Best midsize SUVs of 2024, reviewed by experts

Best midsize SUVs of 2024, reviewed by experts

In the beginning, buying an SUV almost certainly meant you were going to be buying a midsize SUV. Early models like the Explorer, Blazer, Grand Cherokee, Pathfinder and 4Runner are the reason a niche, off-roading vehicle segment morphed into the bread-and-butter family transportation choice and then spawned numerous offshoot segments based on size, capability, performance and luxury.

All those different directions can be easily seen in today's selection of midsize SUVs (most of which are technically crossovers), including the current versions of those SUV pioneers. There are the three-row family haulers that consumers happily gobble up instead of minivans. These are best suited for families, likely with more than one child, who can use the extra cargo space and/or extra row of seats -- even just for occasional use. There are two-row, style-oriented choices like the Chevy Blazer, Nissan Murano and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport that are resolutely intended to stay nice and clean on-road. These are still great choices for families. On the opposite end, there are the old-school, body-on-frame, definitely-not-a-crossover Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco and Toyota 4Runner. While plausible for family use (especially the huge 4Runner), they are less efficient and comfortable. And then you have segment-bending oddities that don't exactly fit into a single category like the Kia Sorento and Subaru Outback, plus the new selection of electric SUVs that are vaguely midsize in dimension and vaguely SUV in shape. Oh, and lots and lots of luxury choices, which we cover in our Best Luxury SUVs list.


So here are our best midsize SUVs, listed alphabetically: Two-row midsize SUVs, Three-row midsize SUVs and Electric midsize SUVs. You can also read our list of the Best midsize luxury SUVs.

Best three-row midsize SUVs of 2024

2024 Honda Pilot

Why it stands out: Exceptional storage and cargo space; unique second-row functionality; refined ride; versatile and capable TrailSport; advanced AWD
Could be better: Subpar acceleration with lackadaisical transmission and engine response; so-so driver assistance tech

Read our full 2024 Honda Pilot Review

The Honda Pilot was completely redesigned for 2023. It maintains its predecessor's family friendly packaging and overall focus, but it has injected a welcome sense of style (especially in the TrailSport pictured above) that makes it stand out much better from the big crossover crowd. The Pilot's restrained adornment and classic proportions are refreshing compared to the increasingly busy Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Subaru Ascent. Let's talk about practicality, though, which is ultimately the Pilot's best attribute. While every other three-row SUV makes owners choose between a second-row bench seat or captain's chairs (and therefore six-, seven- or eight-passenger capacity depending on vehicle), the Pilot's removable second-row middle seat means that every Pilot can be a seven- or eight-passenger vehicle. That middle seat even fits under the cargo floor in all trims but the TrailSport (its full-size all-terrain spare tire takes up too much space). There's also plenty of thoughtful, family-friendly storage throughout and a well-rounded driving experience true to the Honda norm.

2024 Hyundai Palisade

Why it stands out: More third-row and cargo space; well-executed tech; high-style interior
Could be better: No hybrid or performance version

Read our 2024 Hyundai Palisade Review and our long-term Palisade test

The Hyundai Palisade is mechanically related to the Kia Telluride, and choosing between this pair of masterfully executed family haulers could basically come down to a coin flip. Or, more realistically, which you think looks better. For its part, the Palisade has a more luxurious vibe, which is most obvious in its Limited and Calligraphy trim levels that could easily compete with actual luxury-brand SUVs. The main reason for this is the stylish, well-made cabin that not only looks great, but boasts useful storage, user-friendly infotainment tech and more space than nearly every competitor — bigger kids and even adults will be perfectly comfortable in the third row, and you can fit more stuff behind the raised third row. Hyundai's driver assistance and safety tech is also among the best-executed in the industry. If there's a major hole in its game, it's the lack of a hybrid powertrain or a more powerful version.


