If you're looking for the right SUV, check out these family-friendly top-sellers of 2017.
Shopping for the best SUV for you means comparing features and drivability across a range of brands—something that can quickly overwhelm even the most dedicated car shopper. Jumpstart your SUV comparison research by digging into some of our top-selling SUVs, many of which offer third-row seats to seat seven comfortably. Large and rugged, these cars can go just about anywhere you need to go, while offering space aplenty for your family, your gear, or your business needs.
Looking at CarMax sales data from January 1, 2017 through the end of July 2017, we’ve highlighted the top-selling SUVs purchased by our customers. If you browsed our 2016 best-rated SUV list, you'll notice some familiar entries as well as new additions to our SUV list. The Ford Escape moved up from #4 to claim the top spot this year, while the Nissan Rogue fell slightly in the rankings, from #5 to #6. We’ve also expanded the list to include 15 vehicles. You’ll also find a lot of these vehicles in articles on the best compact SUVs and the best SUVs with three rows.
Based on CarMax sales data through July 2017, these are the top 15 best-selling SUVs for 2017 so far.
If you're seeking a luxury crossover take on the SUV, you may love the Cadillac SRX. Original versions came with rear-wheel drive, although Cadillac switched to front-wheel drive (and a V6 engine delivering 308 hp) from 2012 on. The engine's power is tamped somewhat by the vehicle’s weight; the 2017 Cadillac SRX weighs more than most other crossovers, so it can be slower to accelerate.
The third-row seat is small and lacks legroom, so it works best for families with more kids than adults. The main cabin is plenty roomy for adults, and the SRX delivers a comfortable, quiet ride.
For a smaller SUV, the Lexus RX 350 delivers many of the features car shoppers want in an elegant, luxury package. The RX excels at comfort and technology, with high-tech features in baseline trim and a very comfortable ride.
The 2017 Lexus RX comes with a 295-horsepower V6 engine and front- or all-wheel drive, depending on the trim you select. Base models come with 18-inch alloy wheels, faux leather interior, smartphone integration, keyless ignition, forward-collision warning, and a rearview camera. The premium F Sport version boasts bigger wheels, adaptive suspension, and heated leather seats.
The RX seats five comfortably for a quiet, smooth ride.
The Nissan Pathfinder was one of the earliest offerings in the SUV market, and it's still a favorite. The 2017 Pathfinder comes with four trim levels and offers a better base-level package than earlier models. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth®, keyless ignition, and a rearview camera, for instance.
The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder comes with a powerful 3.5L, V6 engine that gives you 284 hp. If you're interested in hauling a boat or trailer, you'll be impressed with the Pathfinder's estimated 6,000-pound towing capacity.
There are three rows of comfortable seating in the Pathfinder; the third row is roomy enough for adult passengers, although legroom can be tight. Still, the Pathfinder does most things very well.
The GMC Terrain is mechanically considered a twin to the Chevrolet Equinox. As we shared in our GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox comparison, this SUV delivers a sleek ride, stylish exterior, and a roomy interior. Three rows of seats offer plenty of passenger comfort; since the third row slides back, you can configure the cabin to fit your family just right. One downside of the spacious passenger cabin is cargo space, which is limited compared to some other crossover SUV offerings.
In the 2017 model, you can choose between two engines. A 2.4L, four-cylinder engine that gives you 182 hp or a 3.6L and a V6 engine that delivers 301 hp. While front-wheel drive is standard, you can select all-wheel drive as an option.
The 2017 GMC Terrain is available in five trim levels. GMC delivers generous trim options even in the baseline level, including rearview camera, Bluetooth® phone connectivity, and a touchscreen interface.
The RAV4 from Toyota is another early SUV that's long been beloved, and for good reason. Among the many reasons to buy a Toyota RAV4, this SUV is great on cargo space, great on passenger space, and features a powerful engine.
The 2017 RAV4 comes with five trim offerings and is available in front- or all-wheel drive. At the baseline level, you'll get keyless entry, Bluetooth® audio streaming, and 17-inch steel wheels. With the Platinum level, you'll enjoy a heated steering wheel and 360-degree view camera system. No matter which trim level you select, you'll get a 2.5L, four-cylinder engine with 176 hp.
If you love the Jeep brand, the Patriot may be the SUV for you. It's got that classic, early-Jeep, boxy styling and a range of modern features such as roof rails, tailgate speakers, and heated seats.
The 2017 Jeep Patriot comes in two trim levels. Manual transmission is standard on these latest models, although you can upgrade to an automatic transmission. This SUV is a solid choice if your travels take you off paved roads; it's got good ground clearance, skid plate and four-wheel drive offerings.
Where the Patriot might fall short for large families is cargo space. There's relatively little of it, even when you fold down the rear seats. If you're interested in an SUV that's got room for the whole gang, you may find better value with another vehicle on this list.
If you're after an SUV that can carry a crowd, you'll love the 2017 Kia Sorento, which is available in a seven-passenger configuration. The interior feels roomy, and all seats are large enough to comfortably accommodate adults.
