Enjoy storage and seating capacity in these three midsize SUVs.

3 Best Midsize SUVs | CarMax

If you’re looking to check some important features like cargo space, towing capacity, and versatility off your list, a midsize SUV can be a sensible choice. Based on our sales data from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017, here’s a list of the 3 best midsize SUVs:

  1. Kia Sorento
  2. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  3. Ford Explorer


Kia Sorento

3 Best Midsize SUVs: Kia Sorento | CarMax

The Kia Sorento has been in production for many years, but its most recent redesigns occurred in 2014 and 2016. In 2014, about 80 percent of the previous design was completely revamped and a new, more powerful V6 engine was added to select trims for drivers who were demanding more zip behind the wheel. The 2016 redesign wasn't quite as drastic as what we saw in 2014, but some notable changes included a three-inch-longer body length, as well as more spacious seating for drivers and passengers alike.

Trim Options

The number of trim levels available on the Kia Sorento varies from four to five, depending on the model year. The 2016 model year was the first year we saw five trim options. These include the base L, LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited. Each trim option offers a choice of five or seven seats, as well as a standard four-cylinder or upgraded V6 engine.

The 2016 Sorento base trim (L), includes 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth® connectivity, and split second-row seats. Upgrading to the SX Limited kicks things up by adding leather upholstery and ventilated front seats as well as heated second-row seats and a unique technology package with a parking camera and adaptive cruise control.

Best Features

Fuel Economy

For a midsize SUV, the 2016 Kia Sorento gets decent fuel economy with an estimated 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway) in its 3.3-liter, six-cylinder engine.1

Used Pricing at CarMax

Pricing at CarMax for a used 2014 to 2016 Kia Sorento in September 2017 ranged between $25,000 and $40,000.2 This large range is due to the numerous trim options, seating configurations, and engine choices available.


Jeep Grand Cherokee

3 Best Midsize SUVs: Jeep Grand Cherokee | CarMax

For generations, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a household name, thanks to its rugged body styling, off-road capabilities, and pure functionality. Those seeking a practical vehicle with a little bit of a wild side would do well to consider the 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee as a potential midsize SUV option. Its design hasn't changed much over the past few years, but the 2016 Grand Cherokee did see a new shift lever, as well as some new engine technology and a brand new add-on package for its Overland trim.

Trim Options

The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in five trim levels: the base Laredo, the Limited, the Overland, the Summit, and the SRT. In addition to these trim levels, each is also offered with either 2WD or 4WD, though the SRT is offered exclusively in 4WD.

Those opting for a base 2016 Grand Cherokee Laredo will enjoy some standard features such as keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Bluetooth connectivity. Standard infotainment includes a five-inch touchscreen as well.

Taking it up a couple notches to the 2016 Overland trim will mean upgrading to 20-inch wheels for a smoother ride, as well as dual-chrome exhaust tips and an available impressive towing package for 4WD vehicles. This trim also includes a navigation system, wood-rimmed steering wheel, and leather upholstery throughout.

The top SRT trim in the 2016 model, boasts some incredible features, such as a V8 engine, adaptive suspension, suede sports seats, and more.

Best Features

What drivers will love most about the Jeep Grand Cherokee is its smooth ride and impressive ability to handle off-road obstacles such as steep hills and bumpy roads. This is likely due to the high ground clearance found on the Grand Cherokee. Drivers also enjoy the numerous trim, engine, and other customization options. For example, the 2016 model offers three different engine choices, as well as several add-on packages for a truly customized driving experience.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy will vary a bit depending on trim and engine chosen, but for the 2016 base trim with a 3.6-liter, V6 engine, drivers will enjoy an estimated, 21 mpg combined  (18 mpg city and 25 highway).1

Used Pricing at CarMax

Average pricing for a used 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee at CarMax (as of September 2017) was under $30,000.2


Ford Explorer

3 Best Midsize SUVs: Ford Explorer | CarMax

Those looking to strike a balance between comfort and style should definitely check out the Ford Explorer; this SUV was one of the first to hit the mainstream market and has been in production for decades. Between the 2014 and 2016 model years, the Explorer saw a number of changes and upgrades. For example, in 2016, a new exterior style and revamped suspension, as well as a new trim level, were added.

Trim Options

The 2016 Ford Explorer is available in five trim levels: the base, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum. With the base trim, you'll enjoy standard equipment such as 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, a rearview camera, roof rails, rear climate controls, and a 4.2-inch display with Ford SYNC® and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgrading to the Limited means adding larger 20-inch wheels, a front-view camera, hands-free liftgate, a navigation system, and an upgraded sound system with HD radio.

With the top trim Explorer Platinum, you'll get a dual-panel sunroof for sweeping views, upgraded leather upholstery, a premium sound system, and second-row captain's chairs.

Best Features

One of the Ford Explorer's best features is its huge amount of standard features. With an improved suspension system in 2016, the Ford Explorer delivers a smoother ride than ever. For larger groups, it's also worth noting that folding down the second and third rows of seating on the 2016 Explorer will yield a generous 81.7 cubic feet of storage space, perfect for sports equipment and suitcases.

Fuel Economy

In the 2016 Ford Explorer base trim with a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine, drivers will enjoy an estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway).1

Used Pricing at CarMax

Average pricing for a used 2014 to 2016 Ford Explorer in September 2017 at CarMax was under $32,000.2

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Is a Midsize SUV Right for You?

Midsize SUVs are a great option for those who want the best of all worlds in terms of value, comfort, cargo/seating space, and versatility.

Looking to learn more? Check out our 10 Best Compact SUVs list and other related articles below:


1 Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Unless noted, fuel economy estimates are for vehicles with automatic transmissions. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
2 Based on prices on carmax.com in September 2017. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, title, and any applicable fees.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.