2007 Sport/Utility Of The Year Testing

An indication of things to come

Editors of Motor TrendDec 12, 2006
It used to be easy to figure out what was an SUV: Whether it was a bare-bones rugged Jeep or a high-tech luxury Range Rover, an SUV boasted four-wheel drive, ground clearance, and the proper angles. However, as our latest group of SUOTY contenders--22 in all--gathered for evaluation at the Emergency Vehicle Operations Center driver training facility in San Bernardino, California, it became clear the segment is rapidly evolving into something less rigid and easily defined.
Only two of this year's contenders--the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota FJ Cruiser--can rightly be regarded as real off-roaders.
All the rest, in one degree or another, are biased toward road compromises, even the Mercedes-Benz GL and GM's truck-tough GMT900 vehicles (Escalade, Yukon, Tahoe, Suburban). And others like the Ford Edge, Honda's CR-V, and Suzuki's XL7 will almost certainly be popular as front-drive models where snow isn't a problem.
This year's SUOTY testing took that seismic shift into account. Although all the variants we tested featured all-wheel drive, we didn't subject the contenders to serious 4x4 conditions; instead, we focused on on-road driveability and refinement, interior flexibility and functionality, and real-world usage.
The judging began with a tech check and three days of track testing at California Speedway; acceleration and braking, the 600-foot slalom, and our exclusive Motor Trend figure-eight test. The track-testing gave the eight judges solid baseline data to work with as the back-to-back driving evaluations got underway in the scorching 106-degree heat at the 78-acre EVOC facility.
With so many vehicles in the field, the EVOC sessions were used to whittle the SUOTY competitors down to a solid 10 contenders for the crown. Those vehicles the judges felt missed the mark in terms of the criteria-superiority, significance, and value-were left behind once the team moved to our 25-mile test loop near the city of Thousand Oaks. Deciding which vehicles to cut provoked lively discussions, as you might expect.
Which of the impressively engineered GMT900s should go through? If the Edge made the cut, what about the more expensive Lincoln MKX? Did the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Suzuki XL7 stand a chance with the Hyundai Santa Fe in the Top 10?
In the end, it all comes down to trusting the process. SUOTY is about spending the time to test, analyze, evaluate, and think about how each vehicle rates against the criteria. It's a long and expensive exercise, which is why other magazines don't (can't) do it. But it works. Our winner this year is accomplished and worthy. Again.
Range of Values
Here's a snapshot of our broadest field of Sport/Utility of the Year contestants ever.
Price Range $18,765 Jeep Wrangler to$67,305 Cadillac Escalade
Power 166-hp Honda CR-V to 403-hp Cadillac Escalade
Curb weight 3554-lb Honda CR-V to 6270-lb Ford Expedition EL
Exterior size (LxWxH) 462-cu-ft Jeep Wrangler to 795-cu-ft Lincoln Navigator L
Passenger space 98-cu-ft Toyota FJ Cruiser to 168-cu-ft Lincoln Navigator L
Max cargo space 57-cu-ft Jeep Wrangler (2-dr) to 131-cu-ft Ford Expedition EL
Towing capacity 1000-lb Jeep Wrangler to 9700-lb GMC Yukon XL/Chevy Suburban
Acceleration (0-60/o-mile) 10.2/17.4 sec Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to 6.4/15.0 sec GMC Yukon Denali
Handling 36.1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to 67.5 Audi Q7
Fuel economy (hwy) 18 mpg Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator to 28 mpg Honda CR-V/Toyota RAV4 (4-cyl)
The Criteria
Sport/Utility of the Year isn't a comparison test. It's open only to all-new or substantially upgraded vehicles that have gone on sale in the 12 months from November 1 each year.
Each SUOTY contender is evaluated against three simple criteria:
1. Superiority
We look at engineering excellence, advancement in design, utilization of resources, and safety. Vehicle concept and execution are important, as are use of materials, packaging, dynamics, styling, and fuel consumption.
2. Significance
Does the vehicle do the job its maker intended it to do? This includes how it may impact or change its particular market segment, influence consumer perceptions, and transform product-development trends.
3. Value
How does each vehicle compare against its direct rivals? A vehicle with a low sticker price might not be as good a value as a more expensive vehicle that delivers outstanding performance, quality, and functionality.
The Judges

