When it comes to keeping up with our 21st century lifestyles, we ask more from our cars than ever before. We want an economical and comfortable daily commuter that can carry the whole family, our shopping and our mountain bikes, park on a dime in narrow city lanes, traverse gravel country roads and interstate freeways with equal aplomb, and keep us connected, informed and engaged every moment of the journey.
Welcome to the world of the lifestyle car; a vehicle with many talents, broad capabilities, and the flexibility to keep up with our rapidly evolving and always entertaining lives. We’re talking vehicles like the humble dual-cab ute, once the sole domain of the tradesman, and high-riding offroad hatchbacks like the Subaru XV and Mazda CX-3. We’re also seeing an increasing number of coupe-like SUVs – we’re looking at you Mazda CX-8, BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Coupe and co!
If your life is a multifaceted and manically busy as ours, there are plenty of new cars coming in 2019 that have been designed to do anything, go anywhere, carry everything, and keep up with your specific needs.
Significance: The high-performance Stelvio range topper will be the fastest SUV in its class
Due date: January 2019
The twin-turbo V6-powered Stelvio Quadrifoglio – known as the Stelvio Q in Australia – has a 283km/h top speed and a 0-100km/h time of just 3.8 seconds. The Q adds all-wheel-drive underpinnings to the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. It also shares much of the sports sedan’s equipment levels. Apart from a significant power boost over other Stelvio models, new Stelvio flagship differs from the rest of the line-up via a more aggressive body kit and tweaks to improve aerodynamics, performance and handling.
Aston Martin DBX
Significance: The British luxury brand has thrown its hat in the crossover ring.
Price: $240,000 and up
Due: October 2019
There are few details available yet on Aston Martin’s entry into the world of high-performance crossovers, but early imagery suggests that the British brand isn’t being shy about giving the high-riding DBX some off-road chops.
Based on the same platform that underpins the new DB11, the DBX will be a petrol-only proposition, with powerplants likely to be sourced from Mercedes-Benz. These could include Merc’s excellent 3.0-litre straight six at the entry level, while a flame-spitting twin turbo V8 could potentially power a range-topper.
Significance: Audi’s original small SUV gains a mature new look and more equipment to separate it from the similarly sized Q2.
Price range: $45,000-$85,000 (estimated)
Rivals: BMW X2, Jaguar E-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40
Due date: June 2019
Read now: Audi Q3 unveiled
The all-new 2019 Audi Q3 compact SUV features bold design cues taken from its bigger sibling, the Q5, to give it a more mature and attractive appearance than its predecessor. The new Q3 should also be more family-friendly and practical than before, and will benefit from a raft of infotainment, connectivity and driver assist upgrades.
Significance: Audi’s first plug-in hybrid will be the first diesel/electric SUV on the Aussie market.
Rivals: Mercedes-Benz GLE500e, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, Volvo XC90 T8
Due date: January 2019
Read next: Audi Q7 e-Tron review
Using the Audi Q7’s 3.0-litre V6 synced to an electric motor fed by a plug-in chargeable 17.3kWh battery, the new Q7 e-tron large SUV has a pure electric range of up to 56km and a combined fuel efficiency of just 1.9L/100km. Beyond the plug-in hybrid system, the Q7 e-tron shares the same specification as the Q7 3.0 TDI quattro, and the driver assistance and safety systems of the entire range.
Significance: Audi’s new SUV flagship is a big coupe-like alternative to the Q7
Price range: $128,900
Due date: January 2019
Closely following the design cues teased in the Audi Q8 Sport Concept unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Q8 is a sportier, more luxurious sibling to the Q7 large SUV. It will be one of the most technically advanced Audis ever and is even able to park itself while you wait outside, although this may not be offered on Australian models. WhichCar understands Australia will get a 3.0-litre turbo petrol variant initially, possibly followed by a turbodiesel.
Significance: The biggest member of the BMW line-up will head Down Under with a twin-turbo V8 version that won’t be available in Europe
Price range: $150K-plus
Rivals: Bentley Bentayga, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class
Due date: June 2019 (est)
The BMW X7 is huge. Its 5.2m overall length is one the longest in BMW’s range, exceeded only by the 7 Series limousine, which cannot match the X7 SUV’s 1.8m height, 2.0m width and 3.1m wheelbase. BMW says the luxurious seven-seat X7 will feature an ‘intelligent personal assistant’ who responds to voice control, and can activate ‘in-car experiences’ including satellite navigation. A BMW digital key also allows X7 owners to unlock and start the vehicle using their smartphone. Read how it measures up to the Mercedes-Benz GLS on paper.
Significance: The C5 Aircross has morphed into an SUV that harks back to comfortable Citroen’s of old.
Price range: $38,000 -$55,000 (estimated)
Due date: Mid-2019
Rivals: Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Peugeot 3008, Renault Koleos
Citroen says the new C5 Aircross will be the ‘most comfortable and modular SUV in its segment’ by drawing on its predecessor’s plush hydro-pneumatic suspension with tech that it calls “Progressive Hydraulic Cushions”. Ride comfort will be further enhanced by ‘Advanced Comfort’ seats that filter out road disturbances. The 4.5-metre-long C5 Aircross will make the most of its spacious interior by offering a wide centre console and flexible rear seating that can expand boot space from 580 to 720 litres.
