Consumers have plentiful choices of midsize SUVs – but only a few rate as the Best Midsize AWD SUVs. Here are our three top picks (and a few alternative contenders):
- Acura MDX – Powered by a 300-hp 3.6-liter V-6 mated with a first-ever (for Acura) 6-speed automatic transmission, the 7-passenger 2010 midsize luxury SUV also features standard “Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). Besides improving traction in bad weather, Acura’s SH-AWD can transfer up to 100 percent of power to one wheel, depending on conditions. This gives MDX greater handling ability by allowing outer wheels to accelerate more quickly through turns. Car and Driver opines: “Despite the MDX’s handling prowess and all-wheel drive grip, we’ve criticized its ride for being a bit harsh and unyielding, particularly in the sportiest suspension setting. And although it remains firm, our brief jaunt north of Detroit revealed the new version to be far more compliant in both sport and comfort settings while maintaining good body control.”
- GMC Terrain – GMC’s smallest model yet, the all-new 2010 Terrain may be the best of the corporate siblings that include the redesigned 2010 and more expensive . AWD can be added to any trim for an extra $1,750. Two power plants are available: standard 182-hp 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder or 264-hp 3.0-liter V-6. Fuel economy in the 4-cylinder AWD is an EPA-estimated 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway, while the V-6 AWD achieves an estimated 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway. Six airbags, rearview camera, USB-ready radio, XM satellite radio, and 6-speed automatic transmission are standard across the board. Edmunds comments: “The 2010 offers just about everything that shoppers in this segment are looking for, and it’s one you’ll definitely want to cross-shop with established models like the , , , , and .”
- Lincoln MKT – With the powerful 355-hp turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, the 2010 luxury midsize SUV features standard AWD and a host of other features. Based on the same platform as the Ford Flex, the Lincoln MKT boasts its own surprises. Autoblog says: “For the EcoBoost MKT, the engineers have continued tweaking the formula, and when run back to back against the [Audi] Q7, the difference was immediately apparent. In short, the Flex drives like a vehicle much smaller than it is, and the same is true of the MKT in spite of its luxury ambitions. You can manhandle the MKT hard into a corner, and the combination of well-tuned mechanical bits and seamless stability control intervention allow it to just track through at speeds that are surprisingly high for a CUV.”
Looking for more choices for Best Midsize AWD SUVs? Also consider the Infiniti FX50 (with standard AWD), the AWD version of the Cadillac SRX, and Mercedes-Benz M-Class (all models except the base feature permanent 4Matic AWD).