As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Large SUVs you can buy in 2020

So let’s have a look at the large SUVs we can buy in Australia this year.  A large SUV is a big vehicle offering stacks of space and comfort, and there are a number of really nice vehicles in this bracket with gob-smacking luxury, and then there are some that are decent all-round big SUVs that deliver plenty of comfort and technology without going overboard.


Audi Q7

Two models of Audi are available, both of which have superb build quality.  You’ll find in the Audi Q7 and Audi Q8 brilliant technology for the cabin with nice touchscreens and a superb digital driver’s display.

The Audi Q7 has space, comfort and status to offer its new owner.  Out on the road the Q7 delivers smooth, quiet performance, and the ride is fabulous.  A V6 TDi Quattro with 160 kW is the base model that’s available.  This is a five-seater model with the nice shifting eight-speed auto.  Masses of torque (500 Nm) has all the pull you’ll need for towing the caravan.  Five-star safe and an average fuel economy of around 6 litres/100 km; and life in the Q7 is pretty good.  There is also a higher performance engine that uses the same V6TDi, except with this one you get seven seats, 200 kW and 600 Nm to get you down the road.  An SQ7 TDi is the seven-seat Q7 flagship, with the ‘S’ standing for Sport.  Prices start at around $85k with the SQ7 boasting 320 kW and 900 Nm – figures that would make any Roadster envious!

Audi Q8

Audi’s Q8 AWD is a sleek large SUV showpiece.  It looks more dynamic than the Q7.  The new Audi Q8 also boasts Audi’s ‘vorsprung durch technik brilliance’ underpinning the sharp handling skills on this SUV.  A base model 3.0 TDi Quattro has 210 kW and 600 Nm, around 7 litres/100km economy and an eight-speed auto.  The powerhouse 4.0 TDi engine with 320 kW and 900 Nm is the flagship model that scampers through the 0-100 km/h dash in around 5 seconds.  Petrol fans will go for the 3.0 TFSI version with 250 kW and 500 Nm.  This V6 is very smooth and can get pretty good economy for a large SUV (less than 10 litres/100 km).  All Audi Q8s have five-star safety and five seats.



There has to be a BMW in this segment and, sure enough, we find the BMW X5 and X6.  The X5 is probably the most popular big SUV made by BMW, and for good reason; you get plenty of variants to choose from, plenty of kit on-board as standard with heaps of options available, and then the Motorsport variants with stiffened suspensions and sporty styling raise the bar.  The dashboard has twin digital screens, there is quality trim throughout, and for the models that come with leather the quality is exceptional.

The BMW X5 range starts with the X5 xDrive25d which lands at just below $100k.  Power comes from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel that makes 170 kW and 450 Nm.  It gets along nicely via an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive system.  BMW claims a 7.5-second sprint to 100km/h.

Another newbie for 2020 is the BMW X5 xDrive45e which you can buy at around $129k, and it is the first plug-in hybrid to be offered in the new-generation X5 range.  With a new 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol, inline six with an electric motor and 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, you are good to go with 290 kW and 600 Nm.  The BMW X5 PHEV can hit 100 km/h from a standstill in around 5.6 seconds.  The maximum EV driving range is around 65km per charge.

The new 2020 X5 flagship model is the BMW X5 M50i xDrive (available from around $151k).  This model boasts 390 kW of power and 750 Nm of torque from its 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol, enabling the big SUV to scamper through the 0-100 km/h in less than five seconds.

All new BMW X5 variants are five-star safe and run with smooth eight-speed automatics.  The standout for me is the PHEV.


A new BMW X6 fills the niche that the X5 won’t, in that it is a bit more exotic and out there in terms of its purpose and styling.  Loads of performance is offered in the X6 xDrive 30d and M50d which are both diesels, and deliver loads of refinement which makes for a special drive.  Both are five-star safe, eight-speed automatics and can achieve around 8 litres/100 km.  The x30d models start out at around $110k and the M50d at around $140k.

Two X6 petrol variants stand out: an X6 xDrive 50i 4.4-litre V8(330 kW/650 Nm) with its colossal performance and its pricing starting around $140k, while the X6 xDrive 40i 3.0-litre (230kW/450 Nm) runs with smooth running gear and quick performance with its price starting at around $115k.


