SUVs are like multi-sport athletes. They have the utility and capability of small pickups, the nimble handling of sedans, and the cargo space of minivans. They can handle almost anything life throws at them. Whether it be a massive Costco run, a big snowfall, or a mud-tracking dog, SUVs can take it. Plus, with every manufacturer rushing to get in the SUV game, we’re seeing more innovation, better pricing, and more variety. Here, we have part two of our list of the best midsize SUVs of 2018. Go through the list, find your favourites, then contact your local Go Auto dealer to book your test drive.
To read part one of our list the best midsize SUVs of 2018, click here.
#1 2018 Toyota RAV4
Go Auto Price: $31,295 – $39,910
First on our list of 2018’s best midsize SUVs, we have the 2018 RAV4. Toyota gave the RAV4 an enormous interior with plenty of cargo space and standard safety tech. As well, the RAV4 is surprisingly powerful, and is widely regarded as one of the safest vehicles in its class. With all that going for it, it’s no surprise the RAV4 has been one of Toyota’s best-selling vehicles for years.
Oh, and it comes as hybrid version too. So, if fuel economy is important to you (which it should be), this SUV is worth a look.
What’s New in 2018?
There’s a long list of new features added to this year’s RAV4. In addition to 18-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, and much more, there are several new driver assists available. These include things like:
- Automated emergency braking
- Adaptive cruise control
- Automatic high-beam headlamps
- Lane-keeping assist
Furthermore, Toyota has also made the entry-level LE trim available as a hybrid.
Performance & Fuel Economy
The 2018 RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine that’s paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It produces a respectable 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. It may not be the fastest engine out there, but who cares? It’s not like you’re going to be drag-racing anyone on the way to your kid’s soccer practice.
In terms of fuel-efficiency, the non-hybrid version achieves 10.0 L/100km in the city, and 7.8 L/100km on the highway. For unbeatable gas mileage, though, opt for the hybrid version. It manages 6.9 L/100km in the city, 7.8 L/100km on the highway, and 7.3 L/100km combined.
What’s more, the RAV4 can serve as a towing machine for moderate loads when equipped with the right equipment. The non-hybrid version has a max towing capacity of 680kg, while the hybrid version can tow up to 795kg.
The 2018 RAV4 got top marks from the U.S.’s two safety agencies. It received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, and was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. But what really sets this SUV apart as the safest is its long list of standard active safety features. Indeed, Toyota’s Safety Sense tech has been made standard across the whole lineup, and it includes:
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
- Automatic high beams
- Dynamic radar cruise control
- Lane departure alert with steering assist
This state-of-the-art equipment will save you from potentially fatal moments of inattention. As well, because they’re found on the base trim, they won’t cost you extra.
The 2018 RAV4 is exceedingly spacious. It can sit five comfortably, but only if the one sitting in the back-middle seat isn’t a pro basketball player. And while it lacks some of the fine-touches of its rivals, like optional leather upholstery, its materials are long-lasting.
Another thing the RAV4 does well is cargo space. Behind the split-folding rear seats, you can easily fit a few hockey bags with room to spare for goalie pads. The only SUV of its class to beat it in this category is the 2018 Honda HR-V.
Extra features you can look forward to include dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, front and rear parking assist, and more.
However, the very best feature is the Bird’s Eye View monitor, available only to very top AWD Limited trim. The Bird’s Eye View system gives you a panoramic view of your vehicle by combining the images of cameras and sensors placed at every end of the RAV4. It displays a simulated image of the RAV4 and its surroundings on the display screen, boosting visibility in tough situations. So, for example, if you’re backing out of tight parking space, you can view your surroundings without craning your neck. It doesn’t replace the need for shoulder checks, but it’s still a handy tool to have.
