UNDER $35K


Winner: : Jeep Grand Cherokee
Every year, it gets tougher to put sport/utility vehicles into specific, well-defined categories, and this year is no exception. What's a midsize SUV? In this case, we drew the line at a 106-inch wheelbase. Even sending several SUVs to the compact sport/utility category, this segment is still so monstrous it holds three separate winners. This year's best midsize SUV under $35K is the Grand Cherokee. Starting from its base price of less than $30,000, you can build as on- or off-road-worthy a vehicle as you want, with five engines to choose from and several trim levels. And this is still the smallest truck in which you can get a diesel in the U.S.


Over $35K


Winner: Volkswagen Touareg 2
We've been impressed with this vehicle ever since it first came on the market, and VW continues to refine and improve its biggest SUV in notable ways, including the addition of a 50-state-legal turbodiesel V-6 engine option for 2009. The Touareg blends excellent off-road ability, 7700-pound towing capacity, smooth power, and comfortable ride with up to 407 pound-feet of torque and 25-mpg highway fuel economy (and it has better fuel economy than any other engine in the line). This is an impressive all-around sport/utility that we think is strong enough to survive in a shrinking market.


Overall


Winner: Land Rover LR3
What was once an old-fashioned work machine has thrust itself headlong into the modern age of off-roading. Starting with an already time-tested foundation, Land Rover's stout LR3 uses a fantastic Terrain Response system to make easy work of obstacles for drivers at any experience level, offers more room than you'd think for seven adults, and tows more than 7000 pounds. You don't need to go off-road to appreciate this SUV--but it helps. It isn't cheap, but you get quite an impressive vehicle for the money.



