Australia’s best medium SUVs of 2023


Bruce Newton

Posted June 12, 2023

Medium SUVs are the most popular type of new vehicle sold in Australia today, and have replaced the traditional large sedan as the family car of choice. Here are the best mid-size SUVs on sale today.

As a result, car brands offer a myriad of mid-size SUV models and model grades to appeal to different car-buying motivations.

From $30,000 to $150,000. Five seats or seven seats. Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric. Family flexible or sporting focused. The medium SUV segment has something for every type of car buyer.

So, let’s check out which are the best medium SUVs to test drive and add to your consideration list. 

Australia’s best medium SUVs of 2023

Best value medium SUV: Haval H6

Also consider this mid-size SUV: MG HS

Let’s get this straight, the Haval H6 is not the best medium SUV in terms of drive experience and quality.

But it’s certainly acceptable, and when it comes to value for money, this Chinese SUV has got the medium SUV segment covered.

Pricing starts as low as $33,990 driveaway, and that’s backed up by a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five years/100,000km roadside assist, and an affordable capped price service program.

Comfort and safety equipment levels are both competitive, it's spacious and modern inside, and the Haval H6 offers a comprehensive range of petrol turbo and hybrid drivetrains.

Where it loses ground is in the tuning of its mechanical and technical side. The Haval H6’s ride could be better, and so could the calibration of its driver aids and technology such as lane keeping assist.

The most obvious alternative is another Chinese mid-size SUV vehicle, the MG HS. Much about the Haval and MG is similar, but the HS isn’t as fresh as the H6, and doesn’t come with the same driving experience.



THe MG HS is another option for a good value mid-size SUV. Image: Supplied.

Best mainstream family medium SUV: Nissan X-Trail

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Kia Sportage

A new offering in Australia, the fourth-generation Nissan X-Trail takes an obvious step forward in terms of quality, all-round driving competence and technology compared to its aged predecessor.

Pricing starts at $36,750 plus on-road costs for the entry-level X-Trail five-seat ST front-wheel drive with a 2.5-litre petrol engine.

The line-up stretches all the way to the range extender petrol-hybrid Ti-L e-Power seven-seater, at more than $60,000 by the time you get it on the road.

The sweet spot in the range is somewhere in between, perhaps the ST-L.

The Nissan X-Trail’s biggest asset is the cabin, which is spacious and flexible. It’s perfect for a growing family, and really set-up to haul plenty of passengers and their luggage.

Negatives include short servicing intervals and high capped price servicing costs compared to other mid-size SUV rivals.

In a crowded field of medium SUVs, the Kia Sportage is probably the next best bet. It’s spacious, well-resolved to drive and comes in a wide range of model grades (including a powerful turbo-diesel), all of which include a long seven-year warranty.


Nissan X-Trail

The mid-size Nissan X-Trail SUV contains plenty of room for the family. Image: Supplied.

Best luxury medium SUV: Genesis GV70

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Porsche Macan

Amongst a field of German thoroughbreds, Korea’s Genesis GV70 is definitely a left-field choice.

But the luxury division of the giant Hyundai group is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to gain a foothold against rival brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Lexus.

The Genesis GV70’s exterior and interior styling is distinctive, well-equipped with comfort and safety gear, and there is plenty of choice when it comes to drivetrain options, including a battery electric flagship.

Maybe the biggest selling point is the obvious build quality of the Genesis GV70 and the interior materials that bely a starting price before on-road costs below $70,000.

The biggest negative is undoubtedly Genesis’ lack of street badge cred compared to known rivals. If you’re an early adopter, no drama, if you are a bit more risk averse, then maybe look elsewhere.

If you do go German, then here’s an alternative luxury mid-size SUV choice, the Porsche Macan.

Yes, the Porsche Macan is ageing, yes, it was developed using mechanical parts shared with a now superseded generation of the Audi Q5. But it’s also still the best sporting drive in the medium SUV segment, and the only Porsche you can buy for under $100,000 before on-road costs.


