Medium SUVs are the second best selling vehicle type in Australia after AWD utes. Last year, more than 180,000 of them were sold.

So what’s the attraction? Well, the extra ride height provides a commanding view of the road. They also offer more space than a typical family saloon and they have a feeling of safety that you simply don’t get in other cars.

The 2022 Nissan X-Trail Brings Great Value For Money In The Mid-Size SUV Category

But with increased popularity comes increased competition. The mid-size SUV market is now one of the most hotly contested in Australia. Almost every manufacturer is active in the market and new models are launched every year.
That can make it difficult to choose the model that makes the most sense for you. So here we are going to look at the 7 best medium SUVs available in Australia in 2022. These are the SUVs we think offer the best value, dynamics and practicality for families.

Looking For Something Smaller? See Australia's 11 Best Small SUVs

1. Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is Australia's best-selling SUV. Aussies love this car, so much so that, if you order one today, you’ll have to wait 12 months before taking delivery! So what makes it so popular?

The RAV4 is a great all-rounder. It’s a handsome-looking car on the outside and there are none of the flourishes you get with the Hyundai Tucson or Mitsubishi Outlander. But it does have a classy understated appearance which is popular with family buyers.

While the current model was only launched in 2019, this year sees a facelifted model released. The update is limited to small cosmetic changes inside and out, but they do help to keep the RAV4 competitive in an increasingly crowded market.


Excellent fuel economy

Great to drive

Spacious cabin


5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty


Limited boot space

The infotainment system feels outdated

Long waiting list

Read Our Full Review Of The 2022 Toyota Rav4

2. Subaru Forester

Much like the RAV4, the Subaru Forester received a facelift in 2022. This has freshened up the looks, but the basic recipe remains the same. The Forester remains a solid car that offers plenty of space and a nice driving experience.

But many of the Forester's biggest problems remain. The 2.5L engine feels underpowered in a car of this size and fuel economy is not the Forester's strong point. Subaru claims a combined cycle of 7.4L/100km, not exactly class-leading.

That being said, the Forester offers excellent value for money. Comes with a well built spacious interior. And unlike the Toyota RAV4, if you order one today you can expect to take delivery of it sometime before Christmas.


Plenty of space

Well equipped interior

Standard AWD

Very comfortable seats


Engine feels underpowered

Not very fuel-efficient

Driver safety aids are overzealous

Low towing capacity

Learn More About The 2022 Subaru Forester

3. Ford Escape

Launched in early 2021 the fourth-generation Ford Escape has the RAV4 in its sights. The car has understated styling which is pleasing to the eye, but not exactly innovative.

Under the hood, the Escape is equipped with Ford’s punchy 2.0 litre EcoBoost engine. This puts out 183kW @5700 rpm, making it one of the most powerful cars in its class. And that certainly shows up on the road, even giving hot hatches a run for their money.

Inside the Escape doesn’t have the build quality of German, Japanese or Korean rivals. There is none of the wow-factor you get in the Hyundai Tucson or Mazda CX-5, but the Ford is an excellent all-rounder that shouldn't be overlooked.


Good value for money

Class-leading performance

Fuel-efficient engines

Five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty


Not as upmarket as some rivals

Bumpy transmission

Handling is not very sharp

Lack of cargo space

Read More About The Ford Escape

4. Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 is the car that comes closest to knocking the RAV4 off the top of sales charts. It impresses with its smart styling and well-equipped interior. The level of refinement is also a step up from rivals such as the Ford Escape.

But it’s on the road where the CX-5 excels. This is one of the most dynamic mid-size SUVs on the market. When driving it, you’d be hard-pressed to realise you were in an SUV at all, such is its composure.

But the interior is less roomy than many rivals, especially the RAV4 and Outlander. And while the handling is excellent, the ride is a little hard. This may be a little too sporty for some.


Refined cabin

Great handling

Excellent fuel economy

Five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty


Not as roomy as some rivals

Ride quality is on the sporty side

Some safety features are missing

Learn More About The 2022 CX-5: Complete Review

5. Mitsubishi Outlander

The original Mitsubishi Outlander launched in 2001 as a direct rival to the RAV4. Initially, it failed to make much of an impression. But the latest generation, launched at the end of 2021, looks set to spice things up a bit.

Outside the new Outlander is bigger and bolder than previous generations. While inside the cabin is more refined thanks to the use of better quality materials. Occupants also benefit from an extra row of seats, making this a true 7-seater.

On the road, the Outlander handles crisply. The 2.5-litre petrol engine provides smooth power delivery. And there are plenty of safety features to help keep you pointing in the right direction. But fuel economy remains below class-leading rivals.


Extremely well equipped

Very roomy interior

Plenty of luggage space

Third-row of seats


Interior feels dated

Poor fuel economy

Legargic gearbox

Complete Review Of The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

6. Hyundai Tucson

The 4th generation Tucson quickly gained a reputation as one of the best medium SUVs on the market. The car is well built, handles crisply and offers excellent value for money. So it’s no wonder this is one of Hyundai’s most popular models.

On the road, the Hyundai is well-mannered and refined. But the seven-speed automatic gearbox can be slow to respond when you put your foot down. But that being said this is a great allrounder that more than gives the Toyota RAV4 a run for its money.

The Hyundai Tucson is available with both petrol and diesel engines. There is currently no Hybrid model, but there are rumours one is going to be launched later in the year. This should help the Tucson take on the Toyota RAV4.


Upmarket interior

Competitive pricing

Excellent safety equipment

Stand out styling

Nice to drive

Five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty


Not the most efficient

Slightly underpowered petrol engines

Not as spacious as some rivals

Seven-speed gearbox slow to respond

Learn Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 Hyundai Tucson

7. Mercedes-Benz GLB

The new GLB is Mercedes' answer to the Volkswagen Tiguan and BMW X3. Based on A-Class underpinnings. The GLB is close to the GLC in size but offers a third-row of seats to provide a bit of extra flexibility.

Inside the GLB benefits from Mercedes's excellent build quality. The interior has an upmarket luxurious feel. But standard equipment is sparse compared to rivals from Hyundai, Mazda and Mitsubishi.

On the road, the GLB has a composed ride, as you would expect from Mercedes. But at higher speeds, it floats a bit too much for our liking. The suspension looks to have been optimised for town driving over cruising.

Read Our Full Review Of The 2022 Mercedes Benz GLB


Easy to drive around town

Versatile packaging

Third-row of seats

Five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty


The high-speed ride could be better

Not very well equipped

Third-row of seats has tight legroom

Related: See The Best Mid Size SUVs From 2021

Final thoughts

Buyers looking for a mid-size SUV are spoilt for choice. The above cars only scratch the surface of what's available. But we feel, all things considered, that these seven models represent the best of the bunch in 2022.

So which one to choose? Ultimately that depends on personal preference, budget and the needs of your family. Our advice is to narrow your choice down to three and take each of them for a test drive. But whatever your decision, you won’t go far wrong parking any of the above SUVs on your driveway.

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Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.