Neil Chirico
Road test editor, Motor Trend and Truck Trend
Allyson Harwood
Associate editor, Motor Trend and Truck Trend
Ron Kiino
Senior editor, Motor Trend
Todd Lassa
Detroit editor, Motor Trend
Angus MacKenzie
Editor-in-chief, Motor Trend
Frank Markus
Technical editor, Motor Trend
Matt Stone
Executive editor, Motor Trend
Mark Williams
Editor, Truck Trend
Acura MDX
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
An import midsize built to go head to head with the BMW X5.
What You Should Know
There's plenty of technology and performance here, but not sure the X5 is the right target to aim for. Almost trying too hard to make the mom-mobile more enjoyable to dads whoill have to drive it on the weekend. And the center stack must have 50 button choices for driver and passengers to fight over.
Bottom Line
Does a great job of going for high-tech performance driver, but how many midsize SUV buyers are interested?

2007 Acura MDX
Base price range $40,665-$46,265
Price as tested $48,465 (Sport)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.7L/300-hp/275-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4643 lb (56/44%)
Wheelbase 108.3 in
Length x width x height 190.7 x 73.6 x 68.2 in
Max Cargo Capacity 83.5 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 5000 lb
0-60 mph 7.5 sec
Quarter mile 15.9 sec @ 87.6 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 129 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.82 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 60.3 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy Fuel Econ 17/22 mpg
Sum Up Newfound heart and soul may draw new customers to the brand, but risk turning away the faithful.
Bet You Didn't Know The MDX's chassis dynamics were tuned on Germany's fabled Nuerburgring.

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Acura RDX
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
Working the emerging (they tell us growing) compact luxury segment, the RDX is a small segment that searches for well-off young (and small) families. Also takes aim at BMW.
What You Should Know
Much of the high-tech all-wheel-drive system is lifted from MDX and RL. Likewise, the high-tech turbo gives a good punch, without all the typical turbo lag. If youire a technophile, youill love this sound system and all the clever storage holds.
Bottom Line
Fun to drive in short spurts, especially if you like to go 8/10ths all the time, but for everyday driving, thereis too much of the Bavarian suspension stiffness.
2007 Acura RDX
Base price range $33,910-$37,010
Price as tested $37,165
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.4L/242-hp/260-lb-ft t'charged DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb Weight (f/r dist) 3936 lb (57/43%)
Wheelbase 104.3 in
Length x Width x Height 180.7 x 73.6 x 65.2 in
Max Cargo Capacity 60.6 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 1500 lb
0-60 mph 6.5 sec
Quarter mile 15.1 sec @ 90.4 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 134 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.82 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 63.2 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.5 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 19/24 mpg (est)
Sum Up Mimics BMW too closely, resulting in a harsh-riding tall sport sedan.
Bet You Didn't Know Valve on turbo directs exhaust onto center of the turbine at low rpm for quick spool-up.

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Audi Q7
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
German companyis first attempt at the SUV segment and this is as much a sport sedan as anything in our test. Tons of technology and engineering inside.
What You Should Know
The Q7 shares its platform with the Porsche Cayenne but has modified it to be longer. The 4.2-liter V-8 puts out a muscular 350 horsepower and has brakes that stop on a dime. But if youire looking for a six- or seven-passenger vehicle, the third row is weak.
Bottom Line
If you love German engineering and donit want a traditional SUV look or performance, this wagon should be at the top of the list.
2007 Audi Q7
Base price range $40,620-$50,620
Price As Tested $63,770 (4.2 quattro)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, AWD, 6-7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 4.2L/350-hp/325-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed auto
Curb weight (f/r dist) 5394 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 118.2 in
Length X Width X Height 200.2 x 78.1 x 68.4 in
Max Cargo Capacity 72.5 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 6600 lb
0-60 mph 7.5 sec
Quarter Mile 15.6 sec @ 90.2 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 118 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.84 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 62.1 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.3 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 14/19 mpg
Bet you didn't know Two 24 GHz radar sensors monitor rear blind spots and light LEDs in the mirror housing when danger lurks there.
Sum Up minor shortcomings--but still a marvel of engineering and technology.

