QOTD: What's the Best Utility Vehicle of the Past 10 Years?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).

This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?

As before, we’re limiting this question to vehicles sold between model years 2008 and 2017. Selected vehicles must have been available in the North American market for consideration.

While sales figures are an indication a particular vehicle is popular, they cannot be used to conclude a utility vehicle is good. A utility vehicle gobbling up market share could simply be a result of factory incentives, suspicious inventory trickery, or fleet sales. Overall, just don’t use sales as primary argument for a best of the breed selection.

So what does make for a “best” utility vehicle, as we seek today? A few qualifiers to ponder:

  • Substantive cargo area
  • Reliability
  • Affordability to many
  • Fuel economy
  • Flexible seating
  • All-wheel drive
  • Practical size

At risk of being labeled a fanboy, a term thrown around these pages frequently and with indelicate fervor, I’ve made a single selection as example. And it’s not the Range Rover up there — don’t be ridiculous.

For 20 years and five generations now, the Honda CR-V has propelled North America away from Home Depot and around the occasional wet or leaf-covered road in relative space, comfort, and economy. The interiors hold up, engines and components are reliable, and resale value is decent or good even for high-mileage examples. It’s not luxuriously expensive from new.

In upper trims with metallic paint, it can look suitably upscale. Powered via all-wheel drive and CVT, the CR-V is rated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. It’s more useful than subcompact CUV entries, as it’s not too small. It doesn’t have the third-row seat of larger family haulers that compromises passenger and cargo space 97 percent of the time, when the rearmost row is not in use.

It’s relatively a lot of things, to kind of a lot of people. I’m probably wrong though, so tell us your pick for best utility vehicle.

[Images: The Truth About Cars; Jaguar Land Rover; Honda]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Marko Marko on Oct 09, 2017

    I'd have to agree with the Grand Cherokee, despite FCA reliability concerns.

  • DiveJumpShootUSMC DiveJumpShootUSMC on Jan 20, 2018

    Can't buy Union made cars, the Honda is a soulless grocery getter. If you want something with room and comfort get a E63 estate. Amazingly fast, handles well enough horsepower/tq to pull start a planet and a great interior that makes driving a joy. Range Rover have problems but mostly when people who can't afford them or are who too busy neglect the maintenance. I had a 2004 Land Rover discovery that I whipped all the time but took care of the maintenance. It was still very nice when I sold it at 175K miles. If you put that next to all but the very pampered US made SUVs you'd see the difference between a vehicle that makes it to 175K miles still going strong and looking good and a worn wagon. I hate the idea that US cars have to cut costs to afford a union shop and we end up getting the guilt trip with by made in the US is ugly. Too many good people wanting to do the right thing aren't getting that buying union made is contradictory- go look at who UAW gives their donations to socialist minded Dems who are at the very same time working to increase corporate taxes, stomp on industry with useless regulatory fees and fines. Unfortunately, UAW has politicized car buying by having lopsided donations and providing manpower for socialist candidates. anti American values isn't even the beginning. And unfortunately the average worker is caught in the middle.

    • El scotto El scotto on Jan 20, 2018

      Ignorant people who don't understand that there are other auto manufacturing unions in other countries make car buying a political "issue" in their narrow little minds. The union guys/gals who built your beloved E63/Disco are real socialists. They're not "The Socialists" Fox New/Breitbart et al told you be afraid of; but if you listen tomorrow Fox New/Breitbart et al will tell you some talking points and who you should really, really be afraid of. The European unions make the UAW/CAW (UNIFOR?Arby's, whatever the CAW is called nowdays) look like pussies. While we're at it, lets throw in some subtle racism; my vehicle was built by EUROPEANS!!! and not some disagreeable UAW scum; or gasp! BROWN PEOPLE. Do you even understand what the labor costs involved in building a vehicle? UAW members enjoy crazy "socialist" and "anti-American" things like a middle class wage, decent healthcare (the union runs it), and the ability to send their kids to college.

  • Michael Gallagher I agree to a certain extent but I go back to the car SUV transition. People began to buy SUVs because they were supposedly safer because of their larger size when pitted against a regular car. As more SUVs crowded the road that safety advantage began to dwindle as it became more likely to hit an equally sized SUV. Now there is no safety advantage at all.
  • Probert The new EV9 is even bigger - a true monument of a personal transportation device. Not my thing, but credit where credit is due - impressive. The interior is bigger than my house and much nicer with 2 rows of lounge seats and 3rd for the plebes. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, around 300miles of range, and an e-mpg of 80 (90 for the 2wd). What a world.
  • Ajla "Like showroom" is a lame description but he seems negotiable on the price and at least from what the two pictures show I've dealt with worse. But, I'm not interested in something with the Devil's configuration.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I really like the C-Class, it reminds me of some trips to Russia to visit Dear Friend VladdyPoo.
  • ToolGuy New Hampshire
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