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Not too long ago, SUVs came in one size: large. But skyrocketing demand has ushered in a new era with seemingly endless variations on the SUV theme. Today, midsize SUVs, as the name suggests, slot neatly between compact and full-size SUVs, providing arguably the best of both worlds.

These SUVs typically offer more passenger and cargo space than compacts, without the land-yacht footprint of full-size SUVs. Many midsizers employ a V6 engine to provide extra power and torque, although turbocharged four-cylinder engines are increasingly common. Depending on model and specification, midsize SUVs can serve multiple purposes, from off-road adventuring to high-style boulevard cruising.

Best Midsize SUVs for 2018

Whether you're inclined to the tree line or the valet line, we've rated the top midsize SUVs to match your lifestyle. Let our expert vehicle ratings and evaluations help you find the right fit.

3-Row Midsize SUVs

If you can't stomach the idea of a minivan, the best alternative is a three-row midsize SUV. These utility vehicles provide much of the interior space of a minivan in a more stylish package with additional ground clearance. But not all three-row SUVs are built equal. Some offer genuinely adult-friendly space and legroom in the third row, while others have smaller third rows that are best-suited to children. Here are our top three-row midsize crossover and SUV picks.

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. That's a testament to the Durango's enduring strengths. Dodge's three-row ute boasts class-leading towing capacity, available V8 power and truly adult-friendly space in the third row, making it a unique value proposition in this price bracket. Like many of its rivals, the Durango is made for the long haul with comfortable seats, a quiet and cushy ride, top-notch infotainment and massive cargo space. This muscularity takes a toll on fuel economy, however, and there are certainly easier SUVs to maneuver. Overall, though, the Durango works as hard as it plays. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $31,090
Fuel economy: 15-21 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 84.5 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 8,700 pounds

2018 Dodge Durango Overview and Pricing

2018 Honda Pilot

Edmunds Rating: 8.0 out of 10

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 drives, unruffled over broken city streets, and built solidly inside and out, today's Pilot speaks to drivers who want to ditch the minivan but still need three rows of seating. The Pilot features intelligent storage solutions, modern 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. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $31,875
Fuel economy: 21-23 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 83.9 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 5,000 pounds

Read Edmunds' long-term test of the Honda Pilot

2018 Honda Pilot Overview and Pricing

2018 Mazda CX-9

Edmunds Rating: 8.1 out of 10

With a just-right blend of size, style and class, the Mazda CX-9 delivers luxury without the luxury price. It comes standard with three-row seating, yet it retains a maneuverable character and even feels fun when hustled through curves and corners. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers prodigious pep without penalty, and we think the CX-9 is among the best-looking SUVs on the road. That goes for the interior, too, which you could mistake for an Audi effort. Overall cargo space isn't outstanding, but the usable space is still impressive. If a measure of sportiness in an SUV is important to you, the CX-9 delivers. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $33,105
Fuel economy: 23-24 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 71.2 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 pounds

Read Edmunds' long-term test of the Mazda CX-9

2018 Mazda CX-9 Overview and Pricing

2018 Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is a perennial three-row SUV favorite. It offers an optional V6 engine that's both powerful and fuel-efficient (the base engine is a forgettable non-turbocharged four-cylinder). Meanwhile, the ride is comfortable and quiet, and the cabin provides above-average passenger and cargo room. There's even a hybrid model for drivers seeking maximum fuel economy, and every Highlander now gets a standard suite of advanced safety technologies, including automatic emergency braking. The Highlander's infotainment tech lags behind that of some competitors — Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are unavailable, for example — but as an overall package, it ranks among the best. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $32,025
Fuel economy: 22-23 mpg combined (non-hybrid models)
Maximum cargo capacity: 83.7 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 5,000 pounds

Read Edmunds' long-term test of the Toyota Highlander

2018 Toyota Highlander Overview and Pricing

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Edmunds Rating: 7.8 out of 10

The VW Atlas is an all-new three-row SUV that, European badge aside, is built in America for American buyers. A cavernous interior and class-leading cargo space offer ample allowances for passengers and the necessities of busy family life. Large as the Atlas is, it doesn't feel like it from behind the wheel, thanks to crisp steering that makes it easy to maneuver the SUV in tight spaces. But the Volkswagen falls short on power, with its optional V6 only just adequate for highway-speed maneuvers. (The base turbocharged four-cylinder engine also struggles.) Nor is the Atlas especially fuel-efficient, ranging from 19 to 24 mpg combined, although we've exceeded the V6's highway rating in long-distance testing. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $31,745
Fuel economy: 19 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 96.8 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 5,000 pounds

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Overview and Pricing

Compare 3-Row Midsize SUVs

Midsize SUVs with 2 or 3 rows

Midsize SUVs with an available third-row seat are perfect for when you're in a pinch. Need to take two more kids to soccer practice? Pick up your extended family at the airport? These SUVs let you have that third-row flexibility if you need it, but you can also order them in two-row specification if that's more your style.

