January 28, 2022

Road-trip ready with plenty of elbow room.

Are you dreaming about an SUV that gives you more elbow room and an elevated perspective of the road ahead? You don’t have to look hard to find desirable features in a variety of shapes and sizes. Need three rows for your passengers? Looking for a rugged vehicle to tackle dirt-road adventures? You’ll find all these options and more in this list.

Using CarMax sales data from May 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019, here’s our list of the 12 best SUVs for 2020 shoppers.

  1. Nissan Pathfinder
  2. Dodge Journey
  3. Jeep Wrangler
  4. Kia Sorento
  5. Ford Explorer
  6. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  7. Jeep Cherokee
  8. Toyota RAV4
  9. Honda CR-V
  10. Ford Escape
  11. Chevrolet Equinox
  12. Nissan Rogue

Nissan Pathfinder

The Pathfinder has been a head-turning SUV since the early 1990s, and Nissan has consistently turned out exciting, spunky models ever since. The current generation started in 2017 and Nissan keeps adding to its appeal. With a 3.5L V6, the 2019 Pathfinder offers impressive power and a steady ride. All trims of the 2019 Pathfinder can tow an estimated 6,000 pounds with the V6 when properly equipped. In 2019, Nissan issued the Rock Creek Edition package, great for robust off-roading if you’re the type that seeks adventure.

The list of standard features on the base 2017-2019 Pathfinder includes:

  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Rearview camera
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Forward collision warning (2018-2019)

Dodge Journey

The 2019 Dodge Journey comes in three trims: SE, Crossroad, and GT. The first-generation Journey was introduced in 2009, and since then, this three-row SUV continues to offer options for families, singles, and professionals with features to please everyone.

For seating options, the 2019 Journey is ready to accommodate you with 60/40-split second-row seats and 50/50-split third-row seats, and both rows slide and recline. All trims for 2019 come standard with FWD or available AWD as an option. For model year 2019, both the SE and Crossroad trims come standard with a 2.4L, four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The AWD option, however, brings along a 3.6L V6 with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Standard feature highlights for the base 2017-2019 Dodge Journey include:

  • Adjustable steering wheel
  • Automatic headlights
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Vehicle anti-theft system
  • Brake assist

Jeep Wrangler

Rugged and undeniably capable off-road, the Jeep Wrangler puts the utility in sport utility vehicle. For 2019, the Wrangler comes in two-door or four-door options: the two-door is available in Sport, Sport S, and Rubicon trims and the four-door in Sport, Sport S, Sahara, Moab, and Rubicon trims. Love a manual transmission? With its standard 3.6L V6 paired to a six-speed manual (or an available eight-speed automatic), this is the SUV for you. There’s nothing like opening up your Wrangler and feeling the wind envelop your whole body; driving a Jeep Wrangler feels like an adventure as soon as you slide behind the wheel.

The base 2017-2019 Jeep Wrangler includes:

  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Skid plates and tow hooks
  • Removable full-metal doors with crank windows
  • Fold-down windshield
  • Air conditioning (optional on the two-door Sport)

Kia Sorento

In 2019, Kia added a new eight-speed automatic transmission for the V6 and more standard features, including a third-row seat. This SUV is a convenient size if you need more space for passengers and pets but want something easy to park just about anywhere as well. The 2019 Kia Sorento is stylish and quiet, no matter which of the seven trim levels you choose.

The 2019 L and the LX come standard with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 3.3L V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission are optional on the LX and standard on the S, EX, EX Sport, SX, and SX Limited trims. Excluding the L trim, available AWD is optional on any Sorento in model year 2019.

Right off the bat, the base 2017-2019 Kia Sorento includes standard:

  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™

Ford Explorer

With a quiet and comfortable cabin, the 2017-2019 Ford Explorer starts with a 3.5L V6 with 290 horsepower. If a little more torque (310 lb.-ft. versus the V6’s 255 lb.-ft.) makes you happy, the 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder is also available. For the twin-turbocharged V6, go with the powerful Sport trim, which includes an upgraded suspension for rougher terrain. The top-of-the-line plush Platinum trim includes a panoramic sunroof, an automated parking system, premium leather upholstery, and a premium audio system (2019 models).

