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2021 Aston Martin DBX review

Would James Bond be happy in an SUV? I mean, surely the coolest character in cinematic history would baulk if Q were to throw him the keys to the vehicle of choice for soccer mums and dads?

But recent times have shown we need to change our perceptions of what SUVs and what they can be.

In fact, despite first previewing the DBX back in 2015, Aston Martin is late to the uber-premium SUV party, having been beaten to market by the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

But the British brand wanted to get the DBX right — and after a few hours at the wheel in and around Perth, it seems the wait was worth it.

Aston Martin DBX.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX. Credit: Sam Jeremic

Immediately, it’s apparent the designers have hit the mark.

Some will say an SUV can never be attractive, but the DBX is unmistakably Aston in appearance without feeling it’s been deformed to fit the bigger dimensions.

It certainly stands out in the metal, particularly with the optional $4160 22-inch gloss black wheels and the Exterior Pack also painting the front grille, door mirrors, side fins, window surround, roof rails and exhaust tailpipe finishers in gloss black ($11,120, gulp).

The quality continues inside with a sumptuous interior — again bolstered by some pricey options.

Aston Martin DBX stands out in the metal.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX stands out in the metal. Credit: Sam Jeremic/Sam Jeremic

We loved the Bitter Chocolate/Ivory leather finish ($6110) with contrasting stitching ($1940) and the DB Elegance Pack (seat quilting and perforation, Aston Martin embroidery, $8340) but the Alcantara headliner in Wolf Grey ($4160) was arguably our favourite.

Expensive extras, no doubt, but there’s also no denying how much they elevated the luxury quotient.

Of course, these qualities are available in other Astons — people are buying the DBX because it’s an SUV.

There shouldn’t be any complaints. There is a heap of headroom and legroom front and back, with those in the second row getting their own AC controls.

Aston Martin DBX.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX. Credit: Sam Jeremic

Our test car had heated and cooled front and rear seats, a $2770 option, while convenience was aided by a $1380 electric hands-free tailgate which really should be standard.

Visibility is excellent and the cabin bright and airy thanks to a massive (and standard!) sun roof, though we did wish the driver’s mirror would adjust outwards more.

The DBX is fired up by pressing the ignition button in the middle of the dash.

The gear selectors are either side, which looks cool but is a bit awkward when switching between drive and reverse when parking.

Aston Martin DBX.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX. Credit: Sam Jeremic

Also clunky is the infotainment system. The DBX has a big infotainment screen, but it’s not a touch screen: everything is controlled by the console mounted dial.

It’s a set-up we usually enjoy, however, the system wasn’t very intuitive to use nor quick to respond to inputs.

In fact, the tech is one of the DBX’s let-downs: you can easily hear the adaptive cruise control react and brake when approaching cars, the traffic sign recognition would display erroneous speeds and the auto stop-start was one of the worst we’ve encountered.

The engine coming back to life would jolt the vehicle, causing heads to jerk forward.

Aston Martin DBX.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX. Credit: Sam Jeremic/Sam Jeremic

When the Mercedes- AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 barks into life, it hints at the DBX’s potential.

But we were pleasantly surprised to find it quite docile when in GT mode as it settled into an inoffensive thrum.

It’s comfy around the ’burbs too, without the boat-like disconnect some luxury cars fall into when chasing a soft ride.

Find some bends, though, and the DBX really impresses when you switch into Sport mode.

There is also Sport+ which we left alone as it removes the stability control and we don’t need an angry Barbagallo rep on our case, plus two Terrain modes which raise the suspension and allow Bond to do his thing on rugged surfaces (we’re not sure anyone else would be game in a vehicle this expensive).

Aston Martin DBX.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX. Credit: Sam Jeremic

Sport mode sees the suspension lower and the DBX stay flat in corners before charging out with impressive grip.

Occasionally you’re reminded of the vehicle’s bulk under braking, but the anchors bite hard enough.

In short, you don’t feel you’re in a lightweight roadster.

But you certainly don’t feel you’re in a large SUV either.

The transmission is a ripper, allowing us to drop several gears at once entering corners by holding down the paddle shifter, rather than making several pulls.

The V8 roar is certainly there, but some may want some more histrionics inside the cabin.

Aston Martin DBX.
Camera IconAston Martin DBX. Credit: Sam Jeremic

We felt, this being an Aston Martin, an element of refinement was needed at all times.

Bond wore a dinner suit, not a Bintang singlet.

The DBX’s GT credentials are pretty stellar, though those great-looking 22s do throw up a fair bit of tyre roar once you hit coarse chip roads at high speeds.


A worthy entrant into the super SUV segment, the DBX has enough Aston Martin-ness (looks, luxury, performance) to please long-time fans while also not scrimping on practicality. Extras are pricey and it’s easy to be cynical, but at this price point not many buyers will care.


  • Price $357,000 (as tested $445,663)
  • Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
  • Outputs 405kW/700Nm
  • Transmission Nine-speed automatic, AWD
  • Fuel economy 14.3L/100km

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