As modern family life becomes increasingly busy and demanding, SUVs provide a great solution for those who need plenty of space, features to keep the kids comfortable and occupied and the freedom to adjust the space available to accommodate travel and extracurricular activities.
SUVs were once a welcome addition to the American marketplace, helping to fill the gap between the family station wagon and the sketchy windowless van or Uncle Charlie’s smelly old pickup truck. SUVs have been around since the 1940s with the Willys Jeep Station Wagon but really didn’t hit their stride until the heydays of 1990s excess, when low gas prices made it okay to get 12 miles per gallon in your Chevy Suburban. Since then, SUVs have evolved into their own genre of vehicle. There are small SUVs, large SUVs, crossover SUVs, compact crossover SUVs, luxury SUVs, SUVs with a third row, seven-passenger SUVs, SUVs with great gas mileage, hybrid SUVs, the list goes on and on.
Lately, all the rage has been over crossover SUVs, which act as a hybrid between a car and an SUV, giving you the interior space of an SUV without the hauling capacity. Traditionally, SUVs use body-on-frame construction, similar to what you see in a pickup truck. Crossovers tend to have unibody construction, similar to the way cars are made.
But, which SUV is the best SUV? That’s a very broad question as SUVs come in all shapes and sizes. What may be the best SUV for me may not be the best SUV for you. In order to try and tackle this question, we need to break down the many different styles of SUVs available.
SUVs have kept up well with the advancement of auto technology. Here’s what to look out for in your 2018 SUV selection.
Luxury SUV options
Transport your family in style and luxury with a top-tier SUV selection. From Chevrolet’s 2018 Tahoe model chock full of entertainment and safety options to the GMC’s most recent Yukon packed with every luxurious option a driver could ask for, this year’s models provide maximum comfort and drivability with entertainment and safety in mind. Check out the 2018 Cadillac Escalade, too, for a look at a broad encompassment of the latest features available.
The happy medium between spacious and fuel-efficient, crossover models provide families and outdoor enthusiasts the best of both worlds. 2018 saw a release of several models worth checking out.
Toyota took its ever-popular RAV-4 to new heights with the addition of impressive new features, safety technology and roadtop stability, while keeping the price at a budget-friendly range. Nissan took its Rogue model to a higher level with increased entertainment features, and the Ford Edge put itself on the SUV market in 2018 with a strong new model made to handle anything.
SUVs for the fuel-efficient driver
Though one of the most significant factors that turns drivers away from SUVs is the hefty cost of gas, there are some options out there for the fuel-efficient drivers of 2018.
The Honda HR-V offers a great fuel economy matched with versatility in its utility, and Mazda released its CX-3 to pair agility and safety with an impressive 36-MPG highway fuel economy.
Best Large SUV
You got to come and take the crown of best large SUV from the Range Rover. The newest Range Rover flagship represents everything you’d want from the best large SUV, with a luxurious interior, neat gadgetry, and a hulking, powerful engine. If you ask The Drive editor Mike Guy, Range Rover makes “the best SUV in the world.” After checking out this latest model, it’s hard to argue.
This last model was a mid-cycle refresh, giving the best large SUV a new headlight and grille combo, new LED taillights, wider exhaust pipes, a two-screen infotainment setup and a suite of backseat tech additions. That means last year, the best large SUV just got that much better.
Best Gas Mileage SUV
This gets a little tricky here for a few reasons. First, finding a best gas mileage SUV in the day and age of electric cars is strange. I felt that choosing an all-electric vehicle would be cheating. Second, I didn’t feel like naming the smallest hybrid the best gas mileage SUV worked either. The Pacifica is a plug-in hybrid, which means you can charge it up in your garage at home and hit the streets in all-electric mode. Granted, the all-electric range is only 33 miles, but that should be enough to get you to the gas pump. With a full tank and a full battery, the Pacifica gets the equivalent of 84 miles per gallon, making it the best gas mileage SUV.