Winner: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Runner-Up: Toyota Highlander

The Grand Cherokee combines off-road capability in an easy-to-use four-wheel-drive system with a luxury interior and up to 7400 pounds of towing capacity. While the 5.7-liter engine is excellent in this SUV, the 3.6-liter V-6 is very good as well, and you can get the Grand Cherokee for less than $30K. If you need space for seven people and aren't as interested in off-roading, runner-up Toyota Highlander is another good option.


Mainstream SUV (Towing More Than 3500 Pounds)
Vehicle Chevrolet Traverse/ GMC Acadia Dodge Durango Ford Explorer Ford Flex
Base price $30,335/$33,510 $29,945 $29,105 $30,290
Wheelbase 118.9 in 119.8 in 112.6 in 117.9 in
Engine 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.5L DOHC V-6 3.5L DOHC V-6
Opt engine None 5.7L V-8 $6395 2.0L T I-4 $995 3.5L T V-6 $12,435
Power, SAE 281-288 hp 290 hp (360) 290 hp (240) 262 hp (355)
Torque, SAE 266-270 lb-ft 260 lb-ft (390) 255 lb-ft (270) 248 lb-ft (350)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, 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 245/70R17 265/60R18 245/65R17 235/60R17
Fuel cap 22.0 gal 24.6 gal 18.6 gal 18.6 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 16-17/23-24 mpg 16-17/23-25 mpg 17-18/23-25 mpg 16-17/22-24 mpg
Opt engine -- (13/20) (20/28) (16/22)
Seating cap 8 7 7 7
Curb weight 4720 lb 4756 lb 4503 lb 4448 lb
Max GVWR 6459 lb 7100 lb 6100 lb 5500 lb (est)
Cargo cap 116.4 cu ft 84.5 cu ft 80.7 cu ft 83.2 cu ft
Towing cap 5200 lb 7400 lb 5000 lb 4500 lb
Vehicle Honda Pilot Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep Liberty Nissan Pathfinder
Base price $29,280 $29,920 $24,255 $29,765
Wheelbase 109.2 in 114.8 in 106.1 in 112.2 in
Engine 3.5L SOHC V-6 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.7L SOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6
Opt engine None 5.7L V-8 $1695, 6.4L V-8 None 5.6L V-8 $14,680
Power, SAE 250 hp 290 hp (360, 470) 210 hp 266 hp (310)
Torque, SAE 253 lb-ft 260 lb-ft (390, 465) 235 lb-ft 288 lb-ft (388)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, 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 235/65R17 245/70R17 225/75R16 245/75R16
Fuel cap 21.0 gal 24.6 gal 19.5 gal 21.1 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 17-18/24-25 mpg 16-17/23 mpg 15-16/21-22 mpg 14-15/20-22 mpg
Opt engine -- (13-14/20, 12/18) -- (13/18)
Seating cap 8 5 5 7
Curb weight 4295 lb 4470 lb 4076 lb 4428 lb
Max GVWR 5500 lb 6800 lb 5400 lb 6499 lb
Cargo cap 87.0 cu ft 68.7 cu ft 62.4 cu ft 79.2 cu ft
Towing cap 4500 lb 7400 lb 5000 lb 7000 lb
Vehicle Nissan Xterra Toyota 4Runner Toyota FJ Cruiser Highlander
Base price $25,715 $31,900 $26,925 $29,050
Wheelbase 106.3 in 109.8 in 105.9 in 109.8 in
Engine 4.0L DOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 2.7L DOHC I-4
Opt engine None None None 3.5L V-6 $1155, 3.3L H $10,300
Power, SAE 261 hp 270 hp 260 hp 187 hp (270, 280)
Torque, SAE 281 lb-ft 278 lb-ft 271 lb-ft 186 lb-ft (248, 215)
Airbags Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt, f knee Fr, f side, f/r curt Fr, f side, f/r curt, knee
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 265/70R16 265/70R17 265/70R17 245/65R17
Fuel cap 21.1 gal 23.0 gal 19.0 gal 19.2 gal (17.2)
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 15-16/20-22 mpg 17/22-23 mpg 15-17/18-20 mpg 17/22 mpg
Opt engine -- -- -- (28/28)
Seating cap 5 7 5 7
Curb weight 4143 lb 4400 lb 4050 lb 3946 lb
Max GVWR 5399 lb 6300 lb 5570 lb 6000 lb
Cargo cap 65.7 cu ft 89.7 cu ft 66.8 cu ft 95.4 cu ft
Towing cap 5201 lb 5000 lb 5000 lb 5000 lb