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2020 Audi Q3 Sportback front end orange Audi Q3 Sportback coming to Australia in 2020

Audi’s first small-size coupe-SUV will debut in Australia in the first half of 2020. The Audi Q3 Sportback takes the as-yet-unlaunched second-generation Q3 SUV, lops part of the tailgate off and adds a little extra muscularity to the rear fenders.

In contrast to the more traditional and upright 2020 Q3, the Q3 Sportback features a longer, lower and more rakish roofline. Joining the Audi Q8 (reviewed here) as the brand’s second coupe-SUV, the Q3 Sportback marks yet another iteration of the front-drive MQB chassis within Ingolstadt’s range.

2020 Audi Q3 Sportback rear end orange
A chopped roofline joins pumped-up rear-end styling.

With the conventional Q3 arriving before the end of 2019, the Sportback will arrive around six months later, though specifics relating to the engine and pricing of the ‘coupe’ variant are not yet known. Expect pricing to kick off around $55,000.

It is likely, however, that the Q3 Sportback will be offered with a premium engine in relation to the Q3 range and it will likely be all-wheel-drive only. In Australia, our money would be on the ‘45 TFSI’ engine – a two-litre turbo petrol producing 169kW/350Nm. Globally, a diesel will also be offered badged ‘35 TDI’, making 110kW/340Nm.

2020 Audi Q3 Sportback interior
The Sportback’s cabin largely mirrors that of the new Q3.

Later there is the potential of a lower-specification turbo petrol, which will uniquely pack a 48-volt mild hybrid system that will marginally cut fuel use.

Inside, the Sportback comprehensively borrows from the standard Q3’s interior, with a standard 10.1-inch central touchscreen and digital instrumentation in one of two grades. In Australia, expect to see the higher-end ‘Virtual Cockpit’ driver’s display measing 12.3-inches included as standard.

2020 Audi Q3 Sportback boot space
530 litres of boot space is nothing to sneeze at.

At 4.5 metres in length, the Q3 Sportback is more similar in size to medium SUVs from the next size up than a small crossover, but the additional length results in a spacious boot capacity of 530 litres. An electric tailgate will be available and will likely be stasndard in Australia.

Expect more news on the Sportback front once the standard Audi Q3 launches in second-generation form later this year.

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2020 Kia Seltos grey front end Kia Seltos fully revealed, coming to Australia in October

Kia Motors has revealed some key details about the all new Seltos set to compete in the ever-growing Small SUV market segment. The Seltos is set to square up with strong selling Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and upcoming CX-30. The 2019 Kia Seltos is due on Australian shores in October 2019 and although pricing is not confirmed, we expect it to start at around $25,000 driveaway for the S model, with the top GT Line model costing a little under $40,000 driveaway.

Having taken their time entering the small SUV segment and having studied successful vehicles on the market, there will be no excuses to perform once the Seltos reaches Australia. Kia CEO Han-Woo Park has stated that “the Seltos is an important car for Kia as it will play a central role in our international growth.” 

2020 Kia Seltos grey rear end
The Seltos has a more upright rear end than many small SUVs.

The Seltos is being offered with two engine choices in Australia, a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated ‘Smartstream’ engine producing 110kW/180Nm in the base model that will be mated to a CVT gearbox driving either front or all wheels. In the higher trim models a peppier 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine that produces 130kW/265Nm that has been a performer in other Kia and Hyundai models driving either the front or all four wheels through a seven speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

The Seltos’ exterior is boxy, though eye-catching with Kia’s signature LED lights and ‘tiger nose’ grill which lend the Seltos a distinctive look. As for subjective good or bad we’ll hold off commenting until we can see one in the metal, though for better or worse it does bear some resemblance to Skoda’s current crop of SUVs.

2020 Kia Seltos interior black tan
The cabin strikes toward upmarket territory.

Kia are claiming “class-leading space” with the new Seltos and that certainly stands true in the boot department, offering huge boot space of 498 litres, significantly bettering direct rivals (Mitsubishi’s ASX offers 393 litres) and even rivaling its bigger Sportage brother. Cabin storage is good too, with plenty of cubby holes, a 60:40 flat folding rear seat, and a boot floor that can raise or lower by 110mm. The Seltos’ wheelbase is generous at 2630mm which will offer good legroom for rear-seat passengers, and the square roofline should afford a usable rear seat even for the taller crowd.

