Road-trip ready with plenty of elbow room.

Best SUVS for 2018 | CarMax

Are you dreaming about an SUV that gives you more elbow room and an elevated perspective of the road ahead? You don't have to look hard to find desirable features in a variety of shapes and sizes. Need three rows for your passengers? Looking for a rugged vehicle to tackle dirt-road adventures? You'll find all these options and more in this list.

Using CarMax sales data from May 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019, here's our list of the 12 best SUVs for 2020 shoppers.

  1. Nissan Pathfinder
  2. Dodge Journey
  3. Jeep Wrangler
  4. Kia Sorento
  5. Ford Explorer
  6. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  7. Jeep Cherokee
  8. Toyota RAV4
  9. Honda CR-V
  10. Ford Escape
  11. Chevrolet Equinox
  12. Nissan Rogue


Cadillac SRX

Best SUVS for 2017: Cadillac SRX | CarMax

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.


Lexus RX 350

Best SUVS for 2017: Lexus RX350 | CarMax

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.


Nissan Pathfinder

Best SUVs: Nissan Pathfinder | CarMax

The Pathfinder has been a head-turning SUV since the early 1990s, and Nissan has consistently turned out exciting, spunky models ever since. The current generation started in 2017 and Nissan keeps adding to its appeal. With a 3.5L V6, the 2019 Pathfinder offers impressive power and a steady ride. All trims of the 2019 Pathfinder can tow an estimated 6,000 pounds with the V6 when properly equipped.1 In 2019, Nissan issued the Rock Creek Edition package, great for robust off-roading if you're the type that seeks adventure.

The list of standard features on the base 2017-2019 Pathfinder includes:

  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Rearview camera
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Forward collision warning (2018-2019)


GMC Terrain

Best SUVS for 2017: GMC Terrain | CarMax

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.


Toyota RAV4

Best SUVs: Toyota RAV4 | CarMax

When the Toyota RAV4 made its first appearance in 1994, it set the standard for the modern crossover. Since then, it has continued to improve upon that first generation. Every 2019 RAV4 comes with a suite of driver assistance features, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. For plenty of flexibility, your 2019 RAV4 also comes with a 60/40-split folding-and-reclining second-row seats, perfect for expanded cargo room or a few furry friends.

The base trim 2017-2019 Toyota RAV4 comes with:

  • LED headlights
  • Driver assist features
  • Rearview camera
  • Seven-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay compatibility (2019 only)
  • Seventeen-inch steel wheels

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Jeep Patriot

Best SUVS for 2017: Jeep Patriot | CarMax

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.


Jeep Wrangler

Best SUVs: Jeep Wrangler | CarMax

Rugged and undeniably capable off-road, the Jeep Wrangler puts the utility in sport utility vehicle. For 2019, the Wrangler comes in two-door or four-door options: the two-door is available in Sport, Sport S, and Rubicon trims and the four-door in Sport, Sport S, Sahara, Moab, and Rubicon trims. Love a manual transmission? With its standard 3.6L V6 paired to a six-speed manual (or an available eight-speed automatic), this is the SUV for you. There's nothing like opening up your Wrangler and feeling the wind envelop your whole body; driving a Jeep Wrangler feels like an adventure as soon as you slide behind the wheel.

The base 2017-2019 Jeep Wrangler includes:

  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Skid plates and tow hooks
  • Removable full-metal doors with crank windows
  • Fold-down windshield
  • Air conditioning (optional on the two-door Sport)


Dodge Journey

Best SUVs: Dodge Journey | CarMax

The 2019 Dodge Journey comes in three trims: SE, Crossroad, and GT. The first-generation Journey was introduced in 2009, and since then, this three-row SUV continues to offer options for families, singles, and professionals with features to please everyone.

For seating options, the 2019 Journey is ready to accommodate you with 60/40-split second-row seats and 50/50-split third-row seats, and both rows slide and recline. All trims for 2019 come standard with FWD or available AWD as an option. For model year 2019, both the SE and Crossroad trims come standard with a 2.4L, four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The AWD option, however, brings along a 3.6L V6 with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Standard feature highlights for the base 2017-2019 Dodge Journey include:

  • Adjustable steering wheel
  • Automatic headlights
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Vehicle anti-theft system
  • Brake assist


Jeep Grand Cherokee

Best SUVs: Jeep Grand Cherokee | CarMax

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a wide selection of trims, with seven diverse options. Starting with the base Laredo, which includes a 3.6L V6 engine generating 295 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, you will enjoy a plush interior and a host of standard features.

