2021 Honda Pilot
Credit: Autodesign

The Best SUVs For The Value

Find the ideal SUV without breaking the bank

It’s shocking how SUVs have taken over the market in recent years. Currently, we have a huge selection of models on offer and it is difficult to decide on one of them. Luckily, we’re here for you. In this article, we present what we consider to be the best SUVs for the value.

And while some still scowled at the SUV segment, these vehicles are becoming increasingly popular for a reason. You sit higher up so they’re easy to get in and out of, as well as providing great visibility, some of them even boast performance car specifications too! And if you have a full family, an SUV offers more room and cargo space than a hatchback or sedan. Today, we’ve got luxury SUVs, electric SUVs, performance SUVs, and more to choose from.

It’s important for us to analyze the best SUVs based on their cost-benefit ratio, leaving out the more expensive and higher performance models in which it’s common to find the maximum level of features and luxury in all their trim levels. However, if you’ve got more cash to play with, try looking at some of the gems on this list of premium vehicles options for 2021.

For this ranking, we consider the models that offer plenty of features and connectivity to make your ride more comfortable, safe, and in some cases even fun but without breaking the bank.

2021 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid

2021 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid
Credit: MotorTrend

Important Info

  • Base price: $28,800
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 41 mpg / Hwy 38 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.7 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: The RAV4 delivers superb fuel efficiency with great comfort and lots of features

Pros: Competitive price, solid powertrain, standard all-wheel-drive

Cons: Infotainment system could use an update, not the roomiest cargo space, loud road, and engine noise

The Toyota RAV4 is a compact SUV that has been marketed in its fifth generation since December 2018. We are talking about one forerunner of the SUV concept, currently standing out for offering hybrid mechanics that make it one of the few options in the market with this configuration.

This Toyota RAV4 we’re reviewing has a hybrid power plant that combines a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor through an epicyclic train called e-CVT. The batteries are NiMh type. The RAV4 hybrid pushes out 219 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.

Straight lines, a very practical arrangement of the buttons, and the multimedia interface with a 7-inch ‘floating’ touch screen are the highlights of the interior design. Unlike its ornate exterior design, the cabin offers a more orderly image and more subtle features.

In terms of equipment, the Toyota RAV4 offers many driving aids and safety systems. We highlight the autonomous emergency braking with recognition of pedestrians and cyclists, adaptive cruise control, recognition of traffic signs, lane departure warning, 360º vision camera, Full-LED interior illumination, a rear-view mirror that (besides being electrochromic) can display the images captured by the rearview camera.

The hybrid RAV4 offers not only a very low average fuel consumption but also the combination of both engines allows a good amount of sportiness.

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Honda Pilot
Credit: Autodesign

Important Info

  • Base price: $33,725
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 19 mpg / Hwy 26 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.6 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: Lots of space, connectivity and comfort technologies, and strong performance makes it one of the best options in its segment

Pros: Plenty of comfort and safety features, more than acceptable fuel economy for its size, lots of cabin room and storage

Cons: Clumsy infotainment, difficulty to access third row, bland styling

This large SUV with capacities for family transport presents itself with a somewhat conservative style and therefore stands out more for its technology and performance than for its looks.

The 2021 Honda Pilot features LED headlights, LED fog lights, chrome door handles, roof rails, three-position power sunroof, body-colored power side mirrors, and 20-inch wheels.

It also offers excellent space for 7 passengers who will be very comfortable even on a long trip. Although it’s not a luxury SUV, it comes with some good quality finishes.

In terms of equipment, it comes with an 8-inch central touch screen with HD resolution compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an audio system with 11 speakers, Blu-Ray entertainment with a 10.2-inch screen for the second row, wireless charging port, system 7-inch multi-information smart screen, and cockpit control application.

