Midsize SUVs: Ratings of Sources
Total of 29 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
2012 SUV Buying Guide
by Editors of Edmunds.com
Our AssessmentAmong midsize SUVs, Edmunds.com chooses the 2012 Mazda CX-9 and 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee as their favorites under $30,000. They choose the 2012 GMC Acadia and 2012 Volvo XC60 in the under-$45,000 category, while they like the 2012 Porsche Cayenne, 2012 Acura MDX and 2012 Land Rover LR4 for models below $55,000. Edmunds.com also provides concise and informative summaries of each individual model.
New SUV Ratings & Reliability
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org is independent and known for its rigorous and fair testing procedures, purchasing and thoroughly testing many new models each year. They give their Recommended label to models that meet their testing requirements and have good reliability data.
Truck Trend's 2012 Best in Class
by Editors of Truck Trend
Our AssessmentThe editors of Truck Trend, the truck specialists from Motor Trend, pick their top choices in a variety of categories every year. For 2012, a few midsize models make the cut: the 2012 Jeep Wrangler, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2012 Land Rover LR4 are named best in their respective classes, while the 2012 Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz M-Class are named runners-up. The editors of Truck Trend tend to focus on features like off-road ability and towing more than other sources.
Comparison: 2010 Land Rover LR4 vs. 2010 Lexus GX 460 vs. 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL450
by Arthur St. Antoine
Our AssessmentThis comparison test pits three luxury SUVs against one another: the 2010 Land Rover LR4, the 2010 Lexus GX 460 and the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL450. All three of these luxury SUVs "offer more off-road competence than most asphalt-avoiders will ever use," testers conclude after a romp through Death Valley. The Land Rover LR4 emerges the winner, as it's not only the best off road but has the highest towing capacity and the most interior space. Though the SUVs compared here are 2010 models, none have changed significantly for 2011.
2012 Best Buy and Recommended Awards
by Editors of ConsumerGuide.com
Our AssessmentConsumerGuide.com tests and scores new models, including midsize and luxury midsize SUVs. Their road-test impressions are translated into numerical scores in a host of categories that they consider important, and they briefly describe their opinions that go along with that particular score. Within each category, editors can then rank models against the class average. The reviews are informative, but lack the detail found in most road tests. Each year ConsumerGuide.com compiles a list of its Best Buy and Recommended models based on their reviews, indicating the top performers in each class.
$37,000 SUV Shootout: Overview
by Patrick Olsen
Our AssessmentThis roundup of $37,000 SUVs is a joint effort comparison test, judged by staff from Cars.com, USA Today and MotorWeek, as well as a typical family. The judges assembled midsize SUVs below $37,000 and subjected each model to a series of tests to mimic real-world usage. The conclusion is that the Honda Pilot shines for its balance of quality, interior space and standard features, among other things. The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse and the 2012 Mazda CX-9 take second and third place.
2012 Best Resale Value Awards: Top Ten Cars
by Editors of Kelley Blue Book
Our AssessmentKelley Blue Book, best known for its expertise in the valuation of used vehicles, compiles a list of 2012 models with the best projected resale value. The list is predominantly SUVs and trucks, and Kelley Blue Book names the 2012 Jeep Wrangler, the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser and the 2012 Lexus RX among the models with the best expected resale values.
Cars.com Recommended SUVs and Crossovers
by Editors of Cars.com
Our AssessmentCars.com has relatively simple criteria for considering a model Recommended or not: basically, a model must have average or higher crash-test ratings, good reliability and good fuel economy among its peers. Recommended models are chosen in subcategories based on size and price, with nine midsize SUV models making the grade.
Top Safety Picks for 2012
by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Our AssessmentThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent organization that crash tests many new vehicles to assess their ability to protect occupants in the event of a crash. Models that get the highest rating of Good in the front, side and roof impact tests and have electronic stability control are given the Top Safety Pick designation. A total of 21 midsize SUVs are named Top Safety Picks for 2012.
5-Star Safety Ratings : SUVs
by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Our AssessmentThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the government body that performs crash tests for new models in the U.S. For 2011 and newer models, they have adopted new (and more stringent) criteria in their crash testing. Because of this, results for 2011 and newer models cannot be compared to results from previous years. Also, many models have yet to be tested under the new guidelines. The Buick Enclave, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Volvo XC60 and Acura ZDX all receive the highest 5-star (out of 5) rating for overall crash protection for 2012 models.
