Article: See the Best Midsize SUVs and Tell Us What You Think!: HowStuffWorks
See the Best Midsize SUVs and Tell Us What You Think!
About This Article
The modern sports utility vehicle (SUV) is a combination of various automobiles — a pickup truck to carry cargo from place to place, a minivan to carry kids and their friends to various activities and a station wagon to carry, well, everything.
Automakers have worked to make sure that the SUVs currently on the dealership floor can accomplish the range of activities required of them by families needing to get their day-to-day tasks done without letting their vehicles become generic workhorses. Taking steps to avoid being the "jack of all trades but master of none," today's SUVs are required to offer smooth rides but offer powerplants that ensure that there's always enough pep under the hood to get the job done. If this can be accomplished with great fuel economy, all's the better.
We've gathered together a list, in no particular order, of 25 of the best options for the family who might be in the market for a traveling companion — one that can do as many things as they require of their faithful vehicle, and do it with some style, class and modern amenities that make the trip enjoyable. Take a look and let us know how we did. We wish you happy, safe and productive trips!
The Chevrolet Blazer made a comeback for the 2019 model year after being put on the shelf in 2005. The Blazer, which made its debut back in 1969, has been redesigned as a crossover SUV with a choice of a 2.5-liter inline-four, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which gives a range of between 193 and 309 horsepower. With agile handling, the five-seat Blazer is ready for a new generation.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a great mid-sized crossover SUV for families needing to get to their day-to-day activities, providing a comfortable ride, excellent gas mileage and lots of technological features. The Santa Fe was introduced for the 2001 model year and has been one of the South Korean manufacturer's best sellers. The fourth generation, released in 2018, offers many different engine choices, ranging from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine to a 3.5-liter V6, as well as two diesel options.
The Kia Telluride is one of the newer midsize SUV models on this list, first hitting the streets for the 2020 model year. With a 3.8-liter V6 that can generate 291 horses, the Telluride seats up to eight, has plenty of cargo space and gives its drivers a smooth ride. Available in front-wheel or all-wheel-drive formats, the vehicle is the largest one Kia has made for the North American market and is offered in four trim levels.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
While it might not have the carrying capacity of some of its rivals — it only seats five — the Jeep Grand Cherokee is made to go where other SUVs fear to tread. With several engine options, including a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 that can generate a monstrous 707 horsepower and superior off-road handling, the Grand Cherokee can blaze trails for other, less-endowed SUVs, while offering a comfortable ride and other amenities for its passengers.
Entering its third generation in 2014, the Acura MDX is a luxury SUV that offers three rows of seating in style and comfort. While it doesn't offer the cargo space of some of its high-end rivals, the aerodynamic vehicle does have excellent safety ratings and an extremely capable V6 engine that can generate up to 290 horsepower and gets excellent fuel mileage for this class of vehicle. The MDX handles well and gets the job done with class and style.
A constant presence in the SUV field since the 1986 model year, the Nissan Pathfinder unveiled its fourth generation in 2013 as a mid-sized crossover. The current generation offers two gas engines (a 2.5-liter inline-four and a 3.5-liter V6), along with a 2.5-liter inline-four diesel option. With seating for seven, the Pathfinder might not give the smoothest ride in its class, but its options and pedigree still make it an attractive choice.
The Mazda CX-9 was released in the 2007 model year and is currently in its second generation. The current model offers a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four engine that generates up to 250 horsepower. With seating for seven, the CX-9 has been noted for its agile and smooth ride, along with first-class amenities, and is a favorite of many reviewers; it was named the best midsize SUV by "Car and Driver" in 2017 and 2018.
After hitting the streets in the 2003 model year, the Nissan Murano unveiled its third generation in 2015 and was refreshed in 2019. Available with a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 260 horsepower, the Murano offers many safety features, including lane-departure and driver drowsiness detection. While it might not seat as many as others on this list — it's rated as having seating for five — the Murano makes up for this limitation by offering a comfortable interior.
One of the oldest entries on this list, the Ford Explorer first showed up on dealership floors in the 1991 model year. With its sixth generation hitting the road in the 2020 model year, the Explorer is ready for a new group of drivers, offering several powerplant options, ranging from a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four to a 3.3-liter V6 hybrid engine. With seating for up to seven, the cabin has lots of space for passengers and/or cargo, and many safety features.
One of the newer entries in the list, the Volkswagen Atlas hit the streets in the 2018 model year, replacing the Touareg in the company's North American lineup. Available with four- or six-cylinder engine packages, the Atlas can generate up to 276 horsepower. The Atlas is roomy, with seating up to seven, and provides its passengers a safe ride; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Atlas a "top safety pick" in 2018.
The Subaru Ascent, which hit dealerships floors in the 2019 model year, is a modern take on the crossover SUV model. With plenty of interior room — it seats between seven and eight — the Ascent is the largest automobile made by Subaru. While it is only available with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, it manages to get a respectable 260 horses out of that powerplant. The Ascent scored high with critics, who cited its safety and tech features, along with its well-balanced ride.
