Cars and Trucks

Best New SUVs and Crossovers: 2020 Models

Jeff XuCar and Driver

These days it seems like everyone wants an SUV. With a bewildering number of SUVs for sale today—compact, midsize, full-size, two-row, three-row—it’s a daunting and time-consuming process to choose the right one. To make shopping a little easier, we’ve corralled a list of all of the best SUVs and the car-based crossovers based on size and price. Start with these and you can’t go wrong.

Best mid-size SUV for families: Volkswagen Atlas

Best large SUV for families: Chevrolet Suburban

Best SUV value: Hyundai Kona

Best SUV for towing: Chevrolet Tahoe

Best-driving luxury SUV: Porsche Macan

Best-driving compact SUV: Mazda CX-5

Best-driving mid-size SUV: Mazda CX-9

Best all-around compact SUV: Honda CR-V

Best all-around mid-size SUV: Audi Q7

Best SUV for an active, outdoorsy lifestyle: Jeep Wrangler

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Hyundai Kona

While its head-turning styling may draw you in, it’s the 2019 Kona’s fun-to-drive nature and high-value lineup that made it an easy pick for our 2019 10Best list. Behind its oddly shaped front grille is either a 147-hp four-cylinder or a 175-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, the latter of which proved to be quick at our test track. The interior isn’t as wildly styled as the sheetmetal, but it’s charming and user-friendly. Cargo and passenger space isn’t as generous as in larger SUVs, but most buyers will still find the Kona to be handy for road trips and grocery runs.

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Kia Soul

Bold and boxy, the 2020 Soul has been charming SUV shoppers for a while now, and this latest version is no different. The base engine is a 147-hp four-cylinder, but GT-Line models come with a hot 201-horsepower turbocharged four. Inside the square-shaped body, the Soul offers two rows of spacious seating, plus room in the back for cargo. Like the exterior design, the cabin is sprinkled with cheeky design details and can be optioned with fun ambient lighting elements and plenty of tech; touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard while a smartphone charging pad and a head-up display are both optional.

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Nissan Kicks

The 2019 Kicks is what the Juke wanted to be when it grew up: practical and financially responsible but with a fun side. Under the hood is a puny four-cylinder that makes just 125 horsepower and required 9.7 seconds to reach 60 mph at our test track; all-wheel drive is not offered, so all Kicks models are front-wheel drive. It’s not fast, but it feels nimble in corners and managed an efficient 37-mpg result in our highway fuel-economy test. The cabin is spacious for people and cargo, and the Kicks offers many features, including touchscreen infotainment and automated emergency braking.

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The smallest of BMW’s SUVs, the X1, is actually its best: It’s handsome, well-equipped, practical, and fun to drive. Its 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder managed a 6.3-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track and delivered 29 mpg on our highway fuel-economy test route. The cabin is crafted from upscale materials, but we’d suggest springing for the sport seats since they’re more comfortable and supportive than the standard versions. Fold down the rear seats, and the 2019 X1 offers as much cargo space as SUVs from the next larger size class. Touchscreen infotainment and a host of driver-assistance features are standard on all X1 models.

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Volvo XC40

There aren’t many vehicles for sale today that boast the level of attention to detail as the 2019 XC40. The Swedish engineers who worked on this beauty have thought of everything, including a little removable trash bin in the center console to help keep things tidy. All XC40s are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it’s offered in two potencies—184- and 248-hp. Handling is stable and confident, but it isn’t as much fun as the BMW X1 or the Mercedes-Benz GLA250. Contemporary interior styling is both unmistakably Volvo and clearly upscale. The XC40 is an easy recommendation for someone who appreciates good design.

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Mazda CX-5

Although it wears a mainstream badge, the 2019 CX-5 is nice enough to appeal to luxury buyers, a trait that earned it a spot on our 10Best list. A 187-hp four-cylinder is standard, but we prefer the 250-hp turbocharged four, which also offers all-wheel drive as standard. Fine materials line the cabin, and top-spec Signature models could easily be confused for a BMW model or an Audi product. Touchscreen infotainment is standard, and Mazda also offers automated emergency braking on all CX-5 models. While its cargo area isn’t as large as some rivals, we expect most users won’t notice.

