The march of the Sports Utility Vehicle is unstoppable. For the past decade, the SUV has been the fastest growing segment of any vehicles on sale, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
The year 2019 is set to be a big one for SUVs, with plenty of new metal set to hit showrooms. There are new entries across all segments from all sort of manufacturers. Buyers are definitely spoiled for choice, but which machines are worth waiting for in 2019?
This year, we’ve seen a big push toward turbocharging across all sectors, but with massive changes in direction from plenty of car companies, electrification appears to be the next big thing.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that next year we’ll all be running around in fully electric vehicles (EVs). Instead, a reliance on hybrid tech will surge, with mild-hybrid vehicles appearing in increasing numbers. And the combination of turbocharging and electrification helps fuel use stay low – important in these environmentally conscious times.
This is because diesel vehicles have become a bit of a poisoned chalice, with the Dieselgate scandal putting a lot of people off the oily fuel, despite it being an excellent way to reduce your running costs.
Getting the most out of each tank of gasoline is the real goal, which is why more and more hybrids will hit the market. And of course, full electric versions will become more common, with vehicles like the Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC coming on stream.
But there appear to be quite a few gems that will be launched in 2019. And we’ve selected a broad range of styles from compact crossovers, to hardcore off-road machines, through to sports-focussed vehicles so that you know what to look out for next year.
So, let’s get into it.
Top ten SUVs coming in 2019
Let’s be honest here – this is the vehicle everyone is waiting to see. And with Range Rover, Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls-Royce all clambering for the title of the most luxurious SUV on sale, Ferrari has also entered the fray, however it has an entirely different focus.
The Ferrari Utility Vehicle, or FUV as the company likes to call it, will be far more than just a jacked up sports car. Using a similar all-wheel-drive system to the GTC4Lusso, the FUV should come with a turbocharged V8 and mild-hybrid system. With adaptive suspension, a super-quick gearbox and punchy engine, it should be one of the quickest crossovers to ever hit the road.
And we do say crossover because it’s definitely not going to be an all-out off-roading machine. We can only hope, though. Sure, it should have raised ground clearance, AWD and plenty of power, but Ferrari owners are going to want to take it onto a racetrack when they feel like it.
Getting that balance between a lifestyle vehicle and one that matches with the Ferrari badge is going to be the real trick. Will it be turbocharged? Almost certainly.
Ferrari doesn’t do anything by halves, so it will be one to watch in 2019.
While news of a Mercedes-Maybach SUV didn’t shock the industry, but what did was the actual vehicle itself.
While only a concept at this stage, it uses the same platform as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, but effectively puts a sedan body over the top of the GLS platform. So, it’s not exactly the prettiest thing, but it is aimed at the Chinese market primarily, which is why it was revealed as an EV, and it was revealed in China.
Chinese buyers are looking for luxurious SUVs en masse, and with the Chinese government offering incentives for EVs, Mercedes-Maybach designed this 750hp electric crossover.
The final styling hasn’t been locked in as yet, but reports from the Beijing Motor Show say that potential buyers quite liked its quirky looks. But it was the interior that was the real standout and if that goes through to production we wouldn’t be at all surprised. Will it retain its exterior styling? Who knows.
The Lexus UX will be the company’s first subcompact SUV, slotting in below the Lexus NX.
Around the same size as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, this Japanese machine aims to claw back some sales from its German rivals – something Lexus has missed out on so far – but with the company’s typically solid build and reputation for reliability, it has a good chance of making an impact.
Two models will be available at launch, the UX 200 and the UX 250h, the latter of which will use the same hybrid drivetrain as the 2019 Toyota RAV4.
Lexus says the hybrid setup offers 176hp (131kW) and is said to be a focus for Lexus, with the engine and gearbox using the satnav data to pick the most optimal blend of the engine and electric power to give you the best fuel economy on any given route. We’ve seen similar technology used to choose the best gears for situations where more power is needed, however, this is one of the first applications of use to increase economy.
Technically, the UX will be available in the US later this year, but most markets will get the new compact SUV next year, which is why we’ve listed it as one to look out for in 2019.
Land Rover Defender
While most people mourned the loss of the Land Rover Defender, the seminal offroad SUV made a brief comeback in the form of the Defender Works V8, creating one of the most desirable machines the company has ever created.
But that was only a limited run. The new Defender will be here toward the end of next year as a 2020 model, and what we know is that it will definitely be electrified, and will most likely use something similar to the Range Rover Hybrid. This means a four-cylinder Ingenium engine coupled with an electric motor creating a total output of 398bhp and 472lb ft of torque.
But what other drivetrain options will we see? Clearly, the Ingenium petrol will make an appearance and perhaps we could see a diesel version, but the markets in which that will be launched will be limited. Diesel was the staple fuel for the Defender for many years, so purists would be disappointed to see it disappear, but that’s the way of the world.