2012 Sport Utility Vehicles
by U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency
Our AssessmentThis website, operated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, posts a best and worst MPG chart for SUVs, but all of the top choices are hybrids and small SUVs. The most fuel-efficient non-hybrid midsize SUVs, according to the EPA's ratings, are generally two-wheel-drive and have 4-cylinder engines. While the EPA makes no distinct choices for best non-hybrid midsize SUV, certainly some models fare better than others.
2011 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year: Porsche Cayenne
by Editors of Motor Trend
Our AssessmentThough Motor Trend's Sport/Utility of the Year for 2012 is a small SUV, it's still worth noting that the 2011 Porsche Cayenne won Motor Trend's annual Sport/Utility of the Year award for 2011, and that even today the editors still consider it to be the "pinnacle of SUV science." The Cayenne offers the sportiest handling of any SUV and has an exceptionally luxurious interior; editors consider it to be a good value despite its relatively high base MSRP. The Porsche Cayenne is unchanged for 2012.
Editors' Choice 2011
by Editors of Car and Driver
Our AssessmentCar and Driver editors pick their favorite vehicles, based on their own testing, and describe the nomination as indicating the models that the editors would "park in our own driveways." This list is their most current, updated in August 2011. Nine midsize SUVs make the cut, both in the midsize and luxury SUV categories. Selecting a vehicle from the main page of editors' choices leads to a model overview and in-depth Car and Driver reviews, as well as specifications and more information.
Comparison: Three-Row Crossover SUVs
by Jonny Lieberman
Our AssessmentThis Motor Trend comparison test of three-row SUVs compares models from the 2011 model year. All competitors here remain largely unchanged in 2012. Despite more recently redesigned competition, the Mazda CX-9 ultimately gets the nod as the favorite out of this competitive bunch. Even though it's one of the oldest designs in this roundup, the collection of editors agree that it's the best driver of the group because of its excellent chassis, good value and practicality. The conclusion is that the CX-9 is "a truly excellent package with no major strikes against it."
by Nate Martinez
Our AssessmentTruck Trend usually tests towing capacities and off-road prowess, but this review examines the power-crazy fringe of the midsize SUV realm, comparing the high-performance 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, the 2011 BMW X5 M and the 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. None of these models are cheap, and all deliver high power and excellent handling. Editors say that "for the enthusiast not concerned with cash who has a burning desire to have an incredible all-arounder," look no further than the 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
by Allyson Harwood, John Stewart
Our AssessmentThe editors of Truck Trend pit the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 against the more expensive 2010 Land Rover LR4, and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 against the 2010 Toyota 4Runner. While they find the Land Rover LR4 better than the Grand Cherokee V8 when it comes to interior packaging and luxury, they prefer the Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 to the 4Runner, calling it "a great daily driver, with an elegant cabin and easy-to-use four-wheel drive." All of these models remain the same for the 2012 model year.
Last Crossover Standing: We Take 7 New Models Off Road
by Ezra Dyer
Our AssessmentThis comparison test from Popular Mechanics magazine assembles seven of the more popular midsize SUVs/crossovers, and aims to find the one that is "the best balance of on-road carpooling and off-road adventure." Ultimately, they choose the Dodge Durango as the best performer given their criteria, and they conclude that "nothing does a better job of reconciling genuine ruggedness with daily usability."
2011 Four Wheeler of the Year
by Sean P. Holman
Our AssessmentThe editors of Four Wheeler magazine pick their favorite vehicle annually, emphasizing off-road capabilities in their testing and consideration. The editors select the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lexus GX 460 and Land Rover LR4 as their favorites, and select the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee as their overall winner. Writer Sean Holman says that "overall the Grand was the complete package at a price that leaves some extra cash for the project that has been sitting in your garage for years." On-road manners and a slew of off-road options make the Jeep Grand Cherokee a strong winner.
Jeep Grand Cherokee vs. Kia Borrego, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4Runner
by Aaron Robinson
Our AssessmentCar and Driver pits the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee against three other off-road-capable SUVs: the Nissan Pathfinder, the Toyota 4Runner and the since-discontinued Kia Borrego. Reviewer Aaron Robinson concludes that the new Jeep Grand Cherokee takes the cake, praising its on-road composure and solidity, vastly improved interior accommodations and classic off-road prowess expected from the Jeep.
by Editors of AutoBlog.com
Our AssessmentAutoBlog.com publishes the latest auto news and tests new vehicles. Specific model reviews are in-depth, offering straightforward opinions on how models stack up against the competition and perform on the road. AutoBlog.com reviewers have tested multiple midsize SUVs.
