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Looking for a new luxury SUV? Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi SQ5 TDI, Genesis GV80 and other premium crossovers hitting showrooms soon

Audi's SQ5 TDI will finally make its return to the Australian market later this year.

Give the people what they want. It’s the ethos of businesses around the world - including the car industry.

Which is why the last decade has seen a proliferation of SUVs from premium car brands. Whereas once it was the likes of the executive sedans that were seen as the heart of a luxury car line-up, these days it’s all about the crossovers.

Sales may be down in 2020, but the car makers aren’t slowing the new models, so let’s take a look at what’s new or upcoming in the prestige SUV market.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

The biggest growth market in recent years has been the small SUV segment, where the likes of the Audi Q2 and Q3 duke it out with the BMW X1, Lexus NX and Volvo XC40. Mercedes-Benz was an early entrant with its original GLA – a lightly tweaked A-Class on stilts – but now it’s launched an all-new model.

Like the original it’s closely related to the A-Class, but Benz have tried to give it even more of its own personality with chunkier, more SUV-like styling.

There’s a wide range to choose from, starting with GLA 200 to the sporty AMG GLA35, and eventually the red-hot AMG GLA45, which packs a 310kW punch.

2021 Genesis GV80

Hyundai took the traditional path in establishing its new luxury brand, Genesis, starting with the G80 large sedan and smaller G70. But those two, not surprisingly, failed to become big sellers and really attract attention.

Genesis is hoping the arrival of its first SUV will change that, with the GV80 hitting showrooms in October. It will take Genesis directly into confrontation with the biggest names in luxury SUVs – Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

To give itself a fighting chance Genesis has a wide range to choose from, starting at a competitive $90,600 before on-road costs for the GV80 2.5T (powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol) but also including a 3.0-litre turbo diesel and a 3.5-litre V6 turbo petrol.

2021 Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback

Due to launch by the end of the year, the e-tron is a mid-size SUV that will expand Audi’s already extensive SUV portfolio. While it may be electric, and both the Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model Y are natural rivals, the e-tron and its Sportback sibling will still be judged on their merits as premium SUVs.

Powered by dual electric motors and equipped with on-demand all-wheel drive, the new battery-powered crossover will be available in two different states of tune - e-tron 50 and e-tron 55.

The e-tron range will start at $137,700 for the 50, $146,100 for the 55, while the e-tron Sportback models are $9000 more respectively.

2021 Audi SQ5 TDI

The addition of a diesel-powered performance variant would ordinarily be minor news for a car company. But when the variant in question is the SQ5 TDI, it’s a very big deal for Audi.

That’s because at times the SQ5 TDI has accounted for up to 25 per cent of all Q5 sales in Australia, as local buyers fell for its blend of performance, practicality and prestige.

It’s so important to Audi Australia that it will be offered locally alongside the already on-sale SQ5 TFSI, which is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-petrol engine making 260kW/500Nm. By comparison the TDI has a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel making 255kW/700Nm and backed up by a 48-volt mild hybrid system.

The local operation recently confirmed the SQ5 TDI special edition will be more expensive than the petrol version too, starting at $104,900 (compared to $101,136).

2021 Jaguar F-Pace

It’s one of the more overlooked (and dare I say, under-rated) family-sized SUVs in the premium space, but Jaguar is hoping a mid-life update will make the F-Pace more popular.

The British firm unveiled the refreshed line-up this week, with a minor exterior nip and tuck, but a major cabin redesign and new engine options. Just as importantly, Jaguar Australia has made the line-up much smaller and easier to navigate, slashing it from 18 variants down to just five.

There’s still plenty of choice though with a revised 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo (P250), new 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo petrol (P400) and 3.0-litre straight-six turbo diesel (D300).

The new F-Pace is due to arrive in early 2021 with pricing starting at $74,990 for the P250 R-Dynamic.