Reasons to Buy
- Large interior built with durable materials
- Standard Toyota Safety Sense technology
- Ample cargo space
- Fuel-efficient hybrid option
#2 2018 Kia Sorento
Go Auto Price: $26,900 – $50,734
Next on our list of the best midsize SUVs of 2018, we have the highly acclaimed 2018 Kia Sorento. If you get the 2018 Sorento, it will be your forever car, and by that we mean a few things. First, Kia offers owners an excellent warranty. In addition to a 5-year/100,000km powertrain warranty, there’s 5 years of roadside assistance guaranteed (for more information, click here).
Second, the 2018 Sorento offers more space and more utility than most of its rivals. That means it’s better equipped to handle life’s unexpected surprises. Lastly, since it leaves little to be desired in terms of luxury, you won’t be tempted to upgrade your ride later. The Sorento offers buyers a luxury experience that won’t break the bank. Trust us, once you sit inside one, you’ll be in no rush to get out.
What’s New in 2018?
Last year’s Sorento was a knock-out hit, so there was little to be done to improve the 2018 version. Instead of a dramatic overhaul, Kia opted to make some slight adjustments to the availability of standard and optional features. Now, you can get more cool stuff for a lot less.
For instance, the base trim now comes standard with a backup camera, automatic headlamps, and steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. On the mid-level EX trim, you get a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. On top of that, the EX trim gets leather seats. That’s something you’d normally have to spring to top trims for with competing brands.
Performance & Fuel Economy
The 2018 Sorento may not be as nimble as the Mazda CX-5, but it’s still a pleasure to drive. Easy road manners and responsive steering make the Sorento perfect for maneuvering bustling city streets. At the same time, its powerful engine and speedy acceleration gives you all the passing power you’ll need for confident highway driving. In sum, the Sorento is a compelling car to drive, and it can go toe to toe with the best.
The three engines available are the following:
- 2.4-litre GDI 4-cylinder (185 horsepower; 178 lb-ft of torque)
- 2.0-litre Turbo-GDI 4-cylinder (240 horsepower; 260 lb-ft of torque)
- 3.3-litre GDI V6 (290 horsepower; 252 lb-ft of torque)
With the 3.3-litre V6 engine, the 2018 Sorento can tow up to 2270 kg (5,000 lbs). With that power, you can easily tug a small camper, a trailer carrying jet skis, or a small boat.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Kia Sorento can, at its best, attain 11.6 L/100km in the city, and 8.3 L/100km on the highway.
Safety is a non-issue for the 2018 Sorento. The IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick+, and it received a full five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA in 2017. Easy to reach LATCH mounting points and large rear doors make installing a child’s safety seat a snap. As well, installing a safety seat doesn’t encroach on front seat legroom either. All this to say, the Sorento is about as family friendly as it gets.
There are plenty of high-tech driver assist features to brag about too, such as:
- Blind spot detection system
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Electronic stability control
- Vehicle stability mangement
- Hill assist control
… and that’s just for starters.
Giving the luxury SUVs a run for their money, the 2018 Sorento offers a sophisticated interior at a discounted price. With it, you don’t have to make the leap to the top trim for quality materials and desirable features. Heated seats, for example, can be found on the base trim. Moreover, the Sorento outdoes its competitors when it comes to legroom and head-space. Even the third-row seats can even feel comfortable as long as you don’t stand much higher than six-feet tall.
All the best entertainment and convenient options are widely available to lower trims. The base trim is available with a 7-inch entertainment display compatible with Apply CarPlay and Android Audio, and much more. However, the top SX trim is where the real action is. In addition to an 8-inch entertainment display with navigation, you get premium leather seats, a premium audio system, and more. For the best value, though, opt for the middling EX trim. It has most of the best features standard, and it can get the rest by adding the Plus Package.
Finally, it isn’t just the cool tech and nice materials that account for the Sorento’s refinement, although those obviously help. Rather, the Sorento’s sense of refinement comes from the feeling of control and connectedness you get when driving it. That’s something typically unique to luxury cars.