2024 Kia Sorento

Why it stands out: Unique size; efficient engines including two hybrid choices; high-end cabin; well-executed tech
Could be better: Less standard power than similarly priced midsize models; hybrids are extra-hard to come by

Read our 2024 Kia Sorento Review or specifically our Sorento PHEV review

The Kia Sorento basically has the exterior dimensions of a two-row midsize SUV, but manages to sandwich in a third row for those who could foresee needing one on occasion, but not frequently enough to warrant driving around a bigger, thirstier and pricier vehicle like Kia's Telluride. It's basically for those who don't necessarily think that bigger is better. And for its part, the Kia Sorento is appealing for myriad other reasons. Interior materials quality is elevated, the designs are handsome and technology is excellent. The same well-executed driver assistance and safety features that so impress in the Palisade and Telluride are also available in the Sorento. Perhaps most significantly, however, is that the Sorento is one of the very few three-row SUVs offered as a hybrid. Its 37 mpg blows away the V6-powered competition, and there's an exceptional plug-in hybrid choice (pictured above right). It is important to note, however, that 2024 is an odd year for the Sorento. The gas-only versions get revised exterior and interior design, and new infotainment tech. The hybrids get those updates for 2025, meaning the 2024 versions carry over from last year. The Sorento is recommended regardless of these updates.


2024 Kia Telluride

Why it stands out: More third-row and cargo space; well-executed tech; well-made interior; doesn't look like a family hauler
Could be better: No hybrid or performance version available; X-Pro's firm ride

Read our full 2024 Kia Telluride Review

If you've already read the above description of the Hyundai Palisade, you've been briefed about its mechanical commonalities with the Telluride and that they share the same fundamental strong points: space, technology, quality and value. They also do so to an extent that outpaces their competitors. Of the two, the Kia Telluride has received the greater share of accolades, largely because its styling seems to resonate with more people. Basically, style is the tie breaker. There's more than a whiff of Range Rover to its blocky proportions and restrained detailing. Heck, "Telluride" is even written across the hood, much like a Range Rover would be. Basically, the Kia Telluride doesn't look like a three-row family hauler despite being one of the best three-row family haulers. Win-win.


2024 Toyota Grand Highlander hybrids

Why it stands out: Exceptional fuel economy for a three-row SUV or big-time power for a three-row SUV; tons of space behind the third row
Could be better: Some infotainment irritations; expensive

Read our full 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Review

While the Toyota Highlander has previously been on this list, it was almost entirely because of its hybrid model that provides exceptional fuel economy none of its competitors could match. We always included the caveat that you'd be sacrificing third-row and cargo space for that fuel economy. That is not the case with the new Toyota Grand Highlander, a separate model despite its name, that's substantially larger where it counts: in the third row and behind it. It too is available with a traditional, fuel-sipping Toyota hybrid powertrain that achieves a sky-high (for a three-row family vehicle) 33-36 mpg combined, but also offers the performance-oriented Hybrid Max powertrain that gets above-average fuel economy while also boasting 362 horsepower -- an amount few rivals approach. Add it up, and the Grand Highlander is an easy replacement here for its non-grand sibling. The hefty price tag does give us pause, but you're at least getting an awful lot of family hauler.


Best two-row midsize SUVs of 2024

2024 Ford Bronco

Why it stands out: Off-road capability; wide range of models; better to drive on road than Wrangler; compelling design
Could be better: Very loud; very hard to get one

Read our Ford Bronco Review

We were tempted to exclude the Bronco from this list simply because it's so difficult to get, and even if you could, dealer markups could seriously reduce its appeal. That said, supply constraints are easing, so welcome to the list Bronco! Ford's iconic off-roader makes its long-awaited return, and it's just as good as we all would've hoped when we first saw its cool, retro looks applied to both two- and four-door body styles. Beyond those choices, it offers a wonderful array of trim levels that go beyond a simple escalation of equipment to include differing style, capability and areas of expertise. We've tested many of those combinations at this point and have enjoyed them all, including the Black Diamond (pictured above), the new Everglades, the insane Bronco Raptor and anything with the available manual. Many will ask is the Bronco better than the Wrangler? As a daily driver, yes. As something to attack a trail or barren landscape, perhaps not. Would you be happy with either? Most definitely, and that's why they're both here on this list.