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Honda CR-V

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The 2019 CR-V perfects the crossover formula with its passenger-friendly cabin, fuel-efficient powertrains, and vast cargo space. The compact Honda SUV offers a suite of contemporary features and driver-assistance technologies, including automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. Unfortunately, its infotainment system has issues, and driver assists costs extra. Likewise, the CR-V could be quicker and tow more. Still, its exceptional road manners and strong brakes are definitely welcome features. We appreciate the attractive and well-built cabin that provides ample passenger space and cubby storage, which helped the Honda CR-V receive our Editors’ Choice nod. It’s truly one of the best crossovers available today.

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Volkswagen Tiguan

The 2019 Tiguan combines sophisticated aesthetics and seating for seven with the optional third row. The latter is uncommon among compact crossovers—the Mitsubishi Outlander is the only alternative. Positioned below the VW Atlas, the smaller Tiguan has an efficient four-cylinder powertrain and composed ride. Despite passive acceleration and a soft brake pedal, its straightforward interior design and slick infotainment system will please pragmatists. Although no driver assists are standard, technology such as automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are available on fancier models. With additional passenger capacity and dapper looks, the Volkswagen Tiguan is the best compact crossover for families.

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Subaru Forester

The 2019 Forester exemplifies the trendy crossover formula with standard all-wheel drive, a raised seating height, and useful cargo capacity. Its boxy and upright design is bland compared with flashier competitors, but its comfortable interior includes contemporary features such as a user-friendly infotainment system. Its powered by a four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that can be noisy at times, but otherwise the Forester is quiet at cruising speeds and notably fuel efficient. While it lacks driving thrills and obvious frills, the Subaru Forester does everything well, which makes it an Editors’ Choice and the best crossover for pragmatic buyers.

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Toyota RAV4

The 2019 RAV4 receives an impressive makeover that helps this best-selling SUV better compete with contemporary rivals. The compact Toyota SUV benefits from the company’s reliability reputation, but it also boasts a rugged design and standard driver-assistance technology. These include adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. Inside, it has numerous storage spots and desirable standard features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The RAV4 provides a refined ride and multiple powertrains, including a fuel-saving hybrid and dutiful four-cylinder. While it’s not the best at anything, this well-rounded Toyota occupies our Editors’ Choice list.

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Porsche Macan

The 2019 Macan delivers mesmerizing performance and driving confidence, especially for being a compact luxury crossover. The smallest Porsche SUV feels like a sports car but with a more usable back seat and cargo space. While those attributes trail some rivals that cost less and fit more stuff, almost nothing can replicate the Macan’s athleticism and quickness. Its powertrains include a turbocharged four-cylinder and mighty 348-hp turbo V-6 on the high-performance Macan S. The latter is complemented by a lightning-quick automatic transmission and reactive brake pedal. Despite its substandard interior, the Porsche Macan is the best driving crossover and on our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list.

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The 2019 X3 mixes the practicality of a crossover with the driving verve the company is known for. The compact BMW SUV has two fuel-efficient engines: a prudent turbocharged four-cylinder and a speedy turbo six-cylinder that pairs with the sporty M40i model. Every X3 is fun to drive on twisty roads and still comfortable over bumpy sections. Although its cabin has upscale materials and supportive front seats, infotainment features such as Android Auto aren’t offered, and outward visibility could be better. Still, the Bimmer has standard safety tech such as automated emergency braking. As an Editors’ Choice, the BMW X3 ranks among the best SUVs.

