Shopping around at different car dealerships test-driving midsize SUVs can take up a lot of time and effort. And at times, it can make you feel like you're looking for a needle in the haystack. With so many different option to choose from, it can be difficult to know which vehicle is going to work best for you. That's why CNET is here to help.
Our editors have spent countless hours in new midsize SUVs, so we put together a list of our favorites to help whittle down your choices. "Best" is a subjective term, and your budget and personal needs will always take priority, but what follows is a curated list of what we believe to be the best midsize SUVs in the segment. Let's take a look.
Ever since it launched, the Kia Telluride has been one of CNET's favorite SUVs. It's one of the most impressive midsize SUVs on offer, and its three-row-friendly body means you can bring the whole family along for the ride.
In addition to its spacious cabin, the Telluride can be equipped to luxury-car levels without breaking the bank, loading the interior with leather, wood and metal. Value still exists in this segment, so buyers can ignore all the frippery and walk away with a still-impressive SUV for well under the average new-car transaction price in 2022. The only downside we can think of is fuel economy, which falls under 25 mpg highway with all-wheel drive. But aside from that, it's very difficult not to recommend the Telluride.
Not everyone needs a three-row midsize SUV, which is part of the reason why Honda built the Passport, which slots between the compact CR-V and the larger Pilot. And, just like both of those other SUVs, the Passport is yet another excellent piece of metal to roll out of a Honda factory.
Sure, the design might lean on the conservative side, but if you want to look a little beefier, the 2022 Honda Passport has a new TrailSport trim that features more rugged exterior features. Under the hood is a tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Its on-road manners are excellent, with plenty of usable interior space and loads of creature comforts and technology.
Some cars on this list have a hard time leaving, and the 2022 Genesis GV80 is one of the best examples of this staying power.
The GV80 isn't changing for 2022, but it doesn't need to. The automaker's first SUV carries all the same luxurious trimmings we've come to expect from Hyundai's fancy-pants subsidiary. It's attractive inside and out, storage space abounds behind the second row and there's even a third row on offer for families who need it.
Getting around is hardly a problem, thanks to an optional 3.5-liter V6 that produces 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. It's not exactly an athlete, but that's fine, because the GV80 absolutely excels at steady, soft cruising on the highway, eating up nasty roads and returning nothing but comfort. There's a load of tech on offer, too, including one of the best infotainment systems on the market.
Acura is turning a corner. Honda's fancy sibling is cranking out some very lovely vehicles, so it's only natural that it would eventually turn its attention to the most popular SUV it builds, the MDX.
The 2022 Acura MDX is quite the impressive machine. Its 290-hp V6 provides the right amount of thrust to keep things interesting, while a forthcoming Type S variant should spice things up even further. Its all-wheel-drive system makes it exciting to toss into corners, but since it's a luxury vehicle, buyers will likely find more enjoyment in how comfortable and quiet it feels in daily use. The cabin features a nice design and, as is par for the course in 2022, plenty of tech. Opt for all-wheel drive and you can tow 5,000 pounds, too.
No matter what trim you opt for, the 2022 Porsche Cayenne is an excellent performance SUV that is very, very hard to beat. If you can afford the ticket, you will not regret taking the ride.
The Porsche Cayenne is agile, well equipped and attractive. You can have it with a bare-bones V6, or you can turn up the wick and opt for the V8-packing GTS trim, which is one of the best-driving SUVs out there, full stop. In the event you're looking for something a smidge more efficient, a plug-in hybrid variant offers great on-road composure and suitable electric-only range. You can also get a PHEV version that produces nearly 700 hp if you're interested in the best of both worlds.
Not every midsize performance SUV is some high-dollar bonanza straight out of Germany. American muscle has made its way to this segment, as well, and Dodge's offering makes for quite the exciting three-row SUV.
The 2022 Dodge Durango SRT packs a standard 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine making 475 hp, which routes through all four wheels to send the SUV to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, so it's not too far off the Lamborghini Urus, but with a starting price around $72,000, it's significantly more affordable. If you're willing to shave a bit of power, the Durango R/T offers a 360-hp V8 with a starting price just over $53,000. That's some seriously cheap speed in the grand scheme of things.
The Durango's getting a little long in the tooth, but it's still a solid choice for a three-row SUV. It offers ample space for both cargo and people, it can tow an absolute truckload (more on that later) and its Uconnect infotainment system remains one of our favorites.
The Toyota Venza used to be a frumpy crossover that rode a weird line between SUV and minivan. But now, the nameplate has been attached to a proper utility vehicle that offers both comfort and efficiency in spades.
