Last year was a big one for SUVs, which overtook the sales of traditional passenger cars for the first time in Australia. There’s nothing to suggest the lead won’t be further extended in 2018 with a host of newly released models vying for honours against the tried and tested ones across the three main segments – small, medium and large SUVs. These will be joined by all-new high-riders during the year, including the following five offerings.
Citroen’s growing SUV range will include its smallest ever crossover, which will slot into the French car maker’s range alongside the C4 Cactus and C5 Aircross. Boldly designed and with typical French interior design flair, the Aircross will be one of the more spacious small SUVs with heaps of legroom and a sizable 410-litre boot.
Australia-bound models will be powered by an award-winning 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo engine that provides plenty of zest. Expect the Citroen Aircross to arrive in the second quarter of the year
Ford’s belated locally made Territory replacement, the Endura, is expected in the middle of 2018. It will be powered by a 154kW/450Nm twin-turbo diesel engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, sending drive to all four wheels. There will be no petrol versions, unlike in overseas markets were the vehicle is called the Edge – a name that Ford can’t use here because Toyota Australia already owns the rights.
Ford Australia has so far released few details about the Endura except to say it will be “positioned as a premium, highly equipped urban SUV offering extensive driver assist features and striking, contemporary design and styling”.
An all-new version of the archetypal Jeep arrives next year with looks that still hark back to its 1940s origins. But it will have plenty of 21st century technology under its sturdy skin including a new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, eight-speed auto, and a huge leap in interior presentation and equipment.
Jeep is touting even greater off-road ability, but with suspension retuning aimed at improving road manners and ride comfort to overcome the current model’s weaker points. The range includes the entry-level Sport, the Overland and the more off-road focused Rubicon.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler isn’t expected until late in the year.
Skoda’s mid-sized SUV will have a luxury focus, with only higher-spec models to be sold in Australia when it arrives in April. Built on the same platform as the similarly sized Volkswagen Tiguan, the Karoq will arrive in Australia with either front- or all-wheel-drive options available.
The range-topping engine is a turbocharged 140kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine driving all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine driving the front wheels is also expected to make an appearance here.
VW Tiguan Allspace
A longer seven-seat version of the Volkswagen Tiguan is expected to arrive here late in 2018. Unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show, the “5+2”-seater Tiguan Allspace is 215mm longer than the five-seat version on which it is based, and has a huge 760-litre rear cargo compartment that can also be used to add two more seats for the school run. Rear seats up, threre’s still enough room (230 lItres) to wedge all the schoolbags inside the tailgate.
Engine options for Australian models are yet to be confirmed but expect to see a similar range of engines as already available in the classic Tiguan range.