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Volvo XC60

The 2019 XC60 eschews ruggedness for luxuriousness and trumpets high-tech safety features. With a trio of powertrains that include a plug-in hybrid, the Volvo SUV is exceedingly fuel efficient. While it rides rough over bumpy surfaces, the XC60 is calm and confident over most other roads. Inside, the Swedish machine has upscale materials and ample passenger space. Its tabletlike infotainment system has standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, but it responded slowly at times to our inputs. Standard driver-assists include automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. The sophisticated Volvo XC60 simply feels special, which makes it one of the best SUVs and an Editors’ Choice.

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Mazda CX-9

The 2019 CX-9 makes ordinary families feel extraordinary by combining high-class styling with incredible value. The biggest Mazda SUV not only looks great, it drives great. With unrivaled agility and surprising tranquility, the CX-9 satisfies driver and passengers alike. It seats up to seven, but the third row is small, and cargo space is subpar. Still, it has a user-friendly infotainment system and standard driver-assistance technologies such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. Its turbocharged four-cylinder provides respectable thrust and notable fuel economy. Despite some flaws, the Mazda CX-9 otherwise surpasses competitors and secures a spot on our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list as the best mid-size SUV for 2019.

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Kia Telluride

The 2020 Telluride is the company’s largest SUV, with seating for up to eight and countless desirable features. Its spacious and upscale interior provides an excellent environment for road trips. With a quiet ride and predictable handling, the Telluride is effortless to drive. A potent V-6 engine, dutiful automatic transmission, and either front- or all-wheel drive allow the Kia to tow 5000 pounds and earn EPA ratings of 19 mpg city and 24 highway. The Telluride has standard driver-assistance technology such as automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and more. All this content combined with handsome styling make the Kia Telluride one of the best SUV values on the market.

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Volkswagen Atlas

It took Volkswagen a while to get onboard the SUV train, but the Atlas is competitive right out of the box. With a base price under $35,000, it’s a compelling value with a plush ride and comfortable seating for up to seven passengers. VW knows that families value safety perhaps above all else, which is why the 2019 Atlas offers automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and heated exterior mirrors all as standard across the lineup. While the second and third row could use a little extra padding, the third row has room for adults. There’s plenty of room for cargo, too. In our testing, we fit four carry-on suitcases behind the third row and 38 carry-ons with the second and third rows folded, tying the enormous Honda Pilot.

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Honda Passport

Think of the 2019 Passport as a two-row version of its three-row older sib, the Honda Pilot—because that’s basically what it is. With a nimble, agile feeling from behind the wheel, the Passport is fun to drive. It’s quick, too. In our testing, it went from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. On the inside, there is 41 cubic feet of storage behind the second row and 78 cubic feet of room with the seats folded. There’s also an ample amount of storage space beneath the rear load floor. Standard driver-assistance features include adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning with lane-keep steering assist. The Passport is a capable and practical contender in an increasingly crowded segment.

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Subaru Ascent

The interior of the 2019 Ascent has more flexible positions than an Olympic gymnast, with available captain’s chairs for the second row and an abundance of cupholders. Like all good Subarus, the Ascent has full-time all-wheel drive, but in our experience, its four-cylinder engine sounds very rough and unrefined, and its acceleration is uninspiring. Wind and road noise was louder than we’d prefer during highway driving, but the ride is comfortable over rough roads. Fuel economy, too, is pretty average. In our real-world testing it matched its EPA estimate of 26 mpg. Infotainment features include a 4G LTE mobile hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

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Jeep Wrangler

The 2019 Wrangler provides out-of-the-box off-road capability along with unique removable body panels for open-air adventures. Outfitted with unmistakable styling and unrivaled brand recognition, the Wrangler is available with two or four doors and all-wheel drive. Engines include a standard V-6 mated to a manual or automatic transmission; a turbocharged four-cylinder with hybrid assistance is optional. While the Wrangler rides worse on regular roads than traditional SUVs, its flexible suspension and robust hardware excel off the beaten path. With a modern infotainment system and available driver-assistance technology, the Jeep Wrangler is an Editors’ Choice and the best SUV for an outdoorsy lifestyle.

