10 Most Fun SUVs
When it comes to how to define a fun SUV, it depends on who you ask. For some, SUVs are the most entertaining when surrounded by dirt, rocks and trees. For others, the most gratifying SUVs offer straight-line muscle-car power. For those whose idea of a good time involves carlike handling and driving feel, other models rise to the top. All of those elements of fun SUVs are represented here. Check out the 10 most fun SUVs for 2018, as selected by the Kelley Blue Book editorial team.
2018 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe
The coupe version of Mercedes-Benz's GLE has been given a healthy dose of AMG treatment. It boasts a 5.5-liter, twin-turbo, handbuilt AMG V8 engine that's good for 577 horsepower, and the GLE63 S Coupe is the second most powerful entry on this list. The GLE Coupe is just as entertaining when carving canyons as it is in a stoplight drag race.
There may be no better way to take someone by surprise than to smoke them at a stoplight in a family hauler. There are plenty of Dodge Durangos on the road, but the SRT version of this three-row midsize SUV is something else. Powered by a 475-horsepower V8, this Durango stays road-trip comfortable while holding its own at the track.
The Porsche Cayenne has been on the market for 15 years, yet keeps getting better. And the Cayenne is a very quick SUV, reaching 60 mph in as little as 3.5 seconds. But our expert review nicely sums up what's so special about the Cayenne: "...there's much more to the Cayenne than outright speed. Cornering precision is beyond what you should rightfully expect from any SUV, and the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is tuned to perfection. And it’s all delivered with the refinement of a world-class luxury car."
While it isn't the most powerful SUV on this list, the Hyundai Kona has a mix of cool style, tech-filled interior and zippy engine that make this subcompact SUV instantly likeable. The charmer of this group also has the lowest starting price, at just over $20,000.
If you want a gorgeous, fun-to-drive SUV without breaking the bank, Mazda's CX-5 is now even better looking after getting a significant update last year. As we explain in our expert review, "the CX-5's beauty lies in its agility and nimbleness. If you’re the type of driver who prefers twisting back roads to vast expanses of freeway, the CX-5 is the SUV you’ll want."
Porsche's smaller SUV, the Macan drives and feels every bit like a Porsche coupe, and even comes in the same flavors, including the S, GTS, Turbo, and the blisteringly fast 440-horsepower Macan Turbo with Performance Package.
The buttoned-down Audi Q5, all-new for 2018, feels like a sport sedan in corners yet has the comfort and amenities to be a pleasant daily driver. The SQ5 version of this SUV kicks everything up to 11, with 100 more horsepower than the Q5 -- for a total of 354 horses -- better brakes and steering, and retuned suspension for crisper handling.
The most powerful version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Trackhawk's 707-horsepower V8 engine establishes this Jeep's status as the top dog muscle car of the SUV world. The Trackhawk tows up to 7,200 pounds, and it hauls -- that mighty brawn under the hood is capable of propelling the track-tuned version of Jeep’s legendary, luxury-like off-roader to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.
The Wrangler comes from a long line of renowned rock-crawlers, and for 2018 Jeep introduced a new Wrangler with the internal code name JL. The new model brings all of the abilities of its multitalented predecessor, with welcome additions including a new engine and more refinement. When not out in the dirt, the Wrangler also doubles as a fun-loving convertible cruiser.
There are plenty of beautiful, powerful luxury SUVs on the market, but as we explained in our first review of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, it is "more fun, more emotional, and indeed more passionate than the majority of them." While the Stelvio is an amenable daily driver, it also boasts a near-perfect 50/50 weight balance and phenomenal handling. If you want to spice things up even more, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio offers up a 505-horsepower Ferrari-designed engine and a track-worthy suspension.