First off, each Sorento comes standard with a Drive Mode Select function. This system will adjust power delivery, transmission shift points, and steering feedback to suit road conditions and your driving style. The three modes are Normal, Eco, and Sport. Normal is for, well, normal driving. Eco mode will help conserve fuel, which in turn conserves your bank account. Lastly, Sport mode is for a performance-oriented drive, great for cruising down winding roads.
In addition, the 2018 Sorento is available with Dynamax Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. It continuously monitors road and driving conditions, and transfers torque at the right place and time for better traction. This system will have your back on snow-days.
Beyond all that, drivers can look forward to the Sorento’s smart key and power liftgate. It’ll make your daily chores a breeze. Keep your smart key on your person, and you can open your trunk at the touch of a button.
Reasons to Buy
- Sophisticated, yet reasonably priced
- Optional third-row seating
- Extended warranty coverage
- Comfortable, high-class interior
- Poised and controlled on the road
#3 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe (Sport)
Go Auto Price: $25,988 – $47,604
Third on our list of 2018’s best midsize SUVs, we have the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It’s a budget-friendly utility vehicle that stands out for class-leading safety ratings, cargo space, and attractive styling. The “sport” designation in its name serves mainly to distinguish it from Hyundai’s larger XL version of the Santa Fe. But that doesn’t mean the Sport model isn’t fun to drive. Whether you’re headed to the lake, or commuting to work, the 2018 Santa Fe will get you there in style.
What’s New in 2018?
Last year, the Santa Fe received big updates to its exterior styling, infotainment options, and safety tech. This year, Hyundai made some adjustments to what it was offering on each trim. Now, you can get some of the best features, like LED daytime running lights, on the base trim.
Performance & Fuel Economy
Living up to its “sport” moniker, the 2018 Santa Fe provides a smooth ride and athletic handling. In fact, if you were riding in one with your eyes closed, you’d think you were in a zippy hatchback instead of a big SUV. Under the hood, drivers can choose between two potent engines. The 2.4-litre GDI engine is the Santa Fe Sport’s base engine, and it produces 185 horsepower. In terms of fuel economy, this engine gets 11.2 L/100km in the city, and 8.2 L/100km on the highway.
For more oomph, go for the top trim’s 2.0-litre turbocharged GDI engine. Built with a twin-scroll turbo, this engine packs a hefty punch of 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. With it, the Santa Fe has a max towing capacity of 1,588 kg (3,500 lbs). With that kind of tugging power, the Santa Fe can easily tow a pop-up trailer or a small boat.
Finally, all Santa Fe models are available with all-wheel drive. That’s the tool you need to handle Edmonton’s ridiculously long winters. Also, Hyundai’s all-wheel drive system features Active Cornering Control. This improves cornering performance and safety by directing torque to the wheels that have the most grip. No matter the road conditions, whether snowy or rainy, this system will give you full command over your vehicle.
If ever you feel the urge to drive into a brick wall and can’t be talked out of it, at least make sure you’re driving a 2018 Santa Fe when you do it. It passed its crash tests with flying colours. It received the highest NHTSA rating of five stars, and was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. In short, it’s as safe an SUV as any available on today’s market.
In addition to best-in-class crash test scores, the 2018 Santa Fe has several active safety and driver assist features. These will act as an extra safeguard against the consequences of distracted driving and other hazards. Standard and available advanced safety features include:
- Blind spot detection with lane change assist
- Multi-view camera system
- Lane departure warning system
- Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Rear parking assistance sensors
- Rear cross-traffic alert
… the list goes on.
Inside, you’ll find an easy-to-use infotainment system, quality materials, and lots of useable space. On top trims, you’ll find several deluxe touches, like a panoramic sunroof, and an automatic-memory system to save seating and mirror positions. However, you don’t need to venture to the most expensive trim to get a sense of luxury.
Cargo storage is perhaps the Santa Fe’s strongest point. With the 60/40 split rear seats folded down, you’ll have more than enough space to store all your weekend gear. As well, a hidden storage space under the cargo space’s floor lets you store things safely and out of sight.
