Whether you're looking to tow your boat to the lake or take the kids to soccer practice, the right SUV can make all the difference. The latest models offer everything from backseat entertainment systems to the latest electronic safety features. To choose the right one, think about what you'll use it for most often and work backward from there. Traditional SUVs tend to favor attributes such as power for towing and ground clearance for tackling rough roads, while more modern crossover SUVs are designed to deliver a smooth ride and maximum interior space. We've highlighted a mix of both types of vehicles, so no matter what you're looking for, there's an SUV for you on the list.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda HR-V: The 2017 Honda HR-V is one of the top contenders in this class. What does the HR-V have going for it? For starters, it has plenty of cargo space for its size thanks to the innovative, flip-folding rear Magic Seat. There's also enough space to seat four full-size adults, something you don't always find in this class. We wish the tech interface was a little easier to use, but overall the HR-V is a very comfortable commuter car with more room than the average subcompact sedan.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda CX-3: The 2017 Mazda CX-3 is one of the most attractive, fun-to-drive and sporty vehicles in its class. It's smaller than the other leading compact SUVs, which means space is pretty limited. But if you're looking for an enjoyable driving experience, this is a top choice. The CX-3 also has one of the best interiors in the class with excellent seats, top-notch materials and an easy-to-use infotainment system that mimics those of more expensive cars from Audi and BMW.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek: Truck-based SUVs used to be the only available rugged, go-anywhere vehicles, but a few small crossovers such as the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek are bucking that trend. Essentially an Impreza hatchback with extra ground clearance, different tires and some styling tweaks, the 2017 Crosstrek offers some off-road performance without drawbacks such as compromised fuel economy. Though the Crosstrek isn't the fastest vehicle in the class, it's still adequately powerful for city use and delivers solid mileage in the process.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda CR-V: The 2017 Honda CR-V is one of the most well-rounded vehicles in its class, and perhaps one of the most well-rounded vehicles on the market today. The CR-V has massive amounts of space, it gets excellent fuel economy (especially from the optional 1.5-liter turbo engine), and it's relatively quick. Honda prices the CR-V competitively, so you're likely to find one that fits your budget. It might not be the most exciting or sporty vehicle in its segment, but the CR-V is one of the best all-around performers when it comes to comfort, quality and value.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda CX-5: Since the old CX-5 was a favorite of ours, it's no surprise that the new, improved, redesigned CX-5 is also a favorite. With an interior and driving dynamics that more closely mimic a luxury car's, the CX-5 feels much more expensive than it is. Add to the fact that it is still a very fuel-efficient, family-friendly crossover with plenty of space and modern interior technology, and you've got a class-leading compact SUV.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Escape: The 2017 Ford Escape is a strong all-around performer that offers a wide range of options to suit different kinds of buyers. There are good optional turbo engines, a decent amount of cargo space and a much-improved tech interface with Ford's newest infotainment software. Much like its closest competitor, the CX-5, the Escape feels sporty to drive, a bit more like a car than an SUV. Whether you're looking for an entry-level SUV or a loaded version with all the bells and whistles, the Escape is worth a look.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Subaru Forester: If you're looking for some basic transportation and you'd like to avoid lots of unnecessary frills, the 2017 Subaru Forester is great choice. It has a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, standard all-wheel drive and a solid track record for reliability. The Forester also has lots of great available tech and safety features such as lane departure Intervention, blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Edge: With its comfortable ride, generous cabin space and optional performance-oriented engines, the Ford Edge offers buyers a little bit of everything. The base engine is appealing thanks to its solid fuel economy ratings, and the optional engines deliver impressive performance. Recent updates to the technology interface also give the Edge all the features you might want in a midsize SUV.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Kia Sorento: The 2017 Kia Sorento is a great example of why we like midsize SUVs so much. It has plenty of technology features and all the space you'll need for a family road trip. The Sorento is available with either two or three rows of seating so you can accommodate as many as seven passengers. A sleek design and comfortable seats add to its appeal, and the Sorento comes standard with an excellent warranty for added peace of mind.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Nissan Murano: This unique midsize crossover stands out with its eye-catching exterior design, high-tech interior and best-in-class front seats. It also offers solid performance that makes it feel smaller from behind the wheel than you might expect. Don't worry, though: There's plenty of room in the backseat for adults or even the biggest child seats, although the cargo area isn't quite as spacious as the Ford Edge's.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Pilot: The 2017 Honda Pilot has made many improvements since the first-generation Pilot debuted, and it now delivers one of the best combinations of performance, utility and technology. It's comfortable on road trips, smooth over broken city streets and well built, both inside and out. For drivers who want to ditch the minivan but still need three rows of seating, the Pilot has intelligent storage solutions, modern tech and impressive fuel economy for the class. It can even tow as much as 5,000 pounds with the right equipment, which makes it a great alternative to bulky body-on-frame SUVs.