SUVs certainly won’t win any fuel efficiency contests even with the latest hybrid technology, but they’re still hard to beat in terms of towing capacity and off-road prowess. And with gas prices lower than they’ve been in recent memory, their market share is increasing after years of slow but steady erosion. As of writing, it’s reasonably safe to take the SUV off the list of endangered species.
With wagons all but out of the picture, crossovers are the most common alternatives to traditional SUVs regardless of which segment you’re browsing. They’re generally better to drive and a lot more efficient but they’re not as capable, especially for buyers who are planning to go off the beaten path and/or tow something excruciatingly heavy on a regular basis.
If you think a SUV is right for your family, read on to learn about the best ones on the market today. We’ve singled-out models that provide space, off-road capacity, and grunt in spades.
Why should you buy this: It’s the original go-anywhere off-roader
Who’s it for: Those who want to explore the great outdoors
How much will it cost: $38,000
Why we picked the Jeep Wrangler:
The Jeep Wrangler traces its roots back to the original Willys that was developed to fight during World War II. It’s evolved considerably over the past few years and generations, but its spirit is still the same. That means it’s simple, relatively affordable, and virtually unbeatable off-road.
The Wrangler lineup includes the standard two-door model, and a more spacious four-door version called Unlimited. All variants leave the factory with either a soft or a hard top, making the Wrangler one of the most affordable convertibles on the market. As a bonus, buyers looking to do some serious off-roading can customize the Wrangler by buying parts directly from Jeep or from a seemingly endless list of aftermarket suppliers.
Know that the Wrangler lacks a touch of refinement around town, and it’s not the most tech-savvy model in its segment. Still, unless comfort is an absolute priority the Wrangler is your best choice in the SUV segment.