Australia’s best medium SUVs of 2024

Tesla Model Y

Bruce Newton

Posted May 15, 2024

Medium SUV is Australia’s biggest-selling new vehicle segment, with an array of different models for car buyers to choose from. From value and family to electric and performance, here are the best medium SUVs on sale in 2024.

There are 22 different medium SUVs listed in the official VFACTS sales data starting from under $60,000, while there are more than 20 priced over that price point in the luxury medium SUV segment.

In Australia, there's almost a mid-sized SUV variant for every type of car buyer: petrol and diesel; hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric; front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive; five seats and seven seats and more.

The medium SUV segment is also evolving, with family-favourite models such as the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Mitsubishi Outlander now competing for sales against new budget-friendly offerings from Chinese brands BYD, GWM and MG.

There are also more electric medium SUVs on sale in Australia than ever before, with some eligible for EV rebates and incentives and a fringe benefits tax exemption for EVs financed under a novated lease.

Australia’s best medium SUVs of 2024

Best value medium SUV: Kia Sportage

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Haval H6

The Kia Sportage, closely related to the Hyundai Tucson, was our nominee for best family medium SUV in 2023 and it was very much in the argument to retain that honour in 2024.

But it’s been moved to the value medium SUV segment to really highlight the very tempting deal Kia is now offering in Australia.

Pricing for the cheapest front-wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol Kia Sportage S starts at $32,995 plus on-road costs. And while the Sportage S comes with a pretty basic equipment list including traditional key start, you still get the safety essentials and an extended seven year warranty.

You’re also buying interior and storage space with the Kia Sportage. This is a medium SUV that sits on the larger side of the segment average, and will comfortably fit four adults across two seat-rows and accommodate their luggage for a road trip.

And if you don’t want to put up with the pedestrian performance of the 2.0-litre Sportage, the model range offers plenty of choice, all the way up to the new petrol-electric hybrid, which is around $60,000 on the road.

The GWM Haval H6, still gets a mention for car buyers because it’s the best of the Chinese budget-friendly medium SUVs. The H6 comes with plenty of space for families, lots of features, a solid warranty and an affordable price starting at $33,900 drive-away.

But most of the showroom wow of the GWM Haval H6 thanks to it's attractive price dissipates when you hit the road. The H6 is a disappointing drive with underwhelming driving characteristics.

The cheapest front-wheel drive Kia Sportage S medium SUV starts at just over $30,000 plus on-road costs.
The Kia Sportage is a sizable mid-sized SUV that will comfortably fit four adults and luggage..

Best family medium SUV: Honda CR-V

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Nissan X-Trail

Emphasising just how cut-throat the competition is in this segment this nomination could have gone to the Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4 or another Honda, the ZR-V.

They are all excellent medium SUVs.

But the Honda CR-V gets the nod because it is such a jack of all trades and goes pretty close to mastering them all as well.

The Honda CR-V range is at its most appealing among the front-wheel drive models with competitive drive-away pricing, a zesty 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine and seven standard seats - a feature few rivals offer in the medium SUV segment.

Whether in town or on the open road, there’s a comfortable certainty to driving the Honda CR-V and just plain comfort for other passengers.

And not only does the Honda CR-V's powertrain provide better performance than the naturally-aspirated competition presented by the likes of the Kia Sportage and Nissan X-Trail, it’s also impressively miserly when it comes to fuel consumption.

Inside, the Honda CR-V is spacious for adults in rows one and two and offers enough room to fit young kids in row three. Fold the kids’ seats down in this SUV and there’s a generous luggage area.

The excellent Nissan X-Trail is the close runner-up to the CR-V and really it’s a coin toss between them. If the X-Trail had its thrifty e-Power hybrid engine available at lower pricing, longer service intervals and lower capped price servicing charges it would have retained its top-spot.

The Nissan X-Trail’s biggest asset against medium SUV rivals is a cabin which is spacious and flexible, and really set-up to haul plenty of passengers and their luggage.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a jack of all trades mid-sized SUV that is suited to the needs of Australian families.

Best luxury medium SUV: Hyundai Ioniq 5

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Genesis GV70

Some medium SUV buyers might not consider Hyundai’s ground-breaking Ioniq 5 electric SUV all that luxurious.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5's angular and boxy exterior looks utilitarian and just a bit odd in the eyes of some, rather than something premium.

But there’s a lot to like about the spacious and well-appointed Hyundai Ioniq 5, which benefits from being based on the brand's bespoke EV architecture.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5's driving behaviour is good, although skewed more toward comfort than sporting ability (bar the extraordinary Ioniq 5 N performance variant), while the quality of the single- and dual-motor electric powertrains in terms of range and recharging ability is top-notch.

Inside the Ioniq 5's cabin there’s an impressive sweep of digital screens and infotainment backed up by comfortable seating, space and quality trims and materials.

Finally, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 comes in a wide enough range of models to appeal to variety of budgets, starting with the entirely acceptable eponymous single motor rear-wheel drive at $65,000 plus on-road costs, climbing through dual motor all-wheel drives priced up to $84,000 and then topping out with the track-ready $110,000 N variant.