Genesis GV-5

The Genesis GV-5 is one of the most stylish mid-size SUVs you can buy. Image: Supplied.

Best eye-catching medium SUV: Tesla Model Y

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Cupra Formentor

The Tesla Model Y could have topped any number of these mid-size SUV categories, but we’ve chosen it as a style-driven choice because for many Australian new car buyers, electric vehicles remain an alternative.

And there’s no doubt that even as it sells up a storm, the Tesla Model Y is still a head swiveller for most of us shopping a mid-size SUV.

While priced like a luxury car, the Tesla Model Y doesn’t necessarily give you that impression when you sit in it. Be it the entry-level rear-wheel drive, the mid-level Long Range or the flagship AWD Performance, the interior can seem bare bones.

Instead, with its giant touchscreen through which most functions are controlled and complete lack of an instrument panel, the Tesla Model Y is about future tech and unique EV features.

But where the Tesla Model Y truly shines even brighter is in its on-road performance. Tesla has battery and electric motor smarts that many other car brands just can’t match. It means you can drive your medium SUV further between recharges, reducing range anxiety.

For something completely different, try the Cupra Formentor. It’s a Spanish medium SUV with Volkswagen mechanicals, fun driving manners, and unquestionable ‘look at me’ styling.


Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y brings leading technology to mid-size SUVs. Image: Supplied.

Best performance medium SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan R

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The medium SUV segment isn’t awash in hot models, but the Volkswagen Tiguan R certainly makes up for the lack of quantity with high quality.

It’s based on the standard Volkswagen Tiguan five-seat SUV that is already the best drive in the segment when compared to rivals like the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5Toyota RAV4  and so on.

To give the Tiguan R performance credentials, Volkswagen adds a powerful turbo-petrol engine, a dual clutch transmission, on-demand all-wheel drive, and a driver-adjustable sports suspension.

It all adds up to a family mid-size SUV that can be hustled along like a sportscar. Not a great sportscar, but certainly enjoyable.

There is an Australian-specific Volkswagen Tiguan model called the Tiguan R Grid Edition that strips some equipment. It’s $7,000 cheaper than the standard Volkswagen Tiguan R, and worth a look if you think you can do without leather seat trim and some driver assistance technology (among other things).

For something completely different, you could consider the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. An also-ran in sales terms, the Italian stallion has lovely road manners that make it an enjoyable sporting drive.


Volkswagen Tiguan R

The Volkswagen Tiguan R is a high-quality performance mid-size SUV. Image: Supplied.

Best electric medium SUV: BYD Atto 3

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Chinese BYD Atto 3 is proof that if you build a battery electric vehicle with a decent driving range at the lower end of the price scale, mid-size SUV buyers and family car shoppers will consider buying it.

In the congested and hotly contested medium SUV segment, the BYD Atto 3 is already a top 10 seller in Australia.

There are two BYD Atto 3 model grades on offer; the $48,011 Standard and the $51,011 Extended. The BYD Atto 3 may even qualify for electric vehicle subsidies and rebates in different states across Australia, further reducing that price.

Of these two, the BYD Atto 3 Extended makes that bit more sense, because it has a real-world driving range between recharges that’s close to 400km.

This driving range, combined with its spritely e-motor performance, tidy driving manners and compact size, makes the BYD Atto 3 an excellent choice as a daily commuter for families and households looking to downsize from a large SUV.

There are some eccentric touches with the BYD Atto 3, like the rotating touchscreen, tiny instrument panel and interior design with its marine theme, but they are not deal breakers.

RACV Members can put the BYD Atto 3 to test on a road trip, or even shopping trips and school drop offs through SIXT – complete with complimentary charging via the national Chargefox network throughout the car hire period.

Another electric vehicle also classified as a medium SUV is the Hyundai Ioniq 5.  While it is a bigger and better vehicle than the BYD Atto 3, it is also substantially more expensive and therefore not accessible to as many mid-size family SUV car buyers.


Note: All prices exclude on-road costs.



The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions, please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.