What Is A Large SUV? The Best and Most Reliable Large SUVs To Buy

What Is A Large SUV? The Best and Most Reliable Large SUVs To Buy

Your family is growing. So too should your car. If you need a vehicle with enough space for all the kids, or you’re just tired of settling fights about who gets the middle seat, you need a full-size SUV. 

Although full-sized SUVs differ from model to model, they typically have the same few things in common: 

  • Size, obviously. Whereas mid-size SUVs typically seat up to five people, full-size models have space for as many as nine, spread across three rows. They’re also typically well-endowed on the cargo front, too. 
  • This size comes at a cost. The bigger the car, and the bigger the engine, the thirstier it is when it comes to fuel. 
  • They’re not cheap, and thus buyers can expect the same level of finesse you’d expect from a luxury car. Features found on recent models include rear-seat entertainment systems, a plethora of connectivity options, and high-end furnishings. 
  • At the end of the day, even the biggest SUV is an SUV, and the hearty powertrains found in the full-sized flavors are capable of towing incredible loads. The formidable Chevy Tahoe, for example, is rated up to 8,300lbs, or enough for a moderately-large camper trailer. 

But what are they like to own? And what should you look for when buying your first large SUV? 

Are Large SUVs Reliable?

Reliability is a huge concern for anyone looking to buy a vehicle. For parents, it's an even more pressing concern. Think about it: you don’t want to break down at the side of the highway with a car full of screaming toddlers and bickering teenagers. 

There is some evidence (although hardly conclusive) that large SUVs are more prone to breakdowns than their smaller counterparts. In 2019, all but two of the full-sized SUVs reviewed by ConsumerReports scored dismally on the all-important reliability front. 

Additionally, the results of a separate survey published the same year indicated large SUVs were almost 40 per cent more likely to suffer a fault within the first three years of ownership than a smaller city car. 

This isn’t exactly a smoking gun, however. Data from JD Power shows several large SUVs scoring highly for dependability. The 2021 Chevy Tahoe, for example, handily beats the 2021 Toyota Prius, boasting a score of 84 compared to the Prius’ 64. As with all things, your mileage may vary, and it’s always sensible to do your own research.

Picking The Right Car For You

When hunting for the perfect full-size SUV, it’s important to pick the right features for your own personal needs. Here are some things to consider: 

  • SUVs are notoriously thirsty, but some perform better than others. If you want to spend less at the pump, this is something you need to factor in. 
  • Safety is important, especially if you’re planning to use a full-sized SUV as a family car. Before you commit to a new vehicle, be sure to check their NHTSA vehicle safety ratings. 
  • If you plan to take your SUV on vacation, and own a camper trailer or small boat, make sure any potential buy has a high enough maximum towing capacity. 
  • There’s nothing worse than a car full of bored kids on a long ride. For your own sanity, make sure to weigh up the entertainment system in your prospective car, and whether it’s suitable for your needs.

The Best Full Size SUVs

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LT (from $33,950)

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LT (from $33,950)

You need power. You need space. You want a comfortable ride. And so, you want the 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe. With space for eight passengers and a generous cargo hold, the Tahoe has room for all the family, and its cavernous interior offers bountiful levels of personal space, making for a comfortable ride. 

Fuel efficiency is solid by the standard of large SUVs. You can expect to get a mere 16MPG on city roads, and 22MPG on the highway. But these flaws are easily overlooked when you take into account the Tahoe’s muscular engine, solid handling, and high towing capacity. Finishing touches include heated leather seats, a built-in infotainment system with GPS navigation, a premium sound system, and onboard Wi-Fi.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test DrivesButton Text
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Chevrolet Tahoe LT
2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LT (from $33,950)

You need power. You need space. You want a comfortable ride. And so, you want the 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe. With space for eight passengers and a generous cargo hold, the Tahoe has room for all the family, and its cavernous interior offers bountiful levels of personal space, making for a comfortable ride. 