Ford Endura

Ford is making some excellent large SUV vehicles, the smaller of the two being the Endura which comes in three variants: Trend (FWD), ST-Line (AWD) and Titanium (AWD).  Very affordable, the tidy Endura is a slick, roomy SUV that can go anywhere and perform its tasks easily thanks to a grunty 140 kW/400 Nm, 2.0-litre, turbo-diesel engine.  You should be able to achieve an average fuel consumption of less than 7.0 litres/100 km.  It has five-star safety, 800 litres of boot space, runs with an 8-speed auto and boasts a comfortable interior.  These start from around $45k.

Ford Everest

A new Ford Everest is the flagship Ford large SUV that is available in Australia.  It comes ready loaded with impressive features, luxury and infotainment systems.  Comfortable for the long haul, this is a standout performer if you need a seven-seat SUV, awesome off-road ability (Titanium) and power and economy to boot.  Luggage space in the boot is between 450–1050 litres.

Running with the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with 157 kW and 500 Nm it’s not short of breath.  You can opt for the 147 kW/470 Nm 3.2-litre single-turbo, five-cylinder diesel with a six-speed auto, as well.  Drive for the 2.0-litre auto is put through a smooth 10-speed auto.

A 2020 Everest starts from around $50k for the Ambiante RWD and $73k for the Titanium AWD.  RWD and AWD are offered alongside four grades (Ambiente, Trend, Sport and Titanium).  A new Ford Everest gives you plenty of space, seven seats and five-star safety.  Very nice!


Holden Acadia

Two big Holden SUVs are available, and the first is a magnificent offering known as the Holden Acadia AWD.  It’s an American built machine and rides sumptuously with comfort.  Inside, the luxurious cabin is roomy and the boot cavernous.  With all seven seats in place the Acadia has 292 litres for luggage, but fold that third row down and the boot space is 1042 litres.

Towing is a breeze with the trusty and familiar 3.6-litre petrol motor offering plenty of performance and pulling power (231 kW/367 Nm).  Boasting 5-star safety, three models to choose from (LT,LTZ, LTZ-V), a smooth automatic and the ability to cruise well under 10 litres/100 km, this is a stylish large SUV that has plenty of road presence for a decent price (around $44 – $70k new depending on model).  It’s hard to beat as a complete package, though it could do with a diesel…

Holden Trailblazer

The other big Holden SUV is the Trailblazer.  Only the one model is offered, the LTZ AWD, but it has all the bells and whistles and it comes with a decent 2.8-litre, diesel engine (147 kW/500 Nm).  Running with a six-speed auto and a low-range box, the new Trailblazer can average around 9 litres/100 km and tackle any off-road work with ease.  This large SUV is based on the Colorado Ute and brings a tough, go-anywhere talent.  You can tow heavy loads and it comes with seven seats.  As well as being 5-star safe it rides on-road with solid skills and a comfortable ride.  LT-Z models come loaded with everything, though the base model LT has plenty of goodies.  If you want a more sporty flavour, then the top of the range Storm or Z71 will be the models for you.  Expect to pay between $45k and $55k for a new Trailblazer – that’s pretty decent!


Hynudai Santa Fe

A new Hyundai SUV is quite a common sight on our roads, and for good reason.  The most popular SUV for Hyundai is their large Santa Fe.  This is a stylish new roomy SUV (boot measures 547 litres with five seats in place) with superb 5-star safety features and technology, and though the 2.4-litre petrol with 138 kW of power and 241 Nm of torque is a smooth, solid unit, it is the diesel that is a standout, refined performer.  Averaging around 8 litres or less per 100 km for its fuel consumption, the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel also packs stacks of creamy torque (147 kW/440 Nm) throughout the engine revs and is very easy to drive smartly over any road.  There is a bigger 3.5-litre petrol with 205 kW and 336 Nm should you like the thought of this alternative ULP variant.  All Santa Fe models have AWD or 2WD options and use an eight-speed automatic – including the petrol models.  There are three variants in total, the Highlander being the flagship model.  Pricing is around the $43 – $60k mark.


Isuzu MU-X

A 2020 Isuzu MU-X will be a dependable, tough SUV that is built on the rugged D-Max Ute’s platform.  You get seven seats, an automatic gearbox, and premium luxury and comfort.  Inside the MU-X it’s modern and comfortable with all the goodies like climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, 18-inch alloys, a nice audio system and plenty of electrics to enjoy.  You also get 5-star safety.  The 2020 Isuzu MU-X range now kicks off from around $43k for the entry-level 4×2 LS-M, and runs through to around $58k for the flagship 4×4 LS-T.  All six variants use the grunty 130kW/430Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, which is linked to the Aisin-sourced six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.  4×2 and 4×4 options are available across the stylish SUV’s three grades (LS-M, LS-U and LS-T).  With five seats in place, the MU-X offers 878 litres of cargo space.  Fold all the seats flat and boot space grows to 1830 litres.