The Venza uses a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle I4 engine in conjunction with three electric motors to provide a net 219 hp, which might not seem like much, but it's still plenty for what the Venza needs. Thrift is the name of the game here, with the EPA estimating the Venza's efficiency at 40 miles per gallon highway, 37 mpg city and 39 mpg combined.
There are some great examples of technology in the 2022 Venza, too. The optional electrochromic sunroof can provide either transparency or opacity at the click of a button, letting in just the right amount of sun for a given situation. The optional 12.3-inch touchscreen runs Toyota's latest infotainment system, which offers the right amount of information to keep driver knowledge high and distraction low. And then there's the ride quality, which is so supple you could throw a Lexus badge on this thing and nobody would be the wiser.
Toyota isn't the only automaker producing some solid hybrids these days. Hyundai isn't far behind, and its 2022 Santa Fe Hybrid has proven quite the proper midsize hybrid.
As with most other vehicles Hyundai produces, the 2022 Santa Fe Hybrid is positively brimming with standard features, and its build quality will leave you wondering if you scored a major deal, considering how nice it feels despite barely cresting the $40,000 mark. It's rather plush on the road, too. It may not be as thrifty as the Venza, with an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 33 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, but it is still very much worth your attention.
Plug-in hybrids are a great way to dip your toes into electrification without going all the way to the deep end. BMW's latest midsize PHEV, the 2022 X5 xDrive45e, takes the basics of a PHEV and amplifies them with a hefty dose of luxury.
Updated for 2021, the X5 xDrive45e relies on a 24-kilowatt-hour battery that can offer up to 30 miles of electric-only operation on a full charge. It can scoot, too, as its electric motor works alongside a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 to produce a healthy 389 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Multiple drive modes let you route power how you want, when you want. Its air suspension can firm up or soften as your mood dictates, but either way, it's very rewarding to drive.
We will never stop extolling the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5's virtues, because it's just that good. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a CNET Cars editor that hasn't driven this and walked away utterly impressed.
What makes it so good? Well, for starters, it offers up to 303 miles of range if you opt for the large battery pack and rear-wheel drive, although AWD is on offer for a slight range penalty. The Ioniq 5 is a properly smooth cruiser in daily operation, eating up nasty roads with ease. Its 800-volt architecture will accept up to 350 kW of charge, so you won't be stuck waiting at chargers for the rest of your life. And have you looked at this thing? Hyundai's design department is absolutely slaying the game.
Yes, we had to bring the Durango back for a second time on this list. But then again, when you see how much the Dodge can tow, you won't be surprised at its reemergence.
Three separate variants of the 2022 Dodge Durango are capable of towing an impressive 8,700 pounds, which is about as much as you can haul before you have to rely on a truck or a full-size body-on-frame SUV. The SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat variants will tow that much without any additional equipment, while the 5.7-liter R/T requires a Tow 'N' Go package, but that's it. Heck, even the V6 models can pull 6,200 pounds, so you don't need to spend that much for some serious capability.
Some vehicles make a very strong impression shortly after arriving on the market. The 2022 Ford Bronco is one of those vehicles, immediately overtaking a segment stalwart with a fresh approach to an off-road-friendly SUV.
Off-roading is but one part of what makes the Bronco so good. In Sasquatch form, its all-terrain tires give it a seriously burly aesthetic, and an electronic 4x4 system works in conjunction with eight different vehicle modes to ease adventures in dirt, mud, sand or snow. While the Wrangler still uses a solid front axle, which has serious on-road ramifications, the Bronco's independent front suspension means the car is much friendlier from a daily-driving standpoint. Inside, there's a heapin' helpin' of tech, including a seriously large screen smack dab in the middle of the dashboard. And it's all weatherproofed, so you can ditch the roof and doors and hit the dirt without much worry.
It hasn't been out for very long, but the redesigned 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has already captured our attention, and for that reason, we believe it may capture yours, as well.
Whether on-road or off, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers a ton of versatility. Certain specs will have you believing whether or not you accidentally purchased a full-on luxury vehicle. You can have it with a V6 or a Hemi V8, but both models provide more than enough motive force for prospective owners. It's not exactly easy on your wallet at the gas pump (or at the dealer if you spec it to the ceiling), but as far as three-row crossovers go, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L looks like it will be battling for the best in its segment for a while to come.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that we dig the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee's two-row variant as much as we dig the larger three-row Grand Cherokee L. Automaker Stellantis (and before that, Fiat Chrysler) has always had a great infotainment system in its repertoire, but the Grand Cherokee's spot on this list goes beyond a single screen.