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Cadillac Escalade
What It Is
The fullest of the full-size GMT900 SUVs, the Escalade and Escalade ESV get all the best from the GM parts bin.
What You Should Know
The 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 and the all-new six-speed automatic are the gold standard of the segment, but they cost. Base pricing starts at $55K and can run up to $70K.
Bottom Line
All the bling you could ever want on the best chassis and butter-smooth suspension GM makesoand you can tow and carry just about anything.
2007 Cadillac Escalade
Base price range $55,120-$60,075
Price As Tested $67,305 (AWD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 6.2L/403-hp/417-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight (f/r dist) 5777 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 116.0 in
Length x width x height 202.5 x 79.0 x 74.3 in
Max Cargo Capacity 108.9-137.4 Cu Ft
Max Towing Capacity 7700-7800 lb
0-60 mph 6.5 sec
Quarter Mile 15.0 sec @ 93.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 135 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.73 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 57.2 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 28.8 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 13/19 mpg (est)
Bet You Didn't Know The Escalade's 22-inch wheels cost $2995, but are crash- and endurance-tested, unlike aftermarket dubs.
Sum Up Well differentiated from its corporate cousins and popular with its fans, the Escalade finds its groove.

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Chevrolet Suburban
What It Is
The new Suburban has an all-new interior, powertrain, and platform for two versions of the most iconic American vehicle soldonow with real seating for nine.
What You Should Know
The all-new frame allows for a lower, flatter floor, which lets GM use electric flip-and-fold second-row seating to make getting to the third row a snap. However, it kept the live rear axle, which means the third row is as removable as a large, heavy suitcase.
Bottom Line
By far the best Suburban ever made, with so many details and improvements (dash, storage, nav, stunning fuel economy), youill want to drive it more than you should.
2007 Chevrolet Suburban
Base price range $37,365-$41,110
Price As Tested $51,740 (1500 LT 4WD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, 4WD, 8-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 5.3L/310-hp*/335-lb-ft* OHV V-8
Transmission 4-speed auto
Curb Weight (dist f/r) 5877 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 130.0 in
Length X Width X Height 222.4 x 79.1 x 76.8 in
Max Cargo Capacity 137.4 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 8000-9700 lb
0-60 mph 8.1 sec
Quarter Mile 16.1 sec @ 84.9 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 140 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.69 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 55.5 mph (avg)
MT Figure-Eight 30.2 sec @ 0.52 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 15/20 mpg
Bet You Didn't Know Once a pejorative for someone lacking manners, "suburban" entered the automotive lexicon in the 1920s.
Sum Up Most improved vehicle in this contest--without a compromise in utility.

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Chevrolet Tahoe
What It Is
The smaller of the GMT900 SUV platforms, the Tahoe is the full-size SUV for those looking for moderate size and girth.
What You Should Know
The active fuel-management system on the 5.3-liter V-8 can shut off four cylinders when the power isnit needed and improve fuel economy up to 20 percent over non-AFM engines. Big and heavy, it gets all the options the Suburban gets but costs less, base pricing at $35K.
Bottom Line
A solid improvement over past generations, but some will miss the Tahoeis more rugged look and capability.
2007 Chevrolet Tahoe
Base price range $52,730 (LTZ 4WD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, RWD or 4WD, 5-8-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 5.3L/320-hp*/340-lb-ft OHV V-8
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 5850 lb (52/48%)
Wheelbase 116.0 in
Length x width x height 202.0 x 79.0 x 77.0 in
max cargo capacity 108.9 cu ft
max towing capacity 7599-8200 lb
0-60 mph 8.7 sec
Quarter mile 16.6 sec @ 82.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 142 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.69 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 56.5 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 30.2 sec @ 0.52 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 15/21 mpg
Bet you didn't know Lake Tahoe is the country's second deepest (1645 feet), and it's clear enough to see down 71 feet.
Sum Up The General's most handsome new big SUV, without enthusiast's engine.

