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2021 Tesla Model Y In Motion
Credit: Tesla

The Best SUVs (All Sizes & Types) For 2021

There’s something for different tastes and budgets


Like every year, the GOODCARBADCAR team meets to evaluate SUVs that appeared in the last months to find the best model of 2021, whether they are updates of existing models or brand new to the market.

We evaluate 7 SUVs on GCBC’s six key category criteria: safety, efficiency, value, design advancement, engineering excellence, and performance.

SUVs have a great acceptance among consumers because of factors such as the high driving seating position, which is higher than a regular car, and the improved visibility that this entails. In addition, they have a more robust aesthetic and provide an image of prestige to those who are behind the wheel. Therefore, it’s not surprising that this type of vehicle has a significant share of the North American auto market.

The fact that the offer is large also influences this success. All manufacturers have long joined the SUV craze; There’s an incredible variety of models: from pure off-roaders to large luxury SUVs, there are many options available for different needs and budgets.

We bring you the 7 best SUVs on the market of any type and size.

Volvo XC60

2021 Volvo XC60 Front and Side View
Credit: Marca

Important Info

  • Base price: $41,700 – $69,500
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 22 mpg / Hwy 29 mpg
  • Basic Warranty:  5 years / 60,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.8 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: A refined and luxurious SUV with all the quality and safety you expect from a Volvo

Pros: Smooth ride, beautiful interior packed with features, plenty of standard safety features

Cons: Disappointing ride quality, clumsy infotainment, competitors offer more cargo space

It’s well known that Volvo has taken the right course in recent years and the XC60 is a clear example of this, starting with its highly modern, elegant, and sporty exterior design.

The interior of the XC60 has suitable room for five people but a barely-there trunk. The quality of the interior materials places the XC60 at the top of the segment where it competes against vehicles such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes Benz GLC, Infiniti QX50, and Acura RDX.

The cabin offers the correct combination of materials, textures, and colors, a clean dashboard a high level of technology thanks to a full head-up display, 12.3-inch digital instrumentation cluster which is customizable according to the selected driving mode.

Under the bonnet, the base T5 model of the XC60 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder banger that produces 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, whilst the plug-in hybrid T8 version is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder twincharger (turbo & supercharger) that pushes out 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque.

In the end, Volvo has a well-balanced product in every way with great technological equipment, especially in the safety department, where it’s the leader in its segment, plus the quality and refinement you’d expect from a Volvo.


BMW X1 Front and Side View
Credit Quecochecompro

Important Info

  • Base price: $35,400 – $37,400
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7.2 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 24 mpg / Hwy 33 mpg
  • Basic Warranty:  4 years / 50,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.6 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: A well-balanced premium subcompact SUV in all areas

Pros: Powerful turbocharged engine, optional all-wheel-drive, fuel-efficient

Cons: Stiff ride, questionable styling, not the best value

The 2021 BMW X1 sDrive20i competes in a segment that is becoming more popular, which is the subcompact SUV, and it can be quite attractive for those looking for a premium vehicle with great balance in all areas.

As is customary for BMWs, the interior design is standardized across its entire lineup: if you know one BMW, you know them all. This also applies to the X1 sDrive20i 2021, which has the dashboard focused on the driver, and great quality of materials and subtle lines: typical elements of the German brand.

As far as tech, it’s worth highlighting the brand’s proprietary navigation system with an 8.8-inch touch screen and compatibility with Apple CarPlay, but not with Android Auto: apparently BMW forgets that there are also high-end Android smartphones.

In terms of functionality, the X1 comes with an automatic air conditioning system with a dual-zone regulator, electrically adjustable front seats and two memories for the driver, USB C ports, LED headlights, and a rain sensor to automatically manage the lights and windshield wipers.

The X1’s engine features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 192 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. This power unit is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with Launch Control.

The BMW X1 sDrive20i 2021 is positioned as a very interesting option in the segment and offers a good balance between equipment, performance, and price, making it a great model option in the 2021 BMW range.

Honda CR-V

2021 Honda CR-V Driving In The City
Credit: Gossip Vehiculos

Important Info

  • Base price: $27,860 – $30,450
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 8.2 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 28 mpg / Hwy 34 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.5 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: A great combination of comfort, agile operation, and a design that has stood the test of time.

Pros: Great handling and ride comfort, decent acceleration, great fuel efficiency on the front-wheel-drive model

Cons: Clunky infotainment system, erratic climate control, not the most stylish SUV

The 2021 Honda CR-V Touring is the top version of this SUV in the 2021 Honda line-up, which has become a favorite in the segment because of its balance between comfort, agile performance, and a design that has stood the test of time.

Among the many offers that exist in the SUV segment, some have become benchmarks; one of them is the CR-V, which, thanks to its versatility, durability, and a good level of comfort, remains one of the best sellers.

In terms of technology, the CR-V Touring comes with an excellent selection of features that ensure comfortable rides. We highlight the wireless charger, premium audio system with nine speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, instrument panel with progressive auto-lighting system, and HomeLink system.

The 2021 Honda CR-V Touring delivers a good handling response in both urban and highway environments thanks to the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a CVT transmission and an Eco Assist system that helps make trips more efficient, while active noise cancellation provides more comfortable rides.

Thanks to its recent update and consumer acceptance, the Honda CR-V Touring 2021 remains one of the best buying options for those looking for a practical, versatile vehicle with a sufficient level of comfort and safety to enjoy both daily and road trips.

Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30 Front and Side View
Credit: Mazda

Important Info

  • Base price: $22,050 – $34,050
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 6.8 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 25 mpg / Hwy 33 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.5 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: If you’re in the market for a convenient, well-built small SUV that offers good value for the money, the CX-30 should be on your list

Pros: Excellent build quality, good driving dynamics, available turbo engine

Cons: Not very quick or efficient transmission, the propensity of blind spots, fuel efficiency could be enhanced

Mazda is one of the most attractive brands thanks to its modern design and build quality, which makes it an excellent option compared to some competitors that offer more conservative and even boring designs. Their CX-30 is an SUV that makes this category more exciting with its unique style and features designed for versatility.

The CX-30 is an excellent option for those who want a more attractive and versatile option for daily mobility. This vehicle is part of the compact SUV segment and offers plenty of space and comfort for four passengers. You’ll find good quality materials, soft-touch plastics, and various technological implementations for comfort, connectivity, and safety.

The CX-30 is an SUV with a more urban configuration, offering a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

In terms of comfort, it provides good soundproofing in the cabin because of its excellent build quality materials, plus the assistance and safety technologies that come very handy in parking maneuvers and narrow streets.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is a great option if you’re looking for versatility, dynamic styling, and good city specs. It’s an SUV that embodies Mazda’s philosophy of convenience and build quality with good looks and could be a very attractive vehicle for those looking to enter this segment.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan Front and Side View
Credit: Autobild

Important Info

  • Base price: $25,245 – $39,095
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 8.4 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 23 mpg / Hwy 29 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 4 years / 50,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.2 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: Modern yet sober design and efficient driving with a good level of comfort and new technology

Pros: Versatility for long trips or city driving, plenty of space for a full family, powertrain optimized for fuel economy 

Cons: Could use more power, cramped third-row seats, not great for towing

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan draws attention for its modern yet sober design, whose dimensions make it ideal for traveling with the family. In addition, it offers a good level of comfort, innovative technology, and efficient handling that makes it one of the most attractive models in a very competitive segment.

The Tiguan is available in six exterior colors, all quite classic and in the Highline trim, it comes with luggage rails in anodized aluminum, a rear diffuser in black, chrome details, a Tiguan badge on the trunk lid, side steps in black, LED headlights with “Coming & Leaving Home” function, dimmed LED taillights, 19-inch aluminum wheels, and panoramic roof. It also offers hands-free Easy Open Trunk.

The Highline version has room for five passengers and a cargo area of 12 cubic feet behind the third row. The leather seats come with 12 adjustment settings for the driver, along with lumbar adjustment and heating.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan offers comfortable, balanced trips, which is achieved thanks to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 180 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 7-speed DSG. It features Servotronic electromechanical steering, 4MOTION traction, and a good level of fuel efficiency.

GMC Yukon Denali

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Front and Side View
Credit: Motortrend

Important Info

  • Base price: $68,600 – $77,165
  • Updates: Moderate
  • 0-60 mph: 6.1 sec
  • Fuel Economy: City 21 mpg / Hwy 27 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating:  8.2 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: New stylish design, high-quality interior and more capable and refined than its competitors

Pros: Great ride quality and performance, plenty of room and cargo space, off-road versatility

Cons: Expensive, poor gas mileage, has some interior quirks

The GMC Yukon Denali 2021 is a full-size SUV, brother of the Suburban but more luxurious and without falling into Cadillac territory. It comes in two models, the traditional Yukon, and the Yukon XL.

The Yukon is a vehicle that is 100% designed with the American taste of mobility in mind. It’s a large and boxy SUV in which the chrome remains an essential part of its contrasts. The grill and its 22-inch wheels go in this same finish. In addition, it has a new design of C-shaped LED headlights, something very characteristic of GMC.

In the equipment department, the Yukon Denali XL comes with a 10.2-inch HD touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth and Siri. A 14-speaker Bose sound system, 12.6-inch complements this dual-screen rear-row entertainment system, wireless charging port, 8-inch driver information cluster, and 10 electric charging ports.

This new Yukon comes with a 6.2-liter V8 that generates 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and adaptive suspension for added comfort.

Yes, it’s expensive, but its technology, performance, and above all, the large interior space makes it one of the most versatile large luxury SUVs on the market.

Tesla Model Y

2021 Tesla Model Y In Motion
Credit: Tesla

Important Info

  • Base price: $52,990 – $60,990
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 3.5 sec
  • Range: 326 miles (EPA est.)
  • Basic Warranty:  4 years / 50,000  miles
  • Our Rating: 8 / 10

Our Thoughts: Pros & Cons

Summary: Ultra quick all-electric car with impressive range and compelling performance

Pros: One of the longest ranges on the EV market, spectacular acceleration, roomy cabin

Cons: Stiff ride especially in the Performance model, almost useless optional third row, not the fastest charging electric car

The Tesla Model Y, the SUV designed for a broader audience of the Californian firm and that shares a platform with the Model 3. The Model Y competes with rivals such as the Volkswagen ID.4, the Skoda Enyaq, the Audi Q4, or the iX4 from BMW, but offers a two-seat third row, making it a truly unique proposition, and a standout model in the 2021 Tesla line-up.

The Model Y looks and feels like a Model 3 which is understandable as the two models share 75% of the components, but the model Y has a higher roof by seven inches.

There’s nothing revolutionary inside either, despite the larger panoramic roof and power tailgate, and we don’t see any substantial changes to the trim and finishes.

This new Model Y is available in two versions: The Long Range reaches 326 miles thanks to a 75 kWh battery. It has a motor on each axle (total power around 351 horses) to launch the car from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and hit 135 mph.

The Performance model is equipped with the same battery as the Long Range but with more performance (480 horsepower thanks to a more powerful front motor but the same 200 horsepower rear motor). It accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds (that’s Porsche Macan Turbo territory) and has a top speed of 155 mph, but with a slightly lower range of 303 miles.