Details of the new and updated compact SUVs launching in Australia in 2015.
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Honda HR-V – February

One of the pioneers of the sub-compact crossover segment, the Honda HR-V, will return to Australian showrooms in February – albeit as a very different car launching into a now hugely competitive market.

The Jazz-based baby SUV gets the 105kW/172Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine from the Civic, which (at least initially) will power the front wheels via an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). A manual is understood to arrive later in 2015.

All 2015 HR-V models come standard with alloy wheels, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with the Display Audio system (includes multi-angle reverse-view camera, phone-linked navigation, and more), and Honda’s versatile Magic Seats system.

An impressive list of advanced safety features are available in higher-grade variants, such as active city braking, blind spot monitoring, forward collision and lane departure warning systems, and auto high beam.

The Honda HR-V is likely to be priced from about $22,000 to $30,000 plus on-road costs.

Read more about the Honda HR-V.


Renault Captur – February

The pint-sized Renault Captur crossover will finally reach Australia in February, almost two years after it was originally unveiled.

The front-drive-only Captur will be offered in Australia with two turbocharged petrol engines familiar from the Clio city car on which it’s based: a 66kW/135Nm 0.9-litre three-cylinder and an 88kW/190Nm four-cylinder. Manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions will be available.

As we reported in May 2013, the Captur’s lack of rear curtain airbags will make it ineligible for a five-star safety rating from ANCAP.

As with the Clio, Renault will be hoping to pique the imaginations of consumers by offering a wide range of interior and exterior customisation options to allow owners to personalise their cars.

Competing with the likes of the Holden Trax and Peugeot 2008, the Renault Captur should be priced from the low-$20,000s plus on-road costs.

Read more about the Renault Captur.


Mazda CX-3 – Q2

A new small SUV will join the Japanese brand’s ranks in the second quarter of 2015 in the form of the Mazda CX-3.

Based on the Mazda 2 hatchback, the five-door compact SUV, with two four-cylinder Skyactiv engines available: a 2.0-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre turbo diesel. Both will be available with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, and front- or all-wheel drive will be available, too.

You can read our initial impressions of the CX-3 here, and we should find out pricing soon. Expect it to kick off at about $22,000.

Read more about the Mazda CX-3.


Peugeot 3008 update – Q2

A new-look version of the Peugeot 3008 hatchback-cum-crossover will arrive locally between April and June, sporting a new look and major revisions.

The updated model has a new front-end design incorporating revised headlights, grille and bumper, while under the bonnet are new engines – including updated 1.6-litre turbo petrol and 2.0-litre turbo diesel powertrains.

The 3008 will also score a new interior, including an updated infotainment screen with reverse-view camera display.

The current 3008 starts at $36,490 plus on-road costs and tops out at $43,490 plus costs. Expect word on pricing and specifications in the coming months.

Read more about the Peugeot 3008.


Nissan Juke update – Mid 2015

Updated outside, inside, and under the bonnet, the Nissan Juke will get a number of key improvements for 2015.

No less polarising than before, the exterior gets new boomerang-shaped upper headlights with LED daytime running lights, a slimmer grille, restyled bumpers and fresh tail-lights, while the cabin gains a 5.8-inch touchscreen and a redesigned boot that’s 40 per cent larger in front-wheel-drive variants (now 354 litres).

An 85kW/190Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine replaces the old naturally aspirated 1.6 in the entry models, while the larger 1.6 turbo has been tinkered for improved bottom-end performance.

Read more about the Nissan Juke.


Ssangyong Tivoli – July/August

The Ssangyong Tivoli will become the smallest model the South Korean car maker has ever sold in Australia when it arrives early in the second half of 2015.

Measuring just 4.2 metres long, the pint-sized Tivoli will slot beneath the compact Korando and should rival the likes of the Holden Trax and Peugeot 2008 with a low-$20,000s starting price.

While local specifications are still to be finalised, it will be available globally with a pair of 1.6-litre four-cylinder engines: a diesel with combined cycle fuel consumption of around 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres and a petrol that will use around 6.0L/100km.

Concept versions of the Tivoli were presented at October’s Paris motor show with features such as keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, reverse-view camera, and customisable interior lighting.

