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Why are SUVs so Popular These Days?

31 August 2021 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

It is no secret, more people are buying SUVs in Australia. In the past, SUVs or sports utility vehicles were characterised as light commercial vehicles that handle extreme off-road conditions well. The market has evolved since then with SUVs becoming more than just stylish two-wheel cars that are a bit larger than wagons. But have you ever really thought about why there is a spike in SUV sales? Should this be your next purchase?

Today, new SUV models can be split into 3 size variations – small like the Audi Q2, medium like the BMW X3 and large like the Hyundai Santa Fe. Having these variations is just one factor contributing to the rise of SUVs in Australia.

SUV Sales Statistics

In 2017, SUVs surpassed passenger cars in vehicle sales for the first time with 425,217 units sold compared to 413,264 passenger cars sold. While there is a notable decline in passenger cars’ demand over the last years, the rise of SUVs can be much attributed to its reputation of being a 'do-all vehicle’.

In fact, in 2018, SUVs enjoyed a massive sales accounting for 43% of all new cars sold in Australia.

Last year, SUVs dominated new vehicle sales by type with a total of 483,388 units sold from January to December.

Impressive right?

Aside from the size variations available, what are the other reasons SUVs are continually becoming so popular these days? Let’s have a look below:


Room Capacity

The room that an SUV provides deserves merit as to why customers are persuaded to buy one. With taller seating and low floor, SUVs give plenty of headroom, legroom and storage space providing greater comfort for passengers. Many can seat five passengers, with some even offering a third-row seating and this is already an advantage for large families and car poolers. It’s both comfort and luxury for passengers to have more space to manoeuvre whenever they’re on the road.

Size and Power

Because SUVs are larger and heavier in built compared to passenger cars, many people feel safer in them. SUVs are known to have sturdier and stronger body frames, which means it is more durable and powerful in the roads. The taller seating also allows the driver to get better vision of the surrounding. Unlike sedans and wagons, SUVs’ roof line does not taper or sweep down so the headroom for those seating at the back does not suffer. If you like driving in the outback or exploring rough roads, SUVs got your backs covered. Its powerful build can power through different terrains and can endure bigger impacts, thus making it as a safer option for you and your family.


When it comes to safety, bigger is almost always better and that is true in the case of SUVs. Safety-wise, SUVs have been manufactured with a sturdier framework and stronger truck chassis to ensure the utmost level of protection and safety. In case of accidents and collisions, lager vehicles like SUVs can take the force much less than what smaller vehicles can. SUVs also boast a number of safety features that come with their variants such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking and Road Departure Mitigation System. They even have LATCH system (lower anchor and tethers for car seats) suitable for families with kids.

Command Seating Position

SUVs give drivers a high seating position which helps them see further down the road, have a view of the traffic ahead and see empty parking spaces, hedges and obstacles whenever on the road. Generally, this helps drivers prepare for any hazard or trouble that they may encounter ahead.

Cargo Capacity

People like to cram most of their belongings in a car and SUVs definitely offer better cargo capacity. Although the cargo area is not as deep as those in wagons, the taller cargo space can accommodate belongings like ski and other things with similar length dimension. 

Off-Roading Capabilities

SUVs ground clearance and beefy suspension systems make it perform better off-road than cars. Some of its features were born for off-roading – transmissions and differentials, underbody protection like skid plates, hill descent control and low range. Its fenders are designed for long suspension travels and its hoods slope away to give drivers better visibility.

Towing Capabilities

Most SUVs in the market today provide bigger and much powerful engine that can do more compared to other cars. It makes them extremely capable of towing the likes of caravans, boats and trailers. If you’re a big family planning on a road trip, an SUV makes a great choice for towing, allowing extra space for the whole family. However, it’s also good to check the towing weight capacity for SUVs with smaller body type and engine.

Efficient on Fuel

People want to spend less on fuel whenever they can right? Plus the increased awareness on fossil fuel pollution makes people opt for a fuel efficient car. SUVs have become more efficient on fuel over time, offering a practical advantage for car buyers without excessive and costly fuel consumption.

Extensive Line-up

You can always easily find an SUV in every line-up of almost all automotive manufacturer. For example, Ford offers Eco Sport, Explorer and Expedition; Toyota has C-HR, RAV4, 4Runner, Highlander and Land Cruiser; then there’s Dodge with Journey and Durango. Basically with SUVs, you have a wide selection among brands.


Best Selling SUVs in Australia

These great qualities of SUVs make it as a no-brainer when buying a new car, but which SUV should you be considering? It might help if you look into the bestselling SUVs we have in Australia now.

As of February 2020; these are the top 5 SUVs that were popular among car buyers:

1. Toyota RAV4

Available in GX, GXL, Cruiser and Edge, Toyota Rav4 sold over 3,300 units in February. Car buyers can choose which model they want to drive and they can also opt for either a 6 speed manual or 6 speed automatic with 2WD or AWD options added.

​​​​​​​2. Mazda CX-5

CX-5 is Mazda’s flagship model and their top SUV top date with 1,969 sales recorded. There are 5 model variants to choose from – Maxx, Maxx Sport, Touring, GT and the Akera, which all comes with 360-degree View Monitor, 7-inch infotainment unit and Mazda Radar Cruise Control.

​​​​​​​3. Nissan X-Trail

The X-Trail may be one of Nissan’s longest running models but it sure is thriving in the sales department with 1,439 units sold. Five and seven seater varieties are available on ST, ST-L, N-Sport and T models while drivers can choose between petrol or diesel.

​​​​​​​4. Mitsubishi ASX

Another SUV player in the market, the Mitsubishi ASX managed to sell over 1,300 units last February. Among its standout features include LED Daytime Running Lights, a panoramic glass roof with retractable sunshade, LED mood lighting and an 18-inch alloy wheels.

​​​​​​​5. Mazda CX-3

Another one from Mazda, the CX-3 is on the rise as one of the more popular small SUVs in the market today. The CX-3 range includes the Neo Sport, Maxx Sport, S Touring, Akari and Akari LE variants which are available in both FWD and AWD models. ​​​​​​​

However true it is that some people buy an SUV just to fulfil their wants, you simply cannot discount the fact that it has some seriously outstanding features that increased its popularity in Australia.

With car manufacturers creating more SUV-classed-models, the rise of SUVs in Australia does not look like slowing down anytime soon.

Don't miss out. Start looking at SUVs today at