There are five trim levels; even at the baseline trim, you get sleek styling, a comfortable cabin, and six-speed automatic transmission. The base model offers a 2.4L, four-cylinder engine that puts out 185 hp, plus features like satellite radio and Bluetooth®. For leather upholstery, rear air conditioning, or heated seats, you'll need to upgrade.
There's a lot to like about the Dodge Journey: excellent passenger, cargo room and a third row of seats. If you're seeking a family ride, this might be the right vehicle for you.
The 2017 Dodge Journey comes in five trims. The base trim comes with a 2.4L, 173-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. You can also upgrade to a 3.6L V6 engine for 283 hp. The 2017 model also offers upgrades that might come standard on other SUVs like Bluetooth® and an 8.4-inch touchscreen display.
Jeep's Grand Cherokee has long been a bestseller in the SUV market. Built on a unibody chassis instead of a more rigid ladder frame, the Grand Cherokee is easier to handle than older Jeeps and maneuverable enough for city driving, although you can also take it off-road with four-wheel drive capability. Another cool feature, as we pointed out in our Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer comparison, is that some Grand Cherokees (like the 2016 and 2017 models) ride on adjustable air suspension! Fans of the Grand Cherokee also love its flexibility, comfort, and customization options.
There are five trim levels for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The base Laredo comes with a 3.6L, 295-hp V6 engine and is capable of towing up to an estimated 6,200 pounds when properly equipped.
The Nissan Rogue comes with a hybrid option, which is great for SUV fans who want to spend less money on fuel. The base level 2017 Rogue comes with a standard 2.5L, four-cylinder engine that delivers 170 hp.
A third-row bench seat is available as an add-on, which is great for families. With or without the third row seat, the Rogue is comfortable, roomy inside, and features high-quality interior materials.
The CR-V gets a lot of things right: Passenger capability, comfort, and a competitive price. As we highlighted in our Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 comparison, the CR-V’s interior has ample legroom and cargo space.
Other reasons to buy a Honda CR-V include four levels of trim on the 2017 CR-V. The 2017 base LX comes with a 2.4L, four-cylinder engine that delivers 184 hp and upgraded models come with a turbocharged 1.5L, four-cylinder engine that offers 190 hp. Choose either front- or all-wheel drive and enjoy a smooth ride with good handling.
Another fan favorite from Jeep, the Cherokee delivers strong performance whether you're off-roading or just driving around town.
A 184-horsepower, four-cylinder engine is standard on 2017 Jeep Cherokees. You could also upgrade to the more robust option of a 3.2L, V6 engine that delivers 271 hp. The 2017 Cherokee comes in five main levels of trims. The Trailhawk version is built for off-roading, while the Limited and Overland versions offer more luxurious interiors and features like leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control.
No matter which trim level you select, this vehicle can give you a relatively quiet and comfortable ride.
As the first mainstream SUV, the Ford Explorer is still a CarMax-customer favorite. The Explorer delivers on cost, comfort, and style.
With seating for six to seven passengers, depending on how it is equipped, the 2017 Ford Explorer model offers high-quality interior materials, a quiet interior, and smooth handling. The legroom is somewhat limited, as is the cargo space.
Five trim levels are available for the 2017 Explorer, as are three engines. The top trim level (2017 Ford Explorer Sport, 3.5L, V6 engine) gives you 280 hp and an estimated 22 mpg combined city/highway.*
Chevrolet's Equinox is a top pick among car shoppers who want an SUV for the whole family. The interior is roomy and offers decent legroom, although this does come at a cost to cargo space.
The 2017 Chevrolet Equinox is offered in four trim levels. The standard engine for the 2017 Equinox is a 2.4L four-cylinder, which gives owners estimated 31 mpg on the highway.*
Since Chevrolet has made few large-scale changes to the Equinox over the years, the SUV doesn't offer as many high-tech features as others. The 2017 base trim comes with Bluetooth® phone connectivity, a touchscreen interface, and a rearview camera.
For over a decade, the Ford Escape has been one of the best-selling SUVs, and for good reason. It handles well in the city, and is a good entry-level adventure vehicle for your family.
The 2017 Escape comes in three trim levels, and the baseline model includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth®, and a six-speaker sound system. The base model has a 168-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, while the other trim levels can be had with a turbocharged 1.5L, four-cylinder engine with 179 hp. If you want more power, upgrade to the optional turbocharged 2.0L, four-cylinder engine with 245 hp.
Looking for more? Check out our 2017 list of the 20 Best SUVs with 3 rows and other related articles below:
- 10 Best Compact SUVs
- AWD vs. 4WD: Which to Choose
- SUV Buying Guide: Top Compact, High-Mileage, and Third-Row Seat Models
- Top 10 Cars & SUVs for Winter
- Top SUVs of 2016
- Top 7 Trucks for Towing
- Top 10 Minivan Features for Families
*Based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. See fueleconomy.gov. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history.
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.