The standard entertainment setup is a 6-speaker audio system, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Bluetooth compatibility is also included. For a standard setup, that’s quite impressive, but upper level trims are even better equipped. Those trims get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Beyond that, drivers of top trims will be able to enjoy such standard and available features as:
- Leather wrapped heated steering wheel
- Heated and ventilated seats
- Dual-zone climate control
- Infinity audio system and 12 speakers
Lastly, the Santa Fe’s rear seat has a sliding function that permits it to be moved closer to the front seats. So, if you have a child in a safety-seat that you’d like to sit nearer to, you can with the Santa Fe. This makes the Santa Fe Sport a perfect choice for new families with young children.
The 2018 Santa Fe is filled with tons of exciting features. First off, it comes with a Drive Mode Select system. This allows drivers to choose from three driving modes (Eco, Normal, or Sport) to fit their preferred driving style. It’s a feature all about personalization, adjusting throttle response and steering effort to match the way you drive.
Secondly, thanks to a smart power liftgate, you can open the trunk with your hands full. All you need to do is have your smart key on your person. Then, stand within three feet behind the vehicle for more than three seconds, and the trunk will pop open. What’s more, the hatch is height-adjustable. That allows users to set the tailgate to lift to various heights and avoid contact with low overhangs.
Also worth mentioning is the Santa Fe’s HID headlights that work alongside an adaptive cornering and high beam assist system. It works to illuminate your path by turning the headlights in the direction in which you’re steering. With it, you’ll see more of what’s ahead on the road.
Reasons to Buy
- Top-notch safety scores
- Well-appointed, spacious interior with plenty of storage capacity
- Excellent value for your dollar
- Plenty of advanced standard features
For an in-depth look at the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, read our review by clicking here.
#4 2018 Jeep Cherokee
Go Auto Price: $27,888 – $50,287
The next pick on our list of the best midsize SUVs of 2018 is the 2018 Jeep Cherokee. This one distinguishes itself from its rivals with its exceptional off-roading skills. It’s what you expect from a Jeep, but it warrants praise nonetheless. The Cherokee isn’t just a trail-oriented vehicle, either. In fact, it’s just as pleasant to drive on paved city streets.
If you’re searching for something to commute with that can also handle the trails, you can end your search here. The Cherokee will go from muddy back roads to city streets without skipping a beat.
What’s New in 2018?
There were no exaggerated changes to the 2018 Jeep Cherokee, except for a few revisions to the availability of features. Now, like the Santa Fe, you can get more for less. More of the options people want, like 17-inch wheels, roof rails, and HID headlights are now standard to all but the base trim.
Performance & Fuel Economy
On the road, the 2018 Cherokee feels sturdy, controlled, and powerful. It sits higher and is heavier than other options, but it rides on car-based chassis. So, instead of feeling big and slow, it feels zippy, like a sedan. Plus, the Cherokee can go far off the beaten path, thanks to excellent off-road capabilities.
There are two engines available, and both are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine is a 2.4-litre inline-four that produces 184 horsepower. It also has a solid towing capacity of 907 kg (2,000 lbs). That’s more than enough to tow a tent trailer or an average sized speedboat.
The 3.2-litre V6 is our favourite engine option. It’s considerably stronger than the standard engine, packing a punch with 271 horsepower. When equipped with this engine and the right towing package, the 2018 Cherokee can tow up to 2,041 kg (4,500 lbs). That’s the best towing capacity in its class.
Additionally, the 3.2-litre V6 features Stop/Start technology that helps improve fuel consumption and emissions. The way it does this is by shutting down the engine when you come to a stop. It doesn’t affect the driving experience, which is a good thing – all the best versions of this technology are undetectable.
In terms of fuel economy, the 2018 Cherokee manages 11.0 L/100km in the city, and 7.8 L/100km on the highway. That’s when it’s powered by the 2.4-litre inline-four engine.
