It’s an exciting time to drive an SUV or crossover. There’s so much variety on the market in 2021. Some of the latest SUVs aim to wrangle in big families with top safety equipment while others set their sights on big performance numbers.
SUVs and crossovers have always provided more utility than sedans and coupes and more versatility than trucks or vans. Now, there are electric powertrains and off-road goliaths to wow potential buyers with high tech features.
Here are Some of the Best SUVs and Crossovers Hitting the Market This Year
2021 Toyota RAV4
According to global auto sales data from Focus2Move, the Toyota RAV4 is the second highest selling vehicle on the market and the highest selling SUV. One of the biggest selling points is the shockingly low MSRP. It costs just $26,150 to own a brand new 2021 Toyota RAV4. The ticket price is attractive but so are the dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports, upscale profile lines, and sporty front end.
Style isn’t the only thing that the RAV4 has going for it. Top level safety features come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite. You get blind spot warnings, rear cross traffic alerts, parking assist, and automatic high beams. Toyota is willing to give away these safety features to attract buyers with families who place a high value on their road safety.
At any trim level, the Toyota RAV4 is value priced. There’s all-wheel drive, hybrid models, and nothing costs more than $38,000. That’s for the Limited Hybrid model that comes with all the bells and whistles. Although there’s only a 4 cylinder powertrain available for the 2021 RAV4 gas models, its 8-speed automatic gearbox handles acceleration like a champ.
2021 Audi E-Tron
The 2021 Audi E-Tron is a technologically advanced electrified SUV. It’s a plug-in vehicle with two electric motors and quattro all-wheel drive. If you’re in the market for an SUV or crossover with zero emissions but still want high performance, then the 2021 E-Tron can’t be ignored. It produces 408 horsepower and travels from zero to 60 in a respectable 5.7 seconds.
The 2021 Audi E-Tron excels as an electric SUV because it doesn’t look like it came from a science fiction movie set. It’s easily recognizable as an Audi from the inside out. You’ve got the upscale interior ambient lighting, the 10-inch touchscreen display, and real wood grain accents. There’s no compromising on luxury, even as the market trend is going in the direction of minimalist design.
The 2021 Audi E-Tron has three different powertrain options that give drivers flexibility on performance vs. fuel economy. At its best, the E-Tron has a driving range of 252 miles and can recoup about 80% of its power in 30 minutes with DC fast charging.
2021 Kia Telluride
When it comes to spacious interiors, there’s no beating the 2021 Kia Telluride. It leads the segment. Three rows of seating are a hallmark feature for large SUVs. It’s rarely done properly when mid-sized vehicles attempt to jam in a third row.
The 2021 Kia Telluride is one of the only large SUVs that presents seating for 8 passengers without compromising legroom for the second row. There’s 31.4 inches of legroom there. The Audi Q7 is more luxurious, and costs more, but only provides 29.2 inches of legroom on the second row. It might seem like a small difference, but those few inches mean everything on a long road trip.
The 2021 Kia Telluride has stellar reviews and carries a MSRP of just $32,190. There are options galore spread out between four different model trims. However, the base model has plenty of standard equipment such as leather-wrapped steering wheel, rearview camera, and blind spot warnings. When wrapped in premium Nappa leather, the interior steps on the toes of Mercedes-Benz and other expensive luxury SUV automakers.
Related: 2020 Kia Telluride In-Depth Review
2021 BMW X5
Truthfully, both the BMW X3 and the X5 could make this list of the best SUVs for 2021. Yet, the BMW X5 stands out among mid-sized luxury SUVs. It has powerful engines to choose from including a hybrid and a M-tuned V8 engine that produces 523 horsepower. It’s fast enough to go from zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds and powerful enough to tow up to 7,200 pounds.
There are plenty of other performance options for the X5. You can select advanced air shocks, all-wheel drive and sport-tuned suspension at your build out. You can also pick and choose some of the M features such as sport brakes and colored calipers.