Midsize SUV (over 106-IN WB) -- A-K --
Vehicle Acura MDX BMW X3 BMW X5 Chevrolet Equinox
Base price $41,750 $40,525 $48,325 $25,010
Wheelbase 108.3 in 110.1 in 115.5 in 112.5 in
Engine 3.7L DOHC V-6 3.0L DOHC I-6 3.0L DOHC I-6 3.4L OHV V-6
Opt engines ------- ------- 3.0L TD I-6 $3700, 4.8L V-8 $8700 3.6L V-6 $5130
Power, SAE 300 hp 260 hp 260 hp (265, 350) 185 hp (264)
Torque, SAE 275 lb-ft 225 lb-ft 225 lb-ft (425, 350) 210 lb-ft (250)
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 255/55HR18 235/55R17 225/55R18 235/65R16
Fuel cap 21.0 gal 17.7 gal 22.5 gal 20.0 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 15/20 mpg 16/23 mpg 17/23 mpg (19/26, 15/21) 17/24 mpg (17/24)
Seating cap 7 5 5 5
Curb weight 4535 lb 4012 lb 4982 lb 3660 lb
GVWR 5900 lb 5148 lb 6327 lb 5070 lb
Cargo cap 83.5 cu ft 71.0 cu ft 61.8 cu ft 68.6 cu ft
Max towing cap 5000 lb 3500 lb 6000 lb 3500 lb
Vehicle Chevy/ GMC TrailBlazer/ Envoy Dodge Nitro Ford Explorer Honda Pilot
Base price $29,900/$31,370 $22,685 $29,285 $28,365
Wheelbase 113.0 in 108.8 in 113.7 in 109.2 in
Engine 4.2L SOHC I-6 3.7L OHV V-6 4.0L SOHC V-6 3.5L SOHC V-6
Opt engines 5.3L V-8 $5910, 6.0L V-8 $8040 4.0L V-6 $5495 4.6L V-8 $1905 -------
Power, SAE 285 hp (300, 390) 210 hp (255) 210 hp (292) 250 hp
Torque, SAE 276 lb-ft (321, 400) 235 lb-ft (275) 254 lb-ft (315) 253 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f/r cur Fr, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 245/65R17 225/75R16 235/70R16 235/65R17
Fuel cap 22.0 gal 19.5 gal 22.5 gal 20.4 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 14/20 mpg (14/20, 12/16) 16/22 mpg (16/21) 14/20 mpg (15/21) 17/23 mpg
Seating cap 5 5 7 8
Curb weight 4331 lb 3827 lb 4524 lb 4319 lb
GVWR 6001 lb 5000 lb 6100 lb 5500 lb
Cargo cap 80.1 cu ft 65.2 cu ft 85.8 cu ft 87.0 cu ft
Max towing cap 6600 lb 5000 lb 7285 lb 4500 lb
Vehicle Hummer H3 Hyundai Santa Fe Hyundai Veracruz Jeep Commander
Base price $34,135 $30,750 $27,595 $28,110
Wheelbase 111.9 in 106.3 in 110.4 in 109.5 in
Engine 3.7L DOHC I-5 2.7L DOHC V-6 3.8L DOHC V-6 3.7L OHV V-6
Opt engines 5.3L V-8 $8315 3.3L V-6 $2900 ------- 4.7L V-8 $9000, 5.7L V-8 $13,000
Power, SAE 239 hp (300) 185 hp (242) 260 hp 210 hp (305, 330)
Torque, SAE 241 lb-ft (320) 183 lb-ft (226) 257 lb-ft 235 lb-ft (334, 375)
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur Fr, f/r cur, side
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 265/75R16 235/70R16 235/65R17 245/65R17
Fuel cap 23.0 gal 19.8 gal 20.6 gal 21.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 14/18 mpg (13/16) 18/24 mpg (17/24) 16/23 mpg 14/19 mpg
Seating cap 5 5 7 7
Curb weight 4696 lb 3727 lb 4417 lb 4643 lb
GVWR 6001 lb 5556 lb 5908 lb 6500 lb
Cargo cap 62.9 cu ft 78.2 cu ft 86.8 cu ft 68.5 cu ft
Max towing cap 6000 lb 2000 lb 3500 lb 7400 lb
Vehicle Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Kia Borrego Kia Sorento
Base price $29,215 $21,240 $26,995 $22,295
Wheelbase 109.5 in 116.0 in 114.0 in 106.7 in
Engine 3.7L OHV V-6 3.8L SOHC V-6 3.8L DOHC V-6 3.3L DOHC V-6
Opt engines 3.0L TD V-6 $2585
4.7L V-8 $930,
5.7L V-8 $645,
6.1L V-8 $11,000
------- 4.6L V-8 $4750 3.8L V-6 $3800
Power, SAE 210 hp (215, 305, 330, 420) 202 hp 276 hp (337) 242 hp (262)
Torque, SAE 235 lb-ft (376, 334, 375, 420) 237 lb-ft 267 lb-ft (323) 228 lb-ft (260)
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Front Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side, knee
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 245/65R17 225/75R16 245/70R17 245/70R16
Fuel cap 21.1 gal 18.6 gal 20.6 gal 21.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 15/20 mpg (14/19, 13/19) 16/21 mpg (18/22, 14/19, 13/18, 11/14) 17/21 mpg (15/22) 16/22 mpg (15/21)
Seating cap 5 5 7 5
Curb weight 4400 lb 3976 lb 4248 lb 4068 lb
GVWR 6150 lb 5500 lb 5842 lb 5644 lb
Cargo cap 67.4 cu ft 82.0 cu ft 88.0 cu ft (est) 31.7 cu ft
Max towing cap 7400 lb 3500 lb 7500 lb 5000 lb


