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New cars making their mark: Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Venue, Volkswagen T-Cross and BMW X7 prove there's still room to grow

In its short time on sale, the Kia Seltos small SUV has been a heavy hitter.

It’s no revelation the new-vehicle market is more crowded than ever before. There’s so much to choose from that it can be hard for new models to really grab buyers’ attention. But some models command attention.

There have been some high-profile new nameplates hit the market in the last 12 months, most notably the Jeep Gladiator, Audi e-tron and the all-new-except-the-name Land Rover Defender. But these are all bit players in their respective segments.

Instead, we want to highlight the new models that have managed to find some clear space and demonstrate that a good car can find success, regardless of its competition and even if it is a new nameplate.

Kia Seltos

In its first full year on sale, the Seltos has charged to third place in the Small SUV segment. In its first full year on sale, the Seltos has charged to third place in the Small SUV segment.

It took the South Korean brand a long time to add a small SUV to its line-up, and when it did, it wasn’t that small, but the Seltos has been a hit for Kia since it arrived in October 2019.

In its first full year on sale, the Seltos has charged to third place in the Small SUV segment, behind only the Mitsubishi ASX and Hyundai Kona. In just 12 calendar months, the smaller Kia has captured more than 10 per cent of its segment’s sales.

Bordering on a mid-size SUV, the Seltos has clearly found favour with buyers looking for a high-riding, city-friendly SUV with space. But it’s bigger size has left the door open for an even smaller SUV and the Stonic is due to arrive by the end of the year. Will it repeat the success of the Seltos in 2021?

Mazda CX-30

The CX-30 has notched up nearly 7000 sales. The CX-30 has notched up nearly 7000 sales.

The Seltos isn’t the only small SUV that has made a big splash in 2020. Mazda may be suffering a decline in Mazda3 sales, but the success of the all-new CX-30 softens the blow. It sits just behind the Kia, notching up nearly 7000 sales and a 9.2 per cent market share.

It demonstrates both the strength of the Mazda brand, but also the SUV market, because the CX-30 squeezed in between the CX-3 and CX-5 and has still managed to add meaningful sales.

Hyundai Venue

The Venue currently sits second behind the CX-3 in light SUV sales. The Venue currently sits second behind the CX-3 in light SUV sales.

While the Hyundai Kona is now the second best-selling small SUV, it took a while for buyers to warm to the quirky-looking crossover. Not so much for its baby brother, the all-new Venue, which is already the second best-selling light SUV after going on sale late in 2019. 

It’s well behind the Mazda CX-3, but it has found more than 3000 buyers who like its affordability and combination of compact exterior dimensions with a roomy interior.

Volkswagen T-Cross 

The T-Cross hit showrooms in May but has already notched almost 2000 sales. The T-Cross hit showrooms in May but has already notched almost 2000 sales.

This is perhaps the least surprising new model to find some success, if only because it filled a gap in Volkswagen’s line-up that was long overdue. The German brand has found its groove selling ‘mainstream premium’ models like the Polo, Golf and Passat to buyers who want a touch of luxury without the price tag.

But up until this year, the Tiguan was its smallest SUV, so it had nothing to offer buyers in the Light and Small SUV segments. Enter the T-Cross (Light SUV) and T-Roc (Small SUV) to finally fulfil that demand.

The T-Cross hit showrooms in May but has already notched almost 2000 sales, which doesn’t sound like much, but the Light SUV market is still growing and the CX-3 takes more than half of all sales. Still, it’s good enough for 8.9 per cent market share, which bodes well for its chances in 2021 when circumstances are tipped to improve.

BMW X7

The X7 is just a single vehicle ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLS (708 v 707). The X7 is just a single vehicle ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLS (708 v 707).

And just in case you were wondering if this list was limited to smaller and more affordable SUVs, I bring you our final entrant - an upper-large SUV with pricing beginning at more than $130k (plus on-road costs).

Granted, the Upper Large SUV over $100k segement is a relatively small piece of the overall market, but the Bavarian brand can still be happy with the way its new high-riding limousine has been embraced. 

It’s the top-selling model in the class, as of the October year-to-date sales, just a single vehicle ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLS (708 v 707). What’s more, the two models account for nearly half of all sales in this market - taking 23.3 per cent each - leaving the likes of the Range Rover, Lexus LX, Audi Q8 and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen trailing behind.