Jaguar F-Pace

You can get yourself a new luxury SUV with decent space and plenty of pace.  The 2020 Jaguar F-Pace models are special SUVs to drive, and if you go for the insanely quick (and expensive) SVR model you get a V8 petrol engine with 405 kW and 680 Nm.  This model does not muck around, sounds magical and can hit 100 km/h from a standstill in just over 4 seconds!  A top speed of around 280 km/h ensures there aren’t many SUVs that will stay with you when you let all these horses loose.

There are other models, however, that are equally as delightful to drive but for different reasons.  The base model 20d uses a sweet 2.0-litre turbo-diesel that can offer its owner peppy performance and an average fuel consumption around 5.5 litres/100 km.  You still have 132 kW of power and 430 Nm to play with.

R-Sport models use a range of quick engines (25d, 25t and 30t) with plenty of torque (400-500 Nm).

Two V6 models are available: The S version with a petrol 3.0-litre offering 280 Nm and 450 Nm, and an SD version with a 3.0-litre Diesel offering 221 kW and 700 Nm (yes, that’s correct).

As you can see, the Jaguar F-Pace is a driving enthusiast’s SUV with excellent performance and AWD handling and grip.  All models come with a 5-star safety rating and deliver quite remarkable economy given the level of performance on offer.  Style, luxury, performance and space (up to 1740 litres of boot space) make a Jaguar F-Pace highly desirable.  In fact, some say it’s Jaguars most practical sports car!

Prices range from between $66k – 166k.


Jeep Grand Cherokee

Big and impressive, a new Grand Cherokee always looks good for any occasion.  These are superbly comfortable, roomy SUVs that are 4×4 excellent if you need a pure off-road beast.  Equally at home on the tarmac, the Grand Cherokee rides handsomely and safely, and all the family will love the high tech infotainment systems and luxury features.

If you love seriously hot performance, there is a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk model which is arguably the quickest SUV in the world.  It boasts a 6.2-litre, V8 petrol that’s loaded with 522 kW and 868 Nm – enough to send it from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 290 km/h!

Serious off-roaders will like the 4×4 trail-ready Trailhawk and Overland models.  There is 457–782 litres in the boot with the rear seats in place, and then with the rear seats folded flat the boot is massive.  All new Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs come with AWD, automatic gearboxes, big towing performance and 5-star safety.  Depending on the model, prices range from between $47-135k.

Jeep Wrangler

You can also grab yourself a funky Jeep Wrangler with spectacular off-road capability and loads of practical features.  Two and four door variants are available.  The Wrangler two-door has a boot capacity of just 197 litres with the back seats in place, but if you only have occasional rear passengers you can fold the seats forward to create a 587-litre load bay.  The four-door has a handier 533-litre boot; this extends to 1,044 litres when the seats are folded down.  Safety is good, but isn’t as good as some SUVs out there.

Three Wrangler model trims are presented, all using the 3.6-litre petrol engine boasting 209 kW and 347 Nm.  Automatic gearboxes with low-range and 4WD are standard on all models.  Expect at least 10.5-litres/100 km fuel consumption when driven sedately, but if you own one of these you probably won’t mind – because you’ll love the rugged 4×4 action!


Kia Sorento

Another very good go-to large SUV that ticks all the handy boxes is the 2020 version of the Sorento.  A new Kia Sorento is a seven-seater offering high levels of specification, boasts an excellent 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine (147 kW/441 Nm) across the range, has an eight-speed auto, and five-star safety which can detect rear seat occupancy.  A 3.5-litre petrol version is also available with plenty of refined power and creamy torque.  You also have the option of going 4×2 if you want; otherwise 4×4 variants deliver excellent traction off-road, making it quite a good buy for adventure enthusiasts.  Its rugged platform copes well with towing duties, as well.  Keep the third row of seats in place and there’s 142 litres of boot space, but folding them down and up to 605 litres behind the second row of seats is nice space.

This is an SUV at the right price that is hard to beat.  Pricing is between $43–$60k.