Ford Focus Active
Significance: A jacked-up version of the Focus for those with an outdoorsy bent
Price range: $29,990
Rivals: Subaru Impreza XV, Fiat 500X, Citroen C4 Cactus
Due Date: second-quarter
The Focus hatch has already received its full model changeover by now, but the family will grow when the Focus Active rolls into Ford showrooms in 2019.
Following a similar format to the Impreza-based Subaru XV but described by Ford as a passenger car rather than an SUV, the Focus Active will bridge the gap between the regular Focus hatchback and Ford’s bona-fide SUV line-up. The ‘missing link’, if you will.
Only one engine, a 134kW 1.5-litre turbo petrol, will be offered, and the Focus Active is strictly front-wheel drive with an eight-speed automatic.
An all-new version of the archetypal Jeep arrives early next year with looks that still hark back to its 1940s origins.
Price range: $40K-$70K
Due date: January 2019
Rivals: Ford Everest, Suzuki Jimny, Toyota 76 Series Wagon
The all-new Wrangler will have plenty of 21st-century technology under its familiar looking 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. One weak point it seemingly can’t overcome is safety – with EuroNCAP deeming it worthy of just one star out of five during independent crash testing. The 2019 Wrangler range includes the entry-level Sport, the Overland and the more off-road focused Rubicon.
Significance: Long-rumoured Wrangler-based pick-up finally confirmed with badass name.
Price $60,000 (estimated)
Rivals: Ram 1500, Ford Ranger Wildtrak, Mercedes X-Class
Due date: Late 2019
Details are light on the ground at the time of writing but Jeep’s late offering in the one-tonne market will bring a more style-focused option in a carpark occupied by many forgettable designs. What is known is that the Gladiator will be mechanically almost identical to the all-new Wrangler, which is known for its go-anywhere capability. Expect Jeep’s first ute in years to be an authority when the paved road ends.
Significance: Kia’s first all-electric crossover promises a 600km urban range between charges.
Price range: From $55,000 (estimated)
Rivals: Hyundai Kona Electric, Nissan Leaf
Due date: November 2018
Kia Australia has all but confirmed its Sportage-sized e-Niro will arrive toward the end of 2019, boasting a range between charges of up to 615km that will leave more expensive European models such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC in its wake. The e-Niro will also feature independent rear suspension, advanced regenerative braking technology, battery heating for cold climates, LED lighting inside and out, a 451-litre cargo area and Kia’s seven-year warranty.
Rivals: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Due: January 2019
What do you get when you blend the best elements from some of the world’s most premium brands and whack it underneath a body that a Hot Wheels designer couldn’t have dreamed up? The Lamborghini Urus.
The five-door, five-seat Urus uses a Porsche-sourced twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine that produces 478kW and 850Nm, powering an all-wheel-drive system with the ability to send up to 87 per cent of drive to the rear end.
It’s backed by a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission, which forms part of a multiple drive mode system that includes Strada, Sport and Corsa road modes as well as Terra (land), Neve (snow) and Sabbia (sand) settings. There’s also an Ego mode that allows for a mix of personalised settings.
The Urus uses components and tech found in cars like the Bentayga, Cayenne and Q7. It’ll do 0-100km/h in about 2.5 seconds, and its ten-piston brakes are the biggest ever fitted to any production car ever. Wow.
Significance: Benz’s luxurious all-electric SUV will arrive in Oz boasting a 450km range and plenty of performance.
Price range: $125,000 (estimated)
Due date: September 2019
Rivals: Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, Jaguar i-Pace S, Tesla Model X
The EQC kicks off Mercedes-Benz’s electric future with an emphasis on performance as well as environmental sustainability. It packs an 80kWh lithium-ion battery capable of producing enough power to propel it from 0-100km/h in 5.1sec via two electric motors turning each axle. The EQC is very similar to the current GLC mid-size SUV in terms of size and equipment levels.
Significance: The second-generation GLE premium large SUV will be the German carmaker’s most advanced model
Price range: $100,000 - $200,000 (depending on model)
Due date: April 2019
Rivals: Audi Q7, BMW X5, Range Rover
Sporting design features that originated with the 1997 M-Class from which it descends, the new GLE-Class is set to leap-frog competitors with technology making it even more advanced than Benz’s flagship S-Class sedan. This will include 48-volt ‘E-Active Body Control’ air suspension with the ability to control pitch and squat movements as well as roll, and Active Tailback Assist’ that used live traffic data to recognise traffic jams ahead and react accordingly before the driver even sees them.
Significance: V6 diesel joins the Mercedes ute range to worry the as-yet unchallenged Volkswagen Amarok
Rivals: Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Ranger Raptor, Toyota Hilux
Due date: January
Until now, Volkswagen had claimed the title as Australia’s most powerful one-tonner, but the arrival of the Mercedes X350d returns V6 fire with 190kW and 550Nm outputs. It’s pricey but the German carmaker is kitting it out with the goods to match.