Hyundai Group's luxury brand Genesis gets a recommendation in the luxury medium SUV segment, in the form of its excellent GV70.

While the Genesis' German rivals skyrocket in price, you can still buy a GV70 for $70,500 plus on-road costs . And yet, the Genesis GV70 doesn’t feel like it’s been decontented to hit that price point.

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

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 comes in a wide enough range of models to appeal to variety of budgets.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has an impressive sweep of digital screens and infotainment.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is backed up by comfortable seating, space and quality trims and materials.

Best "look at me" stylish medium SUV: Honda ZR-V

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Cupra Formentor

"Look at me" usually implies a style-driven execution that is extroverted and outlandish. In an automotive sense, you’ve just driven into the centre of the room in a Lamborghini.

But when it comes to the Honda ZR-V, it’s more about putting your smarts and good sense together when choosing to buy this medium SUV.

Simply put, the ZR-V is proof that Honda is – after a period in the creative wilderness - recapturing its traditional ability to apply common-sense technology to a vehicle design and turn it into something desirable.

Especially in its flagship e:HEV hybrid form, the Honda ZR-V is a right-sized, efficient, refined medium SUV that also offers comfortable driving manners.

The Honda ZR-V is at the smaller end of the medium SUV segment, so if you’re looking to accommodate a large family it might be best to consider other vehicles in this guide. Otherwise, the ZR-V makes so much sense – just as the best Hondas always do.

From the more traditional definition of this category comes the Cupra Formentor. It’s a Spanish SUV with Volkswagen mechanicals, fun driving manners and unquestionable ‘look at me’ styling.

Honda ZR-V

The Honda ZR-V is an efficient and refined medium SUV that delivers comfortable driving.

Best performance medium SUV: Skoda Karoq Sportline

Also consider this mid-size SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan R

SUVs of any size aren’t really the first option to consider when it comes to performance driving. The reality of medium SUVs is that they are big, heavy, tall and just not suited to that sporting persona.

That is unless you take the SUV out of the SUV when you are adding performance and essentially turn it into a hot hatch with a skerrick of extra ground clearance and some roof rails to try and maintain the road presence.

Such is the story of the VW-owned Czech brand Skoda’s Karoq Sportline, which combines a zesty 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, all-wheel drive and sports suspension to deliver a fun driving package.

At more than $50,000 drive-away, the Karoq Sportline isn't cheap. If you’re after maximum rear seat space that’s not a priority here, and if you value a comfortable driving experience ride over cornering zest, the Karoq Sportline may not be the right medium SUV.

But smile factor? It’s big with the Skoda Karoq Sportline.

The same applies to another Volkswagen family product, the Tiguan R, which gets as close to fire-breathing as any mainstream model in the medium SUV segment. That’s thanks to the Volkswagen's 235kW turbo-petrol engine, all-wheel drive and sports chassis. Yet, the Tiguan R can still comfortably fit a family of four for a longer drive across the state's best road trips.

Skoda Koraq Sportline

The Skoda Karoq Sportline mid-size SUV delivers a fun driving experience.

Best electric medium SUV: Tesla Model Y

Also consider this mid-size SUV: BYD Atto 3

Even before its latest round of price cuts the Tesla Model Y was a strong contender in this mid-size SUV category. But with Tesla prices now at their lowest point ever, the argument for the Model Y as Australia's best electric medium SUV is undeniable.

What you’re buying with the Tesla Model Y – now starting at $60,990 for the cheapest Rear Wheel Drive model – is powertrain technology equal or better than any EV at comparable prices - and at considerably higher prices, too.

Tesla has battery and electric motor smarts many other brands just can’t match. This means you can drive further in the Model Y between recharges, reducing range anxiety.

It’s also reassuring that Tesla has a large nationwide charging network to ease EV driver ‘charger infrastructure anxiety’ for long road trips.

The Tesla Model Y is also a spacious vehicle with room for five adult passengers and their luggage, so it’s about as practical as a medium SUV and EV gets in Australia today. It’s easy to see why this Tesla sells so well here and overseas.

The downsides of the Tesla Model Y include cabin controls that some people simply cannot cope with. There is no instrument panel in the Model Y, only a large touchscreen that sits in the centre of the dashboard. Nor is there any Apple or Android connectivity, just Tesla’s own phone connectivity system - although it’s very good.

And despite some retuning last year, the Tesla Model Y is a bit of a rough rider compared to medium SUV competitors, which compromises passenger comfort.

The BYD Atto 3 is smaller, cheaper and not as sophisticated as the Tesla Model Y, but it is still an excellent electric medium SUV. With its spritely e-motor performance, tidy driving manners and compact size, this an entirely justifiable choice as a daily EV commuter that can be charged with solar for added convenience and savings.

There is some strange design choices with the BYD Atto 3, such as the rotating touchscreen, tiny instrument panel and interior design with its marine theme, but they are not deal breakers and may appeal to some medium SUV buyers.

More: Tesla Model Y and BYD Atto 3 compared

The Tesla Model Y is the best electric medium SUV for sale in Australia.
The BYD Atto 3 is an excellent entrance to electric medium SUVs in Australia.

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.