Lamborghini URUS

You’re probably more familiar with Lamborghini offering formidable supercars.  You’d be right there; they do.  Some farmers will also know that they build tractors.  But did you know that Lamborghini offer the URUS 4WD SUV?  The Lamborghini URUS is a 5-door SUV model packed with performance (478 kW/850 Nm).  It’s five-star safe, has a beefy and thirsty V8 petrol engine, full-time AWD with Torsen-type limited slip-diff wizardry, 4-wheel torque vectoring, rear wheel steer and plenty of luxury.  You pay around $390k for the four-seat version and $403k for the five-seater, which makes it a pricey SUV.  But, hey, you’ll be a rare sight on the road – for sure!

Land Rover

Land Rover Discovery

As you would expect, Land Rover has some very nice large, luxury SUVs for those who need one of the best in the business.  The Discovery and Range Rover Sport are roomy SUVs that will seat seven comfortably while providing awesome interior tech and premium safety.  They also offer the go-anywhere 4×4 off-road ability Land Rover is renowned for.  These are about as good as you get in luxury 4×4 SUV motoring.

The latest Land Rover Discovery has legendary off-road ability, and you can get the latest 2020 model with two premium turbo-diesel options.  The first is a 2.0-litre with around 180 kW of power and as much as 500 Nm of torque.  This is impressive and is available standard in the least expensive SD4 S model.  A larger 3.0-litre with 225 kW of power and 700 Nm of torque is also available to the buyer, and it’s so strong in all conditions.  Remarkably, the big diesel sips fuel pretty slowly and can return around 8 litres/100 km.  Both engines are linked to the excellent 8-speed automatic with low range and crawl control.  Five-star safety with a huge boot makes life very nice owning a new Disco.  Expect to pay between $74 and $127k.

Land Rover Range Rover

The Land Rover Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8 offers us a more upmarket five-seater SUV that’s loaded with luxury, technology and 4×4 capability.  The 2020 models are more dynamic on-and-off the road.  Running with an eight-speed, V8 supercharged Diesel you have 250 kW of power and 740 Nm of torque, and you should be able to get down to 10 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  Buy new, and it comes with a 3 year 100,000 km warranty.  Boot space is a massive 909 litres – even with the rear seats in place!

Range Rover Sport

Range Rover Sport models have a wide range of options and trims.  Both the Sport and Velar variants lead the way in maximum luxury and opulence, and the 4×4 capability, five-star safe, seven-seat space and high-tech kit give these desirable big SUVs loads of street cred.

There are 2.0-litre 221 kW UPL engines, 294 kW Hybrid engines, a 386 kW V8 UPL engine, a 423 kW V8 UPL engine, 183 kW and 225 kW 3.0-litre Diesels, and a 250 kW 4.4-litre Diesel engines that are available for the Range Rover Sport models.  Prices for the Sport range are between $98k – 240k with loads of options to choose from.  The latest model is lighter, faster and more fuel efficient than ever before.

Range Rover Velar

Velar models are nice five-seater SUVs with excellent space, comfort and technology.  These are based on sister company Jaguar F-Pace models and their new smooth lines are easy on the eye.  Velar variants boast awesome luxurious interiors with all the mod-cons and infotainment features you’ll want.  Boot space is a healthy 632 litres with the rear seats in place.  Of course, with a luggage wall in place you can fill this space right up to the roof making it great for the family get away.  Current prices range from $70 – 177k range for the base model Range Rover Velar P250 (184kW) and the Range Rover Velar P550 SV A/B Dynamic (405kW), respectively.  Five-star safety, and petrol and diesel options give plenty of choice to the 2020 Velar buyer.


Lexus RX

Lexus offer the striking new RX SUV which is a medium/large size SUV with petrol and hybrid power plants.  These are luxurious and sophisticated machines, and 2020 models come with the latest Incorporate Lexus Safety System +, active cornering assist, the Bladescan light enhancement system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Qi wireless charging for enhanced connectivity.  They offer the buyer a class-leading design that is eye-catching and practical.  Toyota running gear makes these one of the most reliable SUVs on the market and they are solid vehicles with five-star safety.  Ride quality is excellent, the handling nimble and direct, and the interiors comfortable and quiet.  Boot space in five-seater models with the split-fold second row seats in place is around 539 litres.  Seven seater versions are also available.

A turbocharged RX 300, the 3.5-litre V6 RX 350, or the technologically advanced RX 450h with Lexus Hybrid Drive are the powertrains on offer.  Powering the Lexus RX 300 variants is a 175 kW/350 Nm 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol, four-cylinder engine.  Powering the Lexus RX 350 is a 221 kW/370 Nm, 3.5-litre V6, petrol motor.  And, powering the Lexus RX 450h is a 230 kW/335 Nm, petrol/electric hybrid powertrain.  Want a five seater Lexus RX, then you’ll be paying between $72–110k.  Go for seven seats and the prices are between $85–111k.  Hybrid versions are the most expensive variants.