Finally, the 2018 Cherokee excels when it comes to off-roading. With the Trail Rated Trailhawk model, there are few places you can’t go. Along with the choice of three advanced 4×4 systems, and heavy-duty engine cooling, the Trailhawk has all the best off-roading equipment:
- 17-inch off-road aluminum wheels
- All-terrain tires
- Skid plates to protect the undercarriage
- Heavy-duty engine cooling
… and much more.
The 2018 Cherokee offers the full range of active safety and driver assists you’ll find in its competitors. They include such systems as adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts your cruising speed to maintain a pre-set distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. As well, with the available Stop-and-Go tech, the Cherokee can bring itself to a full stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Additional available active safety equipment includes:
- Forward collision warning with active braking
- Parking assistance
- Lane departure warning with lane keep assist
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection
The 2018 Cherokee didn’t perform as well in its crash tests as other SUVs on this list did. The NHTSA only gave it a four-star overall safety rating out of a possible five stars. That notwithstanding, installing a child safety seat in the Cherokee is still very easy to do.
Inside, you’ll find a premium infotainment system with intuitive controls, comfortably cut seats, and long-lasting materials. There’s legroom for miles in both the front and back seats – enough for five to sit without fighting for space. The back seat even has a sliding function. You can slide it back for added leg space, or you can move them forward for added trunk space. It’s a nifty trick, especially if you have a child in a safety seat you’d like to sit closer to.
Starting on the Limited trim, the Cherokee comes with an 8.4-inch touchscreen system, which is the largest in its class. A step above that, the top Overland trim gets the same screen, along with a Uconnect 3C multimedia system with built-in navigation, and an Alpine Premium Sound System. There’s an additional available 7-inch Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC) screen located in the centre of the instrument cluster. It’s customizable, and displays important information, like fuel economy, tire PSI, and road conditions.
Drivers can choose to equip their 2018 Cherokee with one of three advanced 4×4 systems: Active Drive I, Active Drive II, or Active Drive Lock. The first provides all-weather capability, and includes a rear-axle disconnect that only engages the 4×4 system when it’s required. Active Drive II adds more capability and includes a neutral mode for flat towing behind an RV. And lastly, Active Drive Lock adds a locking rear differential for low-speed power in extreme conditions. The last is the ultimate off-roading 4×4 system.
Finally, helping move the Cherokee over varied landscapes is Jeep’s Selec-Terrain Management system. It configures the 4×4 for optimal traction according to road or trail conditions. It works by the turn of a dial, and has five different modes: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand, Mud, and Rock.
Reasons to Buy
- Best-in-class off-roading capabilities
- High-end interior with a premium entertainment system
- Bold Jeep styling
- Smooth ride with solid handling
#5 2018 Jeep Wrangler
Go Auto Price: $28,240 – $65,160
Last on our list of the best midsize SUVs of 2018 is one everybody knows and loves: the Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler is the face of the Jeep brand, so Jeep engineers were careful not to screw it up. And to their credit, they did an excellent job. This year’s Wrangler is better in every way. It has a nicer interior, an updated exterior, and most importantly, improved off-road capabilities.
But don’t get it twisted – the Wrangler isn’t just an off-roading vehicle. Sure, it can crawl confidently through any terrain, but it’s just as pleasant to drive on paved city streets. So, whether you need something to take on the trails, or something to get you to work in the morning, the 2018 Wrangler is a smart way to get there.
What’s New in 2018?
This year, the 2018 Wrangler has a new turbocharged engine, a redesigned interior, and tons of advanced new tech.
Most notably, this year’s Jeep gets the latest and greatest infotainment system. It’s a 7-inch touchscreen display with Uconnect 4 that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With it, you can easily operate hands-free communication, music, and navigation.
Performance & Fuel Economy
Capable off-road and smooth on-road, the 2018 Wrangler is one of the best performing SUVs on today’s market. Regardless of which of the six trims you opt for, you’re guaranteed a lively, fun drive. Moreover, if off-roading prowess is what you’re looking for, then you came to the right place. The all-new Wrangler Rubicon is Canada’s most proven off-road SUV. With it, you’ll be fording through rivers, crawling over rocks, and powering through mud-heavy trails.
