Medium SUVs are the most popular vehicle type on the road these days, often accounting for monthly overall market share nudging 20 per cent.
So it’s fitting that there’a a cavalcade of either new or refreshed contenders slated to arrive over the next 12 months or so.
Arrival times for new cars always change, with shipping or factory delays all-too-common. But as it stands these are the arrival points.
If you get a steer from a dealer that any of our timings are out, let us know in the comments.
The regular turbo-petrol Ford Escape range is already on sale, and is a much more compelling option than its pretty feeble sales suggest.
But the plug-in hybrid model was delayed, due to European supply issues. It’s on track to arrive late in 2021 to rival the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Peugeot 3008 PHEV, and MG HS PHEV.
There’s a claimed electric-only driving range of up to 50km, thanks to the 14.4kWh battery. Combined engine and motor power is 167kW.
Haval, a fast-growing brand that’s part of Great Wall Motors, is gearing up to replace the tired H6 with a shiny new one by mid 2021.
We’ve found data showing the 4653mm-long SUV will use a 150kW 2.0-litre petrol engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
It sports a contemporary design penned by a team reporting into the company’s global design boss Phil Simmons, who among other projects led the design of the Range Rover Velar in his old role at Jaguar Land Rover.
The new Tucson is due in Australia by June 2021 looks a lot edgier than the massively popular outgoing model. It’s a similar story inside, with two ultra-contemporary 10-inch screens and nicer materials.
This new model is bigger than before (Australia will get the long-wheelbase version), and is now about the same size as a RAV4 or Nissan X-Trail.
Engines at launch will be reworked versions of existing units: a 2.0-litre petrol, 1.6-litre turbo-petrol, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.
There will also be a N-Line derivative with racier design. Overseas PHEV and hybrid models are being investigated, but aren’t confirmed as yet. Given the growing acceptance of hybrid SUVs in this market, Hyundai would be foolish not to offer it eventually.
So we actually haven’t seen this one yet, and there’s a chance we won’t get our hands on it until 2022.
But we do know that a new Sportage is coming, and will share much of its mechanical bits with the Tucson, packaged in an entirely different body with Kia’s design ethos and new badge front and centre.
The second-most popular SUV in the land has picked up some updates for 2021, which should see it out before the new generation arrives. They’re on sale.
The running changes are headlined by a slick new CX-5 GT SP variant with unique 19-inch wheels and synthetic leather and suede seats.
The GT, GT SP, and Akera variants also get a new infotainment setup comprising a 10.25-inch screen running the Mazda Connect operating system from the CX-30, which is quicker loading and has better graphics.
The brand new Outlander will arrive in Australia late in 2021, and replace the elderly outgoing car that has long sold on sharp pricing.
This iteration uses a Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and the X-Trail’s 2.5-litre engine, mated to Mitsubishi’s tricky S-AWC all-wheel drive system. The new PHEV is expected to emerge soon, with a longer EV range.
The cabin is far more premium than before, and uses a 9.0-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch instrument closer, and a 10.8-inch head-up display. It also gets the full suite of active safety features.
MG’s answer to the Hyundai Tucson is growing in popularity, and just picked up a new sub-$30,000 entry model.
But for 2021 we’re expecting to see a new plug-in hybrid offering about 50km of driving range (WLTP), pairing a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine with a 10-speed automatic and motor/battery pairing.
At the other end of the emissions scale, we’re also expecting to see a 168kW 2.0-litre turbo engine option made available, with a fair whack more punch than the current car’s 119kW 1.5 turbo.
One of the most popular models on the market, the X-Trail is poised for a major revision with the fourth-generation model. It was revealed in the USA – where it is called the Rogue – during June 2020 and was expected in Australia in 2021.
The design doesn’t entirely revert to the boxiness of the first two generations, but it’s certainly a departure from the outgoing car. It retains the current car’s two-level boot, and those big back seats – now more easily accessed by near-90-degree back doors.