Screen count is high in the 2022 Grand Cherokee. It can be optioned with a 10.3-inch gauge display, a digital rearview mirror, a 10-inch head-up display, a 10.1-inch central touchscreen, a 10.3-incher for the front passenger, as well as two more 10.1-inch screens for second-row occupants. The rear-seat entertainment includes Amazon Fire TV connectivity for streaming on the go. The latest iteration of Uconnect is just lovely, and the optional McIntosh sound system is a hard one to beat. If you want to hit the dirt, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk offers an electronic limited-slip differential, a disconnecting front sway bar, air suspension and a traction-management system with multiple modes.
Kia has long been known for its stellar new-car warranties, and that's no different on its latest midsize SUV, the redesigned Sorento.
Whether or not you opt for a Sorento, Kia's warranty is still top of the pops, offering a bumper-to-bumper warranty of five years or 60,000 miles. The powertrain's warranty is good for 10 years or 100,000 miles, while the body is protected against corrosion for seven years and unlimited miles. The only place Kia is bested is in roadside assistance, where Lincoln offers unlimited coverage, but Kia's still pretty solid with an offering of five years and unlimited miles.
The Chevrolet Traverse is a solid three-row, mass-market SUV that appeals to buyers looking for solid transportation at an affordable price. It also happens to be hiding a serious amount of cargo capacity.
The 2022 Chevrolet Traverse offers the most cargo space of any midsize SUV. Fold down the second-row seats and the Traverse will handle 98.2 cubic feet of junk, which is an absolute ton, besting other impressive figures from the Buick Enclave (97.6 cubic feet) and the VW Atlas (96.8). In fact, those are the only three midsize SUVs with interior space that breaks the 90-cubic-foot barrier.
We've already featured the Kia Telluride on this list, so for the passenger-space category, we'll discuss the Telluride's kissin' cousin, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade.
Both the 2022 Palisade and 2022 Telluride offer plenty of space for humans across all three rows. Occupants in the second row get an impressive 42.4 inches of rear legroom, while people in the third row have access to nearly 3 feet of legroom, meaning even grown adults won't have a bad time in the way-backs.
When it comes to quantifying safety, listing off standard driver-assistance systems is only part of the story. For this category, we're looking beyond options lists and basing our choice on the vehicle that received the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which puts cars through a battery of tests that go above and beyond what the federal tests offer.
According to IIHS data, the 2022 Subaru Ascent takes the cake for the safest midsize SUV. It received the top score of Good in every IIHS crash test, including the tricky small-overlap front tests for both the drive and passenger sides. It's one of a few vehicles to have all its headlights rated Good, as well as receiving a Good Plus rating for the ease of use of its LATCH child-seat hardware. The Ascent also received top marks for crash prevention in both car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian tests.
When word came out that Aston Martin was diving into the SUV segment, the response was optimistic but still wary. But now that we've had plenty of time with the DBX, it's not a hard vehicle to recommend.
The DBX gets its motive force from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 producing 542 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It sounds great, and it provides plenty of good times in conjunction with a heavy right foot. It's larger than a standard-wheelbase Range Rover, but an adaptive air suspension leaves the DBX feeling surprisingly nimble. But it's not punishingly stiff; instead, the ride is just the right kind of compliant. There are some traditional exotic-car quirks in here, like an outdated infotainment system and a transmission that can feel a bit sharp, but the DBX is still an excellent SUV for buyers in the upper echelons of the industry.
We've had very little time with BMW's latest electric car, the iX midsize SUV. But from what we've sampled so far, we'll be watching this vehicle very closely, and so should you.
The iX's funky styling reminds us of the impact the original i3 made when it launched. It has one of the best implementations of BMW's new tall kidney grilles, and the interior is like nothing else the automaker produces. The first variant that will come to the US, the xDrive50, rocks a 111.5-kWh battery and a pair of electric motors producing 516 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque. The ride quality is great, and its regenerative braking can work with the vehicle's sensors to adjust its deceleration based on traffic. We can't wait to get more time with the iX.