The Honda Pilot has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque complemented by a 9-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

The driving experience is quiet and comfortable thanks to the excellent quality of assembly that helps to soundproof the cabin. The 2021 Honda Pilot Touring is a good option for family trips, especially large families. Its characteristics are consistent with the segment and clearly focused on comfort and practicality.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Credit: Hyundai

Important Info

  • Base price: $28,025
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 22 mpg / Hwy 25 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.6 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: Good styling and practicality thanks to a roomy cabin with a more refined vibe than some competitors

Pros: Available turbocharged engine, optional all-wheel drive improves driving confidence considerably, plenty of package options

Cons: The base model could use more power, only has room for five passengers, lacks tech features

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe receives a facelift just three years after its previous iteration and evolves more than just in its design. The current Santa Fe has a more imposing style than the previous generation and improves different aspects, from reinforcements in the chassis to enhancements in the cabin.

Hyundai thoroughly revised the 2021 Santa Fe chassis to improve handling, performance, fuel economy, comfort, and safety. The steering received some adjustments to offer a more precise feel, while the body incorporates parts capable of reducing noise and vibrations to increase the feeling of refinement. The Santa Fe has two powertrains available: a 2.4-liter that makes185 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbo with 235 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

The interior was also redesigned with an all-new center console raised and sloped for easier handling on a day-to-day basis. It’s worth highlighting that the gear lever was replaced in favor of a button control selector.

Another novelty is the introduction of a new infotainment system with a 10.25-inch screen, accompanied by the new in-house digital instrument panel, consisting of a 12.3-inch display, configurable to suit the driver’s needs.

The Hyundai Santa Fe SUV offers characteristics befitting its category, with a balanced cost and versatility for most situations, making it ideal for your driving needs.

2021 KIA Sorento

2021 KIA Sorento
Credit: KIA

Important Info

  • Base price: $31,000
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7.2
  • Fuel Economy: City 21 mpg / Hwy 28 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 5 years / 60 ,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.5 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: Accomplished, practical, and roomy SUV with the latest tech and safety features

Pros: New and more engaging turbocharged engine, stunning interior design, several trim levels available

Cons: Sluggish dual-clutch transmission, stiff ride, limited legroom in the third row

This fourth-generation Sorento is built on a new specialized modular platform with a mixture of high-strength steel and aluminum, which offers 12.5% ​​greater torsional stiffness and is 5.6% lighter.

The more equipped version called the SX, forgoes the rear center seat to offer a second row with individual captain’s seats. It gives up a seat for some luxury flavor. The other versions (LX, EX, and EX Pack) keep the seven-seater configuration.

The third row is not the most comfortable. The headroom is tight, and high off the floor, so it becomes uncomfortable for the legs. In addition, the capacity of the trunk is reduced to the bare minimum. The interior offers a choice of materials, with soft elements in almost every corner and assemblies that mostly feel solid.

The new Sorento comes with a 10.25-inch display for the infotainment system. The home screen is divided into three modules to access maps, music, or some other type of information, without having to navigate through different menus. The interface is very simple, and it’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Sorento is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine that produces 197 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

In short, the 2021 KIA Sorento is an accomplished SUV in all areas. It’s practical and roomy and comes packed with advanced features.

2021 Ford Explorer

2021 Ford Explorer
Credit: Autocosmos

Important Info

  • Base price: $32,225
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 5.6 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 21 mpg / Hwy 28 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.4 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: The Explorer is an SUV geared towards family life but excels in performance

Pros: Strong powertrain options, available hybrid version, high-end components in the base model

Cons: Reduced legroom in the back row, expensive top model, not the best infotainment system

The first American SUV on our list. The Ford Explorer is a large vehicle, exceeding 16 feet, and ranks among the largest SUVs on the market. Ford has opted for the commercialization of this product, to position the Explorer in a category closer to premium SUVs.

The Ford Explorer is distinguished by a very characteristic, very wide, and vertical front grille, from which the two headlights begin. Another hallmark of the Explorer is its sloping rear pillar that improves the feeling of spaciousness and lighting in the back row.

