As a result, nearly every manufacturer on the market offers a small SUV package of their own, with the latest and greatest offering battery-electric as well as fuel-efficient hybrid engines to cut down on the price of ownership.
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Let’s take a close look at some of the best and potentially most influential additions to Australia’s small SUV market in 2023 to find one worth waiting for.
Perhaps the most important new small SUV coming to Australia in 2023 will be the release of Toyota’s first battery-electric vehicle, the curiously named but all-important bZ4x crossover SUV.
Toyota has co-developed the bZ4x alongside Subaru’s Solterra battery-electric SUV which will also be arriving to the Australian market sometime in 2023, and marks an important milestone for both companies as their first bespoke, fully-electric SUV packages.
Underneath, both the Toyota bZ4x and the Subaru Solterra offer buyers a claimed 500km of driving range thanks to a 71.4kWh battery pack, with power supplied by a 150kW electric motor for the front-wheel drive variant, while the all-wheel drive bZ4x picks up a pair of 80kW motors over the front and rear axles.
Inside, the bZ4x receives a brand new cabin design with a heap of space and practical touches, with Toyota’s designers no longer limited by bulky mechanicals of a petrol-powered car that allow for more clever storage designs.
BMW is kicking off the year with the introduction of a fully-electric take on the X1 compact SUV, known as the iX1.
The iX1 takes the body and important hardware from the current-generation X1, with the addition of a pair of electric motors producing 230kW of power and 494Nm that will give it very impressive power figures on paper.
Power for the electric motors is supplied by a 65kWh lithium-ion battery pack that offers a claimed 440km driving range on the WLPT cycle, while DC fast-charging up to 130kW brings the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in around 30 minutes.
Prices for the iX1 are set to start from $82,900, with the first arrivals set to touch down in Australia in the first quarter of 2023.
Honda is set to add yet another compact SUV to its lineup with the 2023 introduction of the all-new ZR-V.
When it arrives, the ZR-V will sit above the HR-V small SUV and below the midsize CR-V, giving buyers a heap of variety within Honda’s range of practical SUV packages, and is set to gain a choice of petrol and hybrid engines.
While Honda is yet to confirm any specifics for the ZR-V here in Australia, judging by the Japanese release, we can expect to see a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and a 2.0-litre e:HEV hybrid engine option for Australian buyers.
Subaru’s Crosstrek is ready to hit the Australian market in April, replacing the XV and offering buyers a choice of petrol and hybrid engines within the competitive small SUV segment.
Complete with a redesigned profile, updated technology and brand new lineup of engines, the Crosstrek is hoping to capture buyers looking for a more adventurous small SUV package than the majority of the segment.
The Crosstrek range offers a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines and a 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder with electric-hybrid tech that reduces fuel consumption from 7.2L/100km down to 6.5L/100km on a combined cycle.
Mazda made waves earlier this year when it announced the return of its iconic rotary engine, this time in the form of a range extender for its hybrid MX-30 e-SkyActiv R-EV.
While the MX-30 looks unchanged from the outside, underneath you’ll find a completely new engine configuration that pairs a single electric motor producing 125kW of power and 260Nm of torque with a 830cc rotary engine designed to produce electricity for the e-motor.
When it arrives, the MX-30 e-SkyActiv R-EV will offer significant fuel savings over the current MX-30 mild hybrid, with added flexibility over the MX-30 Electric.
Nissan’s small SUV, the Qashqai has been given a major overhaul in recent times, and the addition of the e-Power Hybrid will play a pivotal role for the company in the small SUV segment.
Under the bonnet, the Qashqai receives a single electric motor over the front axle producing 140kW of power and 330Nm of torque, which is paired with a 2.3kWh battery pack and a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine that works solely as an electricity generator.
The Qashqai e-Power Hybrid’s launch here in Australia has been delayed until later this year, with pricing and specifications yet to be confirmed by Nissan.
Alfa Romeo is hoping to capture a greater slice of the small SUV segment with the introduction of two hybrid variants of its sleek and stylish Tonale compact SUV.
The current Tonale hybrid lineup features a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine paired with a mild 48-volt hybrid system, while the upcoming Tonale plug-in hybrid is set to gain outputs of 205kW thanks to a pair of electric motors working alongside a 1.3-litre engine that helps to drop fuel use down to just 1.14L/100km when the 15.5kWh battery pack is charged.
Hyundai has announced its completely redesigned Kona SUV will be arriving in the middle of 2023, with a choice of petrol, hybrid and battery-electric options for buyers.
The Kona has picked up a brand new modern styling package inspired by the company’s electric creations, and underneath, will come packing your choice of a turbocharged four-cylinder, a hybrid option and a battery-electric flagship.
Inside, the Kona boasts a sleek new interior design with a greater emphasis on interior comfort and practicality than ever before, with high-tech digital displays and ambient lighting headlining the interior’s updates.
Suzuki has a very important small SUV up its sleeve for a 2023 release, with the Suzuki Vitara hybrid set to hit the market sometime this year with a brand-new hybrid engine option.
While Suzuki is sticking with its current design package, under the bonnet the Vitara hybrid will come packing the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol you’ll find already powering the Jimny 4x4, which is paired with an electric motor and the option of an all-wheel drive platform.
Volkswagen is set to storm the SUV segment with its own battery-electric crossover package known as the ID.4, which is set for an official release later this year.
When it arrives, the ID.4 will offer buyers a choice of two battery packs, with the entry-level model picking up a 52kWh lithium-ion battery that offers a claimed 345km of driving range from the electric motor producing 125kW of power and 310Nm of torque.
Stepping up to the longer-range ID.4 adds a 77kWh battery pack that increases range figures up to a claimed 522km and a more potent electric motor producing 150kW of power and 310Nm of torque.
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