Best SUVs and Crossover SUVs of 2010: Page 2

Last Updated: Apr 27, 2010

There are plenty of worthwhile alternatives to our Best SUVs and Crossover SUVs of 2010 -- especially if you’re looking for the top choice in a specific category. You’ll not be disappointed with any of the following.

The best small SUV of 2010 is the Subaru Forester.  This stout little wagon evolved from compact-car tight to compact-crossover roomy with its 2009 redesign. Forester continues for 2010 as a smart-sized five-seater with performance and utility that shames a long list of rivals that look more overtly SUV-like. The turbocharged 2.5XT models are serious fun. Base price range: $20,990-$29,190.

The best midsize SUV of 2010 is the Honda Pilot. It looks like a tough-hombre SUV but Pilot is really a precision-tooled crossover. It’s sized for easy suburban maneuvering yet has three rows of seats. Performance surpasses expectations; build quality is hard to fault. Debatable styling and too many dashboard buttons are distractions but not disqualifiers. Base price range: $28,605-$39,355.

The best large SUV of 2010 is the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Mercedes engineering and prestige, private-railcar accommodations for seven, and confidence-inspiring road manners – what’s not to like? Well, the price. But you do get to choose between two stirring V-8 engines and a BlueTec diesel V-6 that delivers a palatable 17/23 mpg (city/highway). Base price range: $60,825-$84,725.

The best city SUV of 2010 is the Volvo XC60. Modern Euro styling means the new-for-2010 XC60 looks the part at the toniest of haunts. Responsive performance, elevated seating, and tidy dimensions ease the stress of urban driving. And should your attention wander, automatic braking sensors stop it dead to prevent a buzz-killing rear-end collision. Base price range: $38,550-$48,900.

The best family SUV of 2010 is the Toyota Highlander. Spacious and refined, the Highlander easily hauls your brood and all its caboodle. This Camry-based crossover seats seven and has styling that won’t embarrass the gotta-look-macho dad. Highlander offers three engine choices: the four-cylinder holds its own and is easy on the wallet; the V-6 is the pick for no-sweat acceleration; and the gas-electric hybrid returns a pleasant 27/25 mpg (city/highway). Base price range: $26,505-$35,320.

The best fuel-efficient SUV of 2010 is the Ford Escape Hybrid. The Methuselah of crossovers gets a hybrid heart and new life as America’s highest-mileage SUV. Along with its Mazda Tribute Hybrid and Mercury Marnier Hybrid corporate cousins, the Escape Hybrid is rated at 34/31 mpg (city/highway). The gas-electric powertrain provides adequate performance and sort of compensates for the ancient feel of a basic design that’s a decade old. Base price range: $25,995-$34,735.

The best off-road SUV of 2010 is the Jeep Wrangler. You can buy a rear-wheel-drive Wrangler, but what’s the point? Any four-wheel-drive version of this classic can conquer the toughest of trails and the off-road-engineered Rubicon models lunch on big boulders and bad bogs.  Wrangler offers a two-door body style and the longer four-door Unlimited, both with hard or soft tops. Wrangler is poorly suited as a daily driver, but no 4x4 puts you more in touch with the out-of-doors. Base price range: $21,915-$32,800.

The best luxury SUV of 2010 is the Land Rover Range Rover. In a delightful colonial turnabout, Britain’s iconic Land Rover brand is now owned by India’s Tata Motor. The former subjects are wise stewards of a tradition that’s brought us this debonair SUV.  The Range Rover isolates you from most every unpleasantness, wafts you over hill and pothole, and whistles you along on the strength of V-8s ranging from 375 to 510 horsepower. Base price range: $79,275-$95,125.

The best inexpensive SUV of 2010 is the Hyundai Tucson. Hyundai lets its hair down with this flamboyantly restyled version of its compact crossover. All-new for 2010, the Tucson refines the high-content-at-competitive-prices formula that’s made this South Korean automaker among the world’s most successful. Tucson is agile, roomy, and solid, but ride quality, steering feel, and engine smoothness need work. Base price range: $19,790-$29,940.

The best towing SUV of 2010 is the Toyota Sequoia. As if to overcompensate for years of middling dimensions, Toyota got all gargantuan with the 2009 redesign of its biggest SUV. Based on the Tundra pickup, this body-on-frame wagon takes up lots of space on the road and guzzles lots of gas. But Sequoia easily holds eight passengers and offers class-leading towing capacity. Equipped with the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8, it can pull a 10,000-pound trailer. Even the new-for-2010 base V-8 -- a sensible 4.6-liter with 310 horses – will tow 7,100 pounds. Base price range: $39,480-$59,855.