Top 6 2018 SUVS for The Holiday Season
Depending on your needs and requirements, these SUVs could help you get through the rush of Christmas seasonby Kirby, on
If there’s one thing we know about Christmas, it’s that even if we think that we’re going to have time to rest and relax, the busy nature of the season will come back and force us off our beds and couches. Whether it’s a late night dash to the nearest Walmart or Target or a trip to the parent’s house an hour away, we’re going to need our SUVs this season more than we realize. On that end, you’re going to need an SUV that can excel during the holiday season. Need space for all your Christmas shopping? An SUV with a spacious cargo area would come in handy. How about those long distance trips? You’ll need an SUV that can a provide a smooth ride while returning great fuel economy. What about if you need to tow a Christmas gift like, say, a new jet ski? An SUV with a high towing capacity is the ride for the job. All these circumstances could play out this season, which is why we’re putting the spotlight on six SUVs that could come in handy this Christmas depending on what your needs are.
In the name of cargo space
If you’re the type who does Christmas shopping in one fell swoop, you’re going to need an SUV that offers best-in-class cargo space. For that, you’re going to need something like the Chevrolet Suburban. It’s a fitting name for an SUV with a cavernous interior and performance chops that allow you to cruise on long highway trips with the family. Gas mileage is average for its class at just 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you’re going to take shorter drives. Space is a premium in the front and second row, but the third row can be a little cramped, especially for long-limbed adults. Fortunately, you won’t have that problem if you’re driving by yourself to your local mall with the intent of filling up the Suburban with gifts for the family. The SUV’s cabin has over 39 cubic feet in cargo room, and that’s with all the seats still in their full and upright positions.
In the event that you’re buying your kids a small bouncy castle for Christmas, there should be enough space to bring it back home, thanks to the Suburban’s 120 cubic feet of space with all the seats folded.
There’s no going around the fact that you’re going to have to buy a lot of presents this Christmas. If space is an issue, you won’t have to sweat that problem with the Suburban.
|Base Engine:||5.3-liter V-8 engine|
|Cargo area:||39.3 cubic feet|
|Fuel economy:||16 mpg in the city / 23 mpg on the highway|
|Maximum payload:||1,690 pounds|
|Towing capacity:||6,300 pounds|
Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban
Keeping the kids entertained
Long road trips with the family are expected during the Christmas season. Whether you’re visiting your parents who live an hour away or you’re visiting other family members who live in nearby states, long road trips are about as common these days as drinking eggnog near a fireplace. These long road trips can be challenging to the sensibilities, but even more so if you’re bringing your children with you. If that’s the case, you’re going to need an SUV that can keep the little tots pre-occupied as you concentrate on the roads ahead. That’s a dilemma that an SUV like the Cadillac Escalade can solve. Like most full-size SUVs, the Escalade doesn’t skimp on the interior features, especially when it comes with the rear entertainment systems.
The standard-size Escalade comes with a roof-mounted nine-inch screen that can play both DVDs and Blue-Ray discs.
The usual cadre of accessories is also available. There are two wireless headphones, a remote control, and, most importantly, HDMI, USB, and charging ports. You have it better if you own the top-of-the-line Escalade Platinum or any of the long-wheelbase Escalade ESVs. With these trims, you get a pair of nine-inch displays integrated into the front-seat headrests. DVDs and Blu-Rays can be played, too. Now, what about if you have a teenager who’d much rather bury his or her nose in his or her phone? The Escalade has a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE connectivity. Even better, it comes standard on all Escalade models. Problem solved.
|Base Engine:||6.2-liter V-8|
|Cargo area:||15.2 cubic feet|
|Fuel economy:||14 mpg in the city / 23 mpg on the highway|
|Maximum payload:||1,460 pounds|
|Towing capacity:||8,300 pounds|
Read our full review on the Cadillac Escalade
Save up on trips to the gas station
One thing that you can expect, perhaps even brace for during the holidays: multiple trips to the gas station. The holiday season is always a busy time, and if you have families and friends that you plan to visit, you’re going to need an SUV that’s going to limit your visits to the pumper. That’s where gas mileage comes into the equation. One SUV that can do that is the Mitsubishi Outlander. I know it’s not often that a Mitsubishi makes it in a “best” list, but we need to give the Outlander its due.
