Cars are no longer the crown jewels of the automotive industry. Instead, SUVs are the new kings. They provide plenty of space, the ability to load all kinds of stuff in the back, and the promise of improved capabilities for crumbling roads and inclement weather.
Automakers are well-prepared for the increase in demand for SUVs. That means plenty of really cool SUV models and redesigned favorites are coming in the near future.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVR
Already, the voluptuous Velar has turned plenty of heads since it hit the market in March, thanks to a svelte styling and sumptuous cabin. It doesn’t hurt that the SUV also comes at a more affordable price than the regular Range Rover and is arguably better suited for urban duties.
Land Rover won’t confirm the existence of the upcoming SVR version of the Velar, but rumors from good sources indicate that’s exactly what’s in the pipeline for 2019. If you aren’t aware, the SVR badge indicates a performance-oriented Land Rover, similar to BMW’s M division, so this would be one hot Velar. Most are speculating the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 from sister brand Jaguar would be shoved under the hood of the SUV, blessing it with about 550 ponies. That would make for one fast SUV, continuing a trend in the industry today.
We’ll know by the end of the year if the screaming Velar SVR is really coming or not.
Alfa Romeo Castello
With the Stelvio’s success, the rumor is Alfa Romeo will go full steam ahead on the larger Castello. This full-size model should be bristling with luxuries and technologies, making it a legitimate threat for the Mercedes-Benz GLS and Cadillac Escalade.
Considering this would be a flagship model, Alfa Romeo is pouring considerable resources into the Castello. Among the rumored engines is a turbocharged six that should push a mountain of horsepower and torque. Also, expect the interior to be breathtakingly luxurious, something the Italians execute at a high level.
This SUV should debut next year and launch as a 2020 model.
Ford Mach 1
There’s already plenty of controversy swirling around using the hallowed Mach 1 nameplate on an SUV. Then the issue of Ford killing off pretty much every car in North America also has people riled. Still, many are looking forward to what sounds like a compelling, hard-hitting SUV.
Inspired by the Mustang, the Mach 1 will be an all-electric SUV. Some think it will look like a lifted Mustang with all-wheel drive added, while others think the roofline and other elements will be morphed. There’s even a faction of Mustang enthusiasts who believe the Mach 1 signals the death of the beloved pony car, replaced by a bloated crossover.
Whatever new age the Mach 1 ushers in or signals, it should be fast. Expect it for the 2020 model year, meaning a full reveal is coming next year.
With the recent arrest of Audi’s CEO, the reveal date for the all-electric E-Tron has been pushed back indefinitely. Supposedly, this SUV will still launch on time, joining a growing selection of utilitarian EVs for people who want to cut down on tailpipe emissions and still do big Costco runs.
The E-Tron shares a platform with the upcoming Porsche Taycan. That means it should handle with a sportier flair than the Model X, probably similar to the Jaguar I-PACE. Range should be excellent, and charging times much lower than most competitors, making this a compelling way to get around without gas.
Audi has kept an elaborate camo wrap over the E-Tron, so it’s difficult to know just what the exterior looks like. It recently showed off the interior, which looks luxurious, high-tech, and yet still inviting. Electronics abound, including the option to have the side mirrors replaced by cameras, for markets where that’s allowed legally. An available Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with 16 speakers and a 705-watt amplifier should make riding in this SUV a blast. Interior space looks good, including ample rear legroom, although the sloping roofline does encroach on rear headroom some.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Jeep’s been working on bringing this legendary nameplate back to its current lineup of vehicles for what seems like forever. Expectations are high, even though some are beginning to believe the SUV will never launch. That’s unlikely, but it’s looking like the 2019 launch might be pushed to 2020.
Expect plenty of luxury from the Grand Wagoneer. Since we haven’t seen the production model, we have no idea if it’ll rival Land Rover’s luxurious offerings, but don’t be surprised if it does. The Grand Wagoneer will be big, most likely with three rows of seats. But, Jeep will keep the design compact enough that this SUV won’t be getting hung up on rocks or locks, thanks to good approach, departure, and breakover angles. Faux wood paneling on the exterior is unlikely, but Jeep should offer them in an optional retro package, just for old time’s sake.
We know the Jeep Grand Wagoneer will ride on a Ram chassis. That means a body-on-frame setup, like a proper SUV, instead of the unibody design of the Grand Cherokee. Because the Ram 1500 and 2500 have a unique coil sprung rear suspension that can handle tons of weight and hard hits, yet still provides a smooth ride, the Grand Wagoneer could be the off-roader of your dreams.
Land Rover Defender
The Defender remained largely unchanged since it launched in 1948. That aging design meant we could no longer have it in the United States. While some loved the old-school feel of the legendary SUV, Land Rover has finally decided to update it for this century.
While we haven’t seen what the new Defender will look like, all signs point to a retro design. Land Rover has flashed concepts that preserve the boxy nature of the off-roader. That’s smart, because Jeep has kept some of the original styling for the Wrangler, giving it a unique appearance in a sea of look-alike SUVs.