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Highlander: The 2017 Toyota Highlander has been one of the best vehicles in this class for some time now, and there are many reasons why. It not only offers an optional 3.5-liter V6 that is powerful and fuel-efficient, but there's also a hybrid model that's rare in the class. The Highlander can tow as much as 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, and it has above-average cargo space. It also has nicely weighted steering and a near-luxury level of interior comfort.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda CX-9: One of the best-looking and most recently redesigned vehicles in the class, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 has a compelling combination of size, style and class. It's big but maneuverable. It's powerful but fuel-efficient. It feels upscale, but the price isn't in the luxury stratosphere. And while 72 cubic feet of cargo space isn't the most you can find in the class, the CX-9's usable cargo space is respectable and fuel economy estimates (as well as real-world performance) are impressive. If there is such a thing, this is the driver's three-row crossover, just as we've come to love and expect from Mazda.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Expedition: There's been a large shift in the SUV world over the last few years, and it has been away from large, body-on-frame, truck-based family haulers. Smooth-riding crossovers are much more common these days. Despite that shift, the Ford Expedition has evolved, making a strong case for the spacious three-row SUV with trucklike towing capacity and serious on-road presence. The Expedition has one of the smoothest rides in the segment and more than enough room for adults in the third row. And though fuel economy isn't exactly impressive, the Expedition does manage to squeeze out a respectable EPA estimate from its turbocharged V6 of 18 mpg combined. Combine that with a maximum tow rating over 9,000 pounds and you've got one impressive family hauler.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser: Sometimes, you need an SUV with a very specific set of skills; simply getting the family to and from soccer practice isn't enough. That's where an off-road bruiser such as the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser steps in. Full-time four-wheel drive, ground clearance that will shame most pickup trucks and Toyota's advanced KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) make the Land Cruiser a supremely capable off-road machine. The excellent ride comfort, strong V8 powertrain and easy-to-understand trim-level structure should make this off-roader appealing to more than just the off-road crowd. You could own a Land Cruiser and never go off-road, sure. You could also own one and never go on-road, too. That's the beauty of this well-rounded Toyota SUV.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Jeep has been building off-road machines for what seems like an eternity. And, sure, the comfortable, family-friendly Grand Cherokee might not be its most off-road-ready model, but it can get much farther than most of its brethren — especially in the Trailhawk trim, which debuts for 2017. More than just an off-roader, the Grand Cherokee is quiet, borderline-luxurious on the inside, and exceedingly good on road trips. There are also three available powertrains to choose from, which should help when it comes to towing or just getting the most grunt out of your ride.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Jeep Wrangler: There are few vehicles left on the planet that are as singularly focused as the 2017 Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler has two chief tasks that it has accomplished for decades: Go as far as humanly possible off-road, and have a convertible top. Everything else is secondary. This isn't a comfortable, luxurious, well-trimmed family vehicle; it's just an SUV that wants to go where nothing else can. Refinement obviously suffers as a result, but that's part of what gives the Wrangler its charm. It doesn't care about rear-seat DVD players or fancy massage seats — it would rather you take off the top and go for a drive through the forest, which is probably just what you want if you're shopping for a Wrangler. And that's why it's still a favorite of ours.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota 4Runner: With off-road variants and plenty of capability no matter where you take it, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner is a leader in its class. A generous amount of underbody clearance can get you over rocks and ruts, while Toyota's KDSS suspension and an available low-range transfer case can handle pretty much any road surface you throw at them. The 4Runner is relatively capable as a tow vehicle, too, with a 5,000-pound towing capacity. There are a few city-friendly trims available on the 4Runner, but we recommend one of the TRD models to get you off the beaten path.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Acura RDX: If you're looking for a luxury vibe without an eye-watering price premium, the 2017 Acura RDX is a great place to start. Top trim levels of the RDX typically rival other luxury crossovers at their base levels, with no loss of comfort or panache. The cabin is large enough for adults to sit comfortably in the back, and the standard V6 powertrain combines class-leading acceleration with respectable fuel economy. All the luxury equipment you'd expect to find in this class is available on the RDX, and it's one of the easiest-to-drive vehicles of its size.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW X3: Some SUV buyers expect their vehicles to feel ponderous from behind the wheel, but the BMW X3 feels more like a sport sedan than a utility vehicle. Put that together with a roomy and very well-built cabin, and you've got a winning recipe. The X3 is a bit pricier than several of its similarly equipped rivals, but if you want something that feels special no matter how you drive it, the X3 is worth the price.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Audi Q5: While it may not be particularly flamboyant or flashy on the outside, the 2017 Audi Q5 definitely has the right stuff where it counts. The base four-cylinder turbocharged engine has enough punch to keep it competitive in the class, while the available V6 offers a bit more get-up-and-go. The interior is put together with top-notch materials while the sliding rear seat is a unique feature in the class. And the sporty driving character means that you don't have to sacrifice practicality for fun.