When it comes to picking out the best new SUV for you and your family, there are a lot of different things to consider besides sticker price and whether or not you think the car salesman you are working with was hired simply because his polyester suit matched his polyester hair. You see, there can be bad salespeople at any dealership and paying the right price for your next SUV will come down to doing your homework when the time comes and then being prepared to be doing a bit of negotiating.
But before you jump ahead to the actual process of “buying” your next 2014 SUV, you must first go out and “shop” for one first. And if you hadn’t noticed lately, there are a lot of choices out there for the average consumer. Admittedly, a new Range Rover might be nice to dream about but can you afford $110.000, a tenacious thirst for premium unleaded and the possibility that something might go wrong with the most complex SUV out there once out of warranty.
Don’t answer that if you have a house in the Hamptons, have live-in help who raise your children, or don’t have the slightest clue why 99% of a population would resent the top 1% of money earners in the populace. While there are some luxurious and upscale choices on this list, even the top level models here lack the showy ostentation that is never popular in a recession.
Otherwise, the following ten options have all been personally road tested by me for one week and each gets my seal of approval for life in bumper to bumper traffic or on the way to Saturday soccer practice. They are all solidly built, more fun to drive that most SUVs as you make your way around town, are relatively fuel efficient and offer more passenger/cargo room than you will probably ever need. But most importantly they won’t make you look like a dork in front of your kids when you pick them up in the family car. You don’t want to be the lame parent in that lame SUV, now do you?
If so, you might as well enjoy a little extra room and just buy yourself the dreaded minivan. And to many, driving a minivan is a fate worse than death. So pick one of these ten SUVs and escape once more from the grasp of the grim reaper.
2013 Kia Sportage-This compact SUV isn’t the roomiest model out there but it is definitely the coolest looking from its Euro-inspired chrome grille to utterly unique slant shape tailgate that has yet to be seen in any other SUV design. Powered by a 2.4 liter 176 horsepower 4-cylinder capable of 32 miles per gallon highway, you can also specify more power with the less efficient 2.0 liter turbo with 260 horsepower. It’s quick enough you won’t care that it’s not as efficient. The Sportage is the fraternal twin of the Hyundai Tucson but it quieter at speed and much better looking inside and out from a style perspective.
2014 GMC Terrain Denali-In 4-cylinder form the Terrain (and more sedate looking sibling Chevy Equinox) both makes for the best compact SUVs to ever come from the Big Three. They offer terrific build quality with their stylish interiors, have terrific EPA fuel economy estimates and are available with every electronic gizmo and gadget you can imagine. But we love the Denali with its romping, stomping 3.6 liter V6 engine and over 300 horsepower. Oh yeah, and the interior is nicer than even the regular Terrain.
2014 Honda CR-V-Not much is known yet about this all new CR-V which is rumored to come with an updated 200 horsepower 4-cylinder, class leading fuel economy and a new 6-speed automatic. At the very least we know that it will look extremely cool given how sexy Honda’s recently unveiled concept variant was in the metal. Expect a full report in November.
2014 Lexus RX350 F-Sport-Yes, there’s one in every other spot at your local Country Club but there is a reason why 45% of all Lexus models sold are the RX. This smooth, refined, soothing, expertly engineered and unfailingly luxurious five passenger SUV is everything the Neiman Marcus shopper needs. And in F-Sport trim with larger, smoked alloys and with a more responsive driving experience this Lexus is truly unstoppable.
2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro-If you want a V6, go for the Lexus RX. If you need or want to save a little on your next compact luxury SUV check out the Audi Q5 with the venerable 2.0 liter turbocharged and direct-injected 4-cylinder that power the A4. Thanks to the amazing work of a clever new 8-speed automatic, this SUV gets great mileage and feels plenty quick.
2014 Acura MDX-If you want luxury, room for seven, the safety of one of the best full-time all-wheel drive systems and a price that is reasonable then you really only have one place to look. The MDX has been a sales hit from day one and for very, very good reason. And the all new 2014 model looks to continue that trend.
2014 VW Tiguan R-Line-With a potent 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, burly looking oversized alloy wheels, an exterior body kit, every possible option imaginable and a grippy flat bottom steering wheel, the all-new for 2014 VW Tiguan R-Line is as sporty as most SUVs get. And we love it.
2014 Kia Sorento-Do you really want an MDX but can’t afford it? This Kia 7-passenger SUV is built in Georgia and is as close as you can get to that kind of luxury SUV but for a whole lot less depending on options. New for 2014 are some exterior styling changes, a higher quality dashboard, more premium leather seating while we still recommend the V6 model over the rather underpowered 4-cylinder engine. That hasn’t changed.
2014 Dodge Durango-The shock of the year. All you need is the new Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 and new 8-speed automatic and you have a comfortable freeway cruiser for you and your family as well as one of the most stylishly high tech interiors in all of the SUV kingdom. Also, there’s room enough for relatives you really wish would lose your home address.
2014 GMC Acadia-This (along with its Chevy and Buick twins) amaze because they are so easy to
manage and park despite offering such tremendous amounts of interior room. Nothing out there offers a more comfortable third row seat. Except perhaps a Cadillac Escalade.
This article can be found in an earlier form on Yahoo! Voices. Check out my profile here.