It's hardly a secret at this point that SUVs are the driving force behind the Australian new vehicle market - even though the top two vehicles are actually utes.

2017_mazda_cx-5_range-review_05_akera_06

In 2017, these (often nominally) higher-riding options have in fact eclipsed sales of regular passenger vehicles - by which we mean sedans, hatches, wagons, people-movers and sports cars.

While passenger car sales have declined 9 per cent this year and have been heading downward since 2012, SUVs are up about 2 per cent this year with a market share of 39.3 per cent.

2017-hyundai-tucson-highlander-v-ford-escape-titanium-comparison-9

By comparison, passenger cars own 38.8 per cent share. Just five years ago, the figures read 51 per cent share for passenger cars versus 28 per cent for SUVs.

What we're trying to do with this story is show which brands have capitalised on this SUV growth.

As you can read in the table below, the top-ten SUV brands this year are: Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai, Holden, Kia, Honda and Ford.

2017-mitsubishi-pajero-sport-vs-holden-trailblazer-76

By comparison, the overall top-ten brands with all vehicle types included this year are: Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Holden, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, and Subaru.

The brands with the fastest SUV sales growth this year are Volkswagen (up 54.3 per cent), Kia (up 30.1 per cent), Mitsubishi (up 18 per cent), Mazda (up 15.9 per cent) and Hyundai (up 13.2 per cent).

The respective driving forces for each brand have been the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander/Pajero Sport, Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Santa Fe.

mercedes-amg-glc43-vs-porsche-macan-gts-review-1

On the flipside, the brands with counter-intuitive declining SUV sales this year include Nissan, Subaru, Honda, Ford, Land Rover, Jeep and Isuzu.

Another key measurement is the percentage of a brand's total sales that are SUVs this year. Given the market-share of SUVs is 39.3 per cent, that is the average.

Using this, above-average brands are Porsche (79 per cent of its cars sold are Macan and Cayenne), Nissan (heavily reliant on the Qashqai, Pathfinder and X-Trail with 68 per cent), Subaru (XV, Forester and Outback, 62 per cent), Lexus (NX, RX and LX, 60 per cent) and Mitsubishi (ASX, Outlander, Pajero Sport and Pajero, 57 per cent).

2017-subaru-forester-xt-v-volkswagen-tiguan-162tsi-comparison-76

The top-ten selling SUVs across the whole market this year so far are the: Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-3, Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi ASX, Mitsubishi Outlander, Kia Sportage and Subaru Forester. Seven-out-of-ten are medium SUVs, including the top-four.

The numbers

BRAND SUV SALES YTD 2017 CHANGE% OF SALES THAT ARE SUVs
Toyota20,468up 2.4 per cent32 per cent
Mazda16,842up 15.9 per cent43 per cent
Mitsubishi13,685up 18 per cent57 per cent
Nissan12,576down 5.1 per cent68 per cent
Subaru10,341down 4.5 per cent62 per cent
Hyundai9944up 13.2 per cent34 per cent
Holden6954up 6.6 per cent27 per cent
Kia5966up 30.1 per cent35 per cent
Honda5748down 10.8 per cent46 per cent
Ford4571down 22.1 per cent19 per cent
Land Rover4500down 10 per cent100 per cent
Volkswagen4464up 54.3 per cent25 per cent
BMW4114down 14.9 per cent51 per cent
Mercedes-Benz3822down 20.3 per cent28 per cent
Suzuki3489up 31.4 per cent57 per cent
Audi3281up 3.5 per cent49 per cent
Jeep2602down 46.4 per cent100 per cent
Isuzu Ute1956down 13.1 per cent32 per cent
Lexus1764down 5.7 per cent60 per cent
Porsche1425up 2.6 per cent79 per cent

Podcast

Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss April's sales figures below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.

 Any sales figures not mentioned here that you want to know? Ask away, in the comments.