Driving in the middle of the road is usually illegal. Finding the best middle-of-the-road vehicle, however, is pretty smart. And if you’re looking in the SUV class, the middle of the road rests at the best new midsize SUVs. They are the stellar combination of just enough space and just enough economy. They are the “sedan” of their class. If Goldilocks were alive today, she’d be driving a midsize SUV. And since more and more manufacturers are dipping their ladles into this class of vehicle, the competition is getting fierce. Luckily, we’ve found all the expert opinions, crash tests and test-drives, and come up with the best new midsize SUVs available, just for you.
The Cayenne received a new makeover this year and all the kinks that Porsche needed to iron out look as though they are now history. The new model boasts a lighter curb weight and sharper interior with more streamlined styling. The 3.6L V6 and 4.8L V8 are still the two available engine choices. If you’re looking for towing capacity, you’ll want to stick with the V8 as it boosts the horsepower from 290 hp to 405 hp. For those who need to really kick it in the pants, the V8 has a turbo option that will take it all the way to 550 hp. “In terms of performance and handling, the 2010 Porsche Cayenne fully lives up to its Porsche heritage. Even with its massive heft, the Cayenne displays remarkable agility.” (www.edmunds.com, www.kbb.com, www.motortrend.com)
With the addition of a luxury package, Audi has combined high-tech with a fun driving experience in the Q5. “Its 3.2-liter V6 delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, and the six-speed automatic transmission is also refined and responsive.” Despite its relatively smaller size, cabin space remains adequate in either front or rear seats. Navigation-equipped models get Audi’s 3rd-generation Multi-Media Interface (MMI). Models possessing the in-dash CD changer will find the MMI much handier to use as the controls are slanted toward the driver. (www.edmunds.com, www.motortrend.com)
Despite its look, this one remains classified as a midsize SUV. It looks more like an oversized hatchback and the cargo space matches that description. It is, however, an Acura, which means you’ll be driving in luxurious style. The cabin is definitely the gem of this vehicle, for the front seat anyhow; the rear seat remains rather cramped. The 3.7L V6 engine is ample for the vehicle weight but the ZDX does lack a V8 option, leaving it rather bland in performance. “It does track capably around corners, thanks to the SH-AWD system that mitigates under-steer by sending torque to the wheels that need it most.” (www.edmunds.com, www.consumerreports.org)