Recent figures show that nearly one in two new vehicles bought in 2020 were SUVs (49.6% market share). That's up from 45.5% in 2019. There's little doubt that we love our SUVs!
Spacious, comfortable, versatile and safe, modern SUVs are equally at home on rural roads or negotiating city traffic. In contrast to a standard sedan, an SUV has a higher driving position that allows better visibility. SUVs are also taller and longer than the average car, providing a feeling of safety in today's busy traffic conditions.
With plenty of boot space (that can often be extended into the back row when needed) as well as spacious, comfortable and well-equipped seats in the rear, the SUV is a perfect family vehicle that's also exciting to drive. Did we mention they're also fuel-efficient?
Given all these advantages, it's little wonder SUVs dominate the new car market in Australia.
Here we take a look at some of the best SUVs out there, giving you a taste of the variety available. We've broken it down by SUV category so you can find the best option for your needs.
BEST LARGE & FAMILY SUV’S
Beautifully styled inside and out, the CX-9 offers prestige car levels of luxury at a surprisingly affordable price. We particularly like the leather seats!
The meaty 2.5l turbo engine ensures plenty of excitement behind the wheel, whilst features such as an 810l boot and the option to carry additional passengers (the CX-9 is available as a 6- or 7-seater) bring additional value.
If you're likely to go off-road, the Everest could be the perfect companion. Based on Ford's Ranger ute, the Everest fuses comfort, safety and plenty of tech with rugged off-roader roots. The result is an SUV that's fuel-efficient, spacious and well-equipped.
Whether you tend to be an urban driver or venture into less hospitable terrain, the Everest can keep up!
Toyota is Australia's best-selling vehicle brand. The Kluger goes a long way to explaining why! A powerful V6 engine ensures enough power to cope with whatever the road brings. Toyota has also brought out a hybrid version, which offers a fuel-efficient, attractively green option.
Able to seat seven, the Kluger includes some nice touches such as acoustic glass and rear USB ports (as well as in the front), enabling everyone to travel in comfort.
BEST MID-SIZE SUV’S
If space is a priority, the CR-V is for you. Possibly the most spacious of all the mid-size SUVs, the CR-V's rear row is roomy enough for adult passengers to enjoy the ride.
A 1.5l VTEC-turbo engine ensures plenty of torque (240Nm) when it's needed (the base spec has a naturally aspirated 2.0l engine (189Nm of torque)). Well-known for its spacious boot (that benefits from a height-adjustable floor and a hands-free powered tailgate) the CR-V is ideal for families who tend to travel with plenty of luggage.
The Rav-4 has an enviable reputation that is fully justified. Australia's best-selling SUV in 2020, it's also won no less than eight awards, including Drive 2020 Car of the Year.
The Rav-4's combination of excellent handling, plenty of equipment and a spacious, comfortable cabin combine to make it just about unbeatable. Unfortunately, current supply issues mean it could be six months or more before your new Rav-4 is ready. We would argue it's well worth the wait!
Seating five in luxury, but still small enough to navigate easily in cramped parking lots and narrow streets, the CX-5 is an agile SUV that's responsive to drive and easy to handle.
Showcasing Mazda's usual blend of high-end styling and a high-performance driving experience, features such as interior storage space, cupholders and USB ports ensure comfortable travel.
BEST SMALL SUV’S
If you like a touch of luxury in your compact SUV, it's time to buy a CX-30.
As you would expect from a Mazda, its high-quality, well-equipped interior and understated exterior styling result in an SUV that wouldn't look out of place alongside an Audi or a BMW. Reviewers love the CX-30's handling, as well as the good level of tech.
Hyundai continues to grow in popularity for good reasons - they build cars that are reliable, drive well and are equipped with a good range of features.
Like other Hyundai's, drivers can customise their Kona with add-ons such as a tech package or a convenience package. If you like a sporty vibe, the N-line Kona is a great option. The Kona offers excellent value, as well as safety, comfort and versatility.
If you want to get VW underpinnings at Skoda prices, get the Kamiq. Despite 2021 price increases, Skoda's reputation for value continues with the Kamiq.
Reviewers love its performance and efficiency, as well as its strong suite of tech features. For SUV drivers who want a lot of car for their money, the Kamiq is a good choice.
BEST HYBRID SUV’S
The CH-R is the latest Toyota model to have been equipped with GR racing trims and engine tweaks. The result is a vehicle that stands out from the crowd for the right reasons.
Its iconic exterior, coupled with sporty accessorising inside (such as aluminium floor pedals and racing front seats) result in a stylish little SUV that has plenty of street presence.
A good choice for off-road driving, the 2021 Subaru Forester has been updated with an exterior upgrade and a rearranged interior that gives additional space and comfort for the driver and passengers.
An excellent suite of safety features provides welcome peace of mind. Reviewers love its off-road handling and performance, rating it one of the strongest SUVs on the market in this respect.
The 2021 Escape has had a sporty makeover in comparison to last year's model. The result is a sporty little SUV with plenty of tech and some great features. Performance isn't compromised by being a hybrid - the 2.5l IVCT Atkinson Cycle 1-4 engine ensures plenty of grunt when you need it.
Learn More: 2021 Ford Escape Review
The SUV market is a competitive one, which means manufacturers work hard to ensure their models outshine the opposition. The result is a suite of high-grade vehicles, each of which has some little differences that make it suitable for a particular driver. It's no exaggeration to say that in the SUV line up there really is a vehicle suitable for everyone.