switching to electric vehicles instead of using combustion-engined cars was entirely about reducing the amount of CO2 produced, it stands to reason car companies would design EVs to be as small, and light, as possible, which, at first, they did (witness the Nissan Leaf, which was, for some time, the world’s biggest-selling electric car).

If you were a cynic, however, you might point to the the large electric SUVs Australia has been inundated with in recent years and suggest that, just possibly, the world’s carmakers are more focused on making money than saving the planet.

Electric vehicles were originally designed to be small, compact and above all, efficient. These were the eco-warriors on wheels that were going to save us from ‘gas guzzling’ SUVs and utes.

Except, that’s not how consumerism works. Instead, car designers and engineers have been forced to adapt the original concept to meet the modern demands we insist upon.

How else do you explain how we went from the tiny, golf cart-like Mitsubishi i-MiEV to the GMC Hummer - five tonnes of metal that launches off the line like a Porsche 911? Or even, goodness forbid, Tesla’s three-tonne Cybertruck?

SUVs, preferably larger ones, are all the rage these days (SUVs accounted for 48 per cent of global car sales in 2023, a new and upsetting record) and carmakers have acted to meet the current preferences of buyers, even if an electric large SUV isn’t as efficient as a smaller sedan.



This means there is an increasing number of choices for Australians looking for an electric family car who prefer an SUV, with brands as diverse as Kia and Hyundai all the way up to Mercedes and BMW all offering family-friendly options without an internal-combustion engine.

And this is only the beginning, with the number of large electric SUVs only expected to grow in coming years, to match the proliferation of ICE options.

Top Eight Most Popular Large Electric SUVs Available in Australia

Kia EV9

The South Korean brand may have started its electric journey with the compact e-Niro but it quickly saw the opportunity and added the large EV6 and the much larger EV9. Priced from $97,000 for the Air RWD model and stretching all the way to $121,000 for the range-topping GT-Line, the EV9 is certainly not the budget-friendly Kia of old.

What it is, though, is a very spacious and practical seven-seat electric SUV that will accommodate the whole family. The EV9 has won praise for its roominess and all-rounder abilities and if it succeeds, expect to see more of these large EVs from the likes of Toyota, Ford and MG.

Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV

If you want to cosset your kids in comfort this is the EV for you; a high-riding limousine that pampers every occupant. But you’d want it to be luxuriously lovely, given you’ll be spending more than $200K to have one in your garage.

The EQS is loaded with premium touch and feel, and plenty of technology but is missing one key feature - powered third-row seats. That means a slightly undignified climb up into the boot to drag the extra seats into their upright position.

Still, with neither the BMW iX or Audi Q8 e-tron offering seven seat layouts, Mercedes is only up against Kia at the moment - and those two audiences are unlikely to cross shop.

Mercedes-Benz EQB

If your budget can’t extend to the upper echelon of the Mercedes portfolio, or even to a flashy Kia, the Mercedes EQB is your best option because it’s the cheapest seven-seat electric SUV you can buy at present.

While you might be saving money, however, your kids may not love you for it because the EQB is not a big vehicle, coming in half a metre shorter than the EQS. The third-row seats are also an optional extra.

Volvo EX90

It’s not due to reach Australian showrooms until late 2024, but this new flagship will likely be the next seven-seat SUV headed our way. As part of the Swedish brand’s switch to an all-electric future, the EX90 will replace the internal-combustion powered XC90 in the line-up.

While local details haven’t been confirmed as yet, including pricing, we do know it will have room for large families and the potential to travel up to 600km between charges.

Each occupant will get a seat trimmed in recycled material made from PET bottles.

Hyundai Ioniq 7

Another large EV SUV headed our way in the near future is Hyundai’s version of the Kia EV9. Known as the Ioniq 7, it joins the Ioniq 5 and 6, but will use the largest version of the brand’s ‘e-GMP' EV architecture yet, so expect similar size, specifications and pricing to the EV9.

At the time of writing the production version of the Ioniq 7 hadn’t been revealed, but the 2021 Seven Concept gives us an idea of what to expect, with a continuation of the brand’s ‘pixel’ light theme and bold styling choices.

BMW iX

While not a seven seater, the iX is still a large SUV that will satisfy families or anyone looking for a roomy electric option. That is assuming you can live with its strikingly futuristic looks, which are pushing the limits of the Bavarian brand’s bold styling.

Nothing sums up the iX better than the trademark ‘kidney grille’, because it isn’t actually a grille - there’s no engine behind it to cool. Instead the ‘grille’ is an ‘Intelligence Panel’ that BMW claims has self-healing properties, and also hides the multitude of cameras and sensors this most modern of EVs needs.

Audi Q8 e-tron

If you like the size, price and luxury cache of the BMW iX, but you just can’t stand its styling this could be the alternative. It has a new name, but the Q8 e-tron is the evolution of the brand’s first all-electric model, which was simply known as the Audi e-tron.

Now folded into the wider Q8 line-up, which includes a large SUV hybrid and diesel and petrol-powered options, this is still a five-seat SUV with room for a family. You also have the choice of either a conventional (and more practical) ‘wagon’ or a sweeping Sportback body style, depending on your preference and need for room.

Cadillac Lyriq

While the Germans are currently dominating the large electric SUV market, this American interloper is on its way to shake things up. General Motors’ luxury brand will launch in Australia by the end of 2024 on the back of the Lyriq, an all-new electric SUV designed to compete directly against the likes of the BMW iX and Audi Q8 e-tron.

And this will only be the beginning because the brand has hinted that its flagship, the Escalade IQ, a full-size, seven-seater, electric SUV, could be joining the Australian fleet in the coming years.

Stephen Corby
Contributing Journalist
Stephen Corby stumbled into writing about cars after being knocked off the motorcycle he’d been writing about by a mob of angry and malicious kangaroos. Or that’s what he says, anyway. Back in the early 1990s, Stephen was working at The Canberra Times, writing about everything from politics to exciting Canberra night life, but for fun he wrote about motorcycles. After crashing a bike he’d borrowed, he made up a colourful series of excuses, which got the attention of the motoring editor, who went on to encourage him to write about cars instead. The rest, as they say, is his story. Reviewing and occasionally poo-pooing cars has taken him around the world and into such unexpected jobs as editing TopGear Australia magazine and then the very venerable Wheels magazine, albeit briefly. When that mag moved to Melbourne and Stephen refused to leave Sydney he became a freelancer, and has stayed that way ever since, which allows him to contribute, happily, to CarsGuide.
About Author

Comments