Category: Car Reviews
by Editors of TheTruthAboutCars.com
Our AssessmentTheTruthAboutCars.com has reviews of many new models. Typically, they review more cars than SUVs and trucks, but there are still reviews of a handful of models. Reviews here can be short and sometimes not as comprehensive as other outlets' full reviews, though the site's coverage is always opinionated.
by Editors of The New York Times
Our AssessmentThe New York Times' auto critics cover new and newly redesigned models, and provide full-length written reviews that present each model's pros and cons in an easily understood manner. Though the New York Times doesn't review all new models, they have covered some recently redesigned midsize SUVs.
Four Threes: 2013 Infiniti JX35, 2012 BMW X5, 2013 Lincoln MKT, 2012 Acura MDX
by Ben Timmins
Our AssessmentAutomobile magazine rounds up a few midsize luxury crossovers, including the all-new Infiniti JX35 and perennial favorites the 2012 BMW X5 and the 2012 Acura MDX. They find that each model has distinct pros and cons when it comes to performance, passenger comfort and cachet. The 2012 Acura MDX is named the best all-arounder that embodies the virtues of a luxury midsize SUV, noting that it simply "competes well in all categories and blends sportiness, usability, and panache."
2012 Drivers' Choice Awards
by Editors of MotorWeek
Our AssessmentAs on many auto-review sites, the staff of the PBS show MotorWeek picks what it considers to be the highest-rated cars and trucks. Their broad criteria for choosing a winner in each category are price, practicality, performance and fuel efficiency. For the second year in a row, editors choose the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, which are based on the same platform, as their Best Large Utility vehicles. They enjoy the big towing capacity, and say that the models offer "just about everything a 5-member family will ever need."
The Best Vehicles by Class: 2012 Midsize SUVs
by Editors of GreenerCars.org
Our AssessmentThe American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy names the greenest vehicles of 2012, based on fuel efficiency and pollutant emissions. Smaller SUVs dominate, though the automatic- and manual-transmission versions of the 2012 Kia Sorento and the manual-transmission-equipped Hyundai Santa Fe make the grade.
Long- Term Road Tests
by Editors of Inside Line
Our AssessmentInsideLine.com includes a section dedicated to long-term testing. Here, the editors blog on a daily basis about cars they currently hold in their long-term fleet, providing useful information on living with particular models day to day. Midsize SUVs in their fleet include the 2012 Ford Explorer and the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse. Past models include the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander, the 2009 BMW X5, the 2008 Buick Enclave, the 2007 Ford Edge, the 2009 Ford Flex, the 2009 Infiniti FX50, the 2008 Mazda CX-9 and the 2010 Volvo XC60.
2011 Dodge Durango Crew AWD vs. 2011 Ford Explorer XLT 4WD
by John Pearley Huffman
Our AssessmentThis head-to-head comparison of two fully redesigned midsize SUVs -- the 2011 Ford Explorer and the 2011 Dodge Durango -- leaves the reviewer impressed with both vehicles. Both models are "vastly better than the trucklets they replace, and among the very best crossovers available at any price." Ultimately, the reviewer calls both vehicles excellent, and decides that the best choice would be up to subjective qualities.
Comparing Minivans with Seven-Passenger Crossovers/SUVs
by Zach Gale
Our AssessmentUnlike the typical comparison test, this feature compares popular midsize SUVs with their most similar minivan counterparts. The article looks at specific models, offering the pros and cons of minivans vs. midsize SUVs throughout. Depending on the style and practicality that one demands, a minivan may be an equally good, if not better, choice for some midsize SUV shoppers.
Comparison: 2011 Ford Explorer vs. 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
by Joe Lorio
Our AssessmentThe 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2011 Ford Explorer duke it out head-to-head in this Automobile magazine review. The cars are markedly different in their personalities, with the car-based Explorer proving to be the smoother on-road cruiser and the Jeep Grand Cherokee retaining its off-road character. Ultimately, while both SUVs are praised, reviewer Joe Lorio prefers the Grand Cherokee for its ability to feel "less mundane." He concedes that even so, the Ford Explorer is "better attuned to real life, and it's comprehensively well executed."