Midsize SUV UNDER $35K
Winner: Toyota 4Runner

So, what qualifies as a midsize SUV, anyway? For the purposes of Best in Class, we've defined it as having a wheelbase longer than 106 inches. And even drawing the line there, this is still a huge category. This year's best midsize SUV under $35K is the new-for-2010 Toyota 4Runner. It starts at less than $29,000, with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder plus the option of a 270-horsepower V-6. There's also a cool sliding tray in the cargo area, making it easy to store gear--or use at a tailgrate party. And the new Trail Teams edition offers excellent off-road capability yet the ride is surprisingly good on the highway and on canyon roads.

Midsize SUV Over $35K
Winner: Volkswagen Touareg 2

Despite the fact that Volkswagen discontinued the V-8 option in this vehicle, the Touareg 2 is our over $35,000 selection. How is it that we like a vehicle that weighs over 5000 pounds, yet comes only with a choice of two V-6 engines? Well, when one of those engines is a turbodiesel with more than 400 pound-feet of torque (and 25 mpg on the highway), it's hard to resist. Not only that, but the Touareg is terrific off-road, comfortable on the highway, and can tow more than 7700 pounds. The price of admission can get a little steep, but for everything this vehicle has to offer, it's worth it.

Midsize SUV Overall
Winner: Land Rover LR4

Our 2005 Sport/Utility of the Year returned for 2010 with a new engine, new interior, and a new name--LR4. Land Rover built on the already impressive platform, making this evolution of the vehicle even better than it was before. Terrain Response is such an iconic and intuitive system to use off-road that other companies are offering their own versions. The LR4 offers more room than you'd think for seven adults, and tows more than 7000 pounds. It starts just under $50K, but there's actually a lot of value at that price.

Don't agree with our winner? Then which vehicle would you've picked as the 2010 Best in Class Midsize SUV? Please post your picks in the comment box below.


Midsize SUV (over 106-IN WB) -- A-L --
Vehicle Acura MDX BMW X3 BMW X5 Dodge Nitro
Base price $43,040 $39,725 $48,475 $22,335
Wheelbase 108.3 in 110.1 in 115.5 in 108.8 in
Engine 3.7L SOHC V-6 3.0L DOHC I-6 3.0L DOHC I-6 3.7L SOHC V-6
Opt engines     3.0L TD I-6 $3700, 4.8L V-8 $8700 4.0L V-6 $1645
Power, SAE 300 hp 260 hp 260 hp (265, 350) 210 hp (260)
Torque, SAE 270 lb-ft 225 lb-ft 225 lb-ft (425, 350) 235 lb-ft (265)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 255/55R18 235/55R17 225/55R18 225/75R16
Fuel cap 21.0 gal 17.7 gal 22.5 gal 19.5 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 16/21 mpg 17/24 mpg 15/21 mpg (19/26, 14/19) 15-16/21-22 mpg (16/20-21)
Seating cap 7 5 7 5
Curb weight 4550 lb 4012 lb 4916 lb 3976 lb
GVWR 5900 lb 5148 lb 6614 lb 5000 lb
Cargo cap 83.5 cu ft 71.0 cu ft 75.2 cu ft 64.7 cu ft
Max towing cap 5000 lb 3000 lb 6000 lb 5000 lb
 
Vehicle Ford Explorer Honda Pilot Hyundai Santa Fe Hyundai Veracruz
Base price $30,095 $28,605 $22,690 $28,895
Wheelbase 113.7 in 109.2 in 106.3 in 110.4 in
Engine 4.0L SOHC V-6 3.5L SOHC V-6 2.4L DOHC V-6 3.8L DOHC V-6
Opt engines 4.6L 3V V-8 $7630   3.5L V-6 $4300  
Power, SAE 210 hp (292) 250 hp 175 hp (276) 260 hp
Torque, SAE 254 lb-ft (315) 253 lb-ft 169 lb-ft (248) 257 lb-ft
Airbags Fr,f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 235/70R16 245/65R17 235/65R17 245/65R17
Fuel cap 22.5 gal 21.0 gal 19.8 gal 20.6 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 13-14/19-20 mpg (14/19) 16-17/22-23 mpg 19-21/26-28 mpg (20/26) 16-17/22-23 mpg
Seating cap 7 8 5 7
Curb weight 4455 lb 4319 lb 3688 lb 4266 lb
GVWR 6100 lb 5500 lb 5556 lb 5908 lb
Cargo cap 85.8 cu ft 87.0 cu ft 78.2 cu ft 86.8 cu ft
Max towing cap 7115 lb 4500 lb 3500 lb 3500 lb
 