Midsize SUV (over 106-IN WB) -- L-Z --
Vehicle Land Rover LR3 Lexus GX 470 Lexus LX 570 Mercedes- Benz ML350
Base price $46,825 $48,440 $76,530 $45,475
Wheelbase 113.6 in 109.8 in 112.2 in 114.7 in
Engine 4.4L SOHC V-8 4.7L DOHC V-8 5.7L DOHC V-8 3.5L DOHC V-6
Opt engines ------- ------- ------- 3.0L TDI V-6 $4000,
5.5L V-8 $11,200,
6.3L V-8 $45,500
Power, SAE 300 hp 263 hp 383 hp 268 hp (215, 382, 503)
Torque, SAE 315 lb-ft 323 lb-ft 403 lb-ft 258 lb-ft (398, 391, 465)
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side, knee Fr, f/r cur, side
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 255/55R19 265/65R17 285/50R20 255/50R19
Fuel cap 22.8 gal 23.0 gal 24.6 gal 25.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 12/17 mpg 14/18 mpg 12/18 mpg 16/21 mpg (18/24, 13/18, 11/15)
Seating cap 7 8 8 5
Curb weight 5796 lb 4871 lb 5995 lb 4974 lb
GVWR 7121 lb 6200 lb 7275 lb 6239 lb
Cargo cap 90.3 cu ft 77.5 cu ft 83.1 cu ft 72.4 cu ft
Max towing cap 7716 lb 6500 lb 8500 lb 7200 lb
Vehicle Mercury Mountaineer Mitsubishi Endeavor Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Xterra
Base price $29,515 $28,314 $27,990 $23,090
Wheelbase 113.7 in 108.3 in 112.2 in 106.3 in
Engine 4.0L SOHC V-6 3.8L SOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6
Opt engines 4.6L V-8 $4010 ------- 5.6L V-8 $13,000 -------
Power, SAE 210 hp (292) 225 hp 266 hp (310) 261 hp
Torque, SAE 254 lb-ft (315) 255 lb-ft 288 lb-ft (388) 281 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 245/65R17 235/65R17 245/75R16 265/70R16
Fuel cap 22.5 gal 21.4 gal 21.1 gal 21.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 14/20 mpg (15/21) 19/28 mpg 15/22 mpg (12/18) 16/20 mpg
Seating cap 7 5 7 5
Curb weight 4525 lb 4167 lb 4446 lb 4150 lb
GVWR 5740 lb 5346 lb 6500 lb 5750 lb
Cargo cap 85.8 cu ft 76.4 cu ft 79.2 cu ft 65.7 cu ft
Max towing cap 7215 lb 3500 lb 7000 lb 5000 lb
Vehicle Saturn Vue Suzuki XL7 Toyota 4Runner Toyota Land Cruiser
Base price $23,975 $26,345 $29,385 $65,500
Wheelbase 106.6 in 112.4 in 109.8 in 112.2 in
Engine 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.6L DOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 5.7L DOHC V-8
Opt engines 3.5L V-6 $2675,
2.4L hybrid $4880,
3.6L V-6 $3155
------- 4.7L V-8 $2015 -------
Power, SAE 169 hp (222, 172, 257) 252 hp 236 hp (260) 381 hp
Torque, SAE 161 lb-ft (219, 167, 248) 243 lb-ft 266 lb-ft (306) 401 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 235/65R16 235/60R17 265/70R16 285/60R18
Fuel cap 19.0 gal 18.6 gal 23.0 gal 25.4 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 19/26 mpg (15/22, 25/32, 16/23) 17/24 mpg 16/21 mpg (15/19) 13/18 mpg
Seating cap 7 7 7 8
Curb weight 3825 lb 4030 lb 4045 lb 5688 lb
GVWR 5000 lb 5150 lb 5330 lb 7275 lb
Cargo cap 56.4 cu ft 95.2 cu ft 75.1 cu ft 81.7 cu ft
Max towing cap 3500 lb 3500 lb 7300 lb 8500 lb
Vehicle Volkswagen Touareg 2 Volvo XC90
Base price $40,050 $37,825
Wheelbase 112.4 in 112.6 in
Engine 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.2L DOHC V-6
Opt engines 3.0L TD V-6 $1950 (est),
4.2L V-8 $9600
4.4L V-8 $12,550
Power, SAE 280 hp (221, 350) 235 hp (311)
Torque, SAE 265 lb-ft (407, 324) 236 lb-ft (325)
Airbags Fr, f/r cur, side Fr, f/r cur, side
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 255/60HR17 235/65R18
Fuel cap 26.4 gal 21.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 14/20 mpg (17/25, 13/18) 14/20 mpg (13/19)
Seating cap 5 7
Curb weight 5086 lb 4464 lb
GVWR 6500 lb 5640 lb
Cargo cap 71.0 cu ft 84.9 cu ft
Max towing cap 7716 lb 4960 lb

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