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: One of the newest vehicles in the segment, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a solid all-around performer. The cabin has plenty of space for adults, both front and rear. The styling and build quality check all of the luxury boxes, and the standard four-cylinder engine is one of the best in the class for acceleration and fuel economy. An available AMG model steps it up a notch with a turbocharged V6, and available all-wheel drive on both models means that you can consider the GLC no matter what kind of climate you live in. The GLC doesn't skimp on the extras either: You can get all sorts of optional items, from a 14-speaker Burmester stereo to a surround-view camera.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Porsche Macan: The 2017 Porsche Macan is probably one of the best-driving SUVs on the market today. It takes the Porsche virtues of spirited driving and applies them to the small crossover class. Everything on the Macan's interior feels as if it's been borrowed from the long, illustrious history of cars such as the 911 Carrera and yet you can still stuff a bike in the back if you fold down the backseats. Thanks to its sleek design and compact dimensions, the Macan is a bit limited when it comes to overall cargo capacity, but if you're looking for the driver's car in the segment, this is the one.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Acura MDX: Much like the smaller RDX, the 2017 Acura MDX is a luxury SUV without the hefty price tag. The MDX offers three rows of seating, all of which are comfortable and spacious, but be aware that its cargo bay is only average. Excellent safety scores, a quiet cabin, a smooth ride and impressive fuel economy all round out the MDX's long list of practical virtues, but for a vehicle this big, it's pretty sporty, too.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Audi Q7: Without question, the redesigned 2017 Audi Q7 is one of our top choices in the class. Excellent build quality and materials selection make the cabin attractive from the moment you sit down, while a supremely hushed interior on the highway ensures it's an excellent long-haul vehicle. From behind the wheel, the Q7 feels smaller than it is, with a nimble character around corners. The Q7 comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but we recommend stepping up to the supercharged V6, which gets the Q7 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds — an impressive figure for the class. The V6 also bumps the Q7's maximum towing capacity up from 4,400 to 7,700 pounds, which is certainly robust.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW X5: The 2017 BMW X5 is one of the most expensive vehicles in the class, and its cargo area is smaller than those of the class leaders. That said, we still think it's worth the cost of entry. There are several different engines to choose from, including a turbocharged six-cylinder, a turbocharged V8, a six-cylinder diesel, and even a plug-in hybrid model with 14 miles of electric-only range. As you'd expect from BMW, there's plenty of high-tech equipment available, such as a night-vision camera system and four-zone climate control. The X5 also comes with free standard maintenance for four years and enough standard features to satisfy almost any driver.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Porsche Cayenne: Based on its sheer size, the 2017 Porsche Cayenne might seem as if it's too big to be sporty or agile. But don't let this big German SUV fool you. It's seriously impressive — both in a straight line and around corners. Whether you go with the standard turbocharged V6 or the massively powerful turbocharged V8, the Cayenne has more than enough grunt to satisfy anyone with a heavy right foot. And whether you're darting in and out of city traffic or going for a jaunt through the hills, the Cayenne is easy to drive. All the luxury credentials are in order, too, with an exquisitely built interior and seats comfortable enough for any long-distance journey.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Volvo XC90: With a style and sophistication all its own, the 2017 Volvo XC90 is unique to look at and excellent to drive. A theme among our top choices in this class, the XC90 handles like a car that's much smaller, and it has an available plug-in hybrid model — two attributes that give it a wide range of appeal. The second and third row have plenty of space, and as you'd expect from Volvo, it gets top safety ratings, including a Superior score from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its forward collision mitigation system. The XC90 doesn't accelerate as quickly as some rivals, and it isn't as quiet as class leaders, but it still has a lot going for it and it remains high on our list.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: Previously known as the GL, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS is about as big as you can get from Mercedes (cargo vans aside). The GLS has plenty of room for adults in all three rows, and there's no shortage of available luxury equipment. When you fold down the second and third rows in the GLS, there's a whopping 93.8 cubic feet of cargo space, which is competitive even in this segment. Option highlights include an automated parallel parking system, ventilated front seats, adaptive suspension and even a dual-range transfer case for some added off-road prowess. And no Mercedes is truly complete unless it has a performance-oriented AMG variant, so the GLS offers the AMG GLS 63, which comes with a 5.5-liter V8 packing 577 horsepower.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover: One of the most iconic luxury SUVs on the market, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover balances extreme off-road capability with a lavish interior. Even if it lived its entire life in the city, the Range Rover would be impressive based solely on its smooth eight-speed transmission, quiet cabin and impeccable trim. But no Range Rover should be relegated to exclusive city patrol. This top-of-the-line SUV can also traverse difficult trails thanks to intelligent terrain response and plenty of clearance to get over big rocks.
Best SUVs for 2018
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