Vehicle Jeep Commander Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Land Rover LR4
Base price $32,355 $31,490 $24,160 $48,100
Wheelbase 109.5 in 109.5 in 116.0 in 113.6 in
Engine 3.7L SOHC V-6 3.7L SOHC V-6 3.8L OHV V-6 5.0L DOHC V-6
Opt engines 5.7L V-8 $1750 5.7L V-8 $1750, 6.1L V-8 $12,615    
Power, SAE 210 hp (357) 210 hp (357, 420) 202 hp 375 hp
Torque, SAE 235 lb-ft (389) 235 lb-ft (389, 420) 237 lb-ft 375 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, f/r curt Fr, f/r curt Front Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 245/65R17 245/65R17 225/75R16 255/55R19
Fuel cap 21.1 gal 21.1 gal 22.5 gal 22.8 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 14-15/19-20 mpg (13-14/19-20) 15-16/20-21 mpg (13-14/19-20, 12/16) 15/19-20 mpg 12/17 mpg
Seating cap 7 5 5 7
Curb weight 4504 lb 4261 lb 4075 lb 5833 lb
GVWR 6500 lb 6150 lb 5500 lb 7143 lb
Cargo cap 68.5 cu ft 67.4 cu ft 82.0 cu ft 90.3 cu ft
Max towing cap 7400 lb 7400 lb 3500 lb 7716 lb


Midsize SUV (over 106-IN WB) -- L-Z --
Vehicle Lexus GX 460 Lexus LX 570 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class
Base price $52,845 $77,780 $35,475 $46,575
Wheelbase 109.8 in 112.2 in 108.5 in 114.7 in
Engine 4.6L DOHC V-8 5.7L DOHC V-8 3.5L DOHC V-6 3.5L DOHC V-6
Opt engines       3.0L TD V-6 $4000, 3.5L hyb $9300, 5.5L V-8 $11,050, 6.2L V-8 $45,350
Power, SAE 301 hp 383 hp 268 hp 268 hp (210, 275, 382, 503)
Torque, SAE 329 lb-ft 403 lb-ft 258 lb-ft 258 lb-ft (400, 258, 391, 465)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 265/60R18 285/50R20 235/50R19 255/50R19
Fuel cap 23.0 gal 24.6 gal 17.4 gal 25.1 gal (28.3 hyb)
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 15/20 mpg 12/18 mpg 16/22 mpg 15-16/20-21 mpg (18/25, 21/24, 13/18, 11/15)
Seating cap 7 8 5 5
Curb weight 5305 lb 5995 lb 3926 lb 4632 lb
GVWR 6600 lb 7275 lb 5467 lb 6239 lb
Cargo cap 64.7 cu ft 83.1 cu ft 54.7 cu ft 72.4 cu ft
Max towing cap 6500 lb 8500 lb 3500 lb 7200 lb
 
Vehicle Mercury Mountaineer Mitsubishi Endeavor Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Xterra
Base price $30,295 $28,764 $28,240 $23,250
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 $6690   5.6L V-8 $14,720  
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 side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
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 13-14/19-20 mpg (14/19) 15/19-21 mpg 14-15/20-22 mpg (13/18) 15-16/20-21 mpg
Seating cap 7 5 7 5
Curb weight 4525 lb 4178 lb 4427 lb 4154 lb
GVWR 5740 lb 5346 lb 6499 lb 5399 lb
Cargo cap 85.8 cu ft 76.4 cu ft 79.2 cu ft 65.7 cu ft
Max towing cap 7040 lb 3500 lb 7000 lb 5000 lb
 
Vehicle Toyota 4Runner Toyota Land Cruiser Volkswagen Touareg 2 Volvo XC90
Base price $28,300 $66,770 $41,650 $38,550
Wheelbase 109.8 in 112.2 in 112.4 in 112.6 in
Engine 2.7L DOHC I-4 5.7L DOHC V-8 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.2L DOHC V-6
Opt engines 4.0L V-6 $1730   3.0L TD V-6 $3500 4.4L V-8 $10,350
Power, SAE 157 hp (270) 381 hp 280 hp (225) 235 hp (311)
Torque, SAE 178 lb-ft (278) 401 lb-ft 265 lb-ft (406) 236 lb-ft (325)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 265/70R17 285/60R18 255/60R17 235/60R18
Fuel cap 24.0 gal 24.6 gal 26.4 gal 21.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 18/23 mpg (17/22-23) 13/18 mpg 14/19 mpg (18/25) 15/21 mpg (13/19)
Seating cap 7 8 5 7
Curb weight 4295 lb 5688 lb 5086 lb 4751 lb
GVWR 5900 lb 7275 lb 6500 lb 5640 lb
Cargo cap 89.7 cu ft 81.7 cu ft 71.0 cu ft 85.1 cu ft
Max towing cap 5000 lb 8500 lb 7716 lb 4960 lb

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