In the small SUV market segment the Seltos offers stand-out safety equipment. Included standard is ESC, and 6 airbags, with optional AEB, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, driver fatigue warning and level two autonomy in the form of Kia’s ‘Lane Follow Assist’. Although exact specifications are yet to be confirmed for Australian models, we can expect sharp pricing across the board on safety features. As for ride and handling the Seltos is equipped with Macpherson strut front suspension teamed with torsion beam rear suspension in front wheel drive variants, with a more sophisticated multilink set-up for the all wheel drive models, closely mirroring its Hyundai Kona cousin with which it shares a platform. 

2020 Kia Seltos boot space
The Seltos will claim the largest boot in class when it arrives in Australia.

Aiming at “youthful, tech-savvy buyers” kia has equipped the Seltos with a comprehensive suite of tech. A large 8.0 inch touchscreen and Apple Carplay/Android Auto come as standard, with an optional – and biggest-in-class – 10.25 inch touchscreen display available with split-screen functionality that allows multiple sources of information available on screen together. Thankfully, Kia has kept the HVAC controls separate from the touchscreen which should allow easy and fuss-free adjustment. Other optional tech includes wireless smartphone charging, an 8.0 inch head up display including nav and other info, and the option of a Bose premium audio system.

Kia’s choice to chase the small SUV market is likely to be lucrative, as it’s a segment that has and will continue to grow in Australia as passengers cars become less popular. If the excellent practicality, safety features, tech, and value the Seltos offers can be teamed with a solid drive and decent interior quality it could be set to topple the apple cart of well established players in the market, but we’ll have to see how that plays out when we get our hands on one.

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BMW X1 small SUV now more affordable

The four-strong 2019 BMW X1 small SUV range has come in for a major facelift, with massaged looks front and rear headlining the aesthetic changes. Two of the four available grades have seen their pricing reduced, while only the fastest petrol model has become dearer.

A larger grille sees the X1 aligned more closely with its X3, X5 and X7 siblings in the ‘wagon-bodied’ BMW SUV range, while the LED headlights switch to a hexagonal shape and the tail light graphics are updated.

New taillight graphics make it easy to spot an updated X1.

All four grades have been retained in the facelift, with a sole turbo Diesel engine offering a more frugal option for high-milers.

The entry level remains the turbo three-cylinder sDrive18i, which has fallen in price by $1,400 to $44,500 (plus on-road costs). Sharing the Mini’s turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder, now making 103kW/220Nm. Standard specification includes wireless smartphone charging, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay, LED headlights, artificial leather seating, and low-speed AEB.

The interior remains largely the same as the pre-facelift version.

From there, it’s a $5,400 step into the diesel X1, called sDrive20d – this is a two-litre turbo unit producing 110kW/330Nm, with other specification mirroring that of the aforementioned sDrive18i.

Second from the top is the sDrive20i, which utilises a two-litre turbo petrol to make 141kW/280Nm. This grade falls in price by $2,400 to $48,500 before on-roads. Specification at the 20i level moves up to include a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, a head-up display, power tailgate, and upgraded lighting that bundles adaptive technology for the headlights and ‘X1’ puddle lamps.

The flagship X1 xDrive25i is the sole grade that sees its price increased, by $2,000 to $62,900 before on-road costs. This car makes 170kW/350Nm from its two-litre turbo. Additionally justifying the considerable $14,400 upgrade over the 20i is greater equipment in the shape of AWD, real leather seating with heating and electric adjustment up front, keyless entry and start, 19-inch wheels, and dual-zone climate control.

This is the upmarket xDrive25i grade – the sole X1 with AWD in Australia.

2019 BMW X1 facelift Australian pricing

X1 sDrive18i: $44,500

X1 sDrive18d: $49,900

X1 sDrive20i: $48,500

X1 xDrive25i: $62,900

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