The 2021 BMW X5 has an MSRP of $59,400, but that’s just the start. The X5 M tips the scales at $105,100. Even the base model has a beautiful exterior though. There’s the signature BMW kidney grille, 19-inch wheels, and an upright ride height that grants the driver with great visibility.
The amenities of the BMW X5 are most evident from the interior. There are copious amounts of woodgrain and leather inside the cabin. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are key tech features. There’s even a small third row for seating an additional couple of passengers.
2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid
If you’re looking for an affordable crossover with all-wheel drive and great gas mileage, then take a closer look at the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid. It has standard all-wheel drive, 40 miles per gallon, and attractive chrome accents all along the body.
The CR-V Hybrid has 75.8 cubic feet of cargo volume and 102.9 cu. Ft. of passenger volume. When you add the power liftgate to that equation you get an interior that is easily accessible and large enough for a full family. The interior is much larger than the Prius and the Toyota RAV4. The rear seats fold down and there’s plenty of stow-and-go compartments.
When it comes to safety features, the 2021 Honda CR-V is all aces. It comes with the Honda Sensing suite as standard equipment. That’s a bundle of safety features that includes road departure mitigation technology, collision mitigation and blind spot monitoring.
The 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid isn’t the best-looking SUV on this list. None of the model trims make much of a difference in that regard. It has an MSRP of $30,560 and the low price is meant to take your attention away from the tame exterior and budget materials in the cabin. If you can get past the looks of the CR-V Hybrid, you’ll be rewarded by its thrifty nature.
Related: Top 5 Family Vehicles of 2021
2021 Volvo XC40
The 2021 Volvo XC40 is a compact crossover that punches above its weight class. It’s a stellar all-around vehicle with advanced collision avoidance technology as standard equipment. The 2021 XC40 goes above and beyond to keep passengers safe by providing automatic braking and four onboard cameras.
The 2021 Volvo XC40 is a city dweller. It has a small footprint and an available plug-in model that boasts up to 208 miles on a single charge. The XC40 has an expressive body design with attractive lines and a panoramic glass roof. There’s leather upholstery and a 9-inch vertical touchscreen.
With an MSRP of $33,700, the XC40 cuts into the budget crossover market. Yet, this is still a luxurious Volvo with plenty of tech inside. It has a perky turbo-charged engine and can be outfitted with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. With 187 horsepower and a low curb weight, the XC40 is safe but fun to drive.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is an off-roader dream and a formidable alternative to the Jeep Wrangler. There are four model trims, all of which seek to master a unique aspect of outdoor adventuring. All of the 2021 Bronco Sport vehicles claim to go over any type of terrain.
You’d expect to pay just as much as a loaded Jeep for the Bronco Sport, but it has a starting price of $26,820. That comes with standard 4×4 capability, best in class cargo volume behind the first row, and voice activation SYNC 3 technology.
Beyond the base model, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport presents almost too many options. There are four other model trims, and the First Edition model is a rare find on any Ford lot. The Badlands model has everything Ford can throw at it for off-roading. It has a metal bash plate, beefy off-road tires, front tow hooks and a specially designed suspension system.
Even if off-roading isn’t your thing, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport will turn heads on the road. It’s an attractive throwback. It has a high roof that offers best-in-class headroom. The interior is easy to clean and purpose built. Plus, there’s wireless charging, a 10-speaker premium audio system and plenty of creature comforts for urban adventurers.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Tesla still rakes in the lion’s share of the electric vehicle market. Yet, whatever falls off the Tesla table goes to Ford and the Mustang Mach-E. According to a Morgan Stanley report, Tesla’s share of the electric car market fell to 69% and Morgan Stanley attributes the losses directly to the debut of the Mach-E from Ford.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E won SUV of the Year from the North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards. Here’s why the Mach-E is doing so well. There are four different models including the suped-up Mustang Mach-E GT. It has 480 horsepower and 600 pound feet of torque; it truly lives up to the Mustang namesake.
