Full-size SUV Buyers Guide

SUVs towering over a smaller car

In 2014, retail registration for SUVs and crossovers (CUVs) surpassed sedans, proving that the sport utility craze is far from over. In spite of naysayers who predicted that full-size SUVs would fall by the wayside due to pricing and fuel efficiency concerns, the models are more popular than ever. Carmakers are working to supply them to a wide range of drivers with diverse demands. SUVs made up 36.5% of new vehicle registrations last year, and account for nearly one in four cars sold in the United States.

Some credit an improving economy for the resurgence of SUV popularity. Others point to the increasingly severe weather conditions across the country, which have inspired buyers in both rural and urban settings to purchase vehicles that are more rugged than ever.

The auto industry has responded to the uptick in SUV sales by providing buyers with more sport utility options than ever before. Whether drivers are looking to take their first foray into the SUV market or upgrade a vehicle that's ready for retirement, there is a wide range of options for buyers. Full-size SUVs are available at every price range.

2015 Ford Expedition

Available from $39,430, the 2015 Ford Expedition has kept its power, space, and durability from previous years, but added a few important new modernizations to improve its performance, efficiency, and comfort.

The biggest change that Expedition aficionados will notice first is that the 2015 model features a new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine under the hood, providing a major upgrade to the SUV's acceleration and hauling capacity. The newest version features 420 lb.-ft. of torque, up from the previous year's 365 and a towing capacity of 9,200 pounds. Those interested in a smooth ride can take comfort in the independent rear suspension system that keeps the vehicle stable at high speeds or while traveling over rough terrain. Fuel efficiency comes in at 16 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway.

The 4-door, 5-seat full-size Sport Utility boasts a huge amount of interior space—a total of 108.3 cubic feet for cargo and comfortable seating for 8. Technology features include first row LCD monitors, Sirius XM radio, an MP3 player and Bluetooth connectivity.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $46,300 and features the ultimate combination of form and function. While the Tahoe has been around for a while, buyers researching the newest model will find an exciting array of upgrades that turn the tried and true American standard into a high-tech modern marvel.

Upgrades for the 2015 model include 4G LTE connectivity from OnStar, wireless charging, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment technology with 8-inch color touchscreen, and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment center with Blu-ray DVD player.

Putting the interior gadgetry aside, the Chevrolet Tahoe offers a powerful V8 engine that delivers 355 hp, 383 lb.-ft. of torque and a max tow rating of 8,600 lbs with a fuel efficiency rate of 16 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway. The durability and performance recently made it a pick for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) fleet. This year's model also features a third-row seat that folds flat and that never needs to be removed.

The Tahoe is also equipped with an impressive list of safety features including a "Safety Alert" driver's seat, side blind-zone alert, lane-change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, crash-imminent braking and a front-seat center airbag.

2015 Land Rover Range Rover

For buyers who want to ride through rugged terrain without roughing it, the 2015 Range Rover SUV from Land Rover offers the perfect balance of functionality and extravagance. The four door, four wheel drive vehicle has an MSRP of $84,420, but those who balk at the sticker price should consider what they're getting in exchange.

When it comes to power and handling, the Range Rover excels at both. Buyers can choose a 3.0-liter V-6 or a 5.0-liter V-8 super charged engine. The SUV scores exceptional marks for precise handling and steering, making it an ideal option for both off-road usage and day-to-day commuting. Optional third-row seating is available for those who are bringing extra guests along for the ride.

Standard features include an eight speed automatic transmission, rear cargo power lift gate, heated door mirrors, dual exhaust, an auto tilt-away steering wheel, an integrated navigation system and memory seats, to save passengers' favorite positions for ultimate comfort. There's plenty to keep passengers entertained on wherever they've chosen to journey, with a standard DVD-Audio system, MP3 decoder, CD player, and even a good old AM/FM radio.

Picture by Robert Couse-Baker, used under CC license.

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