Standard features of the 2017-2019 Ford Explorer include:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Power-adjustable driver seat
  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB port

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a wide selection of trims, with seven diverse options. Starting with the base Laredo, which includes a 3.6L V6 engine generating 295 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, you will enjoy a plush interior and a host of standard features.

If you and your family are adventure-oriented, the 2019 Trailhawk is an off-road specialist trim and includes 4WD. And if you really want the whole package plus a blistering 707 horsepower, the 2018-2019 Trackhawk is the one for you.

The base 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee includes the following:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Seven-inch touchscreen (2018-2019 models; 2017 model has a five-inch screen)
  • Six-speaker audio system

Jeep Cherokee

Looking for a comfortable, sleek SUV that shines both off and on the road? The Jeep Cherokee is in its second generation, which kicked off in 2014, and continues to evolve. This compact SUV is available in five trims: the base Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, off-road Trailhawk, and the top-of-the-line Overland.

Standard on the 2017-2019 Jeep Cherokee is a 2.4L four-cylinder engine, but you can also get an optional 3.2L V6 or 2.0L turbo (2019 models). A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with all engines.

The 2017-2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude includes standard:

  • Five-inch infotainment system (seven-inch screen for 2019)
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (2019 only)
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 60/40-split-folding rear seat

Toyota RAV4

When the Toyota RAV4 made its first appearance in 1994, it set the standard for the modern crossover. Since then, it has continued to improve upon that first generation. Every 2019 RAV4 comes with a suite of driver assistance features, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. For plenty of flexibility, your 2019 RAV4 also comes with a 60/40-split folding-and-reclining second-row seats, perfect for expanded cargo room or a few furry friends.

The base trim 2017-2019 Toyota RAV4 comes with:

  • LED headlights
  • Driver assist features
  • Rearview camera
  • Seven-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay compatibility (2019 only)
  • Seventeen-inch steel wheels

Honda CR-V

The 2017-2019 Honda CR-V is available in four options, each building on the one before. The base model LX includes a set of impressive standard features while the EX goes on to add a more powerful engine and more driver-assistant features. Want it all on the 2019 Honda CR-V? The Touring trim piles on the luxury and touches.

Standard features on the base 2017-2019 Honda CR-V LX trim include:

  • 184-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Sport Mode
  • Bluetooth
  • Rearview camera

Ford Escape

Ford’s compact crossover SUV completes the trio of the Expedition-Explorer-Escape family. To escape means to break free from confinement or control, and Ford’s manifestation of the word resulted in a refined, quiet, and sophisticated ride. Available in four trim levels and nine vibrant colors for 2019 (seven in 2017 and 2018), the three powertrains (2.5L iVCT, 1.5L EcoBoost, and 2.0L EcoBoost) are equally mix-and-matchable.

Standard features for the 2017-2019 Ford Escape include:

  • 60/40-split-fold rear bench seat
  • Front-row center console with two cup holders, two media bins, and a padded armrest
  • Traction control
  • Belt-Minder®

Chevrolet Equinox

For 2019 models, Chevrolet includes standard rear-seat reminder and Teen Driver technology in every trim of the Equinox. This two-row SUV offers a whopping 39.7 inches of rear-seat legroom, giving your passengers plenty of space to stretch out. Across the four available trims for 2019, you’ll have the choice between three sporty powertrains: 1.5L turbo (all trims), 2.0L turbo (available on LT and Premier trims only), or 1.6L TurboDiesel (LT and Premier trims).

At the base level, the 2017-2019 Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with:

  • Tire-pressure monitoring system with tire-fill alert
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Two USB ports and an auxiliary jack in the front storage bin

Nissan Rogue

Standard with Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology and a 2.5L, DOHC four-cylinder engine, all you have do is slide behind the wheel of one of these SUVs for a test drive and you’ll understand why it’s a popular seller at CarMax.

Standard features on the 2017-2019 Nissan Rogue include:

  • Lane-departure alert
  • Rear-door alert
  • Five-inch display
  • EZ FLEX® Seating System with a second-row split-folding/sliding/reclining seat with passthrough

This list includes the great options SUVs if you’re looking for a spacious, comfortable ride for you and your family.

Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , Jeep , Kia , Nissan , Toyota

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