It’s no secret that Australia has a vicious appetite for SUVs. With manufacturers flooding the market with compact, mid-size and large SUVs and crossovers across a range of different price points, Aussies will continue to be spoilt for choice when shopping around for a family-friendly model next year. With that in mind, here’s our list of the top 10 best SUVs coming to Australia in 2023.
Mazda CX-60 – first half of 2023
The first examples of Mazda’s next-generation SUV, the CX-60, have already arrived here in Australia for local testing, and will hit dealerships in 2023 with a choice of three new powertrain options. There’s a 241kW 2.5-litre petrol plug-in hybrid, a 3.3-litre turbo-petrol inline-six developing 209kW and 450Nm, and a 3.3-litre turbo-diesel inline-six generating 187kW and 550Nm.
The CX-60 will squeeze into Mazda’s already-crowded SUV lineup above the mid-sized CX-5 and CX-8, riding on the company’s latest large platform with a longitudinal-engine layout that you’ll find underneath the forthcoming CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90.
So far, Mazda is yet to confirm the full features list, but has released some photos showcasing a bold exterior design package with a set of new-look headlights, with a premium interior. Trim levels will run from Evolve, GT and top Azami.
Nissan X-Trail – early 2023 for hybrid, late 2022 for regular models
Nissan is set to bring its next-generation X-Trail to Australia before the end of the year, with the arrival of an e-Power hybrid set for early 2023. The new model rides on the latest CMF-C platform shared with the Mitsubishi Outlander, offering a choice of two- and four-wheel drive setups in five- and seven-seat layouts.
Four main trim levels will be offered with the regular petrol model, spanning from the ST, ST-L, Ti, and Ti-L, while the new e-Hybrid will be offered in Ti and Ti-L forms only. The two entry models feature an 8.0-inch touch-screen running Nissan’s latest infotainment suite, while the Ti and Ti-L get a 12.3-inch touch-screen and another 12.3-inch screen for the instrument cluster.
The base model’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol kicks up 135kW of power and 244Nm of torque, while the e-Power hybrid produces a combined 157kW and unknown torque figure from its dual e-motor setup. Prices have been confirmed to start from $36,750 for the petrol ST, and from $54,190 for the Ti hybrid (excluding on-roads).
Lexus RX – early 2023
Lexus is giving its RX SUV a major overhaul for 2023, with the latest generation receiving a range of new hybrid powertrains including a plug-in hybrid, as well as a new platform that brings a longer wheelbase than its predecessor for more interior room.
The company says that while its fifth-generation RX SUV measures in at the same 4890mm length, the wheelbase has been stretched out by 60mm, which is complemented by a slightly wider cabin and a 90kg weight reduction.
Under the bonnet, the 2023 RX range offers buyers a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid producing 184kW in the RX 350h, while the RX 350 AWD gains a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder producing 205kW. The range-topping RX 500h F Sport kicks out 273kW with the help of an e-motor over the rear axle as well as the 2.4 turbo up front.
Subaru Outback 2.4T – early 2023
Lovers of the Outback will be pleased to know that Subaru is planning to introduce a pair of turbocharged variants for the 2023 model year, in the form of the Sport XT and Touring XT.
Subaru is fitting the Outback with a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, similar to what is seen in the latest WRX, producing 183kW of power and 350Nm of torque, paired with a CVT automatic and Subaru’s symmetrical AWD system.
The power and torque boost over the current 2.5L models (138kW/245Nm) give the Outback an added 400kg of braked towing capacity, which now stands at 2400kg, with fuel economy figures standing at 9.0L/100km, marking a sizeable increase over the naturally aspirated Outback range which consumes around 7.3L/100km.
Prices for the Outback Sport XT 2.4T will start from $52,190 and rise to $55,990 for the range-topping Outback Touring XT 2.4T (excluding on-roads). The first deliveries are set for early 2023.
Kia EV9 – debuts Q1, 2023
Kia has gained a heap of momentum from the launch of its all-electric EV6, and has announced plans to release a new flagship seven-seater EV9 fully electric SUV. Hyundai will also launch a similar model called the IONIQ 7, likely offering a slightly more premium look and feel.
The highly-anticipated EV9 will sit firmly atop Kia’s lineup as the company’s flagship SUV, and while we don’t have many confirmed details to report on just yet, we do know that it will be offered in all-wheel drive in the form of a dual-motor setup.
The company unveiled an EV9 concept in late 2021, giving us a preview of its design direction. It rides on the E-GMP platform and measures in at 4930mm long, 2055mm wide, 1790mm high and with a wheelbase measuring 3100mm, making it longer than the Sorento and even the Carnival MPV.
