A remarkable one-in-five of all new cars sold in Australia this year has been classified as a mid-size SUV.
Naturally most of these have been at the affordable end of the market, but the luxury brands have also made this segment a huge part of their businesses.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC models are getting rather advanced into their life cycle but remain top sellers, followed by the BMW X3 and X4, Lexus NX, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Porsche Macan.
As we look towards the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, we know there are multiple new or updated entrants coming. We thought a summary might prove helpful as you do your research.
But the way, if you want to know the full list of more affordable mid-size SUVs due in Australia by the end of next year – we’re referring to big sellers like the new Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Tucson among a multitude of others – you can get all the details you’ll need right here.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio update
Expected by late 2020
This Italian firebrand has never matched its German competitors when it comes to cabin technology. Instead, it’s relied on its sportscar-like handling and ridiculous Ferrari-developed twin-turbo V6 to stand out.
An updated model is coming here soon, hopefully by the end of 2020.
It has an optional new dual-mode exhaust system supplied by Akrapovič, new LED rear light clusters, new 21-inch wheels, a Mopar carbon-fibre grille insert, and some new colours including the eye-catching green pictured.
On the inside there’s a redesigned centre console with more storage, a new steering wheel and gear shifter design, the availability of red or green seatbelts, new perforated leather and Alcantara seats, and an updated infotainment system on an 8.8-inch touchscreen.
It also picks up active safety features including active lane-keeping assist, active blind-spot assist, traffic-sign recognition, traffic jam assist, and driver-attention assist.
Check out more on the 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio here.
Alpina XD3 update
Expected in early 2021
Alpina is the lesser-known BMW tuning partner after the Bavarian company’s own M division, and we’re expecting a revised version of its XD3 to hit local roads in early 2021.
Unlike the BMW X3 M40i with its potent petrol-fired inline-six petrol, the XD3 stands apart with its twin-turbo inline-six diesel. It gains a 48V electrical system, and outputs are up by 16kW and 30Nm to 261kW and a stump-pulling 730Nm from only 1750rpm.
It uses BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. A rear limited-slip differential is also standard, as is Alpina’s unique suspension tune. The 0-100km/h time is unchanged at 4.9 seconds. Fuel economy is a meagre 6.5L/100km.
And as with all Alpinas, it has simply gorgeous alloy wheels.
The upgrades result in a slightly higher price than the current model – $114,990 before on-road costs, or $5090 more than before. But Alpina has also standardised the panoramic sunroof, previously a $2690 option.
Check out more on the 2021 Alpina XD3 here.
Audi Q5 update
Expected by June 2021
The Q5 is one of Audi’s – and the wider segment’s – top sellers, and an updated model is on track to bolster this status during the first half of 2021.
The 2021 model gets a tweaked grille design, new LED daytime running light signature, new side sills that add clearance, new OLED rear light clusters, and two new paint choices including District Green as pictured.
The Q5 uses Audi’s latest infotainment system, which is said to have 10 times the computing power of the old system. It features a 10.1-inch screen controlled by touch – the rotary dial has been removed, replaced with a storage cubby. The 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit Plus instruments remain.
The turbo-diesel engines now feature mild-hybrid technology, while the SQ5 diesel is returning to Australia after a brief absence. That’ll make the SQ5 petrol, introduced last year, a one-and-done.
Before all this, a special edition SQ5 diesel with the pre-update cabin will arrive in November this year.
Check out more on the 2021 Audi Q5 here.
New Audi Q5 Sportback
Expected during the second-half of 2021
The new Q5 Sportback is conceptually similar to the BMW X4 or Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe – models it will challenge when it hits Australian showrooms in the second half of next year.
Note the more tapered roofline and smaller glasshouse, meaning a smidgen less rear headroom in return for the different look. The updates are otherwise similar to the ‘regular’ MY21 Q5 described above.
Check out more on the 2021 Audi Q5 Sportback here.
New BMW iX3
Expected in mid-2021
The BMW i3 was a ground-up EV, whereas the iX3 is a fully electric derivative of the familiar X3, aimed squarely at the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model Y/X – all of which beat the Bimmer to market.
Under the floor sits a 74kWh (usable) lithium-ion battery pack, hooked up to a single electric motor on the rear axle. With 210kW of power and 400Nm of torque, it punches the iX3 to 100km/h in just 6.8 seconds from standstill. It also has an artificial soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer.
BMW claims a 460km range on the WLTP cycle, and it can charge at a rate of up to 150kW on a DC rapid-charger. BMW says it uses a lot of recycled materials, goes without many rare earth elements, and is produced in factories using renewable power.
Along with regenerative braking when the driver lifts off the accelerator, the car is capable of coasting at highway speeds. Although the iX3 will automatically match its regeneration rate to the road conditions, drivers can sort through three different levels manually.
Although there are unique grilles, wheels, and blue details on the body, the exterior isn’t as futuristic as either the EQC or E-Tron, let alone the I-Pace. But maybe that’s its secret weapon.
Check out more on the 2021 BMW iX3 here.
New Genesis GV70
Expected during 2021, specifics TBC
Korea’s luxury brand Genesis previewed its upcoming rival to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC a few weeks back. It’s called the GV70.