2018 BMW X5

Edmunds Rating: 8.3 out of 10

The BMW X5 is one of the most expensive vehicles in its rarefied class, but we think it's worth the stretch. The midsize X5 offers several different engines, including a turbocharged six-cylinder, a turbocharged V8, a six-cylinder turbodiesel, and even a plug-in hybrid model with 14 miles of electric range. There are enough standard features to satisfy most drivers, and the numerous stand-alone and packaged options include high-tech equipment such as a night-vision camera system and four-zone climate control. For peace of mind, the X5 also comes with free standard maintenance for four years. One of the few drawbacks is the optional and cramped third-row seat. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $57,945
Fuel economy: 17-25 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 76.7 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 5,952 pounds

2018 BMW X5 Overview and Pricing

2018 Toyota 4Runner

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Edmunds Rating: 7.2 out of 10

One of the last truck-based midsize SUVs on the market, the Toyota 4Runner is an adventure specialist. Generous ground clearance, a sophisticated suspension and four-wheel drive with low-range gearing allow the 4Runner to go farther afield than almost any other midsize SUV. Versatile cargo space and airy seating only boost the 4Runner's appeal, whether you're hauling stuff and people around town or heading out on a desert expedition. Don't expect much in the way of fuel economy, and do expect a bouncy ride on urban streets — it's a truck, remember. But among midsize dirt scramblers, only the rival Jeep Grand Cherokee comes close. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $35,405
Fuel economy: 18 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 89.7 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 5,000 pounds

2018 Toyota 4Runner Overview and Pricing

2018 Volvo XC90

Edmunds Rating: 7.1 out of 10

With distinctive looks and sophistication, the three-row Volvo XC90 is a fresh take on European luxury. Like the Mazda CX-9, the 2018 XC90 handles the road like a smaller car, yet it still has ample space inside. Although kids will be happier than adults in the available third row, the first and second rows offer roomy accommodations, while cargo space is similarly generous. As you'd expect from Volvo, the XC90 also gets top safety ratings. On the other hand, the four-cylinder-only XC90 doesn't accelerate as quickly as some rivals, and it can feel strained under load. (The pricey hybrid variant fares better in this respect.) Moreover, it isn't as quiet as class leaders. But if you appreciate the XC90's debonair style, it's certainly worth test-driving one to learn more. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $47,895
Fuel economy: 23-27 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 85.7 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 5,000 pounds

2018 Volvo XC90 Overview and Pricing

Compare Midsize SUVs with 2 or 3 rows

2-Row Midsize SUVs

Nearly every automaker offers a two-row midsize SUV, and the choices can be overwhelming. Whether you value a comfortable ride, cutting-edge technology or rugged all-terrain utility, there's a two-row SUV out there for you. These are our favorites from the current crop.

2018 Ford Edge

Edmunds Rating: 7.9 out of 10

With a comfortable ride, generous cabin space and an optional twin-turbo V6 engine, the Ford Edge offers buyers a little bit of everything. The base turbocharged four-cylinder engine returns impressive fuel economy, but the availability of two stout V6 engines — including a 315-horsepower twin-turbo V6 in the Edge Sport — will appeal to those who are heavy of foot or planning to tow. Recent technology upgrades, including the slick Sync 3 infotainment system with its seamless smartphone integration and voice controls, make the Edge one of the more forward-looking SUVs in its class. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $30,215
Fuel economy: 19-24 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 73.4 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 pounds

2018 Ford Edge Overview and Pricing

2018 Nissan Murano

Edmunds Rating: 7.0 out of 10

If most midsize SUVs look the same to you (and it's a fair point), have another look at the two-row Nissan Murano. It stands out as much for its eye-catching exterior design as for its high-tech, premium interior and remarkably comfortable front seats, which use NASA-sourced technology. The Murano also offers solid performance that makes it feel smaller from behind the wheel than you might expect. Don't worry, though: Even if the cargo area is on the small side for the class, there's plenty of room in the back seat for adults or even the biggest child seats. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $31,525
Fuel economy: 24 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 67 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 1,500 pounds

Read Edmunds' long-term test of the Nissan Murano

2018 Nissan Murano Overview and Pricing

2018 Subaru Outback

Edmunds Rating: 7.9 out of 10

Is the Outback really an SUV? It started out as a Legacy wagon on stilts, of course, but in recent years Subaru's off-road wagon has found its own identity as a crossover SUV of sorts. Standard all-wheel drive and impressive cargo space are two of the Outback's defining characteristics, while its ample ground clearance contributes to surprising capability in the dirt. The cargo area's low floor simplifies the loading process, and the relatively low roof makes it easy to secure a surfboard or cargo carrier on top. Inside, folding down the rear seats yields an SUV-grade 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The Outback can even tow nearly 3,000 pounds. However you prefer to classify this Subaru, what matters is that it's one of the most versatile vehicles on the market. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $26,810
Fuel economy: 22-28 mpg combined
Maximum cargo capacity: 73.3 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 2,700 pounds

2018 Subaru Outback Overview and Pricing

Compare 2-Row Midsize SUVs

Choosing the Best Midsize SUV for You

Midsize SUVs cover a broad spectrum of today's most popular vehicles. Some aren't much larger than what we'd call compact SUVs, while others hang around the fringes of the full-size SUV class. Furthermore, there's a midsize SUV for practically any budget, with prices ranging from the high $20,000s up to $100,000 and beyond.

Pricing is perhaps the most important consideration when buying an SUV. From there, you can narrow your choices based on fuel economy, available seating rows, maximum cargo space and, if it matters to you, towing capacity. Maneuverability is another concern because some SUVs move like smaller cars and others feel like boats. Visibility is something to be mindful of when you're test-driving the vehicle, although backup cameras and parking sensors help mitigate low-speed anxiety in driveways and parking lots.

Next Steps

Midsize crossovers and SUVs are among today's most popular cars for good reason. With seating for five to eight passengers, power liftgates and large cargo spaces, and essential tech offerings (Bluetooth, USB connectivity, Wi-Fi hotspots), midsize SUVs often strike the best balance for growing families on the go. By blending sedan comfort with the utility of a covered truck, midsize SUVs offer multidimensional benefits. When it's time to find your midsize crossover or SUV, let Edmunds guide you with detailed expert insight and easy one-stop pricing.

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