best midsize suv for off-road and towing

If you are looking for the Best Midsize Suv For Off-Road And Towing, then you are on the right page. It contains the best off road suv of all time. Suppose you want the suv towing capacity chart instead. Then this article is what you need.

In the SUV segment, budget-car shopping only gets more complicated; it is not the most economical of vehicle segments, especially in the full-size SUV category. For this list of cheapest compact SUVs, we factor in appearance because, frankly, buying a car is a major life purchase. So, why the hell not get behind the wheel of an inexpensive car that doesn’t automatically convey a dorky personality?

suv towing capacity chart

Best Midsize Suv For Off-Road And Towing

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

2018 Jeep Compass

Spoiler alert: You’re going to see a few Jeeps in this list. Jeep insists that all of its new models are “Trail Rated,” meaning that they can perform off-road in a way that won’t embarrass the brand’s heritage. Thanks to some fantastic engineering, they really deliver.

A great example is the freshly-redesigned 2018 Jeep Compass. Packaged with grown-up styling that resembles the big Grand Cherokee, the Compass is a better off-roader than most SUVs of its size, particularly when purchased in Trailhawk trim, which has higher ground clearance and an all-wheel-drive system with a low “crawl” range and lockable differentials. We’ve been to the famous Hollister Hills off-road area in a Compass Trailhawk and seen it for ourselves. It really will tackle off-road obstacles that would rip the undersides from lesser SUVs. Best yet, the Compass’ off-road abilities don’t compromise its upscale interior and comfortable ride.

Photo Credit: Jeep

2018 Jeep Renegade

One could understand if Jeep gave its smallest model a pass on the whole Trail Rated thing, but they didn’t. The “baby” 2018 Jeep Renegade is just as good off-road as its larger siblings, and in fact, its small size gives it an advantage over larger off-road SUVs and pickup trucks. The Renegade Trailhawk gets the same setup as other Trailhawk models, including increased ground clearance, low-range gearing, and lockable center and rear differentials. Off-roading in the Renegade is a little different than doing it in a traditional truck, as it will often hang a wheel in the air, but the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system will apply the brake on wheels that don’t have traction and send power to those that do, allowing the Renegade to crawl ever onward. It’s an impressive performance, especially when you consider that many subcompact SUVs would struggle with a grassy field.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

2018 Jeep Wrangler

A direct descendant of the World War II-era Jeep, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is one of the most formidable off-roaders sold on the American market. Few SUVs can venture as far off the beaten path as a Wrangler can, and those that do (we’re talking Range Rovers, Land Rovers, and Land Cruisers) have to rely on sophisticated electronics, while the Wrangler works its magic using a time-tested mechanical setup. What’s it doing on a list of small suvs? Because the Wrangler, particularly in two-door form, really is pretty small. In fact, that’s one of its chief advantages – its small size lets it squeeze through narrow spaces and crawl right over the top of uneven terrain, while axles pushed to the corners of the vehicle help it climb and conquer all sorts of obstacles. A base model Wrangler, straight from the showroom floor, will go farther off-road than most SUVs, and modified versions are almost unstoppable. Driving a Wrangler daily is not always the most pleasant endeavor, they are noisy and jittery, though the freshly-redesigned 2018 model has soft tops that are much easier to raise and lower. But if it’s off-road adventure you want, few vehicles can best the Jeep Wrangler.

Photo Credit: Land Rover

2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Like Jeep, Land Rover made their name by building some of the world’s most capable jungle-crossing off-road machines. Today, this British brand has morphed into a luxury marque, but they haven’t forgotten their roots as evidenced in the 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport. Unlike Jeep, which does offer front-drive versions of some of its crossovers, all vehicles wearing the Land Rover badge (including this, their smallest) have an all-wheel-drive ride platform specifically designed for off-road prowess. Though larger than some of the vehicles on this list (as a matter of fact, it’s one of the few here that offers seating for seven,) the Disco Sport is small by Land Rover standards, and its sub-$40k starting price is a good deal for a vehicle this posh and capable.

Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

Set the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander side-by-side next to some of the other vehicles on this list, and you might say “Off-road? No way!” While the Outlander doesn’t have the high ground clearance of other SUVs, it does have one of the most sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems on the market. Called Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC,) it does an excellent job of quickly figuring out which wheels have traction and sending the power there. That makes the Outlander especially sure-footed on soft, uneven terrain, and it works pretty well on snow, too. The Outlander may not be able to tackle terrain as severe as the Jeeps can take on, but having off-roaded the S-AWC Outlander on steep, loose-dirt-covered hills, we can tell you from experience that it’ll take you farther than you expect. It’s also a nice SUV to live with on a daily basis, with a comfortable interior and good on-road driving dynamics.

Photo Credit: Land Rover

2018 Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover is the luxury arm of Land Rover, and the Evoque is its smallest offering, smaller even than Land Rover’s own Discovery Sport (mentioned earlier.) The 2018 Range Rover Evoque is designed for form as well as function, and though the design is around eight years old, it still looks fresh and modern. Though you might not guess from a quick glance, the Evoque is a capable off-roader. While it can’t tackle the really rough stuff as well as larger Range Rover models, the Evoque will still out-climb and out-maneuver most similarly-sized SUVs. It doesn’t come cheap (it is a Range Rover after all,) but the Evoque justifies its price with both style and talent.

Photo Credit: Toyota

2018 Toyota 4Runner

Admittedly, we’re pushing the definition of “small” a bit by including the 2018 Toyota 4Runner in this list. Still, the 4Runner deserves your consideration, as this is the last of the old-school body-on-frame SUVs, designed specifically for serious off-road adventure. Four-wheel-drive 4Runners are exceptionally capable, particularly the TRD models. We like the TRD Pro, which features Crawl Control, essentially a low speed off-road cruise control system that allows the 4Runner to tip-toe over difficult off-road obstacles with little intervention from the driver (and therefore less opportunity for the driver to make a mistake that could get the vehicle stuck.) The 4Runner isn’t exactly small, but nor is it a monster, it will still fit into car-sized parking spots with plenty of room to spare.

Photo Credit: Subaru

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek may not look like much of an off-roader, and while it can’t quite climb rocks like a Jeep Wrangler, it’s far more capable than one might think. With standard-fit all-wheel-drive, and lots of ground clearance, the Crosstrek can easily tackle roads where normal cars dare not tread, and its hill descent control system allows it to descend steep slopes with loose surfaces such as dirt or rocks. The Crosstrek also has several advantages on-road. It’s good to drive and more fuel efficient than most SUVs, and it’s affordably priced as well. Small? Yep, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek checks that box, it’s based on Subaru’s compact Impreza hatchback, and it’s just as easy to drive and park.

Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2018 Volkswagen Alltrak

The 2018 Golf Alltrak is Volkswagen’s take on cars like the Subaru Crosstrek, listed previously. Based on the Golf wagon, a worldwide favorite, the Alltrak features 4Motion all-wheel-drive, increased ground clearance, and a hill descent control system, making it a great choice for getting to places on dirt roads and uneven trails. The Alltrak is more station wagon than SUV, and that has lots of advantages, including a generously-sized and easy-to-pack cargo bay, great handling, easy parking, and good fuel economy. Build quality has been a concern with Volkswagen models, but a new fully-transferrable warranty that covers the entire car for 6 years or 72,000 miles should bring peace of mind.

best off road suv of all time

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2021 Jeep Cherokee Latitude FWD, $24,285

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 22/31/26 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.4-liter I-4/180 horsepower, 171 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 9-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

Landing on our recent list of ugliest SUVs of all time, the fifth-generation Jeep Cherokee made its debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show and immediately went on sale for the 2014 model year. To date, the fifth-gen Jeep Cherokee has sold more than 1.3 million copies in America, not terrible for an SUV whose front end caused an uproar. The refreshed 2021 Jeep Cherokee has since then redeemed itself; available in seven optional exterior-paint colors and with optional four-wheel drive, the Jeep Cherokee provides a maximum of 54.7-cubic-feet of cargo space.

2020 Subaru Forester

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2021 Subaru Forester, $24,795

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 26/33/29 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.5-liter I-4/182 hp, 176 lb-ft
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive

The all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester can accommodate five passengers comfortably with a generous 43.3 inches of legroom in the front and 39.4 inches for rear passengers. For the 2020 model year, the Subaru Forester earned an overall five-star safety rating from NHTSA and received a Top Safety Pick Plus award. The rugged and off-road capable Forester is among the three small SUVs on this year’s IIHS winners list, which also includes the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5. Active safety features at no extra cost include the EyeSight driver-assist package, a tire-pressure monitoring system, vehicle-dynamics control, and a brake override system.

