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To modern Australian families, the SUV is what a Commodore or a Falcon used to be - the sensible, obvious and most common choice of family vehicle.
Car companies know we can’t get enough SUVs, and while the medium-sized versions take the bulk of sales, there are plenty of small, large, stylish and even super-premium options to choose from as well.
With so many being launched, or hinted at, constantly, we thought we’d provide you with this handy overview of SUVs in the Australian marketplace.
Let’s have a look at which new SUV cars have been recently launched in Australia.
Genuinely bigger than Ben Hur, the new Audi Q8 is described as a “fusion of a four-door luxury coupe and a large SUV”, and the result is simply massive.
Beautiful inside and behemoth-like on the outside, this is the very latest and greatest SUV from Audi, topping off a range of Q cars with a properly luxurious version that’s priced from $128,900, and powered by a 3.0-litre V6 in the 55 TFSI.
Also not far away for Audi is the arrival of the future fabulous Q7 e-Tron, a plug-in hybrid mega SUV, priced at $139,000.
They don’t come much more rough and ready, or back to basics, or down and dirty than the famous and strangely fan-boy favourited Suzuki Jimny, and there’s finally a new one on Australian roads this year.
A proper off-roader, albeit a small one, this is no city SUV, and doesn’t look, feel or ride like one - indeed its road manners might best be described as “rude”. But it is cheap, with a starting price of around $27,000.
Boxy and built on a ladder frame, the fourth-generation, 2019 Jimny has a dual-range transmission attached to its 1.3-litre petrol engine and live front and rear axles, but it does also feature a few modern touches, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
One of the newest SUV kids is the updated version of the already well-known badge, the Toyota RAV4.
Launched in the second quarter of 2019, this is a slicker and edgier looking RAV4 with a new hybrid option replacing the deleted diesel variant, and riding on a new and more sophisticated platform; Toyota’s New Generation Architecture (TNGA), which also underpins the new Camry. Expect better handling and a quieter driving experience.
The 2019 Mazda CX-3 was launched late last year and included a bit of a massage for the engine and a facelift for both the exterior styling and the interior. You can buy one at your dealer now, and it sure is a pretty, small SUV.
Others might suggest that it would want to be, considering it costs at least $685,000 (and you could easily spend $1m on one if you tried).
Vastly large, hugely beautiful (at least inside) and almost absurdly powerful, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the SUV for the most chic of sheiks.
No brand better proves how beneficial it can be to add a new SUV to your line-up than Lamborghini, a company that was about as far, literally and figuratively, from soft-roader territory as it’s possible to be.
In 2018, however, Lamborghini launched the Urus SUV, instantly breaking taels records for the company. The Urus is expected to make up 50 per cent of the super-car brand’s volume in Australia, and has changed the company’s production numbers and sales globally.
Locally, a 2018 Lamborghini Urus will set you back between $360,250 and $427,570, depending on your levels of bling. Whatever spec you go for, though, you’ll be getting the most potent SUV on the planet. Some people might argue it’s also the sexiest new SUV you can buy.
Already a winner in the stylish SUV stakes, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio has been in the Australian market a while now, but its range-topping, riotous Quadrifoglio version, known more simply as the Stelvio Q in Australia, brings serious heat.
Capable of a 283km/h top speed and with a 0 to 100km/h dash of just 3.8 seconds via its all-wheel-drive set-up, this is one very serious sand blaster. And priced at $149,000, it is set to shake up a segment that includes BMW’s X3M40i and the AMG Mercedes GLC43.
Yes, it sounds like a computer operating system, or perhaps a virus, but the new Lexus UX, which arrived late last year and is just starting to appear on our roads, is aimed at young people, who love technology, so it kind of makes sense as a name.
As usual with Lexus, you can have a hybrid version if you want to, and in this case you also get a choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
The base UX200 gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and the 250h a 131kW hybrid set-up.
It’s funky looking, inside and out, and Lexus has high hopes that the UX will get customers in young, so it can keep them forever.
Much like many other companies formerly famed as sports-car makers, Jaguar is increasingly an SUV company, with its very attractive and pleasant to drive E-Pace SUV its top seller, both in Australia and around the world.
What makes Jaguar unique, however, is that its showroom can also offer buyers a fully electric SUV, the very stylish, and potent, I-Pace.
Yours from as little as $119,000, the I-Pace offers scorching yet whisper-quieter performance and a very space-age interior and has won plaudits for its driveability. Indeed, it came close to winning the coveted Wheels Car of the Year award in 2018, being scuppered only by inconsistencies over its claimed range of 400km per charge.
In SUV world, however, there’s no denying the I-Pace is the latest and greatest bit of cutting-edge technology, and a stylistic winner to boot.
One company currently going from strength to strength with its SUV range is Volvo, with its most recently released XC40 compact SUV helping the brand to defy a fall in sales of new cars in Australia to record rising figures.
You could argue that Mitsubishi doesn’t really need to launch any new SUVs, because Australians clearly love its old ones so much. If it ain’t broke, just keep selling it.
There’s no arguing with the success of the Mitsubishi ASX, for example, which is consistently the top-selling small SUV in Australia.
There is a new-ish 2018 SUV you can buy from Mitsubishi, if you’re a fan of plug-ins, in the shape of the Outlander PHEV.
And the PHEV approach is one the company looks keen to pursue, having just unveiled its latest concept, the Engelberg Tourer, a seven-seater with bold styling and off-road skills. Plus a claimed range of 700km.