For those wanting to enter the luxury SUV market but not wanting to come in at the highest price point of the range, the Infiniti QX60 is the vehicle that fits the bill. The roomy seven-passenger crossover offers two powerplants: a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid option. The QX60 provides excellent safety for its riders, getting high crash-testing grades from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Honda Pilot, first released in 2002, has been a dependable choice for those shopping in the mid-sized crossover SUV sector for years. Now in its third generation, the Pilot got an overhaul in 2019, making amenities formerly found in higher trim levels available in all models, including a nine-speed automatic transmission. Available with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Pilot can generate 280 horsepower and offers comfortable seating for up to eight.
The Dodge Durango first entered the scene in 1997 and is currently in its third generation. The Durango has been constantly updated with design facelifts and upgrades. This vehicle is one of the most powerful entries on this list, with a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine option on special packages that can generate 475 horsepower. With seating from five to seven, the Durango offers plenty of passenger and cargo space.
The successor of the TrailBlazer, the Chevrolet Traverse first hit the road in the 2009 model year and became a mid-sized crossover SUV when its second generation was released in 2017. Offering a 3.6-liter V6, the vehicle can generate a power 310 horsepower and, with seating for up to eight, the Traverse is a good choice for those who need to get a lot of people or a bunch of cargo from place to place in comfort.
Lexus RX 350
The Lexus RX 350 is a mid-sized luxury crossover SUV that has been in production since the 1998 model year. Now in its fourth generation, the RX 350 offers three different engine options — a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and 3.5-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter V6 hybrid — all of which put out about 290 horsepower. With comfortable seating for five to seven, the RX350 is designed for those who want a comfortable ride and lots of technical amenities.
Formerly a full-size crossover when it debuted in the 2007 model year, the GMC Acadia entered the mid-sized category when its second generation was released in 2017, shedding 700 pounds in the process. Equipped with either a 3.6-liter V6 or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Acadia can seat six or seven, gets respectable gas mileage, offers lots of technology to make the trip more enjoyable and provides a comfortable ride overall.
The Ford Edge, first released in the 2007 model year, is currently in its second generation and underwent a mid-cycle facelift in 2019, which included cosmetic changes as well as upgraded transmissions and other changes. The Edge currently offers four engine options, ranging from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to a 3.5-liter Duratec V6. The vehicle seats five and offers a large cabin and a comfortable driving experience.
Introduced for the 2001 model year, the Toyota Highlander was one of the first mid-sized crossover SUVs made available to the market and for a time was Toyota's most popular models in that field. Now in its fourth generation, the Highlander is still a big seller for the Japanese manufacturer. Available as a 3.5-liter V6 or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid, the Highlander can seat up to eight and offers a quiet ride with great handling.
With a large cargo hold, a powerful engine and seating for seven, the Buick Enclave is a great option for drivers who find themselves moving people or things around the city. First hitting the streets in the 2008 model year, the Enclave, now in its second generation, has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that can produce 310 horsepower. It can seat seven, gets great gas mileage for a vehicle of its class, and provides a smooth, refined ride.
Starting at close to $60,000, the BMW X5 is one of the most expensive midsize SUVs out there, but it's also one of the smoothest, most powerful vehicles in the class. Available with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, the top of the X5 line can produce up to 456 horsepower and offers exceptional handling without sacrificing a comfortable ride. Although it only offers seating for five, the luxury SUV scores high with both critics and consumers who like their sports utility with a bit of class and comfort.
With seating for up to seven passengers and an engine that can produce up to 400 horsepower, the Volvo XC90 is a luxury midsize SUV that strives to have something for everyone. As safe as you would expect a Volvo to be, the XC90 offers lots of seating and cargo space and gets excellent gas mileage for a vehicle of this class — up to 30 mpg. The model offers either a gas engine or a hybrid powertrain, along with a comfortable ride and classic style.
While it doesn't have the most powerful engine in its class — the 2020 model offers between 182 and 260, depending on the powerplant selected — the Subaru Outback does have a lot going for it. With seating for five, the Outback has a large cargo area and high ground clearance, making it quite capable of going off-road if that's where your journey takes you. This SUV puts more of an emphasis on "sports" than others in this class, and that will make it the perfect vehicle for like-minded drivers.
While it might not have the cargo space of some of its rivals, the Kia Sorento does offer a smooth ride and, most important for some shoppers, a reasonable entry price. The cabin is comfortable and has a modern infotainment system, along with new driver-assistance features that modern drivers desire. With seating for seven, the Sorento is a great choice for families who have to get themselves from event to event, and scores high with automotive critics.
With comfortable seats and plenty of cargo space, the Honda Passport is a great vehicle for those who are going to have to travel a bit to get to their destinations and events. The Passport was introduced back in 1993 and ran until 2002, but was revived in 2018 with the modern handing and conveniences to compete in a crowded marketplace. With seating for five, the third-generation Passport offers a 3.5-liter V6 engine that can generate 280 horsepower that allows for confident off-road driving.
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