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Kia Telluride, Ford Bronco, Hyundai Tucson Hybrid and other exciting new models top brands should add to their Australian line-ups

The Telluride is Kia's answer to the Hyundai Palisade, but it has been ruled out in first-generation form.

There’s a reason why the likes of Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai lead the sales races every month. The companies have figured out what Australians like to drive and deliver a range of vehicles that cater to that audience.

But we still think there’s a few holes they could fill.

Whether it be production issues (many carmakers still don’t pay much attention to right-hand-drive markets) or other factors, some models that could find buyers in Australia simply don’t make it to our shores.

So here are some of the options we’d like to see in the local showrooms from the biggest brands.

Toyota Tundra

While we’d love to see Toyota add the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime, the reality is the addition of the Tundra would fill the biggest hole in Toyota’s range - both metaphorically and literally.

As we’ve seen with the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500, there is a growing appetite for these huge American ‘pick-ups’ in Australia. 

Toyota Australia has long maintained an interest in the Tundra, but no solution has been found to date to get it into the local range. It would make a nice addition to the line-up, sitting above the HiLux to appeal to those who want the biggest toy in the playground.

Mazda CX-30 Turbo

Warmed-up SUVs are becoming increasingly popular as more and more buyers switch from hatchbacks to crossovers. Volkswagen offers the T-Roc 140TSI and will add a red-hot T-Roc R in 2022, but Mazda could have its own hot high-rider, the CX-30 Turbo.

Powered by the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine found in the bigger CX-5 and CX-9, it makes a punchy 186kW/434Nm and has all-wheel drive, which would make the smaller CX-30 a pocket rocket.

While Mazda Australia has expressed its interest in the model, currently it’s only built for left-hand drive markets, so it’s unobtainable for now.

But as Mazda Australia has demonstrated in the past, most notably with the ‘Japanese-only’ CX-8, it has sway with head office.

And if we were being greedy, we’d also love to see Mazda Australia add the Mazda3 Turbo to the line-up to give that range a clear hero.

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

The Toyota RAV4 has demonstrated that Australians are willing to make the switch to hybrid power in the right vehicle. Which makes Hyundai Australia’s lack of hybrid models all the more surprising, especially the all-new, more-upmarket Tucson.

While the South Korean brand has all-but-confirmed the arrival of the Santa Fe Hybrid in the second half of 2021, the news for the Tucson looks less promising.

That’s because unlike the regular right-hand drive-Tucson range that’s built in South Korea, the Tucson Hybrid gets bolted together in the Czech Republic, which makes the numbers hard to stack up.

Which is a shame, because with the Tucson making a push towards a more ‘semi-premium’ market, having a hybrid to compete against the RAV4 would not only help Hyundai’s image, but also give local buyers more choice.

Ford Bronco

In a mystery almost as baffling as the Bermuda Triangle, Ford managed to use the right-hand-drive-capable (and Australian-developed) Ranger T6 platform and turn it into the left-hand-drive-only Bronco.

If there was any Blue Oval model likely to give the Ranger a helping hand in the sales race, it’s the adventurous Bronco.

While perhaps lacking the same name recognition as the Mustang, the more practical nature of the Bronco SUV would (in our mind’s at least) have made the Bronco a popular addition to the local line-up.

While we concede the rugged off-roader market is small and the Jeep Wrangler is hardly a best-seller, it’s hard to believe that Ford couldn’t have made a go of the Bronco Down Under given our love of rugged vehicles, including its twin-under-the-skin Ranger.

Kia Telluride

Not only is it the best car Kia makes, it was literally the best in the world - winning the 2020 World Car of the Year award - but that hasn’t helped Kia Australia get the Telluride.

The Kia version of the new Hyundai Palisade, it would give the brand a much-needed competitor to the popular Toyota Prado, with its sizeable cabin accommodating up to eight people.

Unfortunately, while the Palisade is made in South Korea and can be built in right-hand drive, the Telluride is strictly a made-in-the-USA proposition, so is left-hooker only.

Which is a shame not only for Kia, as demand for SUVs shows no signs of wavering, but also local buyers who want a big, practical SUV for large families.