By Suzanne Kane
Sometimes you just need a bigger vehicle to accommodate all the personal, family work, fun or occasional needs. With a great stable of full-size SUVs available to the discerning used car shopper, how can you possibly choose? One way is to take note of what some of the automotive experts have to say on the subject. We consulted reviews of best used full-size SUVs from the likes of Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com, and Motor Trend’s Truck Trend – and tossed in a few other mentions as well.
Here, then, are our top choices for best 3 used full-size SUVs.
- Chevrolet Tahoe (2002-2009) – Edmunds.com hails the 2002-2007 as the winner in large SUV/Crossover Used Car Best Bets with pros that include “strong performance, comfortable ride and attractive styling.” Cons would have to be its bulk, although it handles quite nimbly for a full-size sport utility vehicle. Editors of Motor Trend’s Truck Trend give the 2009 Tahoe its Best-in-Class Full-Size SUV distinction. U.S. News & World Report’s Automotive rankings and reviews lauds the 2009 as the Best Car for the Money in the large SUV class. There’s no question GM has done its work with the redesigned-for-2009 Tahoe, a full-size SUV that seats 9, tows up to 8,200 pounds, and gets fuel economy numbers of 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway (21 with XFE). Base engine is the 320-hp 5.3-liter V-8, with optional 6.0-liter V-8 power plant and available hybrid. Active fuel management, which allows the engine to shut down cylinders when they’re not needed, provides the boost in fuel economy and a leg up on the competition. All the more reason why Tahoe should retain its best-selling full-size SUV status since 2001.
- GMC Yukon (2002-2009) – Corporate sibling to the Chevrolet Tahoe but still very much its own game-changer, the is another best bet for used full-size SUV. A trio of engines is available, including the 395-hp 4.8-liter V-8, 320-hp 5.3-liter V-8 and 380-hp 6.2-litr V-8. New fully boxed frame translates into better rigidity for better cornering performance. Suspension and handling are vastly changed, as well. For 2009, the Yukon is longer and wider with a lower center of gravity. Electronically-controlled shocks adapt to speed and road conditions. Edmunds.com finds the Yukon a “leading choice for a traditional large SUV”, due, in part to pros that include fit and finish, powertrains, ride and seating for nine. Edmunds doesn’t like the third-row seat, soft suspension and “steering calibrations that result in imprecise handling.” J.D. Powers and Associates give the 2009 GMC Yukon a rating of among the best for overall quality and design and better than most in overall mechanical quality.
- Toyota Sequoia (2007-2009) – Motor Trend’s Truck Trend editors point to the Sequoia as the runner-up full-size SUV in its Best-in-Class Full-Size SUV awards, calling it a “close second…with a class-leading 10,000-pound towing capacity.” Consumer Reports names Sequoia among its “Other good choices” in its Best of the Best used cars in the midsize and large SUVs category. Edmunds.com says of the Sequoia that it “boasts enough room in all three rows to make large families and carpoolers happy,” attractive inside and outside styling, and two powerful V-8 engines. Downside is its “rather hefty price when nicely optioned.” U.S. News & World Report Automotive rankings and reviews list Sequoia plusses: easy to drive, excellent towing capabilities, adult-size third-row seat, and minus of some tough-to-reach interior controls. Base engine is the 4.7-liter V-8, with optional 5.7-liter V-8 power plant. Sequoia seats 8, features class-leading 10,000-pound towing capacity and fuel economy of 14 mpg city/17 mpg highway. Keep in mind that in 2007, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags became standard.
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