Expect to see the EV9 make its official debut in the first quarter of 2023, with deliveries likely arriving in Australia later in the second half.
Toyota Kluger 2.4 Turbo – first quarter, 2023
One of the family SUV segment’s heaviest-hitters, the Toyota Kluger, is set to ditch its V6 powertrain in favour of a 2.4-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder when the updated model arrives in the first quarter of 2023.
The powertrain has been snatched from the likes of the Lexus NX 350, and while it might be down two cylinders, the 2.4-litre turbo kicks up 198kW/420Nm, which is 70Nm more than you’ll find in the outgoing V6. Toyota says all members of its Kluger lineup will be offered with the four-cylinder turbo, with the all-wheel drive hybrid remaining the flagship engine option for Kluger buyers.
Inside, the 2023 Kluger range ditches the 4.2-inch multi-function display in favour of a 7.0-inch unit, with the 8.0-inch infotainment systems beefed up to 12.3-inch for the GXL-and-above variants.
Polestar 3 – early 2024, possibly late 2023
One of the biggest SUV arrivals for 2023 is also the first SUV we’ve ever seen from Polestar, with the Polestar 3 performance SUV. It showcases a modern, Swedish design while packing some serious grunt in the powertrain department.
The new model will be available with a 111kWh battery that provides a range of 610km, while also feeding a twin-motor setup developing 360kW and 840Nm or up to 380kW and 910Nm with the optional Performance Pack fitted.
The Polestar 3 will also come equipped with the infrastructure for an autonomous driving system which takes data from a LiDAR sensor and crunches real-time information with an NVIDIA processor. There’s also an impressive 14.5-inch vertical touch-screen display running Google Android.
Production of the Polestar 3 is set to kick off in April, 2023, at the Geely-Volvo-owned company’s production hubs in the US and in China, with the first Australian deliveries expected by early 2024.
Mercedes-Benz GLC – early 2023
Mercedes-Benz is giving its mid-size GLC SUV a major upgrade for the 2023 model year, with the ‘X254’ generation receiving a range of new hybrid powertrains, a refreshed styling package and a heap of added tech.
The company is yet to confirm which of the six powertrains unveiled for the GLC will be offered here in Australia, but the global mix include a choice of a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol and diesels, as well as a pair of plug-in hybrids producing 230kW/550Nm and 280kW/650Nm in the 300 e and 400 e respectively.
Inside, the GLC gains a massive MBUX infotainment system that pairs an 11.9-inch and 12.3-inch display together, with clever augmented reality navigation and surround-view monitoring fitted as standard.
Subaru Solterra / Toyota bZ4x – sometime in 2023 / late 2022
Perhaps the biggest medium-sized SUV launch for 2023 will come in the form of a joint-development between Subaru and Toyota, culminating in the first dedicated battery-electric SUVs from each of the brands.
The Solterra and bZ4X share platforms, electric powertrains and battery packs, which give them a power output of 150kW in the front-wheel drive variant and 160kW in dual-motor AWD variants, with power supplied by a 71.4kWh lithium-ion pack.
Subaru says the front-wheel drive Solterra offers range figures up to 530km, which drops to 460km in the all-wheel drive range-toppers; both can be DC fast-charged at up to 150kW, with AC charging capped at 6.6kW.
Toyota has said the bZ4X is scheduled to arrive globally in late 2022, while Subaru has simply confirmed 2023 for Australia.
BMW XM – first half of 2023
No stranger to high-powered SUVs, BMW is preparing for the launch of its almighty XM performance SUV. It will debut the company’s first ever plug-in hybrid V8 powerplant, offering astonishing power.
Set to hit the road in 2023, BMW’s XM SUV will come powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 plug-in hybrid, producing 480kW of power and 800Nm of torque. A more powerful 550kW/1100Nm version is also on the way, likely taking the name ‘XM Competition’ – it is currently nicknamed the Label Red.
The XM showcases a very chunky and edgy design language with huge wheel arches accommodating up to 23-inch wheels. Inside, passengers are treated to Coffee Brown Vintage leather across the dash as well as a curved multimedia display with M-specific content, and an M-specific head-up display for the driver. It’ll be BMW’s boldest and (probably) most expensive SUV ever.
Alexi is a contributing news journalist and junior road tester at PerformanceDrive. He has a passion and appreciation for the engineering in cars, as well as new technologies that lessen the impact on the environment. His dream cars are an M3 to drive to work, and a LaFerrari for the weekend.
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