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It's time to let go of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, these are the most Australian-influenced cars you can buy today

The new-generation Ranger and Everest are undoubtedly Australian-flavoured, but there are others out there.

Australian vehicle manufacturing might be gone, but that doesn’t mean our influence on the automotive world has disappeared.

Sure, the likes of the Holden Commodore, and Ford Falcon and Territory were designed and built from the ground up for Australia’s unique requirements, but that expertise and knowledge is now filtering through to other models that are assembled and imported from elsewhere.

We might not build these cars locally, but they certainly carry an Australian flavour, and some of them have also proven plenty popular with buyers.

Ford Ranger/Everest

Undoubtedly the new-generation Ford Ranger and Everest pair are, for all intents and purposes, Australian cars.

They might be built in Thailand, but the extensive research, development, engineering and validation that was poured into the Ranger ute and Everest SUV on Australian soil makes it the closest thing we have to a mass-market home-grown hero.

And the best part is that the hard work will proliferate across the world, with giant markets like the US, China and Europe selling the Ranger, while the Everest will be available South-East Asia.

Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior

Not content to let just Ford and Toyota have the share of the high-end ute segment, Nissan set about creating its own rival to the Ranger Raptor and HiLux Rugged X.

To do so, however, the Japanese brand turned to Australian engineering firm Premcar (famous for fettling fast Fords) to build the Warrior version of its Navara ute.

With all development, testing and validation done Down Under, as well as an assembly line to upgrade the Pro-4X to Warrior status in Melbourne’s north, each flagship Navara certainly carries with it a tinge of Aussie flavour.

Toyota LandCruiser

As a key market for the Toyota LandCruiser, Australian needs were high on the priority list from the inception of the latest 300 Series model.

Development kicked off back in 2014, with Toyota Australia being involved right from the get go to ensure the hotly anticipated LC300 would be a worthy successor to the popular 200 Series predecessor that was on sale from 2007 to 2020.

According to one Toyota executive, “an unprecedented amount of development was done here in Australia” and that “if it’s tough enough for Australia, it’s touch enough for the rest of the world”.

Kia Stinger

Many billed the Stinger as the spiritual successor to affordable large sedans like the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, with Kia’s take on the formula including a mighty 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and the Korean brand’s lengthy seven-year warranty.

But did you know it was Australia that pushed for this model to be rear-drive? It wasn’t an easy task, but Kia’s Down Under division chipped away at the big wigs in South Korea to convince them there is a market for a model like the Stinger – and that market is right here.

“The formula for us was very, very important because if we had a crack again at another front-wheel drive or even all-wheel drive for that matter, that’s still an unknown. But 60 years of the formula that has been around for that long, I think that particularly in our focus group interviews, there’s still a passion for it,” Kia Australia boss Damien Meredith told media at the Stinger launch.

Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai Australia isn’t shy about giving its models a little tickle to make them more suitable for some of our less-than-ideal roads, but it was the work done on the i30 N that is a real standout.

As the brand’s first hot hatch and full-on performance car, the 2018 i30 N had a lot to live up to, but the problem was, when it landed in Australia for evaluation, it was just too stiff and too uncomfortable on local roads.

The answer was a unique suspension tune, one that took the hardness out of the ride, but still offered up plenty of grip and feedback for those wanting to go fast. And so successful was this endeavour, that the subsequent i30 Fastback N, i30 sedan N and Kona N all received bespoke tunes for Australia, with all the data made available globally for any market that wanted it.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep’s new-generation Grand Cherokee might not seem like the most Australian-influenced car at first glance, but believe it or not, it was actually on local soil for several months in pre-production form ahead of its global launch.

Jeep is remaining pretty tight-lipped on exactly what Australian feedback was, and is classifying the exercise as “exploratory testing” for now, but we do know the brand will speak further on the matter at next week’s local Grand Cherokee launch.

Whether it was hot-weather or suspension testing is still unclear, or if any Australian feedback is reflected in the final production model, but bringing a crucial new model Down Under for any pre-production testing is a good sign.