Midsize SUVs

The prototypical family car of the 21st century

If you need a vehicle with a spacious interior but don’t want a big, thirsty full-size SUV, and you’re not ready to succumb to the utter domestication of a minivan, welcome to the three-row midsize SUV market.

If you don’t need so many seats, you also have plenty of two-row midsize SUVs from which to choose.

And there’s been no shortage of excitement, as the 2019 and 2020 model years have been big ones for both groups.

In the two-row class, the all-new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport arrives later this year, with a massive cargo area and a wide array of advanced safety features that come standard.

Not to be outdone, the three-row segment gets two all-new models and a pair of important redesigns. The Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are new all the way down to their nameplates, while the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander have each been completely redesigned.

With 20 solid options vying for your family dollar, this Buyer’s Guide is designed to point you in the right direction.

Two-Row Midsize SUVs

These models are shorter than three-row midsize SUVs, with a flat cargo floor and a large cargo area.


2020 Chevrolet Blazer

Starting Price: $29,995

The name is familiar, but unlike the off-road-biased Blazers of the past, this SUV is designed to take on the demands of city and suburban life. Read More


2020 Ford Edge

Starting Price: $32,195

The stylish, comfortable and spacious Ford Edge comes with an impressive roster of standard equipment, and a sporty ST model with a 335-hp engine. Read More


2020 Honda Passport

Starting Price: $33,085

Slotting in between the CR-V and the Pilot in size, the Honda Passport is equipped and designed for people that want to venture outside of suburbia. Read More

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Starting Price: $26,995

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a roomy, refined, value-packed people-mover — and it offers the lowest starting price in its segment. Read More


2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Starting Price: $33,540

Jeep’s flagship SUV combines a luxurious interior with the off-road capability you would expect from the company that brought you the iconic Wrangler. Read More


2020 Nissan Murano

Starting Price: $32,625

The near-luxury Murano offers a comfortable carlike ride, spacious interior, and standout style. Read More

2020 Subaru Outback

Starting Price: $27,655

Backed by Subaru’s trademark safety and reliability, the new-for-2020 Outback has the interior space, the ground clearance, and the AWD capability for your family’s next adventure — and many more after that. Read More

Three-Row Midsize SUVs

Longer than two-row midsize SUVs, three-row models can seat up to eight people when you need to, or provide a generous cargo area when the rear row is folded.

2020 Chevrolet Traverse

Starting Price: $30,995

The Traverse has a roomy interior, pleasant road manners, and is more tech-savvy, more powerful, and more efficient than ever before. Read More


2020 Dodge Durango

Starting Price: $31,990

The bold, brawny Durango is the only midsize SUV available with V8 power, and is ideal for those who want to tow. Read More

2020 Ford Explorer

Starting Price: $33,860

The segment’s best-seller has been completely redesigned for 2020. Read More


2020 GMC Acadia

Starting Price: $30,995

The GMC Acadia is a slightly more upscale option, and one of the few vehicles available with 5-, 6- or 7-passenger seating. Read more

2020 Honda Pilot

Starting Price: $32,645

Filled with smart convenience, tech and safety features, the Pilot is also a four-time Kelley Blue Book Best Buy. Read More

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Starting Price: $32,595

Brand new for 2020, the Hyundai Palisade seats up to eight people. It’s comfortable, well-mannered, and offers upscale, family-friendly features. Read More

2020 Kia Telluride

Starting Price: $32,735

Kia’s 8-passenger midsize SUV is refined and comfortable, with near-luxury amenities and cutting-edge safety features. Read More


2020 Mazda CX-9

Starting Price: $34,835

Mazda’s gorgeous CX-9 is the most athletic SUV in the segment. Read More


2020 Nissan Pathfinder

Starting Price: $32,775

The Nissan Pathfinder is one of the roomiest SUVs in the segment, and a recent refresh added more power, updated styling, and new tech features. Read More

2020 Subaru Ascent

Starting Price: $33,005

With its 8-passenger Ascent, Subaru super-sizes the go-anywhere attitude, looks and safety features of the Forester and Outback. Read More

2020 Toyota Highlander

Starting Price: $35,720

All-new for 2020, the Highlander Highlander remains among the most recommendable in its class. New tech and amenities keep it fresh. Read More


2020 Volkswagen Atlas

Starting Price: $32,565

Volkswagen’s three-row SUV mixes an exceptionally roomy and high-tech cabin with Euro-inspired driving manners. Read More

The Best Buy?

The Kia Telluride is the winner of the 2020 Kelley Blue Book Three-Row Midsize SUV Best Buy Award, as well as this year’s Best New Model

Crossover or SUV?

The first SUVs were built like trucks, with body-on-frame construction. But car-like unibody construction offers better fuel efficiency, ride and handling, so that’s how most of today’s SUV-looking vehicles are constructed. It’s all upside, since few buyers need the added off-road ruggedness or towing ability that a truck-like architecture can provide. And for those who do, full-size SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia are still based on full-size trucks.

Common Themes

Most midsize SUVs start around $30,000 and top out well into the $40,000 range, with the average transaction price coming in around $37,000 at last check. Most offer a V6 engine — many exclusively — but the Durango also offers two V8s and the Explorer offers turbocharged options including an efficiency-focused turbocharged 4-cylinder and a power-focused turbo V6. All midsize SUVs are available with all-wheel drive.

Midsize or Minivan?

Midsize SUVs are compelling alternatives for parents still honoring their promise to never drive a minivan, but minivans are far more cavernous and those power sliding doors are really, really convenient. If your family regularly transports three rows of people and more than a small amount of cargo at the same time, we encourage you to check out our Minivan Buyer’s Guide.

Luxury Land

If you’re interested in stepping up to something like a BMW X5 or Audi Q7, be prepared to cough up an additional $15,000 to $20,000. Still interested? Check out our Midsize Luxury SUV Buyer’s Guide to see all your options.

Video Spotlight: Two-Row Midsize SUV Comparison 

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