[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: Whether you call it an SUV, a crossover, a lifted a hatchback, or whatever, the modern SUV has to fill an extraordinary wide range of jobs from an inexpensive and fuel-efficient city commuter to a lumbering rig that can haul the family and a boat. There's a ton of diversity among SUVs which can make finding the right one for you a challenge.
So in this video, we've broken down the major size and price categories for SUVs and we'll give you the recommendation for the best in each class for most buyers. Now, we're basing these recommendations on everything we've evaluated up to the point of the production of this video. Every vehicle listed here has gone through our extensive rating process where we perform a standardized road loop evaluation and performance testing, our rating process is one of the most thorough and regimented in the business.
You can find more by clicking the links below to visit Edmunds.com. And you can also get a cash offer on your car by visiting Edmunds.com/sellmycar. Again, that's Edmunds.com/sellmycar.
Extra small or subcompact SUVs are the smallest and least expensive crossovers-- as they're often called-- that you can buy. You get the benefits of an elevated driving position with the small exterior size for the feel of added maneuverability. Now, cost cutting is sometimes apparent. But top trim levels can feel surprisingly upscale.
Our team's favorite is the Mazda CX-30. It looks sharp and has an abundance of standard technology and safety features that help offset its slightly higher starting price. On the downside, its fuel economy is a little behind the curve, but by such a small margin that it doesn't really matter. Also, total storage space trails others in this group.
So why is it our pick? Well, for starters, our team really liked how it drives, from the feel of the steering to the comfortable ride. Then there's those features, from useful and standard advanced driver aids like adaptive cruise control to good phone integration all around. Lastly, the experience inside and out feels richer than the price would suggest, making it seem like you're getting a lot more for your money.
Another option worth looking at is the Hyundai Kona. I point this out because on Edmunds it's nearly tied with the Mazda for first place. The Kona costs a bit less and that difference is attributable to the interior that doesn't look and feel as nice as the Mazda and a slightly more clunky drive train, in particular the shift from the optional turbo engine and transmission combo are particularly unrefined. Otherwise, it's similarly sized inside and the tech and features are also strong so it's worth a look.
Extra small luxury SUV get you a prestigious badge at an affordable price. You always get luxury-grade comfort and performance-- remember that price thing-- but a few gems really stand out. Our favorite is the Mercedes Benz GLB. We think the boxy shape looks kind of cool. And it makes for a spacious interior for people and cargo.
Better yet, it comes with our team's favorite entertainment system among luxury cars, if not all cars out there for sale right now. The NBUX entertainment system is really powerful so it can feel a little overwhelming at first. But its broad capabilities and voice recognition are unmatched outside of anything you'd find other than your phone. But hey, you can use that too.
As far as other features go, well, it's a Mercedes, so there are a ton of options to choose from. I mean, you can even get massaging seats. But that also means the price can jump considerably as you tack those options on. So keep that in mind. Topping off the Benz is an above average fuel economy for the class, making the GLP a worthy pick for a subcompact luxury SUV.
Small or compact SUV these are among the most popular out there because they balance an exterior and interior size really well. You get a lot of space without taking up much yourself. Now, these are essentially the new compact family sedans and it's easy to see why. The Honda CRV has long been our favorite in this group. We even bought one for our own long-term test and had about 50,000 miles on it before we sold it.
The CRVs best attribute is not just its interior size but the cleverness of that space. It's massive. But it also has a number of useful configurations like an adjustable load floor in the rear and a really trick center armrest. It's the kind of stuff that a family can really find usable.
All that being said, there are a few annoyances like the entertainment system and particularly aggressive warning alerts from some of the safety features. But the overall driving experience price and fuel economy make the CRV a really easy recommendation.
We should also point out the Mazda CX5 because it's actually tied for first place in our rankings. It's not as usable as the CRV in terms of interior space. But it's a bit nicer to drive and it feels far more premium inside. So if you don't need the space and don't mind paying a touch more for a bit more luxury, the CX5 is definitely worth considering.
Now let's talk about three-row SUV cars in this size category. They may seem like a good idea at first. But we have to warn you that the existence of a third row in a compact SUV can make for a really cramped experience. It takes up cargo volume itself, that third row. And the seat is usually pretty small. If it's all you can afford, well, here's what you should consider.
We like the Kia Sorento because it straddles the exterior size and price between compact and midsize SUV. And it finds a sweet spot in the process. Our evaluators gave the Sorento high marks for ride quality, interior comfort, and an intuitive, though far from fancy, entertainment system. You also get decent storage, a third row row, obviously, and a lengthy warranty. It all makes a great pick for a three-row compact SUV.
Here's where luxury SUVs come into their stride. There are a lot of options here with wide ranges and capability. Most anything you find here will have a comfortable ride, nice interior materials, and good performance too. Our favorite is the Mercedes Benz GLC, which delivers a luxury experience you'd expect regardless of the style you choose it in and what styles there are.
