Why you shouldn’t buy a mid-sized SUV just yet

By Jez Spinks, 04 Mar 2017 Car Advice

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Why you shouldn’t buy a mid-sized SUV just yet

Mazda, Holden, Honda, Jeep, Skoda and Peugeot are set to update their mid-size SUV entrants this year, and if you’re shopping in the segment you may want to take note.

Stop! Don’t buy that mid-sized SUV… yet. 2017 is set to be a year of major new entrants for this mega-popular vehicle segment, so if you want the latest and greatest mid-size softroader or crossover, you may be better off waiting a short while.

We’ve already had recent new arrivals in the shape of the bigger, second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan and the Ford Escape, which is not much more than a rebadged version of the updated Kuga.

But coming this year are a couple of big names in next-generation form, as well as a group of nameplates that may be less familiar but will be worthy of attention.

As WhichCar prides itself on ensuring buyers are across all their options in the new-car market, here’s our guide to some of the key new mid-sized SUVs heading to showrooms later this year. 

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MAZDA CX-5

Due: April

The Mazda CX-5 has become Australia’s most popular SUV since the original debuted in 2012. Five years on and an all-new replacement aims to build upon that model’s good points. Due to launch at the end of March, it’ll be in showrooms from April.

A good start will be the availability of rear air vents for the first time, along with an auto tailgate for mid-range variants and above. A new mid-spec Touring variant expands the line-up to five, and increase technology borrowed from the larger CX-9 includes radar cruise control with stop-and-go function, and traffic sign recognition.

Engine choices will again comprise two petrols and one diesel, with front-wheel drive continuing as an alternative to all-wheel drive on some models. Pricing is expected to increase by $500-$1000 across the board, for a starting price of about $28,000

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SKODA KODIAQ

Due: Mid 2017

Kodiaq will be Czech brand Skoda’s first serious SUV play after the quirkier (and smaller) offering that is the Skoda Yeti. At 4.7 meters it will be one of the longer vehicles in the mid-sized-SUV class, though it puts its size to good effect with seven seats (instead of the average five) and a 720-litre boot it claims is class-leading. All models will be all-wheel drive and fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto – mated initially to a 132kW turbo petrol engine with a 140kW turbo diesel due to join at a later point. Interesting features include the optional Tow Assist, which can automatically steer an attached trailer into a designated spot.

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PEUGEOT 3008

Due: April

The French brand’s 2017 product offensive arguably has no more crucial a model as the Peugeot 3008. Peugeot’s original was an MPV but there’s a wise switch to the vastly more popular SUV design second time around. It also brings a bigger boot (520 litres), available driver aids such as autonomous emergency braking and semi-automatic parking, tablet-style touchscreen, and Peugeot’s i-Cockpit digital display arrangement.

A flagship GT model has yet to be confirmed for Australia but would bring a powerful diesel engine, an optional two-tone colour scheme, and a more upmarket interior. Regular 3008s will have a choice of 1.6-litre turbo petrol or 2.0-litre turbo diesel – both mated to a six-speed auto.

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JEEP COMPASS

Due: Late 2017

The current Jeep Compass has been around for about a decade but finally hits the dust later this year as an all-new successor appears (also accounting for the little-loved Patriot). Details are sparse at this point for a model that stylistically merges design elements from the 4WD brand’s Cherokee and Renegade models.

What is guaranteed is an interior that looks significantly more modern and presents vastly higher quality than the model it replaces. A Trailhawk variant will feature in the range for buyers looking for an SUV with genuine off-road capability (and looks). 

HONDA CR-V

Due: Mid 2017

One of the biggest nameplates in Honda’s showroom moves onto generation No.5 in mid 2017. The next-gen Honda CR-V’s design is mostly evolutionary, though it has been sharpened – especially at the rear that looks markedly different to the old model. A new, stronger chassis promises a much-needed improvement in ride and handling while Honda says a stretched wheelbase delivers benchmark rear legroom.

A five-seater traditionally, speculation has persisted that the new CR-V will also be available with an optional third row. Expect the interior to feature improved quality, even if this wasn’t a big criticism of the outgoing CR-V. Buyers will have the choice of models powering only the front wheels or all four wheels; engines for the Australian market are still to be confirmed. Driver assist technologies Honda will make available include adaptive cruise control that also operates at low speed, blind spot detection and lane keep assist.

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HOLDEN EQUINOX

Due: Late 2017

A brand new SUV line-up will eventually be key to Holden revitalising both its product line-up and sales future in the years ahead, and its high-rider revolution starts in late 2017 with the Equinox. The model that will replace the five-seater Captiva 5 that disappeared in 2015 is a rebadged version of the latest-generation Chevrolet Equinox sold in North America. (The existing seven-seater Holden Captiva will be replaced by another Chevrolet, the Acadia, in 2018.)

The exterior design’s rear-quarter styling – with the angled, wraparound rear glass – is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz GLE (formerly the ML). At 4.65 metres, the Equinox is slightly bigger than the Captiva 5 – as well as the Mazda CX-5 it must target.

Both front-drive and all-wheel-drive variants are expected to be offered. The three turbo engines offered on the US model include a 2.0-litre turbo petrol and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel. Parents worried about lending their Equinox to offspring may be interested in the Teen Driver feature, which allows the setting of controls and can also provide a report card to encourage good driving behaviour.