Land Rover will use the same chassis as it uses for the Ranger Rover and new Discovery, which has proven to be lightweight and extremely durable. But, that means no solid axles in the front or rear, which is a completely different approach than the Wrangler. If you think that means the Defender won’t hang with Jeeps on trails, you should check out the capabilities of the new Discovery. In addition, Land Rover says some off-road-oriented equipment for the Defender will be exclusive to that model, so it should be even more rugged. There aren’t many true off-road-vehicles on the market today, so the new Land Rover Defender is definitely worth being excited about.
The Bronco is a legendary vehicle, with few other model names from the Blue Oval evoking such an emotional response among enthusiasts. If Ford manages to get the design of this SUV wrong, it will torpedo quite a few relationships. After ditching cars (except for the Mustang) Ford needs to mend fences. Some concept Broncos have been showcased in the past, each one featuring elements that hearken back to the original.
So far, we’ve only seen this SUV draped in a white cloth. It’s difficult to make out any details, but the profile looks appropriately boxy. Most likely a debut will happen just in time for Detroit in January, since the Bronco will debut as a 2020 model.
The new Bronco will share a chassis with the upcoming Ford Ranger. Sadly, that makes the likelihood of a burly V-8, even as an option, pretty slim. Instead, expect a turbocharged V-6 or turbo four-banger. It’s a brave new world. But, the Bronco should have a pretty serious four-wheel-drive system, plus skid plates galore, and an advanced off-road suspension. That’ll be necessary to take on the seemingly unbeatable Jeep Wrangler. Just remember this is the same company that created the Raptor.
Anticipation is running high for this upcoming all-electric SUV that will wear the three-pointed star. It not only marks a big step forward into the EV market, but also launches the EQ sub-brand, which will be only all-electric models. As the name suggests, the EQC will be similar in size to the GLC.
Mercedes-Benz has gone all-out to hide what this SUV will look like. Analyze all the spy photos and videos you want, because the vehicle wears swirly camo and three-dimensional panels to completely disguise itself. We do know the headlights and grille are unique to the model, even though plenty of other parts come from the GLC line.
In educated guesses, industry analysts expect the powertrain to push over 400 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque. That should make for dramatic acceleration, but some less-powerful versions may be in the mix for more budget-minded shoppers. A 70-kWh battery should help provide over 300 miles of range. A debut is coming soon, considering this should be a 2019 model.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
When the Evoque originally debuted, it was revolutionary in its design. Now, the SUV has become long in the tooth. Fortunately, it’s getting a big update for 2019, which will draw heavily off its bigger sibling, the Range Rover Velar. That should mean strikingly good looks.
Spy photos have revealed that the front fascia will be changed, although it’s difficult to tell just how much. That and the taillights seem to draw a parallel with the Velar. While the roofline looks to be bumped up ever so slightly, the rakish side profile should live on, meaning this model won’t blend in with its siblings or other SUVs on the road.
Expect the Evoque to have all the latest technologies as well. One of those will be a dual-screen infotainment setup, something that’s becoming a trend in the industry. We should see the debut of this SUV by the close of 2018.
A mainstay of the brand these days, the GLE is getting a big makeover for the 2019 model year. That’s a big deal, because this is the German’s big cash cow, so expect everything to be executed with precision. Plenty of fanfare will surround the reveal and release as well.
The base version of the GLE should have an inline six-cylinder hybrid powertrain as an option, just like its platform mate, the E-Class. A GLE 63 with a fire-breathing V-8 should also be in the mix, although a couple of years or so after this new generation of the SUV launches.
Thanks to recent interior sketches that were released and spy photos floating around, we know the dual-screen setup that debuted in the A-Class will be in the GLE. The screens look larger and should be standard equipment. Mercedes is promising tons of ambient light, and most interestingly there are grab handles on the center console.
Tesla Model Y
It’s a bit of a mystery why Elon Musk chose to lead with the Model 3, considering years ago market trends were turning to SUVs. Some have speculated that while the Model 3 has logged hundreds of thousands of orders, the Model Y would have netted well over a million.
Whatever the reason, the Model Y is coming next and excitement is high for this all-electric SUV. Like how the Model S is related to the Model X, the Model Y should borrow heavily from the Model 3. That should translate into pretty good handling dynamics for an SUV, excellent range, and a much more affordable price than the Model X. Most expect the Model Y won’t have the attention grabbing but somewhat problematic “Falcon Wing” doors. Also, expect the interior to be rather Spartan.
There’s no official word on when the Model Y might debut. Considering Tesla has its hands full with getting Model 3 production levels and quality control streamlined, it could be a couple of years.
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabrio
This one will be divisive, but believe it or not there’s a real demand for convertible SUVs. The T-Roc is VW’s new small SUV, sharing a platform with the beloved Golf. While the vehicle has hit the streets of Europe, the North American market isn’t too far behind. Apparently, Volkswagen will waste no time chopping the top off, releasing the Cabrio version late next year as a 2020 model.
There have been and are other convertible SUVs. While the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet was a sales dud, the Land Rover Range Rover Convertible does well. Volkswagen has struggled to understand what American consumers want, but this vehicle proves it might actually have zeroed in on it: we love ridiculous SUVs.