The 2021 Mustang Mach-E has a standard driving range of 230 miles with an extended mile model traveling up to 300 miles in certain conditions. The body design of the Mach-E is a direct jab at Tesla but presents itself as a hardline departure from Mustang vehicles of the past.
Related: 2021 Mustang Mach-E Review
2021 Porsche Macan Turbo
The 2021 Porsche Macan Turbo is sexy and athletic. It’s a small luxury SUV that successfully matches looks with capabilities. The Macan Turbo borrows from its stablemate the Cayan in the looks department. It has broad shoulders, large wheels, and a new LED taillight strip in the rear.
The Porsche Macan Turbo is a driver’s SUV with an overdose of Porsche DNA. It leads with performance and handling. Safety equipment and creature comforts for passengers are an afterthought. It has a 2.9 Liter, twin turbo V6 powertrain. The 7-speed PDK gearbox is one of the best transmissions on the planet.
Traction management, torque vectoring, and air suspension give the Macan Turbo the handles of a sports car. With a push of a button, the Macan Turbo switches jobs and goes into Off-road Mode. It grips the road and carves out corners with ease, making even novice drivers look like pros.
The interior of the 2021 Porsche Macan Turbo is an explosion of buttons, controls, and screens. It can be a bit overwhelming. Directional sound technology amplifies the exhaust note around the cabin and the panoramic glass roof has embedded ambient lighting. Aside from a cramped rear bench, the 2021 Porsche Macan Turbo is one of the best performance SUVs on the market. Scoop up your own if you’ve got $84,600.
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class SUV is like a behemoth. The AMG version of the G-Wagon is a behemoth that’s nearly impossible to kill. It’s just too tough. When you combine the ruggedness of the G Wagon with the performance of an AMG, you get a monster with a six figure price tag and fire under the hood.
Most known for its boxy, iconic proportions, the AMG G63 scoffs at any inkling of a redesign. Four chrome pipes growl from the sides of the AMG G63. It intimidates other SUVs with massive 22-inch wheels and exposed door hinges.
The 2021 AMG G63 has a twin turbo, twin scroll V8 engine that produces 577 horsepower and 627 pound feet of torque. It’s best not to even think about gas mileage when you’re putting out that level of power. It’s all managed by a 9-speed paddle-shifting AMG Speedshift transmission.
Don’t forget that this SUV is meant for off-roading in the worst conditions known to man. It has three locking differentials, a 60:40 rear bias, high ground clearance, and an AMG trail package for enhanced suspension, braking and handling. Put simply, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 is peerless.
The Best SUVs and Crossovers of 2021
From thrifty fuel sippers to luxury flagships, these top-rated SUVs and crossovers have something for everyone. If you’re looking to go easy on the wallet, then the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid and the Toyota RAV4 have some of the best standard features that don’t cost extra money after the build out. These family haulers double down on cabin space and advanced safety equipment.
When price plays second fiddle to performance, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63, BMW X5 and Porsche Macan Turbo take the podium. The AMG G63 is rugged and ready for the outdoors while the M5 and Macan Turbo are poised to rip up some asphalt in style. All these SUVs carry large price tags and desirable options, so be ready to spend way over the MSRP.
Then, there are the electric and hybrid vehicles. The 2021 Audi E-Tron and Mustang Mach-E are standouts in this category. The dominance of Tesla in the electrified segment is being steadily challenged by automakers who balk at expensive vehicles with next to nothing inside them. Audi and Ford don’t sacrifice the luxury trappings that made them famous just to stretch the MPG meter.
The underdogs might be the clear winners in this race. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport and the Kia Telluride promise thrilling rides with lots of value built into their platforms. These SUVs check all the right boxes and it’s clear that designers at Kia and Ford did their homework when it comes to satisfying what auto buyers want most out of their next vehicle.