Lexus LX

Also available in the Lexus stable is the awesomely luxurious and refined LX 4WD.  It is an extra-large SUV with heaps of space (over 1500 litres boot capacity and seven seats are offered).  Running Toyota’s reliable gear, you can have the most luxurious of SUVs in petrol (V8, 5.7-litre, 270 kW, 530 Nm, approx – 15 litres/100 km), or diesel in some countries (V8, 4.5-litre, 200 kW, 650 Nm, approx – 10 litres/100 km).  Five-star safety is a given with some of the most sophisticated accident avoidance systems on-board the LX package.  Prices start from around $145k for the standard petrol model and around $170k for the S petrol LX.


Maserati Levante

Stylish SUVs don’t come much more-so than with Maserati’s new Levante AWD.  The Levante is a brilliant new luxury SUV with all the goodies, premium safety and performance to boot.  Petrol models get either the V6 3.0-litre motor in the Luxury model with 257 kW and 500 Nm, or the 321 kW V6 petrol motor with 580 Nm of torque.

Interestingly, the Diesel option in the Levante has you enjoying all the luxury of the other two engine variants but for over $10k less.  This might be the bargain you really want because this model also comes with 202 kW and 600 Nm, and can regularly run at less than 8.5 litres/100 km.  Top of the performance ladder, however, is the 3.8-litre, Twin Turbo, V8 petrol boasting 441 kW and 730 Nm (0-100 km/h in 4 seconds).

Maserati Levante SUVs are five-star safe, offer five-seats and offer 580 litres of luggage space with the second row seats in place.  Expect to pay between $125k for the base 3.0-litre petrol model and $330k for the Trofeo V8 Petrol.


Mazda CX-8

Another of the best two roomy SUVs you can buy; and with all the kit, decent space and nice comfortable interiors: Mazda’s CX-8 or CX-9 AWD SUVs.  Both of these are very good looking and sleek.

The CX-8 is a five-seater SUV and is exclusively diesel powered.  You won’t find a better handling everyday SUV on the market, and the performance is exceptionally smooth.  Under the hood is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with 140 kW and 450 Nm.  Fuel efficiency is excellent, with drivers easily capable of getting around 6 litres/100 km on average.  What more can I say: the six-speed auto is smooth and safety simply superb.  Pricing for the awesome Mazda CX-8 is between $47 and $66k, and there are both FWD and AWD variants for all four trims.

Mazda CX-9

The CX-9 is a seven-seater SUV with loads of occupant space, comfort and elegant style.  Flick the powered tailgate open, and with all seven seats in place the luggage space is 230 litres, but knock the third row over and it grows to become a cavernous (1081 litres).  Powered by a 2.5-litre, SkyActiv turbo, petrol engine there is heaps of power on tap (170 kW/420 Nm) and economy sits at around 9 litres/100 km.  You’ll find it very hard to find a better family wagon that is occupant and driver friendly.  This is an SUV with all the right features.  Prices are between $46k and 70k, with FWD and AWD versions available; and all versions are five-star safe.

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLE

Luxury car-maker Mercedes Benz has a nice large SUV on offer that’s known as the GLE AWD SUV.  This is Mercedes Benz at its best with build quality and materials of premium standards.  Luxury, comfort and space are the hallmarks of the GLE, and all variants are superbly safe.  Riding in the GLE is refined and effortless.  Practicality is aided by the fact that the seven-seater boasts 630 litres in five-seat mode, which expands to 2055 litres when the second row is folded away.  All models can scamper off-road no problems at all as they all have decent 4×4 capabilities.

Models start with the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel powered 300d (180 kW/500 Nm).  The 300d engine is a sweetie and packs plenty of power along with an average of around 7 litres per 100 km for fuel efficiency.  In between is a GLE 450 petrol (270 kW/500 Nm).  Currently, the top of the ladder model is the GLE 400d with a 2.9-litre turbo-diesel engine with 243 kW of power and 700 Nm of torque.  Remarkably, the bigger diesel still delivers around 8 litres/100 km economy.

For what you get, the GLE is a reasonably priced luxury SUV, where the prices are between $105k–125k.

