Top Selling SUVs in New Zealand

SUVs make up a massive chunk of New Zealand’s passenger vehicle fleet. So which are the best SUVs, and which do Kiwis love the most? Canstar looks at the top selling SUVs in New Zealand.

SUVs are the vehicles of choice for Kiwi drivers. The only non-SUV to perennially top the car best-seller list is the Suzuki Swift, and even the old faithful Corolla is being outsold by the Corolla Cross.

So far this year, sales of the Ford Everest have been strong and, with the passing of the Clean Car Discount, EVs such as the Tesla Model Y and BYD ATTO 3 have disappeared from the Top 10 altogether.

In a rush to beat the Clean Car Discount shut-off date, last December, the BYD ATTO 3 achieved 429 sales and the Tesla Model Y 358 sales. But so far this year the Model Y has managed only 292 sales, while the ATTO 3 has bottomed out with a far from electrifying 48!

Overall, the Toyota RAV 4 remains the country’s No.1 choice of SUV, outselling its nearest competitor, the Mitsubishi Outlander, by over two to one:

Top Selling SUVs
Top Selling SUVs
April 2024
Top Selling SUVs
Year to Date 2024
1 Toyota RAV 4 (8757) 1 Toyota RAV 4 (1012) 1 Toyota RAV 4 (2886)
2 Mitsubishi Outlander (4058) 2 Mitsubishi Outlander (245) 2 Mitsubishi Outlander (1209)
3 Tesla Model Y (3936) 3 Kia Seltos (207) 3 Mitsubishi ASX (1101)
4 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (3638) 4 Ford Everest (182) 4 Kia Seltos (966)
5 BYD ATTO 3 (3171) 5 Mitsubishi ASX (180) 5 Ford Everest (815)

→Related article: Best Hybrid Cars in New Zealand

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What type of SUVs are there?

The Motor Industry Association divides SUVs into four main categories:

  • Compact
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Luxury
SUVs: Blue Mitsubishi-ASX
The Mitsubishi ASX, compact SUV

Compact SUV

If you want an SUV, but don’t need an SUV, a compact is a great choice. Compact SUVs are perfect for small families and zipping around the city.

They offer a raised driving position and are spacious, despite their compact form. This makes parking and navigating narrow suburban streets a breeze, compared to larger models.

SUVs: hybrid cars - mitsubishi outlander
The Mitsubishi Outlander: New Zealand’s top selling SUV for 2022

Medium SUV

A medium SUV is your standard SUV. They offer plenty of room for a family trip away, plus plenty of comfort, even on long trips or rough terrain. Some even have extra seating in the boot.

They are still small enough to drive around the city without obnoxiously blocking suburban streets, but their added size and grunt give you a bit more freedom than a compact model. No compromising on luggage or legroom, for example.

All-wheel drive models allow you to keep on driving long after the road signs have stopped.

Large SUV

Large SUVs usually have seven seats, although sometimes the sixth and seventh come in the form of smaller fold-up seats in the boot. That makes these perfect for large families, or those who regularly do carpool runs. Because of their size, they can be a little more cumbersome to drive, especially in busy mall parking lots. But most modern SUVs have cameras and sensors and driving assist features that should help keep you from knocking off side mirrors and reversing into parked cars.

The Porsche Cayenne SUVs
The Porsche Cayenne SUV. SUVs now make up the majority of the German company’s sales.

Luxury SUV

Such is the popularity of SUVs that luxury and sports car manufacturers across the globe have gotten involved. Whether you want to drive a Maserati, Porsche or a Lamborghini, there are now SUV options available to you.

While these aren’t typically as expensive as their sportier cousins, they do still carry a high price tag. And they contain many of the luxuries of their coupe counterparts. Though don’t expect these to fly off the mark quite as quickly.

Electric SUVs and hybrids

A large chunk of new EVs and hybrids hitting our shores are SUVs. Indeed, two of the top five best selling SUV models last year were EVs: the Tesla Model Y and the BYD Atto 3.

And many existing SUV brands now feature hybrid options, such as the popular Mitsubishi duo of the Outlander and Eclipse Cross. So if you’re a fan of SUVs, you no longer need to compromise your green credentials.

Although given the scrapping of the Clean Car Discount, and the introduction of the Road User Charge for PHEV and EV drivers, it will be interesting to see if electric and hybrid sales experience continued growth throughout 2024.

→Related article: Top Selling Electric Cars in New Zealand

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About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce has three decades’ experience as a journalist and has worked for major media companies in the UK and Australasia, including ACP, Bauer Media Group, Fairfax, Pacific Magazines, News Corp and TVNZ. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.

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