2020 GMC Terrain

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2020 GMC Terrain FWD SL, $26,195 

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 26/30/27 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4/170 hp, 203 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 9-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

Offered in four trim grades, including the luxurious Denali version that increases output to 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the 2020 GMC Terrain FWD SL is a compact SUV we don’t hear about often. Wearing GMC design language in a smaller package, the GMC Terrain has an abundance of standard features and equipment. Those selling points include the GMC Pro Safety bundle, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated and power-operated side mirrors, LED taillights, and active noise cancellation.

2020 Honda CR V

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2020 Honda CR-V 2WD LX, $26,270

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 28/34/30 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4/190 hp, 170 lb-ft
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

In production since 1995 and five generations later, the fifth-gen Honda CR-V reached a record 384,168 in sales in 2019. Of the eight models available in the CR-V lineup, the base model Honda CR-V LX is the most affordable at $26,270. Standard driver-assistance technology consists of lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, auto high-beam headlights, and a blind-spot system with cross-traffic monitoring.

2021 Mazda CX 5

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2021 Mazda CX-5 Sport, $26,370

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 25/31/28 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.5-liter I-4/187 hp, 186 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

The Mazda CX-5’s U.S. sales have seen a healthy increase in the past five years, the most significant coming in 2017 with the introduction of the second-generation CX-5. One of three winners of the 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award, the Mazda CX-5 is available in seven trims. Among standard equipment on the CX-5 Sport base model are a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dual front USB ports, LED headlights, and a heap of safety technology features.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan S, $26,440 

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 22/29/25 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4/184 hp, 221 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

refreshed 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is already on sale in Europe, and damn, we are jealous. The U.S. will have to wait until October 2021 for the updated Tiguan, but for now, the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is a qualified stand-in. If you need room for a larger group of people, this compact SUV can be configured with a third-row seat to fit up to seven passengers, even if not particularly comfortably. VW offers the Tiguan in six trim levels, beginning with the base-model S. Standard safety features are a rearview camera system, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and pedestrian monitoring.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2021 Nissan Rogue S, $26,745

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 27/35/30 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.5-liter I-4/181 hp, 181 lb-ft
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

All-new for the 2021 model year, the Nissan Rogue is the reigning champ of Nissan’s entire lineup in terms of high-volume sales. Offering 38.5 inches of legroom in the second-row seat and 41.5 inches in the front, the 2021 Rogue S comes fitted with plenty of standard equipment. Comfort and convenience highlights are the Nissan Concierge personal assistant feature, NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats, lower storage space in the front center console, and an improved Divide-N-Hide rear cargo area system.

2021 Toyota RAV4

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE, $27,225

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 27/35/30 (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.5-liter I-4/203 hp, 184 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

In 2019, Toyota moved a jaw-dropping 448,068 RAV4s into the hands of U.S. customers, and it should come as no surprise that the RAV4 made this list. The front-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4 LE has a 1,500-pound towing capacity, all-season mud- and snow-rated tires, a 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and 69.8 cubic feet of total available cargo space. Toyota Safety Sense, a backup camera with projected path, Safety Connect, and hill-start assist control come standard.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe SE, $27,450

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 22/29/25 (city/hwy/combined)
  • Engine: 2.4-liter I-4/185 hp, 178 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive

With more than 70,000 units of the outgoing model sold this year in the U.S., the updated 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe received a stunning makeover. Due to arrive in showrooms by the end of 2020, the new face is sure to send sales through the roof. The new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard in front-wheel drive and has nine exterior colors to choose from, all at no additional cost. (The Stormy Sea hue is our favorite offering.) We drove a 2020 Santa Fe Limited 2.0T on a road trip to a California small town last winter and much enjoyed the ride, so we expect even better from the new model.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Best-Looking, Cheapest SUVs: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, $28,155

  • EPA estimated fuel economy: TBA
  • Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged I-3/181 hp, 190 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: 4×4

The all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a breath of fresh air in the tumultuous year of 2020. With a starting price of $28,155, destination included, the base model Ford Bronco Sport looks more expensive than what its MSRP suggests. A flip-up rear-glass feature, LED configurable daytime running lights, roof-rack rails, active grille shutters, and a safari-style roof are among the standard exterior gear. Bravo, Ford—it’s been a long time coming.

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