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Published: May 01, 2023 9 min read
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Midsize SUVs are one of the most popular segments of the market due to their versatility and roomy, comfortable cabins. Not too big, not too small, vehicles in this category offer more power, cargo space and towing capability than compact SUVs but are still reasonably agile and fuel-efficient.

Many midsize SUVs carry only five or six people comfortably. However, as noted below, some of our picks have larger capacities of up to eight passengers, carried in three rows of seats. However, if you'll often carry a crowd in the car, you may want to choose an SUV that's larger than midsize, for their greater space per passenger. (Our list of the best 3 row SUVs includes some such vehicles.)

Using a step-by-step methodology, we evaluated the best midsize SUVs available today for the attributes that we think matter — including value for money, safety and performance. Below are our five top choices, with explanations on how each stands out from the pack. The specs listed below each review are for the trim level we assessed, which was the most popular, according to the manufacturer.

Other of our lists are worth a look for additional recommended SUVs. Our picks for the best 3 row SUVs also include three midsize vehicles (the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Mazda CX-9). In addition, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda Passport from the list of best 2 row SUVs are also midsize models.

Our Picks for Best Midsize SUVs of 2023

Hyundai Santa Fe — Best Overall, Best Value
Honda Pilot — Best for Features
Jeep Grand Cherokee — Best for Handling
Chevrolet Traverse — Best for Safety
Buick Enclave — Best for Technology

Reviews of the Best Midsize SUVs

Best Overall, Best Value: Hyundai Santa Fe

Courtesy of Hyundai
  • Affordable
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Less power than competitors

Affordable, fuel-efficient, and packed with features, the Hyundai Santa Fe delivers the best value in the segment. It’s also the only vehicle on this list recognized by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a Top Safety Pick+, the highest accolade the Institute awards.

The base model begins at $28,750, providing a spacious interior and comfortable seating for five people. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an 8-inch touch screen come standard, along with a spate of advanced safety features. But upgrade to the $32,450 SEL trim, and you’ll get luxuries such as heated front seats, wireless device charging and a 10.25-inch touch screen —the largest screen on this list. Buyers can add a panoramic sunroof and a premium sound system, as well as navigation-based smart cruise control and highway driving assist.

The Santa Fe delivers the best fuel efficiency ratings of the bunch, at 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It has a reliable ride with its 191-horsepower engine, but rival midsize SUVs deliver more power.

Best for Features: Honda Pilot

Courtesy of Honda
  • Fully-loaded with features
  • Large cargo capacity
  • Expensive

The Honda Pilot is a family-friendly 3-row SUV with seating for eight people. The fully-loaded Elite trim is our top pick for features: its spacious interior includes high-end amenities like leather trim, heated and ventilated front seats and a panoramic roof. When you need more interior space, the new-for-2023 stowable second-row middle seat is easy to remove.

The Pilot has 18.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row. That's plenty of room for groceries and gear; you'll find a roomier cargo hold in the Enclave, with its 23.6 cubic feet, and the Traverse, which has 23 cubic feet.

The Elite has must-have technology like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless phone charger, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 9-inch touchscreen. New for 2023 is a multi-view camera system, giving you a view of the entire vehicle. Honda's CabinTalk system lets you communicate easily with passengers in the rear seats. With a HondaLink subscription, you can remotely monitor fuel levels and lock/unlock doors.

All trims come with the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, which rely on sensors for alerts and provide additional braking or steering assistance when needed. Standard driver-assist features in the Elite trim include a blind spot information system with a cross-traffic monitor, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and a road departure mitigation system.

The Pilot feels confident on the road with its 285-horsepower V6 engine, but you'll find more power in the Buick Enclave or Chevrolet Traverse. However, this SUV boasts enhanced stability and handling with its new all-wheel-drive system.

Best for Handling: Jeep Grand Cherokee

Courtesy of Jeep
  • Excels off-road
  • Can upgrade to three rows of seats
  • Lowest cargo capacity

Jeep Grand Cherokee ride feels comfortable on- or off-road, making it our choice for best handling. The rear-wheel-drive SUV feels controlled when taking on rougher terrain. While the Honda Pilot has an upgraded all-wheel drive system for enhanced stability on tougher roads, you won't find the same off-roading prowess as the upper Grand Cherokee trims.

The Grand Cherokee is available as a two- or three-row SUV. Inside, you’ll find leatherette upholstery, heated front and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel. Ventilated front seats are optional. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 10.1-inch touch screen are standard. Upgrades include a wireless charging pad and a rear-seat entertainment system.

The Limited trim delivers a capable and smooth ride with its 293-horsepower V6 engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. For $2,200, buyers can add a 4x4 system for greater off-road capability.

Best for Safety: Chevrolet Traverse

Courtesy of Chevrolet
  • Plenty of driver assistance safety features
  • Large cargo capacity
  • Less fuel efficient than competitors

The Chevrolet Traverse is our choice for safety due to its extensive slate of standard and optional safety features. Traverse models equipped with the $3,800 all-wheel-drive option earned a 5-star rating for crash tests conducted by NHTSA; those with the standard front-wheel drive received a 4-star rating.

All models come with the Chevy Safety Assist bundle of safety features, which includes forward collision alert and a following-distance indicator. Every Traverse is equipped with Chevy’s Buckle to Drive feature, which prevents the vehicle from being shifted out of park until the driver’s seat belt is fastened. There's also Teen Driver, which lets you set speed and sound limits for inexperienced drivers.

The LT trim adds a rear cross-traffic alert and a lane-change alert with a side blind zone alert. HD Surround Vision and rear pedestrian alert are available.

The Traverse has the largest total cargo capacity of the bunch at 98.2 cubic feet. The Enclave isn't far behind, with 97.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Both models are equipped with a 310-horsepower V6, but the Enclave delivers more miles to the gallon on the highway.

Best for Technology: Buick Enclave

Courtesy of Buick
  • Plenty of tech features
  • Well-appointed cabin
  • More expensive than rival midsize SUVs

Like other models in the General Motors family, the Buick Enclave stands out for its easy-to-use infotainment system and connectivity features. Standard technology includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, wireless phone charging and an 8-inch touch screen with crisp, clean graphics.

Powered by the Buick infotainment system, the Enclave gains access to the Buick Connected Services feature, which includes OnStar, and provides access to emergency services and roadside assistance and a Connected Vehicle Plan, which gives you remote access to your Enclave.

With seating for seven passengers, the Enclave’s Essence trim creates an upscale feel with leather trim, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Like the Traverse, the Enclave is powered by a 310-horsepower engine and nine-speed automatic transmission.

Jaclyn Trop is an award-winning journalist who road-tests and reviews vehicles, in addition to covering automotive news. Her byline has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fortune, Consumer Reports and U.S. News & World Report, among other publications.