Medium SUVs are the most popular type of vehicle in the country, but finding the right one can be confusing. Here are some of the best luxury examples.
Almost one in five new cars sold last year was a mid-size SUV, they are insanely popular and there is a multitude of options, which can be confusing to buyers. Here are four of the best luxury options.
I’m looking to replace my 2016 Subaru Forester with a mid-size luxury SUV. I was impressed with your Audi Q5 review, but would appreciate other suggestions. A hybrid appeals with its lower emissions and running costs. Is it worth waiting for the 2022 Lexus NX? It’s mainly for short trips around town, plus a long trip to country Victoria each month.
Elaine Haw, email
Almost 20 per cent of all new vehicles bought in Australia last year were medium SUV – we can’t get enough of them. Prestige hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and full electric options are increasing in the segment, but Lexus NX300h aside, you’re looking at around $100,000 to drive one away. Full details on the 2022 Lexus NX haven’t been released, but I’ll use my crystal ball to predict if it’s worth the wait. A hybrid/PHEV option would well suit your circumstances and desire for cheaper running costs, but the initial purchase price is higher.
AUDI Q5 40 TDI, ABOUT $77,500 DRIVE-AWAY
Freshly refreshed, this luxury mid-size stalwart has just been gifted heaps more tech and equipment for 2021, plus having its good looks subtly tweaked. This diesel variant has only 150kW but a chunky 400Nm of torque, while returning a superb 5.4L/100km, offering a possible range of 1250km between refills. Despite this being the entry-level version, you score leather-appointed electric seats, ambient lighting, digital dashboard, auto electric tailgate, tri-zone climate control and a comprehensive safety pack. Audi’s three-year warranty is stingy, while five years of servicing costs $2720.
VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE PLUG-IN HYBRID, $71,500 DRIVE-AWAY
Can I tempt you with a slightly smaller SUV? Volvo’s XC40 is available as a plug-in hybrid, meaning you can travel up to 45km on electric charge alone. Ideal for your short trips, and simple to plug in at home: full charge takes four hours. A zesty petrol engine is your backup with 800km range, making the PHEV transition easy. Volvo’s mid-size XC60 T8 PHEV is a costly $110,000 on the road, so if you can fit in this $40k-cheaper XC40 – which is actually quite roomy inside – it’s a cracking choice. Safety is of course top notch, while luxury includes heated leather/suede seats front and rear, panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon audio and digital dashboard. Five-year warranty and $2500 for five years of services trumps Audi.
MERCEDES-BENZ GLC300e PHEV, $98,500 DRIVE-AWAY
Currently there’s no BMW X3 or Audi Q5 hybrid/PHEV, but the attractive Mercedes GLC comes as a plug-in. It ain’t cheap, but what a car. Its combined 235kW/700Nm fires you to 100km/h in 5.7-seconds, there’s digital everything and the leathery luxe, technology and safety will feel like a First Class Suite upgrade from your Forester. Its 43km all-electric range will slice your fuel bills around town. There’s a five-year warranty, but $4650 to service over that period is painful. This is your ‘to hell with it’ luxury choice.
2022 LEXUS NX300h F SPORT, EST. $80,000 DRIVE-AWAY
Toyota and Lexus are masters of ‘self charging’ hybrids – they’ve been at it for years. There’s no official word on when the new NX medium SUV will launch, but we know hybrids will be key. You’ll probably have to wait until late this year or early 2022 for it to land in Australia, probably priced from $80,000. The current NX is luxury and quality filled, with my main criticism being its outdated interior and technology. The new model will of course solve this. Expect generous inclusions, a cabin oozing prestige and an excellent ownership experience.
If the Lexus NX has piqued your interest, and you can wait a year, the 2022 model’s value, luxe and hybrid drivetrain should be your sweet spot. If you want something now, I’d go the Volvo and embrace plug-in life. I reckon it’s large enough and you’ll always feel your piloting something very special indeed.