Mercedes Benz GLS

Bigger can be better with a new Mercedes Benz GLS.  With massively spacious boot space (5-seats offers 890 litres and 7 seats offers 355 litres), the GLS SUV is Merc’s top-of-the-line seven-seater; and it is luxurious.  Supremely comfortable and stylish the new GLS is packed with technology.  On the road the ride is superb thanks to some of the most sophisticated suspension and damping technology.  Boasting AWD/4×4 capability you can go anywhere in one of these, too.  Five-star safety is a given, and the current price of a new one starts at around $145k and tops out at $154k.  For what you get this is one of the best extra-large SUVs on the market.

The 400d uses a 2.9-litre diesel with 700 Nm of torque and 243 kW of power, while the hybrid petrol uses a 3.0-litre with 500 Nm and 270 kW.

Mercedes Benz G-Class

G-Class Mercedes Benz SUV models are classy and superior off-road 4×4 vehicles with comfort, space and power aplenty.  Three diff-locks and low range gearing offer the ultimate traction in rough terrain and the refinement has gotten better and better with each new model.  A 3.0-litre turbo-diesel gets the job done and provides 400 Nm and 135 kW.  You can get into a new 300 CDI for around $110k.

Top of the range G-Class models lay on all the equipment and use a 180 kW, 600 Nm turbo-diesel motor.  You should be able to get around the 10 litres/100 km or better for any of the models when driven sedately.  Space for luggage starts at 454 litres and grows to 1941 litres depending on the seat configuration.


Mitsubishi Pajero

Mitsubishi know all about AWD and have been making really good, solid genuine 4×4 SUVs for years.  Perhaps under-rated and overshadowed by other good Japanese models, the Pajero (since 1983) has, nonetheless, been part of Australia’s greatest adventures.  Its revolutionary technology has been tested to triumph over and over again in the most gruelling conditions in the Dakar Rally, so whatever you put in front of the big Pajero 4×4, it will prevail.

2020 sees the latest Mitsubishi Pajero as a confident, elegant, tough and reliable large SUV, and with your 4×4 Pajero you have the confidence to take on the off-road world with ease.  This is now one of the few remaining hard-core 4x4s with a truly rugged ladder-chassis design, making it a superbly strong seven seater.  The Pajero gives you plenty of space, comfort and towing capability, along with all the latest infotainment and techie features for modern daily life.

Mitsubishi Pajero 4WDs boast a magnificent 7 year/unlimited km warranty.  Base models (GLX) come with the grunty 3.2-litre, intercooled DOHC turbo-diesel engine with 141 kW of power and 441 Nm of torque.  Averaging around 10 litres/100 km, sometimes less, the Pajero also has a smooth 5-speed sports mode automatic transmission with Super Select II 4WD, a rear differential locking system, Smartphone Link Display Audio (SDA) and the full seven seats.  Five-star safety is part of the Pajero package.  You can get one for around $50k – which is a steal!

GLS variants add things like reverse sensors, automatic rain and dusk sensors, heated front seats, power front seats, High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with auto levelling and headlamp washers.  You can get one for around $58k.

The top of the range GLS also has a ‘Leather Option’ which adds classy leather seats and leather trim into the mix.  Super nice, and you can get one for around $60k.  If I was on the hunt for a roomy SUV, 4×4 bargain, this would have to be on my radar – they are very hard to beat.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

Also available is the new Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport which is a seven-seat or five-seat SUV based on the award winning Triton Ute.  With five seats in play, it has a 673-litre boot space.  Very up-to-date, the Pajero Sport is more streamlined and sportier than its standard Pajero brother and can be had from around $47k for the base model and $58k for the top of the range Exceed.  All are superior off-road performers and they ride on the tarmac very nicely too.  The one engine powers them all, and this is the very good and dependable 2.5-litre turbo-diesel boasting 135 kW and 437 Nm.  You should be able to get around 8.5 litres/100 km fuel economy, and they come five-star safe.

Featuring a modern interior with an 8-inch colour monitor, a power tailgate, remote central locking via your smartphone, an array of electronic driver aids, lane change assist and even rear cross traffic alert, the new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport should be on your short list if you’re on the lookout for one of the best all-round SUVs in the market.


Nissan Patrol

Nissan has in its SUV armoury the legendary big Patrol with true off-road capability and 3.5 tonne towing power.  Two variants are available, and both boasting the very grunty 5.5-litre petrol V8 with 298 kW and 560 Nm.  That’s enough power to send the hefty Patrol from a standstill to 100 km/h in a little less than 7 seconds.  The only drawback is it’s a tad thirsty, averaging around 15 litres/100 km.  It uses a smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox with diff-locking and low-range ability for delivering the drive to all four wheels.