Read more about the Ssangyong Tivoli.


Suzuki Vitara – August

Suzuki’s most important new vehicle launch since the arrival of the current-generation Swift is set for August – the introduction of the new Vitara SUV.

To be priced aggressively from as little as $23,000, the Vitara will come standard with brand-first features such as Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink infotainment technologies.

The 4175mm-long Evoque lookalike is slightly smaller than key rival, the Holden Trax, but will offer a larger 375-litre boot.

An 88kW/156Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine borrowed from the S-Cross is likely to be the only powertrain option, available with manual and automatic transmissions and front- and four-wheel drivetrains.

Suzuki plans to target the Vitara at young professionals and others who might be considering a small hatchback, and will offer eye-catching options such as two-tone exterior paint and matching interior panels.

Read more about the Suzuki Vitara.


Hyundai ix35 - Q3

In the third quarter of the year expect to see a brand new ix35. Given the current version is Australia’s top-selling small SUV, this new model is another vital cog in the Hyundai machine.

This model will use a new platform and get a new design. Expect it to look like a shrunken version of the handsome Santa Fe. Like all new Hyundais, the ix35 will come with Australian-developed suspension. You might also see a 1.6 turbo engine and a dual-clutch automatic transmission.


Fiat 500X - Q4

Fiat’s local offerings have typically been small hatches or commercial vehicles, but now the Italian brand is venturing into SUVs at last with the 500X due here in late 2015.

The mini SUV/compact crossover expands the modern ‘Bambino’ family in more than one way – it’s noticeably bigger at 4.3 metres long.

Drivetrains are yet to be confirmed for Australia but include front- and all-wheel drive, petrol and diesel engines, and five- or six-speed manuals or nine-speed auto depending on model.

Pricing should start below $25K for a model that will compete with the likes of the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Mazda CX-3.

Read more about the Fiat 500X.


Jeep Renegade - Q4

After years in the planning pipeline wilderness, Jeep’s smallest off-roader yet hits the showroom trail in 2015.

We’ll drive the new Renegade overseas in February before it reaches our shores in the fourth quarter.

Just 4.2 metres long, the Renegade should bring class-leading off-road ability to the baby SUV segment – especially in Trailhawk guise that brings higher ground clearance and greater approach/departure angles.

Engines are expected to comprise 1.6-litre four-cylinder, 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder and a 2.4-litre four-cylinder. Pricing is likely to range from about the mid-$20K mark to mid-$30K.

Read more about the Jeep Renegade.


Citroen C4 Cactus – Q4/2016

The quirky Citroen C4 Cactus has been confirmed for Australia, but strong European demand could push its arrival out until late 2015 or possibly even early 2016.

The company says right-hand-drive production and homologation for the Australian market are also adding to the delays for the car, which was revealed in February 2014.

The C4 Cactus weighs 200kg less than the C4 hatchback upon which it’s based, and features odd-bod plastic protective cladding – AirBumps – on the doors and bumpers which is designed to help protect the car from minor scrapes and bumps.

Read more about the Citroen C4 Cactus.


Subaru XV update – Second half 2015

The Subaru XV is expected follow the lead of the Impreza, with a mild styling upgrade and revised equipment levels by the end of 2015.

The refreshed XV is expected to gain minor cosmetic adjustments and a new touchscreen media system across the range.

On top of that, buyers can expect to see Subaru’s EyeSight collision avoidance system offered for the first time in the XV.

Read more about the Subaru XV.


Haval H2 – 2015

Haval will attempt to throw a spanner in the works in the compact SUV segment when it launches the H2.

Measuring a little longer than the Holden Trax, the Haval H2 is powered by a turbocharged 110kW/210Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

Front- and all-wheel-drive variants are available overseas, though at this stage the only transmission option is a six-speed manual.

It’s available with electronic stability control, six airbags, rear sensors and a reverse-view camera, as well as dual-zone climate control, push-button start, leather upholstery, and satellite navigation.

Australian specifications will be announced closer to launch (timing is unknown at this stage), with prices likely to start in the low-$20,000s plus on-road costs.

Read more about the Haval H2.