If you and your family are adventure-oriented, the 2019 Trailhawk is an off-road specialist trim and includes 4WD. And if you really want the whole package plus a blistering 707 horsepower, the 2018-2019 Trackhawk is the one for you.

The base 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee includes the following:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Seven-inch touchscreen (2018-2019 models; 2017 model has a five-inch screen)
  • Six-speaker audio system


Nissan Rogue

Best SUVs: Nissan Rogue | CarMax

Standard with Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology and a 2.5L, DOHC four-cylinder engine, all you have do is slide behind the wheel of one of these SUVs for a test drive and you'll understand why it's a popular seller at CarMax.

Standard features on the 2017-2019 Nissan Rogue include:

  • Lane-departure alert
  • Rear-door alert
  • Five-inch display
  • EZ FLEX® Seating System with a second-row split-folding/sliding/reclining seat with passthrough

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Honda CR-V

Best SUVs: Honda CR-V | CarMax

The 2017-2019 Honda CR-V is available in four options, each building on the one before. The base model LX includes a set of impressive standard features while the EX goes on to add a more powerful engine and more driver-assistant features. Want it all on the 2019 Honda CR-V? The Touring trim piles on the luxury and touches.

Standard features on the base 2017-2019 Honda CR-V LX trim include:

  • 184-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Sport Mode
  • Bluetooth
  • Rearview camera


Jeep Cherokee

Best SUVs: Jeep Cherokee | CarMax

Looking for a comfortable, sleek SUV that shines both off and on the road? The Jeep Cherokee is in its second generation, which kicked off in 2014, and continues to evolve. This compact SUV is available in five trims: the base Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, off-road Trailhawk, and the top-of-the-line Overland.

Standard on the 2017-2019 Jeep Cherokee is a 2.4L four-cylinder engine, but you can also get an optional 3.2L V6 or 2.0L turbo (2019 models). A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with all engines.

The 2017-2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude includes standard:

  • Five-inch infotainment system (seven-inch screen for 2019)
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (2019 only)
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 60/40-split-folding rear seat


Ford Explorer

Best SUVs: Ford Explorer | CarMax

With a quiet and comfortable cabin, the 2017-2019 Ford Explorer starts with a 3.5L V6 with 290 horsepower. If a little more torque (310 lb.-ft. versus the V6's 255 lb.-ft.) makes you happy, the 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder is also available. For the twin-turbocharged V6, go with the powerful Sport trim, which includes an upgraded suspension for rougher terrain. The top-of-the-line plush Platinum trim includes a panoramic sunroof, an automated parking system, premium leather upholstery, and a premium audio system (2019 models).

Standard features of the 2017-2019 Ford Explorer include:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Power-adjustable driver seat
  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB port


Chevrolet Equinox

Best SUVs: Chevrolet Equinox | CarMax

For 2019 models, Chevrolet includes standard rear-seat reminder and Teen Driver technology in every trim of the Equinox. This two-row SUV offers a whopping 39.7 inches of rear-seat legroom, giving your passengers plenty of space to stretch out. Across the four available trims for 2019, you'll have the choice between three sporty powertrains: 1.5L turbo (all trims), 2.0L turbo (available on LT and Premier trims only), or 1.6L TurboDiesel (LT and Premier trims).

At the base level, the 2017-2019 Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with:

  • Tire-pressure monitoring system with tire-fill alert
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Two USB ports and an auxiliary jack in the front storage bin


Ford Escape

Best SUVs: Ford Escape | CarMax

Ford's compact crossover SUV completes the trio of the Expedition-Explorer-Escape family. To escape means to break free from confinement or control, and Ford's manifestation of the word resulted in a refined, quiet, and sophisticated ride. Available in four trim levels and nine vibrant colors for 2019 (seven in 2017 and 2018), the three powertrains (2.5L iVCT, 1.5L EcoBoost, and 2.0L EcoBoost) are equally mix-and-matchable.

Standard features for the 2017-2019 Ford Escape include:

  • 60/40-split-fold rear bench seat
  • Front-row center console with two cup holders, two media bins, and a padded armrest
  • Traction control
  • Belt-Minder®
Ford Escape Interior

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This list includes the great options SUVs if you're looking for a spacious, comfortable ride for you and your family.

Looking for more information? Read these related articles below:

1Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
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.