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Our 2015 Best Buy meets the new 2016 Honda Pilot (and 3 others)

The midsize SUV segment is one of America's favorites, and last year visitors researched midsize SUVs more than any other type of vehicle. One of the reasons for all the activity is that it's a big segment comprising a range of players. From 3-row staples like the Ford Explorer to 2-row standards like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, plus smaller 3-row alternatives like the Mitsubishi Outlander, the midsize SUV segment is a diverse group that numbers about 20 players altogether.

For this comparison we gathered a range of 3-row players including the 2015 Toyota Highlander -- this year's Kelley Blue Book Midsize SUV Best Buy -- and the totally redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, plus the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder, 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe and redesigned 2016 Kia Sorento.

Our goal was not to name winners and losers, but to experience the relative strengths and shortcomings of each entry compared to the others. Each of these SUVs offers a unique combination of price, size, versatilty, style and driving manners, to name a few, and that's why each will sell in the neighborhood of 100,000 vehicles this year. Your goal as a shopper is to find the one that's right for you.

To that end, we gathered all five SUVs in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and continued on a roundabout route through Barstow on our way to the mountain community of Big Bear Lake. When we weren't driving we were crawling through the vehicles, taking pictures and comparing notes. By the time we returned to our Irvine offices the next day, we'd logged about 350 miles in each of the five SUVs.

Our findings are below, with the vehicles listed in order of sales popularity through the first half of 2015. Look into our crystal ball to see if one of these midsize SUVs is in your future.

Toyota Highlander

Our 2015 Midsize SUV Best Buy continues to impress.

Starts at $30,650

Seats up to 8

Check out Highlander
2015 Toyota Highlander Midsize SUV

Honda Pilot

Is the totally redesigned Pilot the new benchmark in the segment?

Starts at $30,875

Seats up to 8

Meet the new Pilot

2015 Honda Pilot Midsize SUV

Kia Sorento

Is the smaller, more affordable Sorento a viable alternative to the big boys?

Starts at $25,795

Seats up to 7

See more Sorento
2016 Kia Sorento Midsize SUV

Hyundai Santa Fe

Sharp sheet metal, but not quite the value some shoppers may be expecting.

Starts at $31,045

Seats up to 7

Look at Santa Fe
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Midsize SUV

Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan's comfortable crossover is aging well, but it's aging nevertheless.

Starts at $30,395

Seats up to 7

Explore Pathfinder
2015 Nissan Pathfinder Midsize SUV


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