Sports-utility vehicle (SUV), or also known as sport-ute, is an all-around automobile with off-road features such as elevated ground clearance and available four-wheel models. As a rule of thumb, each model seeks the combination of space, durability, and performance under highly varied conditions. A true all-weather machine.
Even though most SUVs are with light-truck chassis for sheer heavy lifting, it is usually used as a family vehicle and is pretty popular on city streets. Although popular in urban and well-paved areas, SUVs really shine in off-road conditions. Some are even backed with a towing capacity similar to a pick-up truck (bigger models are capable of towing over 2,500 pounds). In the US, they are officially classified as light trucks, not cars.
Truck-based SUVs are becoming more and more obsolete after the introduction of the unitary body SUV. The reason for this shift would be mainly connected to fuel optimization and lighter weight drag. The then-popular two-door off-road SUVs are also replaced by four/five-door models.
In 2015, SUVs dethroned the medium segment car as the world’s largest automotive segment. From its global sale of 5 million units in 2000, it voraciously increased up to 20 million in 2015. Manufacturers forecast it to reach 42 million by 2031.
SUVs are available in wide array of prices and sizes. Some are as big as a subcompact car. Others resemble the huge frame of pick-up trucks. Different sizes and design are classified into distinct SUV types. The most popular are subcompact SUVs, compact SUVs, midsize SUVs, and large SUVs. For those who want to get fancy, there are luxury models available in the market such as luxury entry-level SUVs, luxury compact SUVs, luxury midsize SUVs, and luxury large SUVs.
The diversity gives consumers the chance to pick the model that best suits their wants and/or need. Of all the types, compact SUVs and midsize SUVs provide the best balance of fundamental elements – cargo and passenger space, engine power, durability, fuel economy, and affordability. They are not as expensive as the larger models but they are as dependable.
For the past years, manufacturers are producing crossover/hybrid models of SUVs that provides better comfort and exhibits a “carlike” performance. These crossovers may not be the most powerful but they are capable enough to bring the name of SUV.
This article will specifically look into the best midsize SUVs that the market offers.
As the name suggests, this is the middle-size classification of SUVs. It rightly falls between the compact size and the full-size mobiles. As an archetypical design, midsize SUVs are with seating for five passengers plus with extra two or three at the very back portion. It is a multi-purpose machine that will satisfy your lifting needs. In several countries outside the US, full-size and mid-size are usually lumped in one category. The list below shows our top five picks (based on US News’s pick of Best midsize SUVs):
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is the company’s first three-row seat SUV. Though the first, they really did an excellent job in designing this one. Compared to its predecessors, this model is clearly the largest version of midsize SUVs that VW sells. Other manufacturers boast about their headroom and legroom space (primarily for the first and second row). Atlas, however, can confidently brag about the third-row’s legroom space.
If you are into long road trips or always assigned to do the carpooling, you’ll find Atlas as an attractive buy primarily due to its entertainment system, connectivity, and handy smartphone integration. In terms of engine power, Atlas comes with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (capable of producing 235 horsepower). A 3.6L V6 engine is also optional. The engine is paired with 8-speed AT that shifts efficiently. Its current market price starts at $30,750.
This easily ranks as the most well-rounded midsize SUVs with three-row seats, well-cushioned ride, responsive handling, and upscale interior space for cargo and passengers. One of its best features would be the cozy interior design that almost resembles some luxury SUVs. The third row allows additional seating for extra people (mostly around 8) and can easily be folded for additional cargo storage. Without the extension, it provides 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the last seat row.
Its 3.5-liter V6 is complemented by an 8-speed automatic. It follows the standard of 2.7 liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 184 pound-feet of torque and 185 horsepower. This powerful engine allows the Highlander to run bumpy off-roads without any major issue. Currently, the prize average for this model is around $31,000.
This model is easily one of the top midsize SUVs available today. First, its fuel economy is pretty superb with its 4-cylinder engines. Its interior is very spacious with seats and covers made of hi-quality materials (pretty much like a luxury SUV). It is quite and pretty relaxing to ride. In terms of space, the smaller cargo capacity is probably one of its faults.
Lastly, it is one of the least expensive midsize models with superb quality. Sorento offers three engine option that is all favorable in their own rights. The standard is a 2.4L engine that is a good pick if you want to have the best gas mileage. The turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine offers the blend of speed and fuel economy though it is only available in 2-row configuration. Lastly, the V6 engine gives you the power and the towing capacity although it sacrifices a little bit of speed. All three come in 6-speed AT. Due to the variations in engine and trim, its starting price also vary from $25,000 to $46,000.
This model earns a spot primarily because of its extravagant and comfortable cabin and extremely well-designed seats. Murano’s “Zero Gravity” ergonomic seats are designed to place your body in a neutral position. Riding a Murano seems like taking a luxury ride. It offers a seating for five persons (with decent headroom and legroom) but can be extended with its backseat. Its user-friendly tech and connectivity features are also good additions.
The only available engine is their 3.5L V6, backed with a continuously variable AT. It is powerful enough for long trips even with weighty cargo load. However, it can be pretty loud when driving uphill or during sudden acceleration. If you’re worried about its fuel economy, you’re on the good side. Murano is fuel efficient even for a V6 SUV.
Given its features, Murano is relatively affordable. Currently, its price starts around $30,550. The more expensive Platinum trim, however, will cost much more (around $41,980).
Like Highlander, Ford Edge became known because of its well-rounded features. It has a five seating capacity with excellent seat designs. Unlike most models included in this list, Ford Edge doesn’t have a third-row seat. However, it offers a very large cargo space for a typical 2-row SUV. This makes Edge an excellent family ride, especially during trips and even city tours. When it comes to entertainment, its connectivity features and infotainment system is top-of-the-line. Its smartphone integration is also a good addition.
It offers three engine option to choose from. A turbocharged 2.0L is its standard engine with decent fuel efficiency. For acceleration and power, drivers tend to choose V6 engine that is available in SEL and titanium trim. Of the three, Edge Sport is quite remarkable as it is fitted with twin-turbo 2.7L V6 engine. This engine makes Edge a power beast on the road. The downside of Edge Sport is its less remarkable fuel efficiency. Its price usually starts around $29,200 (for the base SE trim). Edge Sport, however, may reach up to $40,700.
Why people choose SUV over other car types?
There are several reasons why midsize SUVs are becoming more and more popular. Here are some of the main reason why:
The comfort of extra cargo capacity.
A midsize SUV, for instance, can easily carry five passengers, not including the extra seating at the back. It is also spacious enough to store your things and other essentials. Whether going downtown with your family and friends, driving to work, or going for some off-road adventure, SUV got you covered.
A sense of safety.
Driving an SUV always gives off a sense of comfort and security. This is mostly associated with its size and build durability. In the past, the chance of rolling-over has been the concerned of owners. Fortney, modern SUVs are placed with mechanisms that minimize this risk.
Ever improving fuel economy.
The high usage-rate of fuel used to be the weakness of SUVs. This is mainly due to the size and weight that the engine carries. That is why development in this area is very welcome. For the recent years, the fuel efficiency of a behemoth SUVs compared to that of a sedan is fast closing. This is being addressed by making SUVs with lighter/smaller frame such hybrid, subcompact, and compact SUVs. These types offer decent mileage while still retaining the noted power of its predecessors.
On the other note, for other car related articles, you may check out our take on hypercars and supercars. Furthermore, for car care techniques and tips, check out our guide on how to buff out scratches on car, how to make a car go faster, how to change a car’s tire, and how to wash your car using the best car wash soap available on the market nowadays.