Best In Class: Mainstream SUV (Towing More Than 3500 Pounds)

Winner: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Runner-Up:
Toyota Highlander

There are some new entrants in this category, but for us, the Grand Cherokee is still the champion. It offers the comfort and luxury of a unibody vehicle, with the off-road capability Jeep is known for. Within the posh cabin is an easy-to-use four-wheel-drive system, plus you can tow up to 7400 pounds. 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 around $30K.


MAINSTREAM SUV
(TOWING MORE THAN 3500 POUNDS)
Vehicle Chevrolet Traverse/ GMC Acadia Dodge Durango Ford Explorer Ford Flex
Base price $31,370/$34,945 $30,490 $29,995 $31,795
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 $7015 2.0LT $995, 3.5LT $11,680 3.5L T V-6 $13,400
Power, SAE 281-288 hp 290-295 hp (360) 290 hp (240, 365) 287 hp (365)
Torque, SAE 266-270 lb-ft 260 lb-ft (390) 255 lb-ft (270, 350) 254 lb-ft (350)
Airbags Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur, knee Fr, side, cur
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 16-18/22-25 mpg 16-17/22-24 mpg
Opt engine None (13/20) (20/28) (16/22)
Seating cap 8 7 7 7
Curb weight 4713 lb 4756 lb 4448 lb 4471 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 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Xterra
Base price $30,350 $30,390 $29,495 $25,900 (est)
Wheelbase 109.2 in 114.8 in 112.2 in 106.3 in
Engine 3.5L SOHC V-6 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.5L DOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6
Opt engine None 5.7L $1695, 6.4L $30,900 None None
Power, SAE 250 hp 290 hp (360, 470) 260 hp 261 hp
Torque, SAE 253 lb-ft 260 lb-ft (390, 465) 240 lb-ft 281 lb-ft
Airbags Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 235/65R17 245/70R17 235/65R18 265/70R16
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 19-20/25-26 mpg 15-16/20 mpg
Opt engine None (13-14/20, 12/18) None None
Seating cap 8 5 7 5
Curb weight 4295 lb 4470 lb 4149 lb 4148 lb
Max GVWR 5500 lb 6800 lb 5913 lb 5399 lb
Cargo cap 87.0 cu ft 68.7 cu ft 79.8 cu ft 65.7 cu ft
Towing cap 4500 lb 7400 lb 5000 lb 5200 lb
Vehicle Toyota 4Runner Toyota FJ Cruiser Toyota Highlander
Base price $32,335 $27,875 $29,715
Wheelbase 109.8 in 105.9 in 109.8 in
Engine 4.0L DOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 2.7L DOHC I-4
Opt engine None None 3.5L V-6 $1375, 3.3L H $11,300
Power, SAE 270 hp 260 hp 187 hp (270, 280)
Torque, SAE 278 lb-ft 271 lb-ft 186 lb-ft (248, 215)
Airbags Fr, side, cur, knee Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur, knee
Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS Disc/disc, ABS
Tires 265/70R17 265/70R17 245/65R17
Fuel cap 23.0 gal 19.0 gal 19.2 gal (17.2)
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 17/21 mpg 15-17/18-20 mpg 17/22 mpg
Opt engine None None (28/28)
Seating cap 5 (7) 5 7
Curb weight 4400 lb 4050 lb 3946 lb
Max GVWR 6300 lb 5570 lb 6000 lb
Cargo cap 89.7 cu ft 66.8 cu ft 95.4 cu ft
Towing cap 5000 lb 4700 lb 5000 lb