Fuel efficiency is solid by the standard of large SUVs. You can expect to get a mere 16MPG on city roads, and 22MPG on the highway. But these flaws are easily overlooked when you take into account the Tahoe’s muscular engine, solid handling, and high towing capacity. Finishing touches include heated leather seats, a built-in infotainment system with GPS navigation, a premium sound system, and onboard Wi-Fi.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Chevrolet Tahoe LT

2012 Ford Flex SE (from $12,450)

2012 Ford Flex SE (from $12,450)

For those looking for an affordable option, the 2014 Ford Flex SEL is a compelling choice, delivering seating for seven people and generous levels of cargo space. Although it falls short in a few areas (fuel efficiency isn’t great, with 18MPG in the city and 25MPG on the highway), it makes up for it in terms of cost. Despite its compromises, the Flex is nonetheless an attainable choice for families on a budget. 

Although it lacks the finesse of the Tahoe, the Ford does come with some welcome features. On the safety front, you get blind spot monitor, a rear parking aid, and a reversing camera. Added comforts include cruise control, built-in touchscreen navigation, and a top-notch sound system.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test DrivesButton Text
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Flex
2012 Ford Flex SE (from $12,450)

For those looking for an affordable option, the 2014 Ford Flex SEL is a compelling choice, delivering seating for seven people and generous levels of cargo space. Although it falls short in a few areas (fuel efficiency isn’t great, with 18MPG in the city and 25MPG on the highway), it makes up for it in terms of cost. Despite its compromises, the Flex is nonetheless an attainable choice for families on a budget. 

Although it lacks the finesse of the Tahoe, the Ford does come with some welcome features. On the safety front, you get blind spot monitor, a rear parking aid, and a reversing camera. Added comforts include cruise control, built-in touchscreen navigation, and a top-notch sound system.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Flex

2015 Toyota Sequoia SR5 (from $32,900)

2015 Toyota Sequoia SR5 (from $32,900)

The 2015 Toyota Sequoia SR5 stands out as a veritable powerhouse. With its 4WD powertrain and 5.4L V8 engine, this rugged auto accelerates like a racehorse, and effortlessly tows loads up to 7,100lbs. If you’re looking for a car that’s equally capable on the school run as it is on the worksite, this is the car for you. 

This comes at a cost. Mileage is poor, with the Sequoia averaging just 13MPG in the city and 17MPG on the highway. Although there are some creature comforts, like multi-zone air conditioning and cruise control, it’s not exactly the most luxurious ride on the market, with an interior defined by cloth seats and utilitarian plastic finishings.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test DrivesButton Text
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Sequoia
2015 Toyota Sequoia SR5 (from $32,900)

The 2015 Toyota Sequoia SR5 stands out as a veritable powerhouse. With its 4WD powertrain and 5.4L V8 engine, this rugged auto accelerates like a racehorse, and effortlessly tows loads up to 7,100lbs. If you’re looking for a car that’s equally capable on the school run as it is on the worksite, this is the car for you. 

This comes at a cost. Mileage is poor, with the Sequoia averaging just 13MPG in the city and 17MPG on the highway. Although there are some creature comforts, like multi-zone air conditioning and cruise control, it’s not exactly the most luxurious ride on the market, with an interior defined by cloth seats and utilitarian plastic finishings.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Sequoia

Making the right decisions

Buying a car is about identifying your priorities, and choosing the compromises you’re willing to make. Want a full-sized SUV that’s affordable? The Flex is for you. Those with luxury tastes are best served by the Tahoe, while the hardy Toyota Sequoia delivers power above all else. 

But you shouldn’t compromise on where you buy your car, and with Shift, every vehicle is backed by a seven-day money back guarantee and a 150 point pre-sale inspection. For extra peace of mind, we also offer a free 30-day warranty on our certified cars and trucks.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

Author
Shift Editorial Team