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Best SUVs for 2024

The best used and new SUVs based on a data-driven analysis of each vehicle's reliability, resale value and safety.

The best subcompact SUV is the Chevrolet TrailBlazer (8.8 quality rating), with the Honda CR-V being the best small and compact SUV (8.9 quality rating). The Honda Passport ranks #1 for the best midsize SUVs (8.9 quality rating).

The best large SUV is the Toyota Land Cruiser (9.1 quality rating) and the best crossover SUV is the Honda CR-V (8.9 quality rating). Topping the list for the best three-row SUVs is the Toyota Land Cruiser (9.1 quality rating), while the Toyota Highlander Hybrid ranks first for the best hybrid SUVs (9.2 quality rating).

The best plug-in hybrid SUV (PHEV) is the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Plug-in Hybrid) (8.9 quality rating), with the Tesla Model X being the best electric SUV (8.4 quality rating).

How Does iSeeCars Determine the Best SUVs?

To determine the best SUVs, iSeeCars analyzes data from over 12 million new and used vehicles to evaluate each SUV’s reliability, value retention, and safety ratings.

Reliability is a reflection of a vehicle’s long-term quality and durability. It is often reflected in lower operating costs for a vehicle owner, as well as reduced time and energy spent visiting dealerships to address issues beyond scheduled maintenance.

Value retention indicates how much market value a vehicle has after several years of use. This is typically the most expensive factor in vehicle ownership. Models that lose a substantial amount of value over time contribute far less to a consumer’s future trade-in value for their next purchase, or what the vehicle can be sold for in the used car market.

Safety ratings come from a standardized set of safety tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These organizations perform comprehensive studies to determine the potential for occupant injury or death if a vehicle is involved in an accident.

For each model, the data related to these three components is aggregated across multiple model years and updated regularly. The data is combined to create a Quality Score, and that quality score is compared across all models within a segment to determine the ranking for best cars.

What Kind of SUVs are Available?

SUVs have exploded in popularity over the past few decades, leading to more models being sold today than ever before. While SUVs tend to have a higher starting price and lower fuel efficiency than sedans or wagons, they also have more cargo space, towing capacity, and off-road capability than most cars. This trade-off in fuel economy versus practicality is clearly one many consumers are willing to make, as confirmed by the ever-increasing sales in nearly every SUV segment.

SUV options include smaller models like the Chevy Trax and Volkswagen Taos, midsize models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Pathfinder, or larger SUVs with a third row like the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. Premium brands, including Cadillac, Porsche, and Land Rover, also offer luxury SUVs, as do electric automakers like Polestar and Tesla.

What Type of SUV Should I Buy?

Buying a modern SUV doesn’t have to mean terrible gas mileage and cumbersome handling. Advanced powertrain and suspension technology has given today’s SUVs highly refined ride and handling qualities, along with mpg figures rivaling traditional new cars. But keep in mind that smaller SUVs will always deliver better gas mileage than larger models, and two-wheel drive versions have a fuel efficiency advantage over four- or all-wheel drive vehicles.

Serious off-road enthusiasts will want to consider models with higher ground clearance, traditional four-wheel drive, a two-range transfer case, and a locking differential. The Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler are examples of SUVs with both the specs and equipment to tackle aggressive off-road trails. Buyers embarking on light off-road excursions, or simply seeking confidence in bad weather, can opt for a basic AWD model like the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sorento to meet their needs.

With nearly every luxury brand offering multiple utility vehicles a buyer can now enjoy advanced driver assist and safety features along with the elevated ride height, larger cargo area, and overall superior flexibility provided by an SUV. While luxury and full-size SUVs tend to have larger touchscreens, more tech features, and greater horsepower, the use of smaller, turbocharged engines in recent years has resulted in surprisingly good fuel efficiency, despite their larger size and weight.

Even greater fuel efficiency is possible with hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, such as the Kia Sportage and Mercedes-Benz GLE. Both models pair a turbo engine with an electric motor and battery pack to improve their fuel economy numbers.

For buyers who feel using any fuel is too much fuel, several electric SUVs are now available, with more on the way. And remember, while their lack of CO2 emissions is commendable, electric SUVs cost more than the equivalent gasoline model, and they require careful route planning for longer road trips.

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How We Rank These Cars

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on the latest research by our data science team and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

We analyze data from over 12 million new and used vehicles in our Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies, combined with the NHTSA's Safety Ratings to give you an unbiased guide to the best vehicles in each segment.

After being evaluated, vehicles with the highest average scores earn a spot in the iSeeCars Best Car Rankings. (No final score is given to vehicles missing a score in any of the categories, but scores for other categories are still shown.)

Vehicles are scored in three categories:

Reliability

The reliability score represents an analysis of iSeeCars' proprietary research on the longest-lasting vehicles.

Value Retention

The value retention score is based on our data science team's statistical analysis and prediction of 5-year depreciation from MSRP to determine which cars hold their value best, using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to adjust for inflation.

Safety

The safety score is calculated based on the last five years of crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and incorporates the latest Top Safety Pick information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

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