Have a ball getting there in these sport utility vehicles.
Much is asked of the modern sport utility vehicle – to be roomy and rugged, yet also refined. SUVs are built to meet the need to move families and their things practically, efficiently, and with style. Many of these vehicles are called crossovers because they perform the duties of passenger cars and light-duty trucks at the same time. If you need to move yourself to and from work on one day, and half a soccer team and all their gear on the next day, check out the SUVs on this list. They're the 10 most popular used SUVs shoppers look for at carmax.com. All of the following are available with 4WD/AWD options to help you get where you need to go, in any season.
One of the newer members of Jeep’s off-road family. The Patriot is a bit more comfortable than the Wrangler and it’s roomy inside, despite meeting the criteria of a compact SUV. A choice of two 4-cylinder engines provides solid fuel economy, and there’s an optional 5-speed manual transmission for drivers who like getting a few extra miles per gallon while having fun at the same time. Another engaging option is an in-dash, onboard music library that lets drivers store thousands of songs for anytime listening.
In recent years, Ford’s Edge has made a name for itself as a family car. A midsize crossover, it seats up to five people and has room for plenty of luggage. Electronic stability control and a tire-pressure monitoring system are part of the Edge's standard features lineup, and most trim levels (with the exception of the Sport package) get an estimated, respectable 20/30 MPG. In a helpful addition for families with teenagers who drive, the Edge also comes with MyKey, a feature that allows parents to set speed and volume limits when they can't be in the car supervising. Also standard are USB and Bluetooth connectivity, so it's easy to charge phones and have your music on the go.
For adventurous drivers who want a sporty yet affordable option, the Kia Sorento has come a long way in the past decade. Instead of the original truck-like budget model, it’s now an affordable SUV that offers seating for five or seven (depending on your budget). In the higher range trim levels, you’ll even find some unexpected luxury touches which are uncommon even in luxury cars like Audi and BMW. Newer models offer a hands-free liftgate, making loading things like camping gear and groceries much easier. The available infotainment system on some models is intuitive and hands-free as well. While the Sorento may not win any races, the base-level engine is sufficient for most travel. If you like a little more pep in your car, you might want to spring for a higher trim level to get the more powerful engine.
The economical CR-V has been refined over the last 20-plus years to move you and your family with Honda comfort, convenience, and style. Later models come with dual-zone climate controls, a powered tailgate, and a multi-angle, rearview camera. Its 4-cylinder engine is peppy and responsive. And, in a move to be more efficient, late-model CR-Vs come with a push-button economy mode, where the engine’s computer delivers a less-aggressive response to driver input.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep has made hundreds of thousands of Grand Cherokees; classified as a mid-sized SUV, the most recent editions are the roomiest and most powerful yet for families on the go. Any Grand Cherokee engine option is great for moving five passengers and their luggage; if you plan to haul extra gear, check out the extra-strong SRT-8 Hemi engine option. In this configuration, the Grand Cherokee is the most powerful SUV on this list. There’s also the wide range of options, enough to suit nearly any family’s needs, that includes traction control, leather seats, a powered liftgate, parking sensors, and heated front seats.
The word rogue describes a rabble-rouser, a non-follower of rules. Used here, Nissan’s Rogue is a mid-sized SUV that’s game for raising impish heck. With its back seat in place, the Rogue holds three rascals and their bags of tricks. These seats also fold down to create a roomy 58 cubic feet of cargo space. Some models come with a third row of seats, in order to hold even more (up to seven passengers). Up front, the Rogue boosts comfort levels with features like Bluetooth, front-seat heat, a nav system, and power everything. Both the front-drive and AWD versions can return more than 30 mpg on the highway.
The Ford Escape has been a popular SUV crossover with families for years, and it's not showing any sign of slowing down. More streamlined than the Ford Explorer, it still has plenty of room for a family of five, with newer models having reclining rear seats. Cargo space is decent with just over 34 square feet, enough to hold luggage for most family trips. It comes with MyKey as a standard option, so parents of driving teens can set limits on sound volume and driving speed. The Ford Escape's handling is quick and responsive, and the cabin offers a relatively smoother ride that's quieter than many SUVs. As an all-around family hauler, the Escape is a good choice for families looking at compact SUVs.
Learn more by reading our review of the 2017 Ford Escape.
After 25 years of production, the Ford Explorer is one of the most popular SUVs ever made. It has undergone several revamps since its birth (and found itself in any number of special editions, including as a police vehicle), becoming more and more refined from its truck-like origins. As one of only two vehicles on this list with a third-row seat option, the Explorer can carry up to seven passengers. The comfortable cabin creates a welcoming feel, and most reviewers mention the quiet and easy car-like ride. Newer models come equipped with technology including Bluetooth and optional navigation systems, but make sure you check before you buy! Overall, the Explorer is a family-friendly SUV with a devoted following.
You won’t confuse a Jeep Wrangler with any other vehicle on or off the road today. Its distinctive looks and rugged, go-anywhere capability are legendary. The Wrangler is not-so-spartan on the inside, with a completely updated interior in 2011 that includes AC, a nav system, premium sound systems, and cruise control. The rear seats fold down or can be removed completely for plenty of storage space. Numerous versions that include the Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon offer different trim levels and off-road capability. The 4-door Wrangler Unlimited has been around for 10 years now, and shoppers aren’t bothered so much by its merely-OK gas mileage or its less-than-carlike ride comfort. It’s one of our most-popular SUV searches, proving that for these shoppers, the Wrangler is indeed a “Jeep thing.”
If you need more space for your family to spread out, check out the Chevy Equinox. Its wide, roomy seats can accommodate up to five passengers. In fact, the second row of seats not only has loads of headroom, but also is easily configurable for more legroom for taller family members (and getting child seats in and out easily). All that extra passenger space means a little less cargo room than other similar vehicles, topping out at just under 64 cubic feet. But many may find the extra-roomy interior and configurability worth the trade-off. Driving the Equinox is comfortable and easy, too; it offers a cushioned ride that makes long trips easier on everyone. For those who want more get-up-and-go, choose the V6 version instead of the 4-cylinder. Also, newer models feature the ever-more-important Bluetooth connectivity and rearview camera standard.