MG hopes to boost sales in Australia with its premium-equipped new-generation medium SUV.
Price range: $27,000 - $37,000 (estimated)
Due date: Late 2019
Rivals: Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV-4, Hyundai Tucson
Based on the X-Motion concept revealed at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show, the MG HS’s attractive lines appear to have been penned to directly take on the Mazda CX-5, with state-of-the-art driver assistance tech and German-rivalling upmarket cabin appointments to sweeten the deal. The latter includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch infotainment screen, soft-touch surfaces and eight-speaker Bose sound system. A gutsy 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine will be one of the engine options, with all-wheel-drive also available.
Significance: A major update and facelift of the popular dual-cab ute.
It’s not quite a full new model but with more than 2400 changes including new sheet metal, updated six-speed auto, more cabin equipment and safety tech, the 2019 version is significantly different. A new flagship is also expected at a later date bringing a tough truck rival to the Ranger Wildtrak and HSV Sportscat.
Significance: Renault joins the one-tonne ute revolution at last, but is it fashionably late?
Price: $26,000 to $55,000 (estimated)
Rivals: Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Mazda BT-50
Due date: December
After a protracted gestation and a drawn out arrival date, it looks like Renault will finally weigh into the potentially lucrative dual-cab ute contest on red dirt. Like the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, the Alaskan also takes its underpinnings from the popular Nissan Navara, and although exact Australian specifications are yet to be confirmed, it’s likely the French contender will offer a high-end version with lots of kit as well as a more affordable workhorse at the entry point.
Significance: Baby of the Ram range gets a more manageable thirst without sacrificing grunt
Price: $95,000 (estimate)
Rivals: Ford Ranger Raptor, Chevrolet Silverado, Volkswagen Amarok V6
Due date: January/February
From launch, the smallest Ram in the line-up was available only with gas-guzzling V8 power, which likely put off a few fence-sitting fans. A V6 diesel version is on the way and it compromises little for the extra efficiency. Exact output figures are yet to be finalised for the Australian launch but the 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel could produce up to 200kW and 600Nm. That compares with the current 5.7-litre V8 which pushes out 291kW and 556Nm.
Significance: The baby Range Rover will mature to reflect its bigger siblings while offering more interior space
Price range: $64,000 - $105,000 (estimated)
Rivals: BMW X4, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Porsche Macan
Due date: May 2019
Land Rover Australia is yet to detail the full 2019 Evoque line-up, but has confirmed that three diesel four-cylinder engines and three turbo petrol engines will be available with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. It’s 10mm wider and has a 20mm longer wheel base to provide more leg and elbow room, with boot space also increasing, by 10 percent, to 591 litres. The roof is 11mm lower though, resulting in a sportier coupe aesthetic resembling the Velar.
Significance: Returning South Korean ute brings sharp pricing, neat features and class-leading warranty
After a two-year hiatus, SsangYong is back on Australian turf with a factory backed operation and a four-model assault for its relaunch. Leading that charge is the Musso one tonner, which makes a good case for itself with standard AEB, enticing prices and an unbeatable seven-year warranty.
Significance: Suzuki goes back to the future to revive its mini 4x4’s iconic styling and serious off-road cred.
Price range: $27,000 - $29,500 (estimated)
Due date: February 2018
Rivals: Jeep Compass Trailhawk, Jeep Wrangler
It has questionable road manners and safety, but if initial reaction is any guide the new Jimny will be one of the most popular releases of 2019. The boxy fourth-generation Jimny retains its ladder-frame chassis, live front and rear axles and dual-range transmission that’s still activated by a proper lever. But there a few modern touches including a large infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android auto connectivity. It will also come with a more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine (up from 1.3L) petrol four-cylinder engine with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
Significance: Toyota’s mainstay medium SUV has been totally redesigned and offers more comfort and technology than ever before
Price range: $30,00 - $55,000 (estimated)
Due date: April 2019
Rivals: Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Jeep Cherokee
One of the most significant new cars for 2019, the all-new Toyota RAV4 promises to shake up the highly competitive medium SUV market by setting new benchmarks in terms of standard features and modern powertrains, including a petrol/electric hybrid. It will have the option of torque-vectoring AWD and multi-terrain drive modes to help it grip, and spawn a more off-road focused version called the ‘RAV4 Adventure’. The new RAV4’s bigger exterior dimensions will result in significantly more interior space and comfort, while the interior designs will be more upscale than the current model.
Significance: VW’s large SUV is now a truly premium offering that’s dripping with comfort and technology that rivals its Audi Q7 cousin
Price range: $83,000 - $120,000 (estimated)
Due date: May 2019
Rivals: Audi Q7, BMW X5, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLE
The first all-new Touareg since 2010 is the most luxurious and technologically advanced Volkswagen SUV yet and is built on the same platform as some of the world’s most luxurious high-riders including the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus. Featuring interior trim levels that range from lounge-like to the sporty R-line, creature comforts will include VW’s biggest panoramic sunroof yet, 18-way electronically adjustable seats with high-quality leather detailing.