Choosing a midsize SUV may turn out to be overwhelming and outright confusing, not because there’s shortage of great options, but instead due to the fact that there are way too many of them out there.
As midsize SUVs are increasingly becoming the go-to vehicles for families, more and more companies are getting in the race to offer the best. However, it’s still worth noting that although there are a few good all-round options, many of them actually have their respective strong areas, and in some cases, certain weaknesses.
We will take a look at all the options that can be termed as worthy candidates for the tag of the best midsize SUV on the market.
Looking for the Best Midsize SUV? These 20 Options Are All You Need to Consider
#1 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander is one of the few midsize SUVs out there that wouldn’t make you miss a large, full-sized one. Besides coming with many of the same features and amenities that you get with a large SUV, the Highlander can also accommodate as many as eight passengers, thanks to its super spacious interior and three rows of seating.
But fortunately for potential buyers, the Highlander manages to get around those typical safety issues associated with larger SUVs. In fact, it has been getting great safety ratings consistently, making it one of the most popular SUVs among family buyers.
There’s no shortage of power as well, and the driving dynamics don’t leave much to desire, too. You get to choose from two engine options: a four-cylinder with a 2.7-liter capacity that puts out 185 horsepower, and a much more powerful 3.5-liter V6 that boasts 270 horsepower.
#2 Dodge Durango
The Dodge Durango may certainly turn out to be the best midsize SUV for many buyers. While it comes with the power and toughness of a truck-based SUV, it somehow still does well to offer a drive that’s as smooth and comfortable as some of the other much less powerful SUVs in the class.
Its three rows of seating offer ample passenger space, while the impressive driving dynamics ensure a great overall driving experience.
However, none of these is what you would call the best thing about this beast of an SUV. When it comes to the power factor, the Durango simply hits it out of the park with its 5.7-liter V8 engine, that produces an unbelievable 360 horsepower. Even the other, less powerful V6 engine option pumps out 290 horsepower.
The towing capacity is just as massive at 7,400 lbs for the V8 engine and 6,200 lbs for the V6 model.
#3 Honda Pilot
This is another option on the list that many buyers find to be the best midsize SUV out there on the market. Again, as with other popular options, one of the important reasons that attract buyers to the Pilot is its generous spaciousness, allowing up to eight passengers across its three rows.
The upscale, high-quality interior is another great feature that doesn’t fails to please buyers. As for power, the Honda does well with its 3.5-liter V6, producing 280 horsepower.
The base version of the Pilot, however, may seem a bit on the basic side with its 6-speed automatic transmission and modest features. However, you have the option to opt for higher trim levels and get the 9-speed automatic transmission upgrade.
The upgraded version doesn’t have any shortage of high-quality standard features and equipment.
#4 Hyundai Santa Fe
If you’re looking to get the most out of your budget in terms of value, the Hyundai Santa Fe may hit the spot for you. This 7-passenger SUV actually offers a lot for its price.
Heated front seats with a power adjustment feature for the driver, touchscreen information, HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and door locks, a reclining feature for the second row seat, 18-inch rims and more are what you get with just the base version of the Santa Fe.
Finally, if you would also like to complete like excellent combination of value features with some serious power, you can consider opting for the 3.3-liter V6 that’s good for 290 horses.
#5 Jeep Grand Cherokee
First things first, this is also a competitor for the best compact SUV, as it’s as much of a compact SUV as a midsize one. In other words, it’s going to be particularly appealing to those that are not sure whether they want to go for a compact SUV or a midsize SUV.
Now, the Grand Cherokee actually has a lot to boast of, but what it’s pretty well known for is its off-road capabilities. It’s one of the few SUVs that offers the comfort of on-road driving while being tough enough to deal with pretty much all kinds of off-road obstacles.
You also get three different four-wheel systems to choose from, and the best one (Quadra-Drive II system) offers some decent, unique features.
#6 Mazda CX-9
The unique chassis of the Mazda CX-9 makes it one of the most fun to drive SUVs out there. However, the fun of driving doesn’t come with any kind of compromise on the practicality front, as it’s spacious enough to accommodate up to seven passengers.
However, something that’s much more worthy of praise about the CX-9 is the way it handles challenges once you’re away from the comfort of the road. One of the things you’re going to love about it if you’re into a lot of off-driving is its surprisingly smooth handling, which is certainly comparable to significantly smaller vehicles.
The CX-9 also has a lot to show on the power front, with its 3.7-liter V6 engine pushing out 273 horsepower.
#7 Infiniti QX70 Limited
If you’re looking for the best luxury SUV but without a luxury budget, you may want to consider settling for the Infiniti QX70 Limited.
It’s not exactly a luxury SUV, though, but is more of a sporty, stylish sedan. However, that also means that the passenger space takes a hit, and the cargo space isn’t comparable to some of the other options mentioned on this list as well.
That being said, the trade-off is a highly unique, different body style that’s certainly attention-grabbing and easily stands out from the rest.
You can go for either a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive. The V6 engine with a 3.7-liter capacity comes with some serious power with its 325 horses, supported by a 7-speed automatic transmission.
#8 Nissan Murano
The Nissan Murano is another SUV that offers the luxury of a luxury SUV but without breaking the bank. The kind of comfort and performance it brings to the table is certainly hard to find in the class.
The interior is where most of Murano’s luxury is at, as it easily outclasses many other options on this list on this front. The smooth, comfortable drive, even when doing some serious off-road driving, is certainly something you will be pleased with.
However, the driving engagement is something that’s kind of missing from the Murano. But it makes up for it with a decent fuel economy despite its powerful V6 engine.
