SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle, a versatile bodywork that originated from what we used to call four-wheel drive. Nowadays you can buy an SUV in all sizes, from small to medium, from small to large, with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. SUVs were once a welcome addition to the American marketplace, helping to close the gap between the family car and the sketchy windowless van or Uncle Charlie’s stinking old pick-up truck. SUVs have been with the Willys Jeep Station Wagon since the 1940s, but only really took their steps until the heyday of the 1990s when low gas prices made it possible to get 12 miles per gallon into your Chevy Suburban. Since then, SUVs have evolved into their own genre of vehicle. There are small SUVs, large SUVs, crossover SUVs, compact crossover SUVs, luxury SUVs, SUVs with a third row, SUVs with seven passengers, SUVs with large gas kilometers, hybrid SUVs, the list goes on and on.
Lately, all the anger has arisen about crossover SUVs, which act as a hybrid between a car and an SUV, giving you the interior space of an SUV without the transport capacity. Traditionally, SUVs use a body on frame construction, similar to what you see in a pick-up truck. Crossovers usually have a unibody construction, similar to the way cars are made.
For another year the Ford Escape will be in first place, a crossover SUV that offers seemingly endless possibilities for customization, including features such as the MyFordTouch® infotainment system, but also impressive handling and technology. The 2017 Escape is one of the most versatile SUVs on our list. It is an excellent choice for everything from daily shopping to adventurous road trips. Standard features, such as rear view camera and smartphone integration, are also very generous.
Looking for an SUV that is suitable for everyone in the family? The Chevrolet Equinox is definitely worth it. In the 2017 model, buyers love the many standard features such as the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch wheels and even an available 4G Wi-Fi hotspot in the car! Rear seat passengers will also enjoy the easy to relax second row that offers plenty of leg and head room, even for adults.
With an optional turbo engine for those who need speed and a sleek and sporty design, the 2017 Honda CR-V is available in four trim levels. With a fair range of standard features (including Bluetooth® connectivity and smartphone integration), the CR-V offers an excellent balance between interior comfort, excellent handling and generous storage space.
If you want the robustness of the Grand Cherokee in a smaller package, the Jeep Cherokee is another great option. This crossover SUV offers five different levels of equipment in the 2017 model, along with the choice of a standard four-cylinder or an improved V6 engine. Drivers and passengers love how quiet this vehicle is and how well it performs on the road.
If you are looking for an SUV with a good balance between comfort, style and value, the Ford Explorer is an excellent choice. Depending on the configuration and trim you select, the 2017 Explorer offers enough room for six or seven passengers. There are also three different engine offerings available to suit your needs. Some outstanding standard features include a rear view camera, Ford Sync, and a 3.5L V6 engine.
2018 Dodge Durango
If the Dodge Durango looks familiar, it’s because today’s model has been on the road since 2011, an eternity in SUV years. This is proof of the Durango’s continuing strengths. Dodge’s three-row Ute features class-leading towing capacity, available V8 performance and a truly adult friendly third row seat, making it a unique value proposition in this price range. Like many of its competitors, the Durango is designed for the long haul with comfortable seats, a quiet and comfortable ride, premium infotainment and huge cargo space. These muscles, however, put a strain on fuel consumption and there are certainly lighter SUVs to manoeuvre. All in all, the Durango works just as hard as it plays.
2018 Honda pilot
A steady stream of upgrades since its debut 15 years ago has made the three-row Honda Pilot one of the best SUV combinations of performance, utility and technology. Comfortable on long journeys, unshaken by broken city streets and solidly built inside and out, today’s pilot talks to drivers who want to get rid of the minivan but still need three rows of seats. The pilot features intelligent memory solutions, advanced features and impressive fuel economy. It can even tow up to 5,000 pounds with the right equipment, making it a great alternative to bulkier truck-based SUVs.
2018 Mazda CX-9
With just the right mix of size, style and class, the Mazda CX-9 offers luxury without the luxury price. It comes standard with three-row seats, but retains a manoeuvrable character and is fun in corners and curves. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers amazing momentum without penalty, and we think the CX-9 is one of the best looking SUVs on the road. The same goes for the interior, which could be confused with Audi performance. The entire cargo space is not outstanding, but the usable space is still impressive. If a level of sportiness in an SUV is important to you, the CX-9 delivers.
Tesla Model X
Come on, you must like model X. I mean, these doors. And who doesn’t love screaming from zero to 60 with a time of 2.9 seconds? That’s right, Becky, not only can you fire through the Starbucks passage with style in the best mid-size SUV, but you’ll do it in an SUV that can blow the doors off a Lambo.
The X model’s range is 295 miles, so you can be the coolest soccer mom in the world. You can even have it equipped to comfortably accommodate seven adults. It’s not a show pony either, you can even drive the best mid-size SUV off-road. Although I am sure that most drivers stay in the suburbs.
These Scandinavians are known for minimalist furniture, great meatballs and safe cars. It should come as no surprise that the safest SUV on the market comes from Volvo. The company has said that by 2020 no one would be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. If it’s just marketing, it’s brilliant, and if it’s really selfless, it’s even better. Either way, the Volvo XC90 is packed full of safety features, from high-strength steel to the front crash prevention system.
But which SUV is the best SUV? This is a very broad question, as SUVs are available in all shapes and sizes. What the best SUV can be for me may not be the best SUV for you. To try to answer this question, we need to break down the many different types of SUVs.