It runs the same infotainment as the Mitsubishi Outlander mentioned above, and uses the same 2.5 engine. Expect a Nissan e-Power hybrid soon, using a system whereby a petrol generator powers a battery, which drives a motor connected to the wheels.
This left-of-centre choice from the French brand gets some worthy updates this year which are due in Australia by late March 2021.
The design is as chic as ever, while inside there’s a revised 10-inch centre screen and a new 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster said to have better graphics. There are also new dash trims.
We understand the petrol and diesel range arrives first, with nifty plug-in hybrids coming a few months later offering nearly 60km of purely EV range.
Germany’s favourite gets some changes for 2021, led by subtle front and rear cosmetic tweaks, a rejigged cabin with slicker displays and a new wheel, more active safety features, and a changed engine range.
The base 110TSI front-wheel drive petrol is expected by late March, and will be joined by the 162TSI turbo-petrol and new 147TDI diesel before the end of June.
These updates are for the regular Tiguan. The Tiguan Allspace upgrades are still a little way down the track, for those after seven seats.
To the surprise of nobody, Audi has introduced another coupe SUV, in the form of the swooping-silhouette Q5 Sportback due by mid 2021.
This derivative of the hugely popular Q5 is conceptually similar to the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.
Also, a new SQ5 flagship will arrive in both regular Q5 and Q5 Sportback guises by mid-year as well.
It’s back to a diesel now: a 3.0-litre V6 with 251kW of power and a meaty 700Nm of torque.
BMW’s first electric car since the weird (but cult) i3 is based on its hot-selling X3 SUV. It’s called, rather non-adventurously, iX3.
It’ll be in Australia in the middle of 2021 with 459km of range and a soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer. Under the floor sits a 80kWh lithium-ion battery pack, hooked up to a single electric motor on the rear axle.
Plugged into a DC fast charger, it’ll recharge at 150kW. That means an 80 per cent fill takes just 34 minutes. You can also get yourself an AC wallbox for overnight garage charging.
Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis, finally has a challenger to the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Audi Q5. The GV70 will join the new GV80 SUV and G80 sedan, and updated G70 sedan, in Genesis Studio/s by June 2021.
The sleek crossover will cone with a 155kW diesel, 224kW turbo-petrol four, or 280kW V6 range-topper for proper punch. It’ll also have Australia-specific suspension tuning.
Inside, the GV70 shares its single-spoke steering wheel with the GV80, though the Sport model has a different design. The massive landscape screen is familiar, but the ventilation controls and interior palette are distinctive.
Australia’s best-selling Lexus is reportedly about to get a ground-up redesign, set to debut in Japan in May 2021. This would suggest an Australian arrival during 2021 too.
Alas, we have no pictures – not even spied development shots!
Rumour has it the new NX will use the same architecture as the Toyota RAV4 and Venza/Harrier hybrid, so its running gear is ready to roll.
You can bank on a greatly improved user-interface inside, and we’d be hoping a plug-in hybrid using RAV4 Prime running gear is a likely proposition alongside a ‘normal’ hybrid and a turbocharged petrol.
This current status of the electrified Range Rover entry car for Australia is now TBC, though it’s detailed on Land Rover Australia’s website. For now we will suggest it’s in the pipeline.
The Evoque P300e uses a transverse 147kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine range, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an 80kW electric motor on the rear axle within the integral link suspension.
This motor draws power from a 15kWh battery pack, and is said to offer about 60km of EV-only range.
The Volvo XC60 is technically the company’s mid-sized SUV, but the V60 Cross Country kind of fits the bill.
This jacked-up AWD V60 spinoff straddles a fine line between a wagon and a SUV, and will replace the larger and slow-selling V90 Cross Country from the second half of 2021.
The V60 Cross Country sits 75mm higher than the regular V60 and includes revised suspension and an off-road drive mode. It’ll have a petrol engine with 48V electrical assistance.
Want to know what else is coming? Our 2021 Australia New Car Launch Calendar says hello.