They guzzle more fuel than virtually any other vehicle on the road, can be notoriously hard to park, and certainly won’t be the best handling vehicle you’ve ever driven, but when it comes to sheer cargo and passenger space, full-size, truck-based SUVs are second to none.
Large SUVs are essentially trucks, but instead of a bed, the cargo area is made up of a more family friendly cargo space format, which is more befitting of long road trips and vacations than work around a construction yard. However, these SUVs still possess some truck capabilities, such as towing, with the added benefit of being able to seat a whole soccer team. At least, almost a full soccer team.
Here are the nine vehicles that make up the slate of large SUV options for this year, including the high-end luxury models (Cadillac, Infiniti, etc.). Since we here at Wall St. Cheat Sheet haven’t driven the vehicles in question ourselves, we turned to the automotive expertise of Edmunds.com and others for some insight as to the pros and cons of each vehicle. The following are ranked alphabetically.
1. Cadillac Escalade ESV
Base price: $70,570 (for 2014; 2015 pictured)
Fuel economy: 14 miles per gallon city, 18 miles per gallon highway
Pros and cons: Edmunds has not yet tested the 2015 model of Cadillac (NYSE:GM) Escalade, but of the 2014 model, it appreciated the vehicle’s “simultaneous cargo- and people-carrying ability,” its “unique” visual presence, long list of standard features, “gutsy” V8, and the “composed” ride. The Escalade also had the usual large SUV complaints, though: it was found to be awkward to maneuver in tight spaces, has “lackluster” braking performance, and poor fuel economy — we would, however, imagine that many of these complaints will be addressed with the new model.
Options worth splurging on: The $3,000 on all-wheel drive would be three grand well spent, and the $1,995 chrome six-spoke wheels look good, too (it is a Cadillac, after all). The Escalade comes with a lot of good standard features, but if carting children is a regular occurrence, the rear seat entertainment system with in-dash DVD player ($1,995) and all-weather floor mats for the first and second row ($150) might be a good buy.