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Audi Q7

We’re not going to hold back here: We’re huge fans of the 2019 Q7. In our eyes, it cuts a dashing figure, and from behind the wheel, it beguiles us with its nimble handling and highly capable supercharged V-6. With 333 horsepower, it provides sufficient verve and has a tow rating of 7700 pounds. In our opinion, however, the four-cylinder is not up to the challenge of motivating the Q7 with alacrity. The third row is pretty tight, too, but these are the limits of our criticism. We think it’s the best mid-size SUV on the market, which is why we named it to our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list for 2019.

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Porsche Cayenne

Since the 2019 Cayenne shares the same underpinnings with its corporate cousin, the Audi Q7, it should come as no surprise that the Cayenne makes this list. Like all good Porsches, the Cayenne offers a range of powerful engines, all of which are variations on a supercharged V-6 theme. This includes a 445-hp hybrid version that boasts 27 miles of electric-only driving range and a tow rating of 7716 pounds. Also like all good Porsches, the Cayenne is fast. We took a Cayenne S to our test track where it laid down a zero to 60 mph time of a blistering 4.8 seconds and braked from 70 mph to zero in 159 feet.

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Mercedes-Benz GLS-class

Our choice for the best large SUV, the 2019 GLS-class, charms us with the way it accomplishes its primary mission of transporting people and their stuff without breaking a sweat. Like an offensive lineman who has been to ballet school, the GLS is powerful yet nimble. Unlike an offensive lineman, the GLS has three rows of seats, and the third row is roomy enough for adults. On paper its 362-hp twin-turbo V-6 might seem underpowered, but in our testing, it did the zero-to-60-mph run in 5.7 seconds. The GLS is the complete package, and with a starting price under $75,000, it’s almost a bit of a bargain. We recognized all this goodness by awarding the GLS-class with a third consecutive 10Best Trucks and SUVs award.

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Chevrolet Suburban

The 2019 Suburban is the progenitor of all SUVs and can either be credited or blamed for spawning the segment back in 1935, depending on your viewpoint. We’re okay with it, because the Suburban goes about its business in a very workaday and honest manner that we admire. Properly outfitted, it can move up to nine people and their stuff and tow up to 8300 pounds. Although a 355-hp V-8 is standard, there’s an optional 420-hp V-8 for added motivation. It’ll help you get back to nature even quicker.

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Lincoln Navigator / Navigator L

Undeniably handsome inside and out, the 2019 Navigator matches its grace with pace thanks to its powerful 450-hp twin-turbo V-6. And should you need more space for people and cargo, there is a long-wheelbase model, the Navigator L. The interior is lavishly appointed with wood trim, and a handsome 10.0-inch infotainment screen takes center stage between driver and passenger. If you feel the need to totally indulge yourself, the Navigator offers 30-way adjustable massaging front seats as well as top-shelf Black Label trim. To us, the Navigator is the 21st-century interpretation of the legendary 1960s Lincoln Continental as viewed through a sport-ute prism.

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Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevrolet Tahoe possesses a number of positive traits, including a quiet and comfortable cabin, decent towing ability, and an excellent infotainment system. Drive it over a span of rough pavement, though, and its harsh ride will immediately reveal the Tahoe’s truck-based origins. In our experience, the base 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 is not quite up to the challenge of motivating a fully loaded Tahoe; if that’s how you’ll use it, the optional 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 is your best bet. Connected families will love the Tahoe, with its Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and multiple USB ports and 12-volt outlets.

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Mercedes-AMG GLS63 4Matic

The 2019 GLS63 is just as spacious and practical as the normal GLS-class, but its fire-breathing 577-hp twin-turbocharged V-8 adds a significant performance advantage as well as a delicious exhaust note. This high-performance SUV rocketed to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds at our test track—well ahead of its Benz-branded sibling, which did the deed in 5.7 seconds. Soft leather upholstery, standard massaging front seats, and a full outlay of infotainment goodies means the GLS63 is pretty loaded with luxuries right from the start. Mercedes also offers a suite of driver-assistance features as standard, including automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

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