Under the hood, there are two engine options to choose from. The first is the base 3.6-litre V6, and the second is the new turbocharged 2.0-litre incline-four engine. The base engine has a 285 max horsepower, and has 260 lb-ft of torque. The new turbocharged engine has 270 horsepower, and an impressive 295 lb-ft of torque. There’s a diesel engine option on the way for next year, too.
In terms of fuel economy, the Wrangler, at its best, achieves 10.5 L/100km in the city, and 9.4 L/100km on the highway. That’s attained with the 3.6-litre engine and available eight-speed automatic transmission. As well, the Wrangler has a robust towing capacity, capable of pulling up to 1,587 kg (3,500 lbs). With that kind of power, towing a trailer holding your ATVs or a small boat will be a non-issue.
Finally, you can’t talk about a Wrangler without mentioning its off-roading equipment. While all Wrangler models can venture off the beaten path, the Rubicon is the one whose most at home off-road. It has a standard Rock-Trac 4×4 system, and rides on heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles. As well, it has bigger and better tires for more grip, and taller fenders for better ground-clearance.
In sum, whether you’re conquering the concrete jungle, or adventuring through extreme terrain, the Wrangler is up to the challenge.
We can’t judge the 2018 Wrangler on its crash test performance, as it hasn’t been tested by federal safety agencies. However, this year’s model has a several new active safety and driver assist features to brag about. Among these advanced safety features, you’ll find:
- Blind-spot monitoring system (BSM)
- Rear cross-path detection system
- ParkView rear back-up camera
- Park-Sense rear park assist system
When compared to competitors, the Wrangler isn’t as thoroughly equipped in advanced safety equipment. The stuff it does have, however, are extremely helpful in several driving situations. For instance, both the BSM and rear cross-path detection systems use sensors to detect objects close to you. So, if there’s a car in your blind spot, or if there’s a person approaching from the side when you’re backing up, the Wrangler will let you know about it.
When you get inside the 2018 Wrangler, you’ll be shocked by how refined it is. It has a clean design, and is available with fine leather trimming and tons of sought-after entertainment tech. So, even as you adventure through rugged and dirty terrain, you can stay comfortable and relaxed sitting inside the Wrangler.
When it comes to infotainment, you can get either a 5-, 7-, or 8.4-inch touchscreen display with pinch-to-zoom capability. This system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This allows you to do things like make calls and send messages with your voice using Siri. Additionally, there’s a new 7-inch driver information display on the dash. What this does is track and display important data like tire pressure, fuel economy, and road conditions.
The 2018 Wrangler is purpose-built – as it should be. From its weather-proof push-button start, to its clever cargo solutions, the Wrangler has what it takes to go anywhere, under any condition. It even has removeable floor mats and drain plugs in the floor. So, if you want to ride with the ride top-down in the rain, you can do without worrying about ruining your car.
Another thing improved on this year’s Wrangler is its iconic folding windshield. Now, thanks to a 4-bolt design at the top of the frame, it’s more aerodynamic and easier to fold down. With that new design, it only takes a few minutes to take the windshield off. And unlike last year’s model, folding down the windshield doesn’t remove the rearview mirror. It’ll stay in place when the windshield goes down.
What’s more, a new angled grill and vents were added to reduce air flutter under the hood and improve aerodynamics. Not only does this improve fuel economy, but it also reduces the noise levels inside the Wrangler.
Reasons to Buy
- Class-leading off-road capability
- Surprisingly refined interior
- Responsive steering
- Classic Jeep styling
Your Next Step
Now that you’ve browsed through the best midsize SUVs of 2018 and found the ones you like, it’s time to head to your nearest Go Auto dealer to test them out.
Go Auto offers many special perks, such as no extra fees charged, free loaner vehicles for when your