The first Forester, launched in 1997, allowed the company to claim it had invented something new, the “all-terrain wagon”, which could be called the precursor of all family-style, soft roaders.
The just-launched new Forester follows in that long and proud tradition and still looks more like a station wagon than an SUV, but some would argue that’s a large part of what makes it so great to drive.
The new car is bristling with safety tech, including radar cruise, swivelling LED headlights and the company’s brilliant Eyesight driver-assistance package.
The price of the entry-level Forester 2.5i has risen by $3000 to $33,490, but it’s still good value.
The four-cylinder direct-injection engine makes 136kW and 239Nm and will get you to 100km/h in 9.1 seconds.
Renault’s attractive small SUV, the Captur, is now bigger, or at least stronger, under the skin, with the new 2019 model getting a bigger 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine to replace its 1.2 litre.
The recently upgraded model also now gets more up-to-date tech, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and pricing starts at $25,990.
The Styx, which may be called something else in Australia, has now been confirmed for release later in 2019 and will be less than 4m in length, making it a small SUV indeed, and is likely to be front-wheel-drive only.
You should expect to see a small Kia SUV down the line, built on the same platform, but with a different look and name.
The Tesla Model Y electric vehicle will cost from $US39,000 in its home market, which equates to $55,000 here. It will be available in Australia, around 2021, but almost certainly not at a price that low. Local pricing is yet to be confirmed.
If you really like to go off-roading, or even just to the polo, with all your well-heeled mates at once, you’re going to need BMW’s new super-large SUV, the X7, which claims to be able to carry not just seven humans, but seven full-sized adults in comfort.
Measuring a full 2000mm wide and 5151mm long, this is one big, bold BMW and it will arrive in Australia later in 2019, with a choice of two diesels and a surprisingly low entry price of just $119,900 for the X7 xDrive30d.
While Mazda already has plenty of SUVs that doesn’t mean there aren’t more to come, because there are always new niches to be filled, even ones that seem invisible now.
As such, Mazda will launch a new CX-30, to sit between the CX-3 and CX-5, and it will arrive later this year.
A new Mazda CX-6 will also be here, in around 2021, to sip in between the CX-5 and CX-8, and it will be a style player, with the kind of coupe look that’s become very popular with German SUVs, like the BMW X4.
This is a car that was famous before SUVs were, the original and still the best, some might say, but the Toyota LandCruiser is looking slightly tired and old, but still unbreakable.
Sure enough, there’s an all new version coming to replace the current 200 Series, and it should be here in 2020 or 2021 at the latest.
Expect a hybrid-engined version, a more modern design and an updated cabin and safety offering.
The formerly very British sports-car brand, MG, has been swallowed by China’s biggest automotive group, SAIC, and is now pumping out very affordable SUVs, like the small-small-ish ZS, but a far more important model, the new HS, has been spotted testing in Australia an dwill be on sale soon.
The ZS (from $20,990) has already been a huge success for MG, with sales jumping by as much as 850 percent this year and the brand poised to overtake rivals like Volvo and Renault, but it is the CX-5-sized GS that could really make a stir.
The last one was priced from just $23,990 and if this one offers similar value, and attractive looks, it could be a sales winner when it finally breaks cover, some time later this year.
VW is keen to bring some sexy new models to the compact SUV party with two exciting new entrants - the T-Roc and the T-Cross - but frustratingly you’ll have to wait 12 months to get your hands on one.
The German giant has had a hole in its product line-up where a competitor for the Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX should be, and it has finally filled that with these two new sleek looking vehicles.
The smaller T-Cross, which should start at under $30,000, is built on the VW Polo platform while the T-Roc, expected to start at around $40,000, is closer to Golf-sized, and Volkswagen has promised that both will set new standards in their segments, when they finally arrive, hopefully early in 2019.
Later in 2019, an all-new version of the brand’s big-daddy SUV, the Touareg, will also arrive in Australia. It looks like an absolute cracker and is definitely far more attractive than the vehicle it replaces.
Set to arrive around November 2019, Kia’s first all-electric crossover SUV, the e-Niro, looks fabulous, as we’ve now come to expect from this stylish Korean bargain house, and will boast a claimed range of more than 600km, which is enough to make a Jaguar I-Pace look bad.
The SUV EV will offer a 450km range, truly electric performance and a cutting-edge interior, plus enough electric grunt to hit 100km/h in 5.1 seconds.
It’s around the same size as the also very attractive Mercedes GLC.
Benz is also launching the second generation of its very premium GLE large SUV this year, with S-Class-like levels of tech and new E-Active Body Control suspension, which should make you feel like you’re gliding on air, apparently.
Arguably the most attractive SUV - or at least it was, back when it first arrived - the Evoque is having a total makeover, with the new one - priced from $64,000 and up a long way from there - arriving in May, 2019.
The new Evoque is still a beauty, of course, but it’s now longer and wider, to provide better interior space.
India’s giant Tata car brand is yet to really make its presence felt in the Australian market, but that could all change with the arrival of the all-new Tata Harrier SUV.
What makes this prospect particularly tantalising is that the Harrier is built on a version of the platform that underpins such fine cars as the Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Evoque, which is easy for Tata to get hold of, as it part owns Jaguar Land Rover.
The Harrier will go on sale in its home market of India this year, but it set to go global and is a very good chance of making it to Australia