Just like that, 2023 is coming to a close!
This year, there were plenty of major vehicle launches in Australia, and CarExpert published over 300 new car reviews.
Here are the new car reviews you were most excited about this year.
People are willing to wait months, even years for a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, especially in Cruiser spec as tested here.
Is it worth the wait? This mid-sized SUV offers a lot of positive traits, terrific real-world efficiency, and it’s a very good size: offering plenty of practicality for growing families.
Let’s also contextualise the original start price for this generation RAV4 Cruiser 2WD Hybrid – back at launch in 2019, this spec was $41,140 plus on-road costs. Today? It’s $51,410 before on-roads.
I know a lot has happened in the market (and the world since those simpler times) but that does give you some indication that its value equation isn’t quite as strong as it was. There is at least still a heap of good gear in standard specification, and the most recent update has seen some included new stuff, which I’ll detail further down.
There’s no way we can talk about Chery’s re-entry into the Australian market with the Omoda 5 without addressing the elephant in the room: its initial, truncated run here from 2011 to 2014.
It was hard to take it seriously. One of its models was a pretty blatant clone, something the company used to be guilty of (General Motors even sued it once), while even Chery’s name and logo seemed utterly derivative.
Chery was part of the initial wave of Chinese brands in Australia, most of which specialised on either dirt-cheap utes (Great Wall, JMC, ZX Auto) or dirt-cheap passenger cars (Chery, Geely).
All of them ended up leaving after just a few years apart from Great Wall (now GWM), which rebooted itself and is now in an enviable position with much more competitive products.
As a kid growing up with Gran Turismo and Fast and Furious, Japan’s great sports cars of the ’90s were things of worship for young car enthusiasts, well before any of us could learn how to drive.
Like the GT-R, the Supra had a lengthy hiatus after the fourth-gen A80 model went out of production in the early 2000s, leaving many wondering if Toyota would ever rejoin the sports car fold.
The 86 arrived in the early 2010s to much acclaim, itself a rebirth of the AE86 series of front-engined, rear-driven Corollas given cult status by Initial D, and rumours of a reborn Supra swirled for years.
GWM is on the charge in Australia. Sales grew by 36 per cent in Australia during 2022 across its Haval and Ute brands, leaving it knocking on the door of the top 10 on the sales charts.
It won’t be resting on its laurels in 2023. Along with Ora-branded electric cars, it’s debuting the off-road focused Tank line locally. First cab (or should it be tank?) off the rank is the 300.
It’s not a soft-roader dressed up in army fatigues, it’s a proper off-roader aimed loosely at everything from the Jeep Wrangler to the Ford Everest. It’s also a hybrid, although petrol power is offered in the 300 elsewhere in the world.
Note: This is the second year in a row the GWM Haval H6 Hybrid has made the top five list.
It took a while for Toyota to finally bring its hybrid RAV4 to Australia, waiting a whole generation to introduce a powertrain that has quickly become the most popular in the line-up.
With the RAV4 hybrid selling up a storm and waiting times blowing out to up to two years, there’s clearly demand for a mid-sized hybrid SUV.
GWM, Nissan and Subaru have responded in kind, while Honda has a pair of hybrid mid-sizers in the pipeline and Hyundai is expected to finally bring a hybrid Tucson here next year.
The segment has therefore gone from barren to booming in a short space of time, with the GWM Haval H6 carving out a niche as one of the more affordable models.