SUVs in New Zealand: What’s the story?
SUVs are the nation’s top choice of car. Last year they were the No.1 vehicles sold in the country. And although so far this year utes have shot to the top spot, as consumers rushed to beat the ute tax, if you look solely at passenger vehicle sales, most models are SUVs. And with the aforementioned ute tax obliterating ute sales in April, it’s likely SUVs will once again be on top soon enough.
SUVs have become the face of modern luxury family vehicles, combining comfort and top-spec features with the space and grunt required for weekend trips away or shopping trips to Mitre 10.
As a result, there’s currently a huge number of SUV models in the country, covering a range of sizes and budgets, all competing for our hard-earned dollars.
What type of SUVs are there?
The Motor Industry Association divides SUVs into four main categories:
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.
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 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.
Such is the popularity of SUVs that luxury and sports car manufacturers across the globe have gotten involved. Whether you want to drive a Masserati, 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.
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Electric SUVs and hybrids
Car manufacturers are aware that consumers won’t go electric if they have to sacrifice their range of choices. A family of seven-seater SUV lovers aren’t going to suddenly switch to Nissan Leafs. They need to be able to keep their favourite vehicles.
And because our favourite vehicles are SUVs, a large chunk of new EVs and hybrids hitting our shores are SUVs, even if the Tesla Model 3 is proving a wildly successful anomaly.
Many existing SUV brands now feature hybrid options, such as the popular Mitsubishi trio of the Outlander, Rav4 and Eclipse Cross. And there are also brand new full-electric models, such as the MG ZS EV, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric Series II, and Polestar 2. So if you are a fan of larger SUVs, you no longer need to compromise your green credentials.
→Related article: Top Selling Electric Cars in New Zealand
Top selling SUVs
Below we list the top selling SUVs for the month, as well as the year to date. The list has not been segmented and may contain compact, medium, large and luxury SUVs, as well as ICE, hybrid, and electric models.
|Top Selling SUVs, April 2022||Top Selling SUVs, Year to Date|
|1 Mitsubishi Outlander||1 Mitsubishi Outlander|
|2 Toyota Rav4||2 Toyota Rav4|
|3 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross||3 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross|
|4 Mazda CX-5||4 MG ZS|
|5 Hyundai Ioniq||5 Hyundai Kona|
The Mitsubishi Outlander remains our favourite SUV. Last year’s top selling passenger vehicle, it is a modern seven-seater SUV with plenty of comfort and features, all for a starting price below $35,000.
It’s not hard to see why it’s a popular choice. PHEV options are also available for, admittedly, a significantly higher price tag.
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About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.