What large SUV should you buy in 2024?

Last year, the large SUV segment in Australia was the fourth largest by sales volume.

Ask a person on the street for an example of a large SUV, and the Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol might be two names that pop up.

But in its monthly VFACTS sales report, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) lists those as ‘upper large SUVs’, a term you’re unlikely to hear in casual conversation.

The large SUV segment instead covers everything from crossovers like the Subaru Outback and Kia Sorento through to more rugged, body-on-frame off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler and Isuzu MU-X.

It also includes petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models.

The wider large SUV segment is split in two in VFACTS reporting: there are SUVs with a base price under $80,000, and those with a base price over that cap.

That means the definition covers everything from the circa-$43,000 LDV D90 all the way up to the $364,700 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

With all of those vehicles to choose from, what do the members of the CarExpert team recommend? Given the sheer diversity, most of the team has offered two recommendations: a traditional body-on-frame SUV, and a unibody crossover.

Paul Maric

Definitely the Lexus GX.

While the fad of hybridisation and electrification is there at the moment, you can’t beat the GX for performance punch, excellent off-road ability and never having to think about finding a charger while touring or towing.

It’s the ultimate large luxury SUV that won’t break the bank and comes with all the perks of owning a Lexus. Overtrail would be my pick!

MORE: Buy a Lexus GX

Josh Nevett

Ford Everest

The sales charts don’t lie.

The Ford Everest makes a lot of sense as a family-hauling, bush-bashing SUV, and in Platinum trim the interior is actually a decent place to spend some time. Even without the luxuries, the Everest is still a safe bet.

Skoda Kodiaq

For an urban runabout, give me a Skoda Kodiaq RS. Skoda’s ‘simply clever’ mantra is apparent right across the range, but especially in its SUVs, and the Kodiaq is no exception.

The Kodiaq RS has just the right amount of performance for everyday driving, loads of practicality in the cabin and all the room a family should really need.

MORE: Buy a Ford Everest
MORE: Buy a Skoda Kodiaq

Jack Quick

Subaru Outback

If I had to pick a large SUV I would actually buy in 2024, I know I’d definitely go for the Subaru Outback. I’ve nominated this car before in previous op-eds and I continue to really want to own one.

While the regular atmo 2.5-litre flat-four is an adequate engine that does reach its limits at highway speeds, I think I’d be happy to pay that little bit extra for the more powerful (but thirstier) 2.4-litre turbo flat-four engine in the Outback XT.

Although I understand many large SUV buyers are wanting the flexibility of seven seats, the Subaru Outback has one of the most spacious five-seat cabins out of any new car currently on the market. It genuinely feels like a couch on wheels.

GWM Tank 300

I’m yet to drive the larger seven-seat Tank 500 but in the interim the large body-on-frame SUV I’d buy in 2024 is the GWM Tank 300.

I know it’s a bit of a provocative answer when I could’ve chosen a more established large SUV like the Ford Everest or Toyota Prado, for example, but I was really surprised with how much I liked the Tank 300 when I first sampled the regular petrol version last year.

The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine really gets the car moving when asked. It’s also got all the bells and whistles to be a really capable off-road beast.

The premium-pushing interior presentation in the Tank 300 is another key point of selecting this vehicle. It’s crazy to me that you can get a brand new car that looks this luxurious inside for a little over $45k drive-away.

MORE: Buy a Subaru Outback
MORE: Buy a GWM Tank 300

James Wong

Audi Q7

I don’t normally lust for SUVs but the idea of one day picking up my kids in a Q7 is pretty sweet.

The understated class, effortless performance and opulent comfort that comes with the Audi Q7 on standard air suspension is very much in line with my tastes.

You get more than enough luxuries in the entry-level 45 TDI, though it’s nowhere near as affordable as it once was – back when I started at CarExpert you could have a Q7 45 TDI from just under $100,000 plus on-road costs, and now it’s blown out to $116,400.

Also keep in mind that while the Q7 is a six-figure family chariot, it shares its bones and a lot of tech with some very boutique metal like the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

Special mentions to the Volkswagen Touareg, Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq which would also be on my road-biased large SUV shopping list.

Ford Everest

If I needed something a bit more rugged that I’d be willing to tow with regularly or head off the beaten track, I think the Ford Everest would be my top pick.

While there’s a new LandCruiser Prado on the way – and I’m obsessed with the design – it’s still not priced for our market nor have I seen one in person. I’ll reserve my judgement for now then.

In the meantime, the existing Ford Everest, particularly in Platinum V6 form, puts a lot of other body-on-frame 4WD SUVs to shame in terms of technology and refinement. It blurs the lines between monocoque and ladder-frame SUVs very well.

With the no-cost all-terrain tyre option and Premium Towing Pack, you can have a decked-out Everest for about $94,000 in your driveway and should be able to handle anything and everything you and your family might throw at it. Otherwise, a Sport V6 with the same options is about $10,000 cheaper.

My second pick would probably be the Isuzu MU-X which is quite a bit more attainable even in top-spec LS-T trim, though there’s no option for a more powerful six-cylinder engine if that’s what you’re after.

MORE: Buy an Audi Q7
MORE: Buy a Ford Everest

Jordan Mulach

Subaru Outback

I’ve got to follow my colleague Jack on this one, though mainly because the Outback is the least SUV-like SUV. If we’re being honest, it’s a wagon with a bit more ground clearance, which isn’t exactly a bad thing.

In recent years I’ve had to shake my preconceived notions of the Outback being an uncool car, which had been reinforced by my mum owning four of them back to back (all with the 2.5-litre and an automatic transmission).

Now that there’s a proper, grunty turbocharged 2.4 on offer in the XT, the Outback becomes a very entertaining proposition which can easily complete the soccer run.

Lexus GX

Now I’m not in the market for a ladder-frame SUV, but if I had won lotto then I’d be hard pressed to not put the new Lexus GX in my driveway.

It looks mega, has plenty of kit and a twin-turbo V6 which won’t be available in its Prado twin. It also helps that the GX is cheaper than the LX, but looks significantly better (at least to my eye) and has more bang for your buck.

MORE: Buy a Subaru Outback
MORE: Buy a Lexus GX

William Stopford

Ford Everest

Of all the body-on-frame SUVs in this segment, the Everest would be my pick… though I’m very keen to get behind the wheel of a Lexus GX when it arrives here.

It’s not perfect. The interior is far too close to the Ranger which means that, while the infotainment and cameras are top-notch, it’s rather cheap and plasticky.

But the Everest rides exceptionally well for a body-on-frame SUV, and its turbo-diesel V6 is a delight and something rivals like the MU-X and Prado can’t match.

Mazda CX-90

I’ve spoken fondly before of Hyundai’s Palisade and Santa Fe before, particularly the latter in hybrid guise. And if the hypothetical budget extends higher, the BMW X5 is my pick of the large luxury SUVs.

I’m going to split the difference, though, and go with something that has a rear/all-wheel drive platform and inline six-cylinder engines like the BMW, but a price closer to the Hyundais.

Like the Everest, the CX-90 isn’t perfect. The ride is a bit firm, and the powertrain needs a little smoothing out, though Mazda has shown it’s listening to customers and critics with its recent CX-60 update.

The interior also isn’t quite as nice as the likes of an X5 or Genesis GV80, but it’s cheaper than either. Overall, its combination of poised dynamics, a spacious cabin and good fuel economy is compelling.

MORE: Buy a Ford Everest
MORE: Buy a Mazda CX-90

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