WAGONS – MEDIUM
The last ‘real 4WD’ Nissan Pathfinder was released in June 2010, with increased performance from its 2.5-litre diesel engine. In 2014 the Pathie became a softroader, with almost no off-road ability. Now a more rugged Pathfinder is back.
The Range Rover Sport has been significantly upgraded for 2023, with the offering of an extended-range Electric Hybrid from launch, with 375kW (510bhp) and pure-electric driving range of up to 125km.
In mid-2015 Ford released the Australian designed and developed Everest SUV range that’s being manufactured in Thailand. It was updated in mid-2018 and mid-2019, and the 2023 model was previewed in March/April 2022.
Jeep gave the Grand Cherokee a facelift and equipment upgrades for 2014. Highlights were a new eight-speed automatic transmission and more grunt and flexibility. Trailhawk versions arrived in mid-2017; supercharged 6.2L V8s in late 2017 and 2020 and a Summit model in late 2019. A three-row model was released in the USA in 2021 and is due in Oz in mid-2022.
Like its predecessor the 2016 Challenger replacement uses the Triton ute powertrain and chassis, with a coil-sprung live rear axle. With Super Select 4WD drivetrain and stability and traction control as standard, the Pajero Sport is one of the best specified and keenly-priced medium wagons. It was upgraded in 2018, in mid-2019 and early 2022.
Isuzu Ute Australia released the anticipated seven-seat wagon version of its D-Max ute range in late 2013. It scored a performance boost and specification changes in 2017 and upgrades in 2018 and 2019. The third-generation MU-X was launched in July 2021.
The LandCruiser 76 Series is essentially a shrunken Troop Carrier with class-leading performance and good towing ability.
Mahindra is best known for its sturdy, great value for money Pik Up ute range, but the global-scale Indian company also makes a bargain-priced seven-seat wagon.
The 2019 SsangYong Rexton has been released with optimism from SsangYong Australia that it will do much better in the market than its predecessors did in the past.
Following the Australian launch of the T60 ute, LDV has released the LDV D90: a seven-seat SUV. It was upgraded in 2019 and given a bi-turbo diesel option in 2020.
We knew the Chinese vehicle invasion would gain momentum and the new Haval H9 is an example of much better quality machinery.
Toyota’s seven-seat Fortuner was based on the 2016 HiLux platform. Part-time-4WD was the only driveline available. Upgrades were done in 2019 and 2020.
Holden’s successor to the Jackaroo wagon range was a Colorado ute derivative, the Colorado 7. It was replaced by the Trailblazer in late 2016, but doomed by the demise of Holden in 2020.
The M-Class, fitted with the optional off-road package that included height-adjustable air suspension, low-range gearing and a proper spare wheel, was the last ‘Benz wagon that was useful on and off road.
A new-generation Volkswagen Touareg was released in mid-2011 and was updated in 2013 and 2015. The new model received a much-needed boost in interior space.
The post-2010 Prado range scored upgraded diesel and petrol engines in September 2015, six-speed transmissions and additional improvements for 2018 and 2020.
The FJ Cruiser was described by its designers as a modern interpretation of a Toyota classic; the FJ40 two-door wagon that was produced from 1960 until 1984. Sadly, the FJ production ended in August 2016.
The Cherokee has been with us in several forms since 1994. The post-2014 model is available with and without low-range gearing, so is also listed in our soft-roader section.
The current-shape Mitsubishi Pajero carries on and this monocoque, all-independent-suspension wagon is still reasonably competitive. Mitsubishi has kept the Pajero in step with the Japanese medium wagon competition and the 3.2-litre diesel is still a reliable performer.
After an absence of five years the Defender 90 was reintroduced in 2010, with powertrain and interior improvements. It was discontinued three years later and in January 2016 all Defender models ceased production.