In the North American 2021 Ford line-up, Ford markets the Explorer with different four and six-cylinder engines. First, we have a 300 horsepower 2.3-liter Ecoboost and a 365 horsepower turbocharged 3.0 V6 Ecoboost. The more powerful ST model comes with a twin-turbocharged and intercooled 3.0 V6 engine that produces 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque.

There’s also a plug-in hybrid version that combines a naturally aspirated V6 engine and a 100-horsepower electric motor, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission to deliver an overall power of 318 ponies and 322 lb-ft of torque. All this power and torque goes to the four wheels. The Explorer can tow up to 5,600 pounds.

Onboard it doesn’t stand out for its refinement, but for conventional finishes, although it comes with a digital instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch screen and a SYNC 3 entertainment and navigation system with a 10.1-inch touch screen that makes it feel a bit more upscale.

2021 Subaru Outback

2021 Subaru Outback
Credit: Subaru

Important Info

  • Base price: $26,795
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7.75 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 26 mpg / Hwy 33 mpg
  • Basic Warranty:  3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:   8.2 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: The Outback is one of the most versatile SUVs on the market thanks to its performance in the city as well as off-road

Pros: Standard Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, outstanding safety features, advanced infotainment system packed with features

Cons: Unimpressive powertrain, loud cabin noise, unchanged exterior design

Subaru Outback 2021 is one of the most versatile SUVs that you can buy because this model complies with almost all categories. It offers a spacious cabin, which is also now better finished and loaded with technology. It offers extremely comfortable handling, ideal for tackling long journeys. And to all this, we highlight it can venture through the field or dirt road thanks to its wide ground clearance and efficient traction system.

Coming back to the cockpit is where you will find the biggest changes if you get a chance to test the Subaru Outback 2021. You will notice that it now incorporates better quality materials and that it’s up to date in technology. Because in the center console there is a huge multifunction 11.6-inch screen in vertical format, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and with a satisfying and intuitive operation.

The new Subaru Outback comes with its well-known 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 169 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. This power is sent to all four wheels through a CVT gearbox.

The 2021 Subaru Outback is capable of driving on dirt roads with the same level of comfort that it boasts on the highway. With the X Mode system that allows you to choose several programs depending on the ground conditions, the traction capacity is remarkable. If its dimensions and angles don’t prevent it, the Outback overcomes tough obstacles with ease.

2021 Chevrolet Blazer

2021 Chevrolet Blazer
Credit: Automexico

Important Info

  • Base price: $19,00 – $26,900
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7.9 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 21 mpg / Hwy 28 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: The Blazer sets itself apart from other midsize SUVs with distinctive, muscular styling and an affordable price

Pros: Refined ride quality, the infotainment system is very easy to use and loaded with tech, optional powerful V6 engine

Cons: Underwhelming base engine, compromised headroom in the back, lower cargo capacity than some rivals

The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer sets itself apart from the rest of the midsize SUVs with muscular styling. Chevy took what might otherwise be merely familiar and boring transportation and gave it an extreme makeover, using clothes from the Camaro’s closet. The accessories continue inside, where you’ll find a dash that has some Camaro-like design cues. It’s one of the most formidable cars in the 2021 Chevrolet line-up.

The Blazer has agile handling for an SUV and its optional V6 engine provides zippier acceleration. Another highlight is Chevy’s infotainment system which turned out to be very responsive and user-friendly.

As a weak point, headroom in the rear seats is limited and cargo capacity suffers as well. Other midsize five-passenger SUVs, like the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda Passport, are significantly more practical and don’t give up much in terms of absolute performance to the Blazer.

The optional all-wheel drive is intended more for wet weather driving than any legitimate off-road use, which is also hampered by the Blazer’s lower ride height compared to the Jeep Cherokee or Subaru Outback.

Blazer offers the comfort on the road you expect from a modern SUV with a stable and controlled ride without being too harsh. The cabin of this SUV is noisy so you may have to raise your voice to speak to the rear passengers. The climate control system takes a while to warm up the cabin and the seat heaters take a while to activate.