The near-production prototypes will start testing on Korean public roads shortly, and an Australian launch has been pegged for sometime in 2021 following the arrival of the larger GV80.
Not much official detail has been released regarding the GV70’s specifications, and it’s unclear whether the GV70 will be based on the same platform as the G70 and Kia Stinger or use a version of the new platform underpinning the new G80 and GV80.
Regardless, the new crossover’s design will be bold and distinctive like its stablemates, featuring double-LED strip lighting for the headlights and tail-lights, and a strong, upright front-end. The side profile is more ‘coupe-SUV’ than conventional.
Check out more on the 2021 Genesis GV70 here.
Jaguar F-Pace update
Now available for order
A solid mid-life update for the beautiful Jaguar F-Pace – which straddles the mid-size and large SUV segments – includes a new bonnet, slim LED headlights, grille, tail lights, and bumper.
The totally overhauled cabin uses more luxurious materials than before and Jag’s Pivi Pro dual-sim infotainment system that runs through an 11.4-inch curved glass touchscreen. It has over-the-air update capability.
The cabin also features a new rotary dial, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a steering wheel borrowed from the I-Pace, plus new seats. The cabin air ionisation system, which removes allergens and odours, now features PM2.5 filtration to weed out ultra-fine particles.
Prices will start from $74,990 before on-road costs, down almost $2000 from the current car. There’ll be just five models for 2021, reduced from 17 in the current line-up, as Jaguar Land Rover continues to simplify its model ranges locally.
All models will feature the R-Dynamic package, Jaguar’s rear-biased all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the turbo-diesel four-cylinder and supercharged V6 scrapped.
New engines include 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol and diesels with 48V electrical systems and belt-drive starter-generator units. The diesel has 221kW/650Nm and the petrol 294kW/550Nm. The entry 2.0-litre four in the P250 models has 183kW/365Nm.
Check out more on the 2021 Jaguar F-Pace here.
Land Rover Discovery Sport update
Now available for order
As with the F-Pace, JLR has trimmed back the Land Rover Discovery Sport range to five variants – petrol and diesel R-Dynamic S models, petrol and diesel R-Dynamic SE models, and a range-topping petrol R-Dynamic HSE.
Pricing will vary from $65,700 to $78,432 before on-road costs.
It will feature the same dual-sim Pivi infotainment system as the exciting new Defender. It actually has its own battery, allowing it to boot up faster when the car isn’t turned on, and supports over-the-air updates through an embedded data connection.
Along with the new infotainment system, the Discovery Sport will be available with a new cabin air filtration system and a revised Activity Key wristband, which allows owners to leave their keys at home and access their cars using a waterproof wristband.
The diesel engines (120kW/380Nm and 150kW/430Nm) make more power than before, while promising better fuel economy thanks to the addition of a 48V system. The four-cylinder petrol choices make either 147kW/320Nm or 184kW/365Nm.
A nine-speed automatic transmission remains the only option, and all-wheel drive is standard across the range.
Check out more on the 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport here.
Range Rover Velar update
Now available for order, arrives March 2021
An updated Evoque is also imminent, but the Velar fits this segment better. The updated model is ready to order now, with local deliveries set to begin next March.
The Velar follows corporate cousins the Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace in offering a dramatically pared-back range, with just five variants – down from 13. Pricing goes from $87,000 plus on-roads for the R-Dynamic S through to $127,000 for the R-Dynamic HSE.
The interior has that new OTA-compatible Pivi infotainment system described just above, active road-noise cancellation, the revised Activity Key, and a similar air filtration system to the Jaguar F-Pace. Other changes inside the cabin include a new gear selector and steering wheel.
Base petrol and diesel engines are similar to the higher-grade Disco Sports above, but the headline model replaces the supercharged petrol V6 with the Defender’s 3.0-litre inline-six petrol engine. It makes 294kW and 550Nm, and dispatches the 0-100km/h dash in 5.5 seconds.
Check out more on the 2021 Range Rover Velar here.
New Mercedes-AMG GLB35
Expected in showrooms from November 2020
This go-fast version of Mercedes-Benz’s new boxy seven-seat (juuuuust) SUV line is almost in showrooms now, and will cost $88,900 before on-road costs.
Its 225kW/400Nm turbo four gives the variable-AWD crossover a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds. The engine is mated to an AMG Speedshift eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It can be had with uprated brakes, AMG Ride Control adaptive suspension, and an AMG Track Pace program built into the swish dual-screen MBUX infotainment system, which also offers augmented reality navigation.
The design has been sexed up with new AMG aprons, bumpers, wheels and a spoiler. It gets sportier, highly bolstered seats, a multifunction wheel in Nappa leather trim, and an AMG-developed instrument cluster view mode. It also has signature ambient LED light piping.
This hotted-up, 5+2 seater is sort of a hot hatch on stilts, and so promises to be quite a unique proposition.
Check out more on the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB35 here.
Further down the track
- 2021 BMW X3 ‘LCI’ – updated version expected at some point next year
- Second-generation Porsche Macan, including a fully electric one – expected to launch in 2022
- Second-generation Lexus NX, potentially using TNGA Toyota/Lexus platform with hybridisation a la the Toyota RAV4 – expected to debut in 2022
- Second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLC, almost certainly using the latest MBUX infotainment – expected to debut in 2022