In the wake of factory shutdowns and microchip shortages, the number of new cars released in 2021 has been massively hindered by external forces hitting even the world’s largest manufacturers. Thankfully, though, momentum has been steadily picking up in recent months, and it looks as though 2022 is set to be one of the most significant years for new releases in recent memory.
With manufacturers keen to get the ball rolling again, more attention than ever before has been directed at the burgeoning SUV market to ensure carmakers get their financials back into the black. In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best SUVs coming to Australia in late 2021 and 2022. In order of expected arrival.
Land Rover Defender P525 V8 – second half of 2021/early 2022
A thumping supercharged V8 version of the new Defender is set to arrive in Australia soon. It was supposed to launch in around July but, due to production delays relating to the semiconductor shortage and a bit of coronavirus, we might have to wait a few more months. It will be worth the wait, though. This will be one monster off-road machine, featuring a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that dishes out 386kW and 625Nm. And best yet, it will be available in both short wheelbase ’90’ form and ‘110’ regular wheelbase. How cool is that? Sprinting from 0-100km/h is taken care of in 5.2 seconds in the 90 and 5.4 in the big 110.
BMW iX – confirmed late 2021
BMW has confirmed that its iX SUV will be made available in Australia in both xDrive40 and xDrive50 variants, set for a late 2021. Both models will feature a set of two electric motors over the front and rear axles, with the xDrive40 featuring a 70kWh battery pack with 240kW of power, and a 100kWh option with more than 370kW on tap for the xDrive50. Range, according to BMW, will stand at around 400km for the xDrive40 and 600km for the xDrive50, with fast-charging of up to 200kW available. The first Australian deliveries are slated for the last quarter of this year, however, a realistic timeframe could indicate the iX range will be widespread in BMW dealerships by early 2022.
New Ford Escape PHEV – confirmed early 2022
Ford’s highly-anticipated first plug-in hybrid vehicle for the Australian market is set for an early 2022 release, and is said to be one of a number of plug-in hybrids headed to Australia from Ford. Upon release, the 2022 Ford Escape PHEV will be offered as an ST-Line variant only, powered by a 2.5-litre petrol unit working alongside a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery, pushing out a combined 167kW. The Ford Escape PHEV will be priced from $52,490, placing it extremely close to the asking price for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s $47,390 sticker price.
New-generation Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – likely first half of 2022
Mitsubishi is gearing up for the release of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander after a nine-year run of the existing fourth-generation model, which has proven an absolute sales hit. Included in the next-generation are the usual styling tweaks, improved technology, as well as a range of new engine options. The Outlander PHEV will improve on the power and range figures of the existing 2.4-litre petrol unit mated to a 13.8kWh battery, with electric motors producing 130kW and 332Nm. That’s good for around 54km on pure electric driving. Expect to see figures of pure electric driving around, or even above the 100km mark for the new model, thanks to improved battery technology and more powerful electric motors. The Outlander range is set for a late 2021 arrival, with the PHEV variant set for a 2022 release.
Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series – likely first half of 2022
A number of spy photos of the upcoming 300 Series LandCruiser have surfaced online in recent months, seemingly confirming the new design aesthetic for the next-gen SUV. We can confidently speculate that the range will be powered by a new six-cylinder diesel pushing out 227kW and 687Nm, with the option of a more powerful twin-turbo V6 producing 309kW and 589Nm. The successor to the almighty Toyota LandCruiser 300 is expected to touch down sometime in late 2021, with a hybrid model set for a later release. By the time the 300 arrives in Australia it will probably be 2022.
New-generation Nissan Pathfinder – some time in 2022, likely first half
Nissan is also looking to command a bigger slice of the large SUV market with the release of the 2022 Pathfinder, featuring a bold new styling package and a host of much-needed modern touches and screens inside. While Nissan is yet to confirm specifications for the Australian market, we know that the US version is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 unit pushing out 209kW and 351Nm, mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission, ending the reign of the CVT. For the first time in the Pathfinder’s history we can expect to see the option of an eight-seat configuration or a set of two captain’s chairs.
Mercedes-Benz EQB – expected some time in 2022
2022 will also see the release of Mercedes-Benz’s third all-electric vehicle, the EQB, described as a practical seven-seater with Tesla-matching range figures. While Mercedes is yet to confirm the exact specs that Australian buyers will see, we do know that the European market will receive the EQB 350 4Matic with 200kW, while Chinese buyers will be treated to an AMG Line variant with 215kW. Under the floor, there’s a 66.5kWh battery pack which offers a claimed range of 478km, with plans for a long-range variant also in the pipeline. The EQB will be capable of fast-charging up to 100kW, bringing charging time for 10-80 per cent to just 30 minutes.
Tesla Model Y – expected some time in 2022
One of the most hyped SUV arrivals of 2022 is no doubt Tesla’s latest creation, the Model Y. It’s a difficult car to categorise, simply because it sits so close to the Model 3. But you can think of it as a pumped-up and more spacious SUV-styled variant of the Model 3 that can seat up to seven people. The range will feature a standard, long range, dual motor AWD, and performance variants, with total ranges varying between 370km and 482km. As per usual with Tesla vehicles, the original delivery dates have been pushed back a number of times, with international markets prioritised over Australia. Regardless, you can expect to see the Model Y available here in Australia at some stage in 2022.
New-generation Porsche Macan EV – late 2022
The next generation of Porsche’s compact SUV hero, the Macan, has already begun testing in Europe, with Porsche executives confirming it will borrow the Taycan’s platform. One of the more exciting aspects of its development is confirmation from Porsche that the next-gen Macan will be packed with “significantly more range” than the existing Porsche Taycan, which has been rated by the EPA at 326km in the Taycan 4S, and 484km in the 93.4kWh variant. Porsche has made it clear that electrification will underpin the majority of its lineup in the very near future, so the potential late-2022 arrival of the Macan will be a technical showcase of what is to come from Stuttgart.
Rivian R1S – expected late in 2022
Our list ends with a completely new vehicle from a completely new manufacturer, Rivian. The US-based company is looking to steal customers away from the original Californian EV giant, Tesla. Rivian is gearing up for the official launch of its R1T pickup in the USA, as well as the launch of its R1S seven-seat SUV. The R1S SUV will be offered with 105, 135 and 180kWh battery packs, and features a quad motor powertrain that pushes out 300kW in its cheapest form and 560kW with the largest battery pack fitted, and 1120Nm of torque. Range is said to be between 386km to 482km on a single charge. Deliveries in the USA are set to take place in the first quarter of 2022. Depending how hungry Rivian is on Australian sales, we could see the R1S here some time in the later stages of 2022.