10 Most Popular Midsize SUVs and Crossovers

Christian Wardlaw | Sep 24, 2016
2016 Ford Explorer photo

Families flock to midsize SUVs for their seating capacity, cargo capability, and available all-wheel-drive systems. This guide provides essential information about the 10 most popular,* non-luxury midsize SUVs and crossovers in America, including pricing; quality, reliability, and appeal ratings; fuel economy; safety ratings; and cargo volume.

*Popularity based on calendar-year sales through July 2016

10) Toyota 4Runner (64,049 sales)

2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail photo

They don’t make ’em like this anymore. The Toyota 4Runner is a traditional, body-on-frame SUV designed to go places no mere crossover dare tread. Able to seat up to 7 people when equipped with the optional third-row seat, the 4Runner comes in SR5, Trail, TRD Pro, and Limited trim levels, with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

Base Price—$34,950
Initial Quality—4 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—3 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—4 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—17/22
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—4 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—46.3 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—88.8 cu. ft.

9) Kia Sorento (68,932 sales)

2016 Kia Sorento SXL photo

Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Kia Sorento crossover SUV supplies 5- or 7-passenger seating combined with a 4-cylinder, turbocharged 4-cylinder, or a V-6 engine. All-wheel drive is an option, and trim levels include L, LX, EX, SX, and luxurious Limited specification.

Base Price—$25,995
Initial Quality—5 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—3 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—5 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—17/29
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—38.8 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—73.5 cu. ft.

8) Hyundai Santa Fe (71,780 sales)

2016 Hyundai Santa Fe photo

Hyundai sells two versions of the popular Santa Fe crossover: the 5-passenger Santa Fe Sport, and the 7-passenger Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Sport is offered with a 4-cylinder or a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, while the larger Santa Fe comes only with a V-6 engine. Trim levels vary between the two models, but both use an Ultimate option package to denote the best-equipped versions of each. Naturally, all-wheel drive is an option.

Base Price—$26,245*
Initial Quality—5 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—3 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—3 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—17/27
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars**
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”*
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—35.4-40.9 cu. ft.**
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—71.5-80.0 cu. ft.**

*Pricing is for the 2017 models
**Smaller measurements are for the Santa Fe Sport

7) Honda Pilot (72,524 sales)

2016 Honda Pilot photo

Redesigned for 2016, the Honda Pilot swaps blocky styling and yester-tech infotainment and safety systems for a more modern approach. The Pilot continues to share a platform with the Acura MDX and is available in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Touring Elite trim levels. A strong V-6 engine is standard, with a choice between a 6-speed and a 9-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Base Price—$31,245
Initial Quality—2
Predicted Reliability—3
Overall Vehicle Appeal—3
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—18/27
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—46.8 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—83.9 cu. ft.

6) Ford Edge (81,550 sales)

2016 Ford Edge photo

Equipped with 5-passenger seating, the Ford Edge is offered in SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport trim levels. The first three versions are available with a turbocharged 4-cylinder or a V-6 engine, while the Sport is exclusively equipped with a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine for maximum performance. All-wheel drive is standard for the Sport version, and optional for other versions of the Edge.

Base Price—$29,595
Initial Quality—3 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—4 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—5 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—17/30
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—39.2 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—73.4 cu. ft.

5) Subaru Outback (92,090 sales)

2016 Subaru Outback photo

Take one Legacy station wagon, raise the suspension, add SUV styling cues, and change to a rugged name, and you’ve got the recipe that Subaru uses to create the Outback. A 5-passenger crossover SUV, the Outback is offered with a 4-cylinder or a 6-cylinder engine and in standard, Premium, and Limited trim. All-wheel drive is standard equipment, as is generous ground clearance.


Base Price—$25,845
Initial Quality Rating—3
Predicted Reliability—3.5
Overall Vehicle Appeal—3
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—20/33
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—35.5 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—73.3 cu. ft.

4) Toyota Highlander (97,142 sales)

2016 Toyota Highlander photo

The roomy and popular Toyota Highlander is a crossover SUV that technically seats 8 people, but 7 will be happier. It is offered with a 4-cylinder, V-6, or a gas-electric V-6 hybrid drivetrain, and with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Trim levels include LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum.

Base Price—$31,430
Initial Quality—5 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—4 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—4 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—18/28
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—42.3 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—83.7 cu. ft.

3) Jeep Grand Cherokee (117,441 sales)

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland photo

The iconic Jeep Grand Cherokee is ready for adventure, one of the few true SUVs left in a market populated primarily by crossover SUVs. It comes with a choice between four engines, and while rear-wheel drive is standard on most versions, Jeep offers several optional 4-wheel-drive systems designed to handle varying levels of off-road readiness. Seven trim levels are available, including the hot-rod SRT, which is built for the street and track rather than dirt trails.

Base Price—$30,990
Initial Quality—4
Predicted Reliability—2.5
Overall Vehicle Appeal—5
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—13/30
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars*
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—36.3 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—68.3 cu. ft.

*Rating applies only to the 4WD and non-SRT versions; The 2WD versions earn a 4-Star rating; The SRT has not been tested

2) Jeep Wrangler (119,096 sales)

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 75th Anniversary Edition photo

Jeep’s venerable Wrangler represents a lifestyle statement as much as it does a utilitarian choice. Two-door and 4-door models are available, the latter significantly larger inside for passengers and cargo. All Wranglers have a V-6 engine and 4-wheel drive, with a choice between a manual and automatic transmission. They’re all convertibles, with a removable hardtop available as an option.

Base Price—$24,890
Initial Quality—3
Predicted Reliability—2.5
Overall Vehicle Appeal—2
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—16/21
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—Testing is incomplete
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—12.8-31.5 cu. ft.*
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—56.5-70.6 cu. ft.*

*Larger measurements are for the Wrangler Unlimited

1) Ford Explorer (148,299 sales)

2016 Ford Explorer photo

Popular with police departments and consumers alike, the Ford Explorer is sold in standard, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum trim levels. Engine choices include a turbocharged 4-cylinder, V-6, and a twin-turbocharged V-6, the latter exclusively offered in the Sport and Platinum versions. Notably, the Explorer offers more cargo space behind its third-row seat than other 7-passenger midsize SUVs.

Base Price—$32,105
Initial Quality—3 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—2 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—4 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—16/28
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume Behind Second-Row Seat—43.9 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume All Seats Folded—81.7 cu. ft.









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