You can buy a new Patrol Ti for around $77k, which is a really nice luxurious, spacious and comfortable large SUV in its own right.  Things like a leather interior and 3-zone climate control are standard features.  Step up to the Nissan Patrol Ti-L and things like exterior mirrors with puddle lights, a front cooled centre console box, heated front seats, a headlight washer system, intelligent brake control and a lane change warning system are part of the package.  Expect to pay around $93k for the Ti-L.

Tackling the tough turf in a 4×4 Patrol is a bit of a walk in the park, really.  This is meant for off-road business, and, if it’s a large 4×4 SUV you need, this has to be on your shopping list.  Five or seven seats play nicely with a massive boot – Nissan claims that cargo space is 468 litres in the boot with second and third row upright, 1413 litres with third row folded flat; and 2623 litres with second and third rows folded flat.  It’s has refined and relaxed highway cruising ability which makes this a very versatile vehicle.  It rides nicely, and you can do long hauls no problems in a new Nissan Patrol.

Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan also offers the stylish Pathfinder SUV in FWD and AWD variants.  There are plenty of trims to choose from, the flagship models being saturated in luxury, modern technology and infotainment features.  These are very roomy and quiet, and the Pathfinder sits nicely on the road.  You get five-star safety features and plenty of boot space (453 litres) with the third-row seats up.  Fold the third row seats down and this grows to a huge 1354 litres.  Of course, you can gain even more luggage space by folding the second and third row seats down.

Petrol variants are powered by a 202 kW/340 Nm 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6, while hybrid versions combine a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor which is good for 188 kW and 330 Nm.  Both powertrains are coupled to a smooth CVT for getting the power out onto the road.  It can be a capable companion for when you want to explore off the beaten track, and for when you require a smooth open-road tourer for the family or just need to get all the kids to school, the Pathfinder is a great SUV.


Porsche Cayenne

Porsche has its hand in the SUV market with the luxurious, comfortable and quick Cayenne models.  These are five-seater SUVs with huge boots (650 litres behind the rear seats), so if practicality is a must then these are superb vehicles.  Obviously, you’ll need to hand over a bit more cash to own one of these German beauties but they are very stylish and rewarding SUVs to drive.  A wide range of engines, petrol, hybrid and electric are available; and given the performance on offer, and the temptation to use it lots, the fuel efficiency is not too bad.

The entry-level Porsche Cayenne Coupe is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol motor that’s boosted by a single turbocharger (250 kW/450 Nm) and it can waltz through the 0-100 km/h sprint in six seconds.

The middle of the range Porsche Cayenne S Coupe gets a smaller but more potent twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 (324 kW/550 Nm), and it can do the 0-100 km/h deed in 5 seconds.

The Cayenne Turbo Coupe 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (404 kW/770 Nm) has a top speed of 286 km/h, and its 0-100km/h dash takes less than four seconds.

You can also buy the flagship Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe variant, whose plug-in hybrid-boosted twin-turbo V8 powertrain packs a whopping 500 kW and 900 Nm.

Prices range between $128k and $292k, and they are all very safe 5-star rated SUVs.


SsangYong Rexton

Here’s another great sizeable SUV that ticks all the right boxes.  The Rexton 7-seater boasts the rugged ladder chassis design, which is the ‘bees knees’ when it comes to toughness for off-roading, which you can do often in the stylish new Rexton AWD.  It’s the perfect set-up with a frugal, yet powerful, 2.2 turbo-diesel that puts out 133 kW of power and a lusty, smooth 420 Nm.  Running with an excellent 7-speed automatic and part-time 4WD the big Ssangyong SUV wisps along smoothly and economically.  The 3.5 tonne towing capability should raise a few eyebrows, making this quite the versatile family wagon.

A 2.0-litre petrol engine with turbocharging is the other alternative.  It remains smooth and responsive with its 165 kW and 225 Nm.  The petrol version is called the EX model and it is 2WD and six-speed auto, only.  This is the model that sees you into a new Ssangyong Rexton at around $40k.  The ELX and Ultimate models are diesel and AWD, and you have the choice of going with the six-speed auto or opting for the seven-speed automatic.  Ultimate models cost you around $53k.

All models have a seven year warranty from new, which is very attractive.  Boot space is decent, with seven seats in place you can still get a big load of shopping inside.  Fold the third row seats flat and there is well over 640 litres on offer – as the second row seats are able to slide forward for even more room.

Inside the cabin you are made very comfortable and all the necessary technologies are on-board.  With the Ultimate model everything is laid on and the leather interior is sumptuous.

Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

Available in 2.5-litre petrol form with 129 kW, 235 Nm and an average fuel economy of around 7.5 litres/100 km, the new Subaru Outback is a five-star safe, roomy SUV that is a little more like a conventional station wagon than a bigger, boxier SUV.  It’s got nice handling, AWD, plenty of new features and boasts excellent reliability – you’ll enjoy this one.

In 3.6-litre, petrol form with 191 kW, 350 Nm, AWD and an average fuel economy of around 10.5 litres/100 km, this is the model that can really cover the ground quickly if you want to.

A 110 kW, 350 Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is a nice option for very frugal (around 6.5 litres/100 km), long-legged travel.  This one moves along nicely too.

Luggage space is decent, so for a family this is a pretty nice way to get out and see the country.  The boot opens to reveal a generous 512 litres of luggage space, and then, if the 60:40 split-folding rear seats are flattened, you have plenty of luggage carrying ability on tap.  AWD and FWD versions are available, and all come with CVT automatics.

Current prices range from $38k to $51k for the Outback 2.5i AWD and Outback 3.6R, respectively.  The Diesel models can be had for around $40k.  My pick would be the Diesel AWD, though the 3.6R is the one for the driving enthusiast who likes to press on.


Where there’s any market segment in the motoring world there will always be a Toyota, and it’s true when it comes to any decent large SUV alternative.  Toyota offers us the Fortuner, the Highlander the Land Cruiser Prado and the Land Cruiser 200.  Any of these vehicles have AWD, good ground clearance, excellent reliability and decent performance – whether you go for the diesel or petrol options.  They all ride very well on and off the road, are comfortable, practical and have plenty of space for the whole family.  Five and seven seaters are available, and all of them boast five-star levels of safety.

For those who want to head off-road in to the serious terrain, the Prado Land Cruiser is perfect.  This is a big, supremely capable all-rounder, but it is just as happy hopping curbs on the school run.

The biggest 4×4 SUV that Toyota can sell us is the awesome Land Cruiser 200.  Here we have a V8 Diesel with 200 kW and 650 Nm.  It’s brilliant on and off the road, and guaranteed to go the distance in any conditions.

Flagship models of all four variants, above, come extremely well appointed.


Volkswagen Touareg

The VW Touareg SUV has a strong following, and for good reason.  It’s definitely got the style, space and comfort to make it a superb SUV, and the Premium models are stacked with nice technology and provide a sumptuous interior.  Currently, VW Australia has gone for just the one 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with 190 kW and 600 Nm, and it’s known as the Touareg 190TDI model.  The running gear uses an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission linked to a very competent AWD system.

You can get the new VW Touareg in two specification levels.  It starts off with the 190 TDI at around $80k and then you step up to the 190 TDI Premium model at around $86k.

The 190TDI Premium adds IQ matrix headlights, air suspension, seats with a higher grade of leather plus massaging and ventilation functions, 20-inch alloys and the option of a light-coloured interior.  For only an extra $5k this is worth it.

The new Touareg is a five-seater only, but you get a whopping 810 litres behind the rear seats for luggage.  This gets bigger as you flip the seats down flat.  It also provides decent five-star safety kit.


Volvo XC90

One of the best new SUVs you can buy is the Volvo XC90.  It is not only one of the safest large SUVs but it is also extremely comfortable, quiet and capable.

It comes with loads of modern style, safety and cutting-edge engine technology along with very good infotainment systems.  The audio systems are powerful, and you can fit loads of cargo on board an XC90.  Seven seats are standard, and you run with a very smooth 7-speed automatic, and even the base 2.0-litre Diesel boasts 173 kW and 480 Nm.  Fuel consumption with this D5 AWD is superb, allowing you to easily get down to a low 6 litres/ 100 km.

The D5 T6 is a petrol engine that runs sweetly and powerfully.  It too is a 2.0-litre but runs as a petrol engine.  A hefty 246 kW links with 440 Nm of torque to make this a superb drive for all occasions.

A new Volvo XC90 T8 AWD uses hybrid technology and petrol to make 311 kW and 680 Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo power plant.  This is swift, superbly safe and effortlessly comfortable.

Even with all seven seats in place, the new Volvo XC90 boot can hold up to 302 litres of luggage.  Folding down all the second and third-row seats frees up a huge 1,856 litres of cargo capacity.

They don’t come much better than this.  A D5 kicks off at around $90k for the Momentum model and they finish with the flagship T8 R-Design Hybrid at around $115k.