The Outlander's four-cylinder engine returns 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
It’s an above average number for a compact SUV, but it’s exceptional for a three-row SUV. The Outlander doesn’t fare particularly well in other categories — it only has 10.3 cubic-feet of cargo room with the seats upright, and interior quality isn’t exciting — but if you just need to go where you need to go without having to pay too much on gas, the Outlander can do that job better than most SUVs in its class.
|Base Engine:||2.4-liter inline-four engine|
|Cargo area:||10.3 cubic feet|
|Fuel economy:||25 mpg in the city / 30 mpg on the highway|
|Towing capacity:||1,500 pounds|
Read our full review on the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander
For those trips to the outdoors
Fancying a trip to the outdoors this season? If you are, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can serve as your companion in this trip. Sure, it doesn’t have the same Herculean off-road chops as, say, the Wrangler, but the Grand Cherokee can handle its own very well in the outdoors, as well. Like most Jeep models, the Grand Cherokee excels outside of the pavement.
Rough terrains are rendered irrelevant, thanks to a number of off-road features, including rear locking differential, multiple four-wheel-drive systems, upgraded anti-lock Brembo performance brakes, and most crucial of all, an adaptive air suspension that helps mitigate the stress caused by less-than-stellar road conditions.
Should you take this trip with your family, you can take comfort knowing that the Grand Cherokee has 36.3 cubic feet of space when all the seats are upright. It’s not the best figure in its segment, but it should still be enough to store all your camping needs. In its range-topping Trackhawk form, the Jeep can haul a good amount of weight, provided that it’s equipped properly. Towing capacity is rated at 7,400 pounds, which is decent for its segment.
|Base Engine:||3.6-liter inline-four engine|
|Cargo area:||36.3 cubic feet|
|Fuel economy:||19 mpg in the city / 26 mpg on the highway|
|Maximum payload:||1,180 pounds|
|Towing capacity:||3,500 pounds (base unit)|
Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Towing like a champ
Speaking of towing capacity, it’s not out of the reach of possibility that you’re going to need an SUV that can tow like a light truck. Perhaps you get a boat as a Christmas present? Who knows, right? In cases like that, a model like the Nissan Armada could come in particularly handy, provided that you don’t mind making frequent stops to gas station thanks to the SUV’s ghastly fuel economy ratings: 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. If that’s not a problem, the great! If it is, well, brace yourselves for that inevitability. Believe it or not, the Infiniti QX80, which has the same towing capacity as the Armada and has a worse fuel economy rating. Count your blessings, as they say. Anyway, back to towing capacity, the one category where the Armada stands out relative to other full-sized SUVs in its class.
Like the QX80, the Armada can tow as much as 8,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Granted, towing something that requires a capacity of 8,500 pounds doesn’t happen often, even in the holidays. It takes a special set of circumstances for that figure to come in handy. But as we’ve seen over and over again during the Christmas season, you never know what you’ll never know what you end up having to bring home. It’s just nice to know that you have that option when you have the Nissan Armada.
|Base Engine:||5.6-liter V-8 engine|
|Cargo area:||16.5 cubic feet|
|Fuel economy:||14 mpg in the city / 19 mpg on the highway|
|Maximum payload:||1,724 pounds|
|Towing capacity:||8,500 pounds|
Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Armada
The best of the best
We can’t make a “best of” SUV list without mentioning the cream of the crop, right? The Ford Expedition is the best SUV for the holiday season for a reason. Cargo space isn’t a problem for the Blue Oval’s large SUV as it has 20.9 cubic-feet of cargo room when the seats are all up. That space expands to 63.6 cubic feet with the third row folded down and 104.6 cubic feet with the second and third rows down. It’s not as cavernous as the Suburban, but it can definitely hold its own. The Expedition also offers rear-seat entertain options to go with onboard Wi-Fi and wireless charging. As far as fuel mileage goes, the Expedition returns 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are on par with most large SUVs. No issues there, as well. Available off-road packages and the Platinum trim’s all-terrain management system gives the Expedition a good deal of off-road chops.
Don’t mistake it for a Grand Cherokee, though, because Jeep has effectively cornered this market.
Rear-wheel drive comes standard on the Expedition, but four-wheel drive is also available should you need it. Then there’s the coup de grace. The Ford Expedition can tow a ridiculous 9,300 pounds when properly equipped. That’s near light pickup territory, which goes to show why the Ford SUV is regarded as the top SUV in the market today. It doesn’t stand out in any one category, but it probably has the fewest flaws of any SUV in the market. You can’t do better this holiday season than the Expedition.
|Base Engine:||3.5-liter V-6 engine|
|Cargo area:||20.9 cubic feet|
|Fuel economy:||17 mpg in the city / 24 mpg on the highway|
|Maximum payload:||1,750 pounds|
|Towing capacity:||9,300 pounds (range-topper)|
Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Expedition