There are four cylinder and hybrid versions if you care about fuel economy. And there are 500 horsepower turbo V8s if you simply want to go fast. And there's a bunch of stuff in between too. The available MBUX entertainment system is, again, among our team's favorites for its capability voice recognition and phone integration. And the right is comfortable and the interior is, of course, luxurious.
Now, cargo capacity isn't as strong as some others so if you need more space, you can look elsewhere. But as for everything else, it's hard to beat what the GLC delivers. Now, you can make an argument that the Tesla Model Y falls into this category. We're making broad recommendations here, so for the Tesla, I'll say this. If your local infrastructure supports your charging needs and you are interested in EVs, the Model Y is worth strong consideration. For more info, read our ownership report on the one we bought to see if it's right for you.
As SUVs get larger, you get more interior m more capability, more m and also more options, we decided to split midsize SUVs into two categories, one for SUVs that have a third row standard and the other for SUVs that don't, or SUVs that have an optional third row. We do this because there are shoppers out there who don't want a third row even though they want an SUV of around this size.
Now, for three-row SUVs, the gold standard of this group is the KIA Telluride. It really is the stand out. I mean, no buts about it. It has all the features space and capability but it also has a design and approach to materials that make it seem like a luxury vehicle.
There are also some really thoughtful touches inside like the location of the USB ports on the seat-back sides for the rear passengers to access. And there are some really helpful technology items in there, too, like an extensive exterior camera system. As for the downsides, well, it can't tow as much as others like the Ford Explorer, for example. And as in the time of this recording, they're actually really hard to find on dealer lots.
But on balance and for the money, there are few more appealing ways to move seven or eight people than the Kia Telluride. Now, if you only want two rows in your midsize SUV consider the Honda Passport. Our testing team found it to be highly versatile and with some athleticism, too, from its V6, but also a comfortable driving SUV with tons of passenger and cargo space, not to mention a welcome assortment of standard features too.
We also ran one in our long term fleet for a year so check the links below to see more about what it was like to actually own one of these vehicles. If you want something more specialized like for towing or off-road, there are better options, of course. But the Passport is a solid all-a-rounder that like the smaller Honda CRV, makes for an easy recommendation to most shoppers.
Midsize luxury SUVs generally take the qualities of a standard midsize SUV like towing space and room for cargo and passengers, but add to it the latest in technology, power, and, of course, high-end premium furnishings inside and out. You'll also see some of these SUVs available as coupes. Now, these generally are the same as the standard versions or the non-coupe versions. But they have more stylized roof lines that sacrifice some practicality for style.
Of the two row SUVs, well, are you tired of Mercedes dominating the recommendations? Too bad. Our top pick in this category is the Mercedes GLE which was redesigned for 2020. Like this smaller GLC, the GLE comes in a wide variety of styles, and trim levels, and engines, frankly, too many to list here. But our highlights across all the versions are an extremely powerful entertainment system and an interior that's comfortable, spacious, functional, and quiet.
Now, the GLS price can jump considerably when you start playing around the options. But, hey, these are luxury SUVs. And in the case of the Benz, our team truly believes that you get what you pay for. Now, if you want the standard, third-row, no options required, check out the Audi Q7. Obviously, it's going to come up a little bit short in terms of cargo space because of the existence of that third row. But the overall package is strong.
Our team said the Audi's mix of performance, comfort, and technology, and value is hard to beat. And we also gave it high marks to the interior and the way the Q7 drives.
Here we get the classic utility vehicle, the family trucksters, the Canyonero. These rigs have super-size capability and space. They can haul a big family, that family stuff, you know, the family's boat or the horse too. I don't know. If you need maximum versatility, this is what these big rigs deliver.
Our current top pick is the Ford Expedition, which marries excellent design with a capable truck-based platform. It can seat up to eight and tow more than 9,000 pounds depending on the configuration, and inside, the Expedition can be outfitted with all the features and toys you'd expect from a luxury vehicle. If you need more space, the Expedition Max takes the standard expeditions strengths and adds to it nine inches of length. If you absolutely need the most space possible, here's your answer.
Before finishing this recommendation, though, I have to point out that Chevy's just put out a new Suburban and Tahoe. We haven't performed a full evaluation on those vehicles yet. But keep up to date with our recommendations at Edmunds.com to see if the results here change.
Now here's where things start to get a little silly when it comes to opulence. These SUVs have tremendous road presence due to a combination of size, design, and power. These behemoths are as functional as they are impressive. Not many vehicles out there offer quilted leather upholstery and massaging seats along with 7,000 pound tow ratings, and upwards of 600 horsepower, and seating for seven. But the Mercedes Benz GLS does.
What can we say? This is a fancy people and gear hauler that takes all the luxury elements our team likes from Mercedes and adds to them a cushy ride, and remarkable performance, and a cavernous interior. It looks great too. You're paying a lot for this kind of SUV so your expectations should be mighty high. A good thing, our team says the GLS might just be one of the most well-rounded vehicles on sale today.
That wraps up our SUV recommendations for 2020 and 2021. Be sure to click on the links below for more information and be sure to like, comment, and subscribe, and, of course, thank you for watching.