The Australian new-car market is showing signs of recovery. Pundits were forecasting another sharp decline, in the region of 20 per cent, as per previous months affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
To their surprise, October was a stellar month – Australians were buying new cars at almost the same rate as this time last year, pre-pandemic.
Something we all predicted accurately was the growth of SUVs, however. They soared to reach 50.8 per cent of all new vehicle sales in October, which saw the category increase by 6.7 per cent.
Their popularity doesn't mean paying retail, however.
We've picked apart the numbers, and put together a list of worthy SUV candidates, that are currently underperforming against expectations.
So where does good buying currently lie?
Here are five that'll likely be susceptible to strong negotiations.
Small SUV – Honda HR-V
Small SUVs and space are not mutually exclusive.
If second-row habitability and cargo space are of the utmost importance to you, then look no further than the Honda HR-V.
It has the biggest boot in its class, with 437L of storage. On top of just pure space, a deeply-proportioned cargo area makes it ideal for stacking a big shop, or for homing Fido, on a run to the vet.
As for animals in the second row, your kids will also benefit from Honda HR-V ownership. Knee and foot room in the back are excellent, and a large glasshouse floods the second-row with light, and vision.
Honda's HR-V is currently on a downward sales trajectory. Looking at the latest sale data, year-to-date performance is down 31.9 per cent in a market that has fallen by 18.8 per cent year-to-date.
Comparing October's result in isolation against the same time last year, Honda HR-V sales plummeted by 44.9 per cent.
Availability is patchy, but there are over 120 examples listed as both new, and demonstrator, across the country. This is just a small glimpse of what's available.
If the Honda HR-V sounds appealing, check out our reviews below.
Small SUV – Nissan Qashqai
Buying an established product has its benefits. Some even seek last of a generation, for good reason.
A vehicle reaching the end of its life has years of experience under its belt. It's been the beneficiary of many tweaks, facelifts and product updates along the way – all of which implemented to make it better, and more reliable.
Of course, things such as safety recalls may appear at a later date. However, it's safe to assume that the longer a car lives on, the more resolved it becomes.
Nissan's Qashqai arrived in Australia six years ago. Since then, it's had two noteworthy updates – one heralding a styling update in 2017, and one more recently in 2020.
The latest iteration sees technology level-up to match segment expectations. Its entry model benefits from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as autonomous emergency braking.
In the top-spec Ti model, you now receive luxurious Nappa leather, and a panoramic sunroof.
So where's the bargaining power?
Monthly and yearly sales performance sees the Qashqai range down by about 40 per cent.
In October 2020, Nissan reportedly sold 512 examples. In October 2019, that figure was 891.
The whole range is currently on sale, with drive-away prices, as well as 2.9 per cent finance offers, both vying for your attention.
If you're not wanting finance, go in, and push hard. You may find yourself the walking out the victor.
Premium small SUV – Audi Q2
Don't expect to be bargain hunting in just the mainstream sector. Those shopping with a higher budget should also expect a discount, too.
It all depends on what you're looking for, though.
Audi's new Q3 has gone and stole the show. Year to date, it's the best selling vehicle in the SUV Small >$40K space. October saw its dominance continue, where it topped the class, yet again.
Don't think of a Q2/Q3 comparison as hot cakes versus stale bread, though.
The Audi Q2 is still a style leader. Its dimensions are best suited to SINK / DINK types (Single Income No Kids / Double Income No Kids), but passionate fashionistas, complete with offspring, could still make it work.
Audi's wider SUV range is also on special at the moment. The brand is offering free on-roads costs, five year/75,000km worth of free servicing, and a longer five year warranty, to boot.
As everyone waltzes-in starry-eyed over the Q3 range, try take a different approach.
If an Audi Q2 suits you equally as well, throw an offer at the dealer. Negotiate some accessories, or extras.
I reckon it'll come good.
Premium medium SUV – Land Rover Discovery Sport
Despite this segment being down overall, it's beginning to pick itself back up.
When comparing October's figure alone, this pricey, European-dominated segment is actually up 5 per cent versus last year.
It currently sits 45.9 per cent down in total for 2020, and a huge 59.4 per cent down in October alone. This latter figure is of concern, as the segment was actually up, for the month of October.
The product is not the reason here. We enjoyed our Land Rover Discovery Sport long-term loan, and were all pleasantly surprised by its attributes, both on-and-off road.
It also carries the party trick of being a seven-seater – a rare ability for the class. Couple that in with a decent second-row, and stacks of kerb appeal, makes it a viable option for those wanting to step into something premium.
The current offer on the Discovery Sport range includes a 2.99 per cent finance offer, and five-year warranty.
Find a new car in stock, or better yet, a demo that's aligned to your tastes. Then, go forth with an offer, under sticker.
MORE: Long-term Discovery Sport report one: Introduction
MORE: Long-term Discovery Sport report two: Is family life better with an SUV?
MORE: Long-term Discovery Sport report three: Going off-road
MORE: Long-term Discovery Sport Report four: farewell
Large SUV - Hyundai Santa Fe
There's well over 450 new, and demonstrator examples of Hyundai's Santa Fe out there, ready to be homed.
Year to date, Hyundai reports that its large SUV is down 24.4 per cent. It also reports that October 2020 versus October 2019 is down 31.6 per cent.
Why may that be? First, is that the Santa Fe range is about entertaining run-out. Second, is that the launch of the new Kia Sorento has likely interfered here. Those who were initially considering a Santa Fe have had their decision made a lot harder for them – something which is showing in the sales results.
We're talking about a product that's scored in the mid-eights here at CarAdvice, won comparisons along the way, that's underperforming. A family of five should adore a cut-price Santa Fe.
Three models are currently on sale: Two entry-level Santa Fe Active models in either petrol or diesel, and a mid-tier Santa Active X exclusively in petrol.
The two entry models currently benefit from both a drive-away price, and finance offer, where as the mid-tier gets either a cash bonus, or finance deal - not both.
So they say.
I have a feeling that if you sneak-in on a demo, and ask for the cash bonus on-top of the finance offer, you'll likely get away with it.
Why not go one better?
Be brave, and try and seek that same cash discount on a top-spec Highlander model.
It's Christmas soon, after all. Treat yourself.
Bought a new car? Tell 'em the price, son!
Our readers are always interested in hearing about your deal.
Let us know what you bought, and what you managed to negotiate, in the comments below.