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Chrysler Aspen
What It Is
Chrysler finally has something to squeeze into the lucrative world of Cadillac and Lincoln full-size SUVs.
What You Should Know
Plush carpet and leather choices. Probably one of the best-looking luxury SUV interiors around. We especially like the Chrysler hood lines. One cool interior detail is that much of the lighting is LED.
Bottom Line
Not really a viable full-size or luxury choice, but will be a good alternative to the much more expensive segment leaders.
2007 Chrysler Aspen
Base price range $31,490-$34,265
Price as tested $44,450 (Limited 4WD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, RWD/AWD/4WD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 5.7L/335-hp/370-lb-ft OHV V-8
Transmission 5-speed auto
Curb weight (dist f/r) 5391 lb (54/46%)
Wheelbase 119.2 in
Length x width x height 200.8 x 76.0 x 74.3 in
Max Cargo Capacity 102.4 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 5000 lb
0-60 mph 7.6 sec
Quarter mile 15.8 sec @ 84.6 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 136 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.70 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 56.9 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 29.7 sec @ 0.52 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 14/19 mpg
Bet you didn't know Most of the Aspen's interior lighting is by cool, low-power, long-lasting white LEDs.
Sum Up This Sport/Utility Can Tow Just About Anything--But It's Not Much Of An Everyday Driver.

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Dodge Nitro
What It Is
A Jeep Liberty platform with an exterior that gets a more squared design and more macho personality.
What You Should Know
Although shared with the Liberty platform, It's lengthened by four inches and offered with a SOHC 4.0-liter V-6 to separate the two by a considerable margin. Interior changes make sure you know It's a Dodge, and materials and touch points are all more roughened and manly.
Bottom Line
The guy looks tough, but doesnit throw the right combinations to do any damage.
2007 Dodge Nitro
Base price range $26,970
Price as tested $30,725 (R/T 4x4)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass 4-door SUV
Engine 4.0L/255-hp/265-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve
Transmission 5-speed auto
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4327 lb (54/46%)
Wheelbase 108.8 in
Length x width x height 178.9 x 73.1 x 69.9 in
Max cargo capacity 65.2 cu ft
Max towing capacity 3500-5000 lb
0-60 mph 7.4 sec
Quarter mile 15.7 sec @ 85.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 125 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.69 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 56.7 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 29.7 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 17/21 mpg (est)
Bet you didn't know Load 'N Go floor slides out 18 inches to form a tailgate that can support two 200-pound pregame partiers.
SUM UP The little guy certainly looks tough, but doesn't throw a hard enough punch.

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Ford Edge
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
Fordis attempt to hit the crossover sweet spot with a sideways-mounted V-6, plenty of interior space, and a carlike ride.
What You Should Know
We'll have to see if the wide-bodied, snub-nosed station wagons are going to be the next big thing, but from Ford's shot at the target, It's going to be tough to hit the bullis-eye. Fine in a straight line, but ride and handling dynamics are for people who donit like to drive. Not sure this is going to help Fordis problems.
Bottom Line
Some clever details and options, but they forgot to make it fun to drive.
2007 Ford Edge
Base Price Range $25,500-$28,000 (est)
Price As Tested $31,000 (est, SEL AWD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, FWD or AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.5L/265-hp*/250-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight (f/r dist) 4502 lb (58/42%)
Wheelbase 111.2 in
Length x width x height 185.7 x 75.8 x 67.2 in
max cargo capacity 69.6 cu ft
max towing capacity 3500 lb
0-60 mph 8.0 sec
Quarter mile 16.2 sec @ 85.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 142 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.72 g (avg)
600-FOOT SLALOM 55.7 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 29.3 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 18/23 mpg (est)
Bet You Didn't Know Shares its six-speed auto with new Saturn; developed with GM, Ford tuned and manufactures it separately.
Sum up THE Last thing Ford needs is a crossover with THE dynamics of an Explorer.

