2021 SUVs

While many folks use the terms SUV and crossover interchangeably, there are still plenty of rugged, body-on-frame SUVs on the market. In recent years, North Americans have become more interested in exploring the great outdoors, and these hearty rigs are just the right vehicles for the job.

Sport utility vehicles tend to share their platforms with trucks, not cars like crossovers. This usually—though not always—translates to better off-road ability than crossovers. The trade-off is a rougher, busier ride on tarmac, though the higher-end SUVs take a lot of the sting out of that with fancy air suspension. Be prepared to spend more at the pump than a comparably-sized crossover, too.

Pros and Cons of SUVs

Pros

  • The most dedicated off-roaders
  • Spacious interiors
  • Lots of standard 4WD options
  • High ground clearance
  • Road presence
 

Cons

  • Cumbersome handling
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Large dimensions make them intimidating to drive
  • Smaller drivers will struggle to get a good view out

Off-Road SUVs

The urge to go exploring is a big one, after so many of us have spent the last few years cooped up. Previously, if you wanted a relatively affordable, rugged SUV, there was one choice: the Jeep Wrangler. But for 2021 Ford brought the Bronco back to much fanfare.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Ford Bronco Review: Fewer Doors, More Fun

Both the Wrangler and Bronco cover a lot of similar ground. They start just above $30,000 USD, and come in either two- or four-door shapes. You can just straight up remove the doors too, if that's your thing. Both

What's New in SUVs for 2022?

Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer

Jeep brought back the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer names for 2022. Well, we call them Jeeps, but you won't find the J-word anywhere on them. That's because the Wagoneers are targeting a more premium part of the market than the Jeep brand has played in this century. Both sit on a modified Ram 1500 platform, a body-on-frame setup designed for maximum towing. The "regular" Wagoneer employs a 5.7-liter V8, and lines up against the Yukon Denalis of the world. Meanwhile, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a full-on Escalade competitor, bursting with tech and featuring a humongous 6.4-liter V8. This big ol' beast impressed our team so much that we awarded it our 2022 Luxury Utility Vehicle of the Year award.
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Ford Bronco Raptor

Fresh off its debut in 2021, the Ford Bronco is getting the Raptor treatment for 2022. Available only as a four-door, the Braptor gets all the necessary off-roading goodies, like 37-inch all-terrain tires, unique control arms, and Fox bypass-valve shocks. To fit all this hardware, Ford has stretched the wheel arches for almost 10 additional inches of width. Meanwhile, behind that iconic grille sits a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6, up from the 2.7-liter found in the regular Bronco. Power is over 400 hp, which should make this a dune-jumping riot fest. We can't wait.
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GMC Hummer EV

Launched first as a pickup truck, the Hummer EV will get the SUV treatment for early 2023. Billed as the first "mega truck," the Hummer has been reborn as an electric vehicle, utilizing General Motors' new dedicated Ultium EV platform. The SUV will feature all the same goodies as the pickup, including three electric motors, up to 1,000 horsepower, and a trick Crab Walk mode. GM quotes a super-quick 3.0 seconds to 60 mph for the truck, while the SUV will need an extra half-second. All this capability comes at a price: the early versions of the Hummer will reach well into six figures. Not only that, but the vehicle weighs over 9,000 pounds—just the battery alone outweighs an entire Honda Civic.
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Lexus LX600

Lexus redid its LX flagship SUV for 2022. Now called the LX600, it does double-duty, essentially replacing the previous model and the related Toyota Land Cruiser, which isn't coming to North America this time. The LX now uses a powerful 3.4-liter turbocharged V6, vastly improving both power and fuel economy. It also uses a brand new infotainment system, one that has leapfrogged the competition and become one of the best in the business. What hasn't changed is the LX's penchant for the road less travelled—specifically no road at all. This luxury rig is still made to tackle off-roading, and it does so better than most of the competition. Buyers now have the option of a swanky ultra-lux trim with full-recline second-row seats.
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Other Highlights from the World of SUVs?

Cadillac Escalade

The Escalade has earned its status as a luxury icon. The latest model features a tech-heavy interior that remains easy to use. Not only that, it offers a fuel-sipping diesel engine.

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Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban

Escalade a little too rich for your tastes? The Tahoe and Suburban are two more down-to-Earth options built on the same platform. You can still get the diesel in either of these Bow Tie beasts, though not in the available Z71 off-road-friendly trim.

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Jeep Wrangler

The perennially popular Wrangler remains a best-seller because of the sheer number of available versions. Two doors? Sure. Four? Okay. Manual transmission? Still offered. You can get a V6, but there's also a turbo-four, with or without a plug-in hybrid setup, and even a laugh-out-loud V8 model.

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Make / Model MSRP Fuel User Rating
2021 Rivian R1S
2021 Rivian R1S
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2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
view 9 trims
$19,000 - $27,000 26/30 mpg
2021 Ford EcoSport
2021 Ford EcoSport
view 7 trims
$19,995 - $27,715 23/29 mpg
2021 Hyundai Kona
2021 Hyundai Kona
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$20,400 - $29,450 25/29 mpg
2021 Chevrolet Trax
2021 Chevrolet Trax
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$21,400 - $23,820 24/29 mpg
2021 Mazda CX-30
2021 Mazda CX-30
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$21,900 - $29,950 24/31 mpg
2021 Kia Seltos
2021 Kia Seltos
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$21,990 - $27,890 25/30 mpg
2021 Subaru Crosstrek
2021 Subaru Crosstrek
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$22,245 - $27,995 22/29 mpg
2021 Jeep Renegade
2021 Jeep Renegade
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$22,850 - $28,700 21/27 mpg
2021 Buick Encore
2021 Buick Encore
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$23,200 - $25,220 24/29 mpg
2021 Hyundai Tucson
2021 Hyundai Tucson
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$23,700 - $33,450 21/25 mpg
2021 Chevrolet Equinox
2021 Chevrolet Equinox
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$23,800 - $33,000 25/30 mpg
2021 Jeep Compass
2021 Jeep Compass
view 11 trims
$23,915 - $30,815 22/30 mpg
2021 Kia Sportage
2021 Kia Sportage
view 8 trims
$23,990 - $35,150 19/24 mpg
2021 Buick Encore GX
2021 Buick Encore GX
view 6 trims
$24,200 - $30,600 26/29 mpg
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