Some of Australia’s best-selling models are classified as small SUVs.
More than 100,000 cars with this classification were put into Australian hands this year, with the segment accounting for 12.9 per cent of the total market share.
New contenders have also emerged in recent months, such as the all-new Toyota Wreath cross (likely to become a top seller); of the last generation Honda HR-V and Suzuki S-Cross; and updated Volkswagen T-Roc and Lexus UX.
But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, with a bunch of other new or (at least) updated offerings in the works for potential buyers to keep an eye out for.
The new Qashqai has been waiting for some time, leaving Nissan dealers without a small SUV option for far too long. But the November 2022 launch will soon be fixed.
Designed in Europe and built in the UK, the third generation of Nissan’s small SUV is a significant upgrade over its predecessor. The company previously said the new Qashqai would arrive in early 2022 while it was revealed overseas back in February 2021.
The main news includes a new platform from the Renault-Nissan group, a new 1.3-liter turbo petrol engine with higher torque and more efficient The e-Power hybrid variant lags far behinda longer list of safety features and a completely updated interior.
Four specification levels called Qashqai ST, ST+, ST-L and Ti will be offered at launch, with sticker prices ranging from $33,890 to $47,390 on-road costs.
Updated 2023 Kia Seltos The range will land in Australia during the fourth quarter of 2022, bringing a number of improvements that include detailed design, more technology and a more powerful engine.
The 1.6-litre turbo-petrol and four-wheel-drive variant will get a power boost (from 130kW to 147kW) and a new eight-speed transmission, while the entry-level 110kW 2.0-litre and front-wheel-drive option will be made the option for all options, not for some.
Expect additional driver aids to be added across the range from bottom to top, with all options to choose from rear air vents and USB-C ports.
The cabin should get a new climate control panel and the option of dual 10.25-inch displays, just like the new Niro. The Seltos will be the second model in the brand’s Australian range to feature Kia Connect online services as standard, from Sport grade onwards.
In terms of design, the new Seltos will feature updated headlight graphics, a “bigger and bolder” front grille, and revised bumpers. The GT-Line versions have a new design of LED lights with a “star map” symptom, as Kia describes it.
The X1 has grown in all dimensions compared to its predecessor. It is 53 mm longer, 24 mm wider and 44 mm taller, and has a 22 mm longer wheelbase.
This means more interior space, including a larger trunk. Capacity is up to 540L, which increases to 1,600L when the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats are folded down. Combustion engine variants can also be specified with a sliding rear bench.
The X1 and iX1 are the latest BMWs to get the new BMW Operating System 8 and a curved display that houses a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system in a single display.
The Australian X1 range includes the X1 sDrive18i priced at $53,900 and the xDrive20i priced at $65,900 – both excluding on-road costs. Pricing for the iX1 will likely start in the $80,000 range.
Cherry Omodo 5
We’ve seen China’s MG ZS and Haval Jolion shoot up the sales charts thanks to sub-brand pricing, modern design and reassuring warranties.
The next taxi from the ranking will be the Chery Omoda 5, a bright crossover that will come to Australia in late 2022 or early 2023. ambitious plans in the company as part of full local support activities.
Remember Chery? It unsuccessfully broke into the Australian market between 2011 and 2014 with the budget (and frankly crappy) J1 and J3 hatchbacks and the J11 small SUV, thanks to a deal with independent distributor Ateco.
Its first car for the relaunch is called the Omoda 5, which measures 4,400mm in length – about on par with the class. Two small turbo petrol engines are listed in the specification: a 1.5-litre with 115kW and 230Nm mated to a CVT, and a 1.6-litre with 145kW and 290Nm mated to a dual-clutch automatic.
Available features depending on specification grade include LED lights, sunroof, in-car Wi-Fi hotpot, keyless entry, heated seats, wireless phone charging, powered tailgate, and twin digital instruments and central displays 24.6 inches overall.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Alfa Romeo’s latest comeback began with the arrival of the new Tonale in February 2023. Following the discontinuation of the Giulietta hatchback, this SUV has become the brand’s base model – at least for now, with an even smaller crossover in the works.
It is believed to use the Small Wide Stellantis platform, which also underpins the Jeep Compass. The Ti and Veloce are powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that delivers 118kW of power and 240Nm of torque.
From now on, an all-wheel drive Tonale PHEV called the Tonale Q, billed as the performance variant of the range, will go on sale from late 2023.
The touchscreen (with rotary dial) has a diagonal of 10.25 inches and runs Android operating system with wireless software updates. It is said to be easy to adjust with drag and drop.
Alfa Romeo Australia has announced a base price for the Tonale Ti at $49,900 before on-road costs, several thousand dollars below base BMW X1. The better equipped Tonale Veloce costs $54,400.
Subaru Australia will ditch the two-generation-old XV nameplate and its next-generation SUV will be called the Crosstrek when it arrives here “soon”.
We don’t have an exact timeline for when to expect the Subaru Crosstrek in Australian showrooms, although the company says it will share more information “in the coming months”.
New Subaru Crosstrek, discovered on September 15re-introduced as a compact SUV capable of going a bit further off the pavement than most competitors.
The new Crosstrek is based on Subaru’s latest global platform. Powertrain options will include a 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed manual transmission, as well as an e-Boxer hybrid option. Subaru being Subaru, all Crosstreks will have all-wheel drive (AWD).
The interior will feature a new 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a wireless phone charger.
In terms of looks, it’s essentially a rebadged American HR-V that’s very different from the HR-V sold in Australia and Europe – for example, more svelte and less edgy in its design.
The ZR-V is likely to be sold with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine driving the front or all four wheels via a CVT, while the e:HEV is also expected to come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid system, again with both Available front or all wheel drive.
“For those customers who want five seats and/or more practicality, we are very confident that we will be able to meet those needs [with the new SUV model]Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins said told us in May 2022.
“What we’re going to see over the next 12 to 18 months or so is a lineup of three different SUVs.”
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