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Top-Rated 2014 SUVs and Crossovers: Performance & Design

Top-Rated 2014 SUVs and Crossovers: Performance & Design

By Jeff Youngs, July 27, 2014

For nearly two decades, J.D. Power has conducted the annual Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study in order to determine which cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans people find the most gratifying to own and drive.

Survey respondents must have owned their new vehicle for at least 90 days prior to completing the survey, which asks owners about the design, comfort, control layout, and performance of new vehicles. From this information, J.D. Power creates Power Circle Ratings to give car shoppers a summarized representation of owner satisfaction with specific makes and models.

Based on the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study, the following crossover SUVs and traditional SUVs receive a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of a possible 5 for overall appeal. They are listed below in alphabetical order.

2014 Audi Q5
A small, 5-passenger, luxury crossover SUV, the Audi Q5 gained a new turbo-diesel engine option and was offered as a new SQ5 high-performance model in 2014. Though the Q5 is aging, it led the Compact Premium SUV segment in overall APEAL this year.

2014 Buick Encore
A small crossover SUV equipped with a modest turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Buick Encore has proved itself a surprise hit for General Motors. This year, Buick upgraded the Encore with new communication and safety technologies.

2014 Ford Escape
Among compact crossover SUVs, only the redesigned Nissan Rogue ranks higher than the Ford Escape when it comes to overall appeal. Following a complete redesign for 2013, Ford made few changes to its popular Escape for 2014.

2014 GMC Yukon
In its final year before a complete redesign for 2015, the aging GMC Yukon is the most appealing Large SUV in the 2014 APEAL Study. Aside from adding standard equipment to the base model and offering one new color, GMC made no changes to the Yukon, its extended-length Yukon XL, or its luxury-themed Denali versions.

2014 Land Rover Range Rover
Blending luxury and bespoke tailoring with capable dynamics both on and off the pavement, the Land Rover Range Rover is the top-ranked Large Premium SUV in the 2014 APEAL Study. This year, the Range Rover lineup added a long-wheelbase version, a new supercharged V-6 engine replaced the formerly standard V-8, the Autobiography models added more standard features, and exclusive Autobiography Black variants debuted.

2014 Mini Countryman
The largest Mini model, and the one designed to carry up to 5 people, the Countryman is a small crossover SUV with a big personality. Decide whether you want a turbocharged engine or not, and whether you want John Cooper Works performance upgrades or not. After that, tailor a Countryman to specific tastes through a long list of colors, wheels, options, and accessories.

2014 Nissan Armada
With a current design more than a decade old and based on the Nissan Titan pickup truck, the 2014 Armada is a full-size, 8-passenger SUV. Nissan made no changes to the Armada this year as it prepares an all-new model to be launched in the next year.

2014 Nissan Rogue
Nissan completely redesigned the Rogue for 2014, making it one of just two compact crossover SUVs to offer a third-row seat. Equipped with a 4-cylinder engine and available with all-wheel drive, the Rogue can be packaged with numerous luxury and technology upgrades. It was the top-ranked Compact SUV in the 2014 APEAL Study.

2014 Porsche Cayenne
Designed to deliver exceptional performance both on and off of the road, the 2014 Porsche Cayenne leads the Midsize Premium SUV segment in this year's APEAL Study. This year, a new Turbo S model brought maximum performance and luxury to the Cayenne lineup.

2014 Toyota Highlander
Completely redesigned, but equipped with carryover powertrains, the 2014 Highlander is the top-ranked Midsize SUV in the 2014 APEAL Study. Buyers may choose between a 4-cylinder, V-6, and a gas-electric hybrid model that is EPA-rated to get 28 mpg. All versions supply 8-passenger seating.

Additional Research:

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