Of course, its bush bashing ability will be second to none, with short overhangs and wheelbase, allowing it to climb up and over obstacles with ease. We’ve even seen some recent spy shots that show that the new Defender has a lot of ground clearance, but what’s interesting is that it looks like a Land Rover, not an old body on a new platform. It’s also a lot bigger than we first anticipated.
Clearly, it has a lot to live up to, and Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s style chief is going to have a big job ahead keeping purists happy but attracting new buyers.
Finally, BMW has created a large, seven-seat SUV, but one that’s not just an X5 with a couple of extra seats thrown in. Rather, the X7 is a ground-up build, based on the 7 Series platform, and is angled toward buyers opting for more luxury.
BMW wants to get a slice of the superluxury market, creating a vehicle that takes on the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover SV Coupe. With a range of turbocharged engines (and plug-in hybrid options), the new X7 will have adaptive suspension, plenty of connective technology, room for seven and an opulent interior.
Will it be able to head offroad? We’d say it will have some ability, given it uses similar technology to the new X5 which is said to be epic offroad.
If it looks as sharp as the X7 concept vehicle, then we’re in for a real treat. We’re eagerly awaiting some time behind the wheel.
2019 Audi SQ2
We had confirmation earlier this year that the SQ2 would be on its way, and it looks like 2019 is the year it finally appears.
Under the bonnet is likely to be the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder as found in the S3 hatch and sedan, coupled to Audi’s S-tronic seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. That means around 296hp and 295 lb-ft on tap – not bad for a small crossover. Couple that with trick suspension, a reprogrammed stability control setup and larger brakes and the SQ2 should be up to the challenge.
The quattro all-wheel-drive system may be reconfigured to make the most of the SUV shape as it’s based on the S3, remember, but regardless of how it’s done, there’s no doubting the SQ2 will be one quick machine. Let’s hope there’s also a stove-hot RS Q2 in the pipeline.
Imagine that – a turbocharged, crackling, snarling five-cylinder 400hp engine under the bonnet of a subcompact crossover. How much fun would that be?
Check out more details about the new Audi SQ2 in this article.
Range Rover Velar SVR
With sister company Jaguar already having unveiled a worked over SUV in the form of the F-Pace SVR, it’s time for Land Rover to launch its own version of a hotted up SUV.
In case you weren’t aware, the F-Pace and the Velar use the same platform, gearbox and engines, so it makes sense that we see an SVR version of the Velar.
To be called the Range Rover Velar SVR, it will use the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8, and with height-adjustable suspension, it won’t just be quick but will be off-road capable, too.
Make sure you check out that link above, with a video that demonstrates the sound of the new Velar SVR – oh boy, it’s good. And with a sharper body kit, it should prove to be one of the best looking machines on sale.
But how many buyers will use the Velar’s capability? About as many as will use the Range Rover Sport SVR’s ability.
Again, the Cullinan is technically going to be launched this year, and we’ve already had a sneak peek at the new superluxury offroader, but as most buyers will take delivery in 2019, we’ve listed it here in this article.
Just about every detail has been thought of, from the water-resistant (and crash-tested) umbrellas through to the door sills which are covered so that when the door is closed no dirt or mud gets onto the sills, preventing pants or dresses from getting dirty.
The height adjustable suspension allows you to get it ready for heading off road, there are three settings to choose (including an automatic slip detection setting) and the air springs will actually push into the ground to eke out more grip.
Of course, it’s the quality you pay for – no other SUV is built as well, which is going to make Bentley and Range Rover a bit annoyed.
BMW X2 M35i
This subcompact SUV is going to go up against the Audi SQ2 in a big way. In fact, many of the specs are extremely similar.
Under the bonnet is BMW’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder but cranked to 306hp. Torque is pumped out at 450Nm, so it won’t be slow. An all-wheel drive system backed up by a ZF eight-speed auto will help get the power to the ground and along with launch control will motivate the X2 M35i to 62mph in just 4.9 seconds.
You can option two-stage adaptive dampers which along with the lowered and stiffer suspension means it will also handle. Slowing things down are 18-inch front brakes and 17-inch at the rear, which are covered by 19-inch wheels as standard, or 20-inch rims as an option.
Pricing? Well, that should be line bore with the SQ2.
Yes, this is the one we’re all eagerly awaiting. A full size SUV from a Korean manufacturer. We’ve not yet seen something this big before from Kia, and with the Telluride shaping up to be both good looking and practical, it should be an epic vehicle.
Clearly, Kia wants a slice of the luxury market and as long as the interior materials are up to scratch, then we should be in for a cracking vehicle.
Seven seats will be standard, there will be Kia’s excellent turbocharged V6 and either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Not a lot more is known about the Telluride, but rest assured we’ll keep you up to date with any developments.