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Ford Expedition EL
What It Is
This is Fordis softer and gentler (and almost as big) Excursion. A longer-wheelbase version goes head to head with the Suburban.
What You Should Know
The EL uses the same platform as the short-wheelbase Expedition but offers 28 more cubic feet of cargo capacity. This is the biggest SUV in the U.S. with an independent rear suspension. And that allows for Fordis push-button, hide-in-the-floor third-row seat. The 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 seems a bit small.
Bottom Line
The six-speed helps a lot, but It's the interior functionality that makes this the segment leader.
2007 Ford Expedition
Base Price Range $29,175-$45,575
As-Tested Price $50,200 (EL LTD 4WD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, 4WD, 8-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 5.4L/300-hp/365-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight, F/R DIST 6270 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 131.0 in
Length X Width X Height 221.3 x 91.8 x 78.3 in
Max Cargo Capacity 130.8 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 8750 lb
0-60 MPH 8.7 sec
Quarter Mile 16.5 sec @ 83.5 mph
Braking, 60-0 MPH 140 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.69 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 55.1 mph (avg)
Mt Figure Eight 30.6 sec @ 0.50 g (avg)
Epa City/Hwy Fuel Economy 13/19
Bet you didn't knowSimple, clever cargo-area shelf can double as a grocery-bag divider for the rear area.
Sum Up The best of the biggest, with a big nose--ford is throwing its hardest punch to date.

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GMC Yukon Denali
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
The Tahoe sibling, for people who want more zip from their ride, without all the pizzazz.
What You Should Know
A fully loaded Yukon Denali, with the same 6.2-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic found in the Cadillac costs just as much as a stripped, no-options Escalade. Unique headlights, body panels, hood, and front fascia make the GMC look more refined than the Tahoe with less chrome than the Caddy.
Bottom Line
GMC has the widest bandwidth of choices in the GMT900 SUV lineup.
2007 Toyota Rav4
Base Price Range $34,690-$50,490
As-Tested Price $55,905 (Yukon Denali AWD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 6.2L/380-hp*/417-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight, F/R DIST 5715 lb (50/50%)
Wheelbase 116.0 in
Length X Width X Height 202.0 x 79.0 x 75.9 in
Max Cargo Capacity 108.9 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 7900 lb
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec
Quarter Mile 15.0 sec @ 93.4 mph
Braking, 60-0 MPH 147 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.70 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 56.7 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 28.9 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
Epa City/Hwy Fuel Economy 13/19 mpg
Bet You Didn't Know The drive from Yukon (Territory, Canada) to Denali (National Park, Alaska) is about 412 miles.
Sum Up Excellent value, with enough power and room to carry a basketball team.

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Honda CR-V
What It Is
Always a strong player in the compact-SUV segment, the CR-V gets closer to a crossover in every way but one: power. For the most part, shares quite a bit with the Acura RDX, except engine.
What You Should Know
The CR-V still offers just one engine choice (a four-banger), but now has a five-speed automatic. The interior offers tons of storage and cubby space and the dash and gauge setup is a wonderful improvementonobody does clean and simple as well as Honda.
Bottom Line
Still has the typical Honda quality inside and out, but is in desperate need of more power. How about a turbo?

2007 Honda CR-V
Base Price Range $21,500-$26,250 (est)
As-Tested Price $26,750 (est, EX-L AWD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.4L/166-hp/161-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb Weight, F/R dist 3554 lb (57/43%)
Wheelbase 103.1 in
Length X Width X Height 178.0 x 71.6 x 66.1 in
Max Cargo Capacity 72.9 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 1500 lb
0-60 MPH 9.9 sec
Quarter Mile 17.5 Sec @ 78.5 Mph
Braking, 60-0 MPH 129 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.76 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 62.0 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 29.5 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy Fuel Economy 22/28 mpg
Bet you didn't know Replacing the old picnic-table cargo floor is a less cool folding shelf that's plastic on one side for messy loads.
Sum Up Typical Honda quality inside and out--just lacks in the "oomph" department.