Comparison of best midsize SUVs for 2022
|Category||Name||Base engine||Output||Fuel economy (mpg, city/hwy/combined)||Base price|
|Best midsize SUV overall||2022 Kia Telluride||3.8-liter V6||291 hp / 262 lb-ft||20 / 26 / 23||$34,725|
|Best midsize SUV overall runner-up||2022 Honda Passport||3.5-liter V6||280 hp / 262 lb-ft||20 / 25 / 22||$39,665|
|Best midsize luxury SUV||2022 Genesis GV80||2.5-liter I4||300 hp / 311 lb-ft||21 / 25 / 23||$56,646|
|Best midsize luxury SUV runner-up||2022 Acura MDX||3.5-liter V6||290 hp / 267 lb-ft||19 / 26 / 22||$49,195|
|Best midsize performance SUV||2022 Porsche Cayenne||3.0-liter V6||335 hp / 332 lb-ft||17 / 22 / 19||$70,350|
|Best midsize performance SUV runner-up||2022 Dodge Durango SRT||6.4-liter V8||475 hp / 470 lb-ft||13 / 19 / 15||$71,890|
|Best midsize hybrid SUV||2022 Toyota Venza||2.5-liter I4 hybrid||219 hp net||40 / 37 / 39||$34,575|
|Best midsize hybrid SUV runner-up||2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid||1.6-liter I4 hybrid||226 hp net||36 / 31 / 34||$35,595|
|Best midsize plug-in hybrid SUV||2022 BMW X5 xDrive45e||3.0-liter I6 PHEV||389 hp / 443 lb-ft||50 MPGe (20 mpg gas-only)||$61,595|
|Best midsize electric SUV||2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5||Single electric motor||168 hp / 258 lb-ft||110 MPGe||$41,245|
|Best midsize SUV for towing||2022 Dodge Durango||3.6-liter V6||293 hp / 260 lb-ft||19 / 26 / 21||$30,090|
|Best midsize SUV for off-roading||2022 Ford Bronco||2.3-liter I4||275 hp / 315 lb-ft||20 / 21 / 20||$32,895|
|Best midsize SUV with three rows||2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L||3.6-liter V6||290 hp / 257 lb-ft||19 / 26 / 21||$46,440|
|Best midsize SUV for tech lovers||2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee||3.6-liter V6||290 hp / 257 lb-ft||19 / 26 / 22||$40,120|
|Best midsize SUV with a long warranty||2022 Kia Sorento||2.5-liter I4||191 hp / 181 lb-ft||24 / 29 / 26||$30,885|
|Best midsize SUV for cargo space||2022 Chevrolet Traverse||3.6-liter V6||310 hp / 266 lb-ft||18 / 27 / 21||$35,095|
|Best midsize SUV for passenger space||2022 Hyundai Palisade||3.8-liter V6||291 hp / 262 lb-ft||19 / 26 / 22||$36,545|
|Best midsize SUV for safety||2022 Subaru Ascent||2.4-liter H4||260 hp / 277 lb-ft||21 / 27 / 23||$33,970|
|Best midsize exotic SUV||2022 Aston Martin DBX||4.0-liter V8||542 hp / 516 lb-ft||14 / 20 / 16||$179,986|
|Best midsize SUV to keep your eye on||2022 BMW iX||Dual electric motor||516 hp / 564 lb-ft||86 MPGe||$84,195|
How we made our list
CNET's editors spend hours upon hours on the road every single week, evaluating vehicles in a variety of different ways. It's these collective experiences that we use to determine a car's place on this list.
As always, your mileage may vary. Every person and family has different needs, and we highly suggest you take your favorites from this list and head to your local dealership for a test drive to confirm whether our opinions work for you. It's also worth noting that we evaluate most vehicles for just a week at a time, so we cannot evaluate long-term reliability. Finally, there's the matter of price; considering how absurd the new-car market is right now, the prices on the chart above may not reflect the price you pay at the dealership. If you end up somewhere with a dealer markup on the window sticker, calling around to find a better deal could very well save you thousands of dollars, if not more.
Looking for something else?
The idea of "midsize" can mean a lot of different things, whether it's a self-applied moniker from an automaker or a volumetric measurement that aligns with the EPA's (possibly outdated) own categorizations. But don't fret -- if you find yourself wondering about vehicles that are a little smaller or a little larger, we have a variety of other lists where we run down our favorites from different vehicle segments. Take a look below if you want to venture into other categories.
Midsize SUV FAQs
What is the No. 1 ranked midsize SUV?
We rate the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Ioniq 5 higher than other midsize SUVs we've driven, but every outlet -- whether it's us, J.D. Power or anyone else -- uses different metrics for ranking vehicles. We cannot stress enough that scores shouldn't be taken as absolutes; instead, use our recommendations to guide your decision making. Your needs are specific to you, and it's important to make sure your values are reflected in whatever vehicle you eventually purchase.
What are the best midsize SUVs on the market?
The ones we've listed above! Truthfully, there are many strong midsize SUVs available. The best midsizers all offer refined drivetrains, excellent function and a healthy dose of cabin tech. But again, your needs matter most, so you will want to make sure that any vehicle you purchase aligns with that.
What is the most reliable midsize SUV to buy?
Reliability is a tough one to track, because everyone's going to have a different experience, and we at CNET Cars generally don't test vehicles longer than a week, which is standard practice for most reviews. So, to help answer this question, we'll look at J.D. Power's latest Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks vehicle dependability after three years of ownership. According to the 2022 VDS, the most reliable mass-market vehicles come from Kia, Buick, Hyundai, Toyota and Dodge, in that order. On the luxury side, you've got Genesis, Lexus, Porsche, Cadillac and Lincoln.