High-quality used mid-sized SUVs aren’t always easy to spot. That’s why we’ve singled out the top ten and presented them here
Take one look around the roads today and it becomes obvious that the SUV is absolutely taking over the majority of American garages across the country. They’re so popular that what once was a segment that featured mostly large vehicles like the Ford Excursion is now rife with sub-segments like compact SUVs like the BMW X2 or Mid-sized crossovers like the Jeep Cherokee. Today though we focus on perhaps the most popular segment, Mid-Sized SUVs. These are bigger than vehicles like the Cherokee and X2, but they’re not as limousine-like as something like the Excursion.
The Santa Fe has helped Hyundai stay afloat during its most perilous years and over the last few years, it’s been rewarded with more features, more safety, and more overall value. Unlike the vast majority of cars available today, the Santa Fe offers warranty coverage of 5 years or 60,000 miles to the Second owner. The Santa Fe has an outstanding V6, great handling characteristics, and one of the most impressive interiors for this kind of money. While every SUV on this list is capable of offering a family quite a lot of value, the Santa Fe might offer the best all-around package per dollar.
When the Equinox was redesigned for 2018, it completely changed its character. It was smaller than its predecessor outside but practically the same size inside. All three of the available four-cylinder engines are efficient but it’s especially nice that there’s a diesel option. Again, all-wheel and front-wheel drives are available here too. What this Chevy does better than most others is integrate technology from numerous power points to 4G LTE Hotspot, to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
While the Pilot isn’t particularly incredible to drive or ride in, it is perhaps the most reliable SUV on our list. It handles well for a vehicle of its size, brakes better than most, and generally puts other brands to shame when it comes to day in day out performance. It’s also phenomenally comfortable for the money. The interior controls are simple and intuitive and while we think you could go back as far as 2016 to find a good example, more recent ones have improved touchscreen responsiveness.
Since 2016 Mazda has made leap after leap towards a more luxurious brand presence and the CX-9 has led the way. The interior and exterior are incredibly modern. Fit and finish is outstanding and this thing has three rows to boot. This SUV can be had with front or all-wheel-drive. Both are powered by at the very least, a 2.5-liter engine making 250 horsepower and routing it to the wheels through a 6-speed automatic. When it comes to inexpensive SUVs that can punch way above their weight class, the CX-9 might be the best.
Before the new Ford Bronco, the Flex was the boxy, uber-capable SUV for Ford fans. No, it can’t go off-road like the new retro-cool Bronco but the Flex is bigger on the inside, handles much like a sports sedan, and stands out as one of the more innovative designs in recent memory. Add to its features a potent twin-turbo V6, all-wheel-drive, and the excellent Sync system and it’s clear to see that this SUV is one of the best to no longer be in production. Also, since it left production in 2019, there are still a few very lightly used examples with deep discounts available.
The Grand Cherokee reminds us of an Americanized 4Runner. It’s handsome, well respected by the off-road community, and highly capable on-road too. The thing that we really love about the GC are the available engines. While the platform it sits on is a bit elderly, the drivetrains are not. The 5.7-liter V8 makes at least 360 horsepower (if not more in later years), and the diesel option can tow a house. If you want a reliable and fun daily driver that can also tow your toys to the lake on the weekend, the Grand Cherokee deserves a look.
We’ve talked at length about how good the Kia Telluride and its cousin the Hyundai Palisade are. That’s just one reason that it deserves a spot on this list. Take a deep dive into it and you’ll love its luxurious features, outstanding safety equipment, and uniquely strong warranty. Pricing for the vehicle has taken a nice depreciation hit after its first year of production and will make the driver and all of its passengers feel like they paid quite a lot more.
As one of the two premium options on this list we considered the things that make it stand apart from other options. The two things we love about the Cayenne are that first, it’s far more reliable than most people give it credit for, and second, it’s seriously fun to drive. It’s also got the best interior of everything we’re talking about here. Want an SUV that can haul a family of 7, carve canyons, and then go deep off-road while being good at all three? Nothing else can match the Cayenne.
For those looking for an environmentally friendly option, the Model Y is undoubtedly the best option. 2020 models have already taken a decent hit in value and will allow you to pick one up with full self-driving autopilot for the price of a new one without it. It’s also available with a third row, all-wheel-drive, and (since it’s already taken the new to used hit) will maintain its value for a long while we bet.
Is there a more tried and true mid-sized SUV than the 4Runner? We don’t think so. Even during its worst years it’s maintained its popularity and ability and starting in 2010 it’s been nothing but a smash hit. While it’s not going to win any awards for its comfortability or handling prowess, it’s tough to beat off-road and has the flexibility to be had in so many configurations that most anyone can find one they like. The latest models have excellent safety features as well so we’d shoot for a 2018 or newer.