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Hyundai Santa Fe
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
Strong player in the large compact or small midsize segment with all the right pieces and price to make a credible mainstream entry.
What You Should Know
Full of standard safety features (stability control, six airbags, reinforced door beams), the Santa Fe goes head to head with the Highlander, RAV4, and CR-V, but comes in several thousand dollars less. Strong on significance and value, but less so on superiority.
Bottom Line
Another in a growing list of Hyundai taking aim and Toyota at Honda quality and design and coming incredibly close to the bullis-eye.
2007 Toyota Rav4
Base Price Range $21,595-$28,595
Price As Tested $28,690 (Limited AWD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, AWD, 5-7-pass, 5-door SUV
Engine 3.3L/242-hp/226-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed auto
Curb Weight (f/r dist) 4214 lb (59/41%)
Wheelbase 106.3 in
Length X Width X Height 184.1 x 74.4 x 67.9 in
Max Towing Capacity 3500 lb
Max Cargo Capacity 78.2 cu ft
0-60 mph 8.5 sec
Quarter Mile 16.6 Sec @ 84.3 Mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 129 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.75 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 60.3 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 29.1 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
Epa City/Hwy Fuel Econ 19/24 mpg (est)
Bet you didn't know Hyundai claims the new Santa Fe's body structure is 59 percent more rigid than the Toyota Highlander's.
Sum Up Another leap for Hyundai in quality and design--does just about everything well.
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Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
An all-new platform for the trail-dominating icon, but now offers a longer-wheelbase four-door brother. Wider, longer, and more comfortable, thereis still plenty of Jeep here.
What You Should Know
The new 3.8-liter V-6 is probably the weakest thing about this rugged SUV. Short-wheelbase Wranglers start around $18K and offer soft or modular hardtop configurations. Hard-cores will love the slow-crawling Rubicon package, while non-hard-cores will be impressed by the new interior layout and electric windows.
Bottom Line
Still a Jeep, with quite a few clever additions to help with fuel economy and daily living comfort.
2007 Jeep Wrangler
Base Price Range $18,765-$28,895
Price As Tested $31,075 (est, Unlimited Sahara 4WD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass 4-door SUV
Engine 3.8L/202-hp/237-lb-ft OHV 12-valve V-6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Curb Weight (f/r dist) 4503 lb (55/45%)
Wheelbase 116.0 in
Length X Width X Height 173.4 x 73.9 x 70.9 in
Max cargo capacity 63.3-86.8 cu ft
Max towing capacity 1000-3500 lb
0-60 mph 10.2 sec
Quarter mile 17.4 sec @ 77.4 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 150 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.67 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 56.2 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 30.3 sec @ 0.49 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16/19 mpg
Bet you didn't know Undo myriad latches, screws, and nuts to remove doors, roof, and windshield--feel wind from all directions.
Sum Up Plenty of changes inside and out, but still what it ought to be.

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Lincoln MKX
What It Is
Lincoln gets its version of the new Ford Edge platform. Interior and waterfall grille are only separators.
What You Should Know
Not sure how It's possible, but the ride is even softer and less controlled than that of the Ford Edge. Expect the stability control to kick in much faster than you want when cornering at brisk speeds. A good crossover for people who donit want their wagons to look like SUVs.
Bottom Line
It's good thing it has a great sound system, but It's not enough to hide the bad handling dynamics.
2007 Lincoln MKX
Base Price Range $30,100-$40,285 (est)
As-Tested Price $46,500 (est, AWD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.5L/265-hp*/250-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight, F/R DIST 4631 lb (57/43%)
Wheelbase 111.2 In
Length X Width X Height 186.5 x 75.8 x 69.0 in
Max Cargo Capacity 68.7 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 3500 lb
0-60 MPH 7.9 sec
Quarter Mile 16.1 sec @ 85.6 mph
Braking, 60-0 MPH 144 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.72 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 56.9 mph (avg)
MT Figure Eight 29.1 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg (est)
Bet You Didn't Know Interior is Lincoln's quietest yet--enjoy optional 14-speaker THX II-Certified surround-sound system!
Sum Up A Really Cool Sound System Doesn't Make Up For Sub-Par Performance On The Road.