#9 Buick Enclave
Everything seems to be perfect about the Buick Enclave, apart from a couple flaws. It offers more cargo space than most SUVs in the class, its interior is something that gives even some of the considerably more expensive SUVs a run for their money, and it also comes with plenty of standard equipment and features.
However, the Enclave still fails to impress on the performance front, especially due to its V6 engine finding it difficult to handle some difficult driving challenges. The fuel economy is another area of concern.
If you’re fine with these drawbacks, though, the Buick Enclave can actually be a pretty good option.
#10 Chevrolet Traverse
The Chevrolet Traverse, unlike the option we reviewed above, manages to offer a decent performance. However, this means that you have to compromise on something else, which in this case, are the standard features. The fuel economy, too, is at the lower end of what you find in the segment.
The infotainment system in particular can be a hassle to deal with as well. At the same time, though, there’s the car-like handling and a great amount of cargo space that makes you want to overlook these shortcomings.
The 281 horses V6 is about average in the class, but the safety features of the Traverse certainly help it get an edge over some of its competitors.
#11 GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia can actually turn out to be the best midsize SUV for buyers that are on a tight budget but aren’t willing to compromise a lot on the important aspects of the vehicle. It actually seems to be the most affordable SUV that you can find without settling for too less in terms of value, features and overall comfort.
The Acadia, as suggested above, offers a lot of value with its long list of standard features and an impressive fuel economy. On the downside, the cargo space is a bit of concern, and you wouldn’t find it a lot of fun to drive.
The Acadia’s base V6 is good for 193 horses, but it’s a good overall option for those who can’t afford some of the other, better options on this list.
#12 Ford Flex
Perhaps the first thing you would notice about the Ford Flex is its highly unique design, which apparently takes inspiration from some of the traditional, popular SUVs that hit the road first a decade back or so.
But as you can also tell from its body style, it got plenty of passenger space to offer. The 287-horsepower V6 is actually not bad for a base engine, too.
There are also quite a few quality standard features. However, you also have to consider the other side of the coin, which means a slightly disappointing fuel economy and average comfort.
#13 Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is one of the most powerful midsize SUVs you can find on the market. The twin-turbocharged V6, with a horsepower of 280, is tempting given that there are not many that can match its power.
However, the towing capacity and handling are going to be a letdown, though the spaciousness and comfort offered seems to be in line with other options in the class.
#14 Nissan Pathfinder
The Nissan Pathfinder has got a total makeover for its 2017 version. The body styling is undoubtedly one of the most significant changes, and it does look pretty classy.
Talking about some of the more practical features, the cargo space is at the upper end of what you get in the class, but the passenger space leaves a bit to be desired.
Some of the significant changes in the 2017 model are apparently to make it do well on multiple fronts, although it fails to achieve its objective to a certain extent.
The strong V6 engine is a hit with a horsepower of 284, and there are quite a few impressive standard features as well, such as a very responsive infotainment system. However, a slightly outdated interior design and an ordinary ride quality is something to be aware of as well.
#15 Toyota 4Runner
If you’re looking for an off-road monster, the Toyota 4Runner is probably built for you. It certainly ranks at the top of the list when it comes to off-road performance.
However, the same cannot be said about the on-road experience, as it’s a bit on the rough side. It probably also has issues dealing with some of the more challenging terrains out there.
That being said, if you’re sure you need a midsize SUV that you will mainly be driving off-road, then the 4Runner is quite a safe bet. It comes with an impressive amount of cargo space and the interior is not too bad for an SUV that’s designed to be tough.
The 4.0-liter V6 that the 4Runner sports, too, is pretty powerful, producing 270 horsepower.
#16 Dodge Journey
The Dodge Journey is likely going to be the most affordable SUV on this list. However, that also means that you shouldn’t expect much from it.
It’s base engine is unimpressive, the cargo space may not turn out to be sufficient if you tend to carry a lot of stuff, and the four-speed transmission is a bit too cheap.
But if you think these downsides are only fair given the surprisingly low price, then you will also be pleased to know that you get some decent standard features, and the ride, too, is pretty comfortable overall.
#17 Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is another SUV that combines the efficiency and handling of a small car with the power and versatility of an SUV.
From the suspension to the body styling to even the standard features, the Outback got everything you can ask for, except for probably one thing. That one thing – and the only drawback – is that it’s pretty low on space, and you shouldn’t expect it to accommodate more than 5 passengers comfortably.
But most other important features doesn’t seem to be an issue with the Outback, including the fuel economy and cargo space. However, unless you would like a bit of compromise on the power front, you would want to go for the 6-cylinder 3.6-liter engine that boasts a horsepower of 256.
#18 Land Rover LR4
The Land Rover LR4 is another tempting option for the off-road fanatics. Besides its incredible off-road capabilities, it also comes with a bunch of advanced features to make off-road driving a breeze.
It’s also spacious enough to let 7 passengers enjoy its comfortable yet adventurous ride. The fuel economy, however, could have been better.
#19 Toyota Land Cruiser
Now, if the body styling is something you just cannot compromise on, look away – the Toyota Land Cruiser looks a little outdated. However, it’s packed with great features, and offers a perfect mix of pretty much everything.
The power, the luxury, the simplicity, as well as the off-road capabilities – these are things that makes the Land Cruiser extremely tough to compete with in the class.
#20 BMW X5
Well, yes, we reserved the final spot for nothing but the luxury king BMW X5. Of course, you need pretty deep pockets to own it, but if you do, it’s hard not to consider the X5.
Being all about luxury, you get plenty of luxury features, and the ride comfort is something that simply puts it in a league of its own.
However, what is actually surprising about the X5 is that it’s also a solid option for on-road driving, as well as comes with plenty of power. Its 6-cylinder V8 is as powerful as the X5 is luxurious, blowing away its competition with a massive horsepower of 445.