Car buyers guide – is now the best time to buy a small SUV?

By Jez Spinks, 09 Oct 2016 Car Advice

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Mazda CX-3

In a new WhichCar series, we reveal upcoming updates or major changes for Australia’s most popular vehicles.

The pint-sized-4WD concept is far from new, though there’s no doubt the breed has exploded in recent years as more manufacturers join the race to sell the most affordable versions of SUVs. 

More than 110,000 small SUVs were sold in 2015, a 27 per cent increase compared with 2014. And the segment is continuing to grow. 

Four models stand out in the market for sales that consistently reach four figures every month. They include the current best-seller, the Mazda CX-3, the Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai. 

Here, WhichCar provides a guide to any changes planned or expected for these models during the next 18 months – to help you pick the perfect timing for buying one. 

HONDA HR-V

The HR-V badge returned to Australian roads in 2015 and no significant updates are anticipated for 2017. Honda Australia had been considering adding a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine, though the lack of an automatic gearbox option contributed to a decision to stick with just the 1.8-litre petrol engine currently offered. 

Honda HR-V

MAZDA CX-3

Another class newbie, launched just a month after the HR-V in March 2015. An update is expected in early 2017 for Mazda’s smaller sibling to the CX-5 and CX-9, which will include adding the brand’s new G-vectoring Control. The system varies engine torque to improve handling balance through corners.

Mazda CX-3

MITSUBISHI ASX

The ASX was spun off Mitsubishi’s Outlander platform in 2010 and continues to be a sales trooper for the Japanese brand years later. It will need to carry that form on for a while longer, as a replacement isn’t due until at least 2018.

The next ASX will be based on the eX concept show at the 2015 Tokyo motor show, with the twin-motor, 140kW four-wheel-drive show car also pointing to a pure electric variant that will be available alongside a model powered by a conventional petrol engine.

Mitsubishi ASX

The 2018/2019 ASX will also shrink from its current 4.3-metre length to allow a new small SUV to slot in between the ASX and the mid-sized Outlander.

The new SUV was previewed by the XR-PHEV concept, and will be more luxury focused than the ASX. It will beat the new ASX to the Australian market, though while it will be revealed in 2017 it may not arrive until 2018.

NISSAN QASHQAI

The Qashqai's twin-under-the-skin, the X-Trail, is set for its first notable update in the first half of 2017, though Nissan Australia says there is no news yet on any planned changes for the model that replaced the Dualis in 2014.

Nissan Qashqai

SUBARU XV

Subaru’s compact SUV has performed well in showrooms since the XV moved from being a simple, higher-riding variant of the Impreza to being a stand-alone model in early 2012. The Japanese brand provided a preview of the next-generation XV at March’s Geneva motor show with the XV concept.

The production version – featuring the same crossover cues of skid plates and black plastic body cladding – is expected about mid-2017. It’s again based on the Impreza platform, with the small car itself arriving in next-generation form in December.

The concept’s dimensions suggest the new XV will have the same 1570mm roof height but a 70mm-longer body (4520mm).

Subaru XV