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Lincoln Navigator
What It Is
An upscale clone of the new Expedition, the new Navigator also gets a long-wheelbase version.
What You Should Know
Ford is committed to keeping the worst parts of badge engineering alive, but doing little more than making a few new interior-materials choices and letting the chroming geeks loose on the exterior. Standout parts and pieces here are 5.4-liter V-8 and six-speed transmission, as in the Expedition.
Bottom Line
Competing against Cadillac on price should work for a while, but there needs to be something more.
2007 Lincoln Navigator
Base Price Range $46,575-$55,850
Price as tested $59,210 (4WD Ultimate)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 6-pass 4-door SUV
Engine 5.4L/300-hp/365-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed auto
Curb weight (f/r dist) 5937 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 119.0 in
Length x width x height 208.4 x 78.8 x 78.3 in
Max cargo capacity 103.5-128.2 cu ft
Max towing capacity 8475-8950 lb
0-60 mph 8.4 sec
Quarter mile 16.2 sec @ 84.9 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 143 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.69 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 55.8 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 30.7 sec @ 0.50 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 15/20 mpg (est)
Bet you didn't know Dark Ebony or Anigre wood trim is book-matched and laser-cut, just like the veneers in a Bentley or Jag.
Sum Up Major news is all-new LWB version, but changes produce minor rewards.

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Mazda CX-7
What It Is
The quintessential crossover with a small engine for fuel economy and a turbo for performance zoom zoom.
What You Should Know
You can tell what this vehicle is about by the rake of its windshield 66 degrees. This is a car with as much cargo-carrying room as the designers could allow. The turbo four and six-speed automatic are a blast to drive, once you get used to the long spool-up times. For better or worse, this is the shape of the future.
Bottom Line
About as far on the isporti side of SUV as you can possibly get.
2007 Mazda CX-7
Base Price Range $24,345-$28,595
Price as tested $33,280 (Grand Touring AWD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.3L/244-hp/258-lb-ft t'charged DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 3908 lb (58/42%)
Wheelbase 108.3 in
Length x width x height 184.0 x 73.7 x 64.8 in
MAX CARGO CAPACITY 58.6 cu ft
max towing capacity 2000 lb
0-60 mph 7.8 sec
Quarter mile 15.9 sec @ 84.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 119 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.79 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 63.1 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 28.0 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 18/24 mpg
Bet you didn't know The CX-7's 66-degree windshield angle is the most steeply raked in the SUV segment.
Sum up Consider the CX-7 if the "sport" side of the SUV equation is what's most important to you.

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Mitsubishi Outlander
What It Is
To put it simply, this is a compact SUV that must find a way to separate itself from the pack to save its parent company.
What You Should Know
Although certainly unique, the interior is trying too hard to look different and mix in some high-performance (read Evo) styling and tech. The engine is underwhelming and styling bland. The shape is almost invisible and the third-row option is cumbersome.
Bottom Line
If you have to be different, thisill offer some interesting variety, but It's far from the best in class.
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander
Base Price Range $21,000-$26,000 (est)
As-tested price $29,000 (est, XLS 4WD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, FWD/AWD, 5- or 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.0L/220-hp/204-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight, f/r dist 3897 lb (55/45)
Wheelbase 105.1 in
Length x width x height 182.7 x 70.9 x 66.1 in
Max Cargo Capacity 72.6 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 3500 lb
0-60 mph 8.1 sec
Quarter mile 16.4 sec @ 86.2 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 128 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.78 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 62.7 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 28.3 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel economy 19-20/26-27 mpg
Bet you didn't know Evo-inspired aluminum roof panel saves 11 pounds and significantly lowers center of gravity.
Sum up Better the second time around, with some neat features, but far from the best.

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Suzuki XL7
What It Is
Compact SUV thatill remind you of the Chevy Equinox, for good reason.
What You Should Know
The highlight of the XL7 (now without a hyphen) is the Suzuki sourced 3.6-liter V-6 that puts out 252 horsepower. Likewise, the interior offers some interesting storage solutions (yet suffers from material choices), and ride characteristics and braking performance are just adequate. We do like the third-row solution and the fact it has rear shocks that mechanically self-level.
Bottom Line
There are better choices out there (Saturn Vue Red or Green Line), but this should help Suzuki.
2007 Suzuki XL7
Base Price Range $23,495-$29,549 (est)
Price as tested $29,284 (est)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5/7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.6L/252-hp/243-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4195 lb (57/43%)
Wheelbase 112.4 in
Length x width x height 197.2 x 72.2 x 68.9 in
Max Towing Capacity 3500 lb
Max Cargo Capacity N/A
0-60 mph 7.4 sec
Quarter Mile 16.0 sec @ 86.0 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 136 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.75 g (avg)
600-Foot Slalom 60.1 mph (avg)
MT Figure-Eight 28.9 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy Fuel Econ 17/23
Bet You Didn't Know Seven-passenger XL7s get Nivomat load-leveling rear shocks that pump up when carrying heavy loads.
Sum Up An honest effort, but it takes more than this to steal sales from others.

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Toyota FJ Cruiser
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
Nothing short of Toyota's attempt at remaking an icon by dipping into its shallow gene pool.
What You Should Know
Probably one of the best powertrains and chassis-tuning combinations in the marketplace. Likewise, the interior is a wonderful balance of new and old, with careful consideration for drivers who wear leather gloves. Watch out for visibility forward and over the left shoulder. B- and C-pillar blind spots are gigantic.
Bottom Line
Wonderfully executed new interpretation of a classic 4x4. Authentic four-wheel-drive capability, with all the right traction and gearing choices.
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base Price Range $22,515- $24,105
As-tested price $29,883 (4WD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, RWD/4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 4.0L/239-hp/278-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb weight, f/r dist 4345 lb (54/46%) 4WD AT
Wheelbase 105.9 in
Length x width x height 183.9 x 74.6 x 71.6 in
Max cargo capacity 66.8 cu ft
Max towing capacity 5000 lb
0-60 mph 7.3 sec
Quarter mile 15.7 sec @ 87.1 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 128 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.70 g (avg)
600-foot slalom 55.7 mph (avg)
MT figure eight 29.4 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel economy 16-19/19-22
Bet you didn't know A-TRAC allows enough wheelspin to claw down through loose surfaces in search of traction.
Sum up With faults a-few, the FJ Cruiser conquers everything from boulders to boulevards.

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Toyota RAV4
Top-Ten Finisher
What It Is
Its smallest SUV now gets a V-6 option that makes this a power-to-weight monster.
What You Should Know
New vehicle is almost as big as old Highlander. Both I-4 and V-6 are vastly improved in power and fuel efficiency, but the V-6 is the rocket of this yearis competition. For overall quality, performance, and value, this is state of the art in the segment.
Bottom Line
A strong contender, but is lacking in some design fizz and sizzle.
2007 Toyota Rav4
Base Price Range $21,455-$27,025
As-Tested Price $28,275 (Sport V-6 4WD)
Vehicle Layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.5L/269-hp/246-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb Weight, F/R DIST 3703 lb (59/41%)
Wheelbase 104.7 in
Length X Width X Height 181.1 x 73.0 x 68.7 in
Max Cargo Capacity 73.0 cu ft
Max Towing Capacity 3500 lb
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec
Quarter Mile 15.0 sec @ 92.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 130 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.75 g avg
600-Foot Slalom 60.6 mph avg
MT Figure Eight 28.6 sec @ 0.59 g avg
Epa City/Hwy Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg
Bet you didn't know Concave cam lobe flanks open the RAV4 V-6's valves faster, keep them open longer, for high engine output.
Sum Up Up to the high standards of toyota build quality--but lacking in fizz and Sizzle.

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