They’re in every single place, small SUVs.
Final 12 months, of simply over 1,000,000 autos offered in Australia, 123,016 belonged to the mass-market Small SUV section in VFACTS, which incorporates prime sellers just like the MG ZS and Mitsubishi ASX.
Throw in an extra 52,756 autos from the (somewhat arbitrarily outlined) Mild SUV section, house to the perennially hot-selling Mazda CX-3, and one other 20,464 autos from the premium small SUV section, which incorporates the Audi Q3, and you may see simply how in style these automobiles are.
As the standard mild automobiles (suppose Toyota Yaris) and small automobile (Toyota Corolla) segments shrink in quantity, these patrons seem like transitioning to similarly-sized SUVs – though that step up in journey peak brings with it a step up in worth.
It appears as if you possibly can name something an SUV these days, supplied there’s some black plastic cladding and a barely larger hip level.
And so it’s with these small SUVs that the overwhelming majority are front-wheel drive, with no off-road functionality and arguably little extra practicality than small wagons, that are unpopular and due to this fact just about extinct right here.
For readability, we’ve bundled within the flock of autos from what are known as the Mild SUV and Small SUV segments in VFACTS.
We’ve additionally restricted our scope to the mass-market Mild and Small SUV segments, so there aren’t any Audis or BMWs on our checklist.
We all know this segmentation is usually solely identified by anoraks, so we’ve revealed a full checklist of autos beneath.
Every member of the CarExpert editorial staff has picked their selection from the checklist… properly, aside from Alborz, who didn’t comply with the task.
These choices don’t gel with me, primarily as a result of they’re pretending to be SUVs and that’s like pretending to have an arts diploma. It’s not precisely one thing to try for simply because each one else has one.
Absolutely the majority of those automobiles are simply raised hatches whereby producers have labored out that they’ll cost $3-5k extra simply by placing on some black physique cladding and elevating the journey peak. I imply severely, what’s a Corolla Cross? Is it a cross-dressing Corolla? Does it determine as an SUV simply because it says so?
There’s a variety of discuss in the mean time in regards to the next-generation of automobiles being the top of the SUV period. I positive hope so, as a result of the small SUV section is just about the whole lot that’s fallacious with the SUV section which in itself, is the whole lot that’s fallacious with the automobile market.
Wow, there’s a variety of selection right here.
The larger new Hyundai Kona is a robust possibility, as is the older however nonetheless wonderful Kia Seltos. I just like the quirky little Peugeot 2008, too.
The Skoda Kamiq could be my decide, although. It’s the proper dimension for tight metropolis streets on the surface, however packs a stunning quantity of area inside. The 110TSI engine has sufficient grunt to make the Kamiq really feel fast sufficient, and it has the identical strong, greater automobile feeling we’ve come to anticipate from different Volkswagen automobiles based mostly on the identical platform.
Proper from the outset the Hyundai Kona was quick on area, particularly in case you had been attempting accommodate children and important child equipment.
Hyundai clearly listened to its clients who had been telling them as a lot, as a result of the new-generation Kona is a surefire hit with sufficient area to haul children, prams and important gear with out compromise.
It’s additionally a cutting-edge design from any angle – inside and outside.
My vote could be the Honda HR-V. I had the prospect to drive it for per week or so earlier this 12 months and it was my first Honda expertise as properly.
It’s so well-packaged, and you recognize what to anticipate price-wise with Honda’s pricing scheme – no nasty disappointments on the dealership.
My favorite options within the top-spec e:HEV L embody heated entrance seats, a heated steering wheel, wi-fi Apple CarPlay and keyless begin – tick, tick, tick, tick!
The Mazda CX-30 G25 Touring SP – $40,510 earlier than on-roads.
If I used to be presently seeking to purchase a Mild or Small SUV I’d positively be contemplating a hybrid, however none of the present choices actually get my coronary heart racing.
That’s why I’ve chosen the Mazda CX-30 in blacked-out Touring SP guise with the peppy G25 engine.
The CX-30 with the two.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is correctly heat hatch-like in a straight line, with enjoyable and smile-inducing driving dynamics to match.
It’s not all sunshine and roses nevertheless as having halogen DRLs on a automobile that prices greater than $40,000 earlier than on-roads isn’t an excellent look, and plugging in your cellphone for Apple CarPlay within the centre armrest can get tiresome.
I’ve at all times most well-liked sedans and wagons, so if I’m going to be satisfied to purchase a small SUV it’ll should be one thing both tremendously sensible or able to placing a smile on my face.
The Ford Puma might not be the previous, nevertheless it’s actually the latter.
It mightn’t be significantly highly effective, nevertheless it’s remarkably fun-to-drive. One memorable fang alongside Mount Wonderful Highway cemented the Puma in my thoughts as essentially the most pleasurable automobile within the mainstream Mild/Small SUV segments. Sharp turn-in, just about no physique roll, and wonderful steering imply that is an SUV you’ll truly need to deal with some twisties in.
The in-car tech can be good and the inside is inoffensive, although rear seat area is missing.
An electrical model is coming subsequent 12 months and I’m curious if it has equally pleasurable dynamics. What I’d actually prefer to see, nevertheless, is for Ford Australia to convey the Puma ST right here.
A runner-up for me could be the extraordinarily well-packaged Kia Seltos, or its redesigned Hyundai Kona cousin. The Mazda CX-30 is sweet too, nevertheless it’s a disgrace we miss out on the turbocharged 2.5-litre 4.
Often I scoff at small SUVs, as previously they’ve appeared like money grabs when the equal passenger automobile isn’t any much less sensible and extra succesful dynamically.
Nevertheless in 2023 there are much better decisions available in Australia, although we’re nonetheless pretty restricted by way of electrified choices within the section.
I maintain coming again to the Mazda CX-30 as my benchmark. The combination of on-road enjoyment and cabin refinement actually isn’t a system matched by mainstream opponents, and the inside is the nicest compact crossover cockpit this facet of one thing with a premium badge.
All variants come well-equipped out of the field, with good security and know-how inclusions, and you may possibility the Imaginative and prescient Expertise Bundle for a nominal sum on decrease grades to get flagship tech like surround-view cameras and a semi-autonomous freeway assistant with out having to spend huge on the top-dog Astina.
My solely actual gripe is the shortage of a correct hybrid possibility. The G20e M Hybrid and difficult X20 M Hybrid don’t have a leg to face on in comparison with a Corolla Cross Hybrid or Kona Hybrid with regards to outright gas financial savings, and specifically the e-Skyactiv X motor with its much-hyped compression-ignition tech is kind of dear all issues thought-about.
If I used to be to select a second various, I’d most likely go for the Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Kamiq.
If the upcoming Qashqai e-Energy sequence hybrid drives something like its bigger X-Path e-Energy sibling it’ll have the premium powertrain to go along with the upscale inside supplied in larger grades, whereas the standard Skoda Kamiq stays a prime contender for its punchy and environment friendly turbocharged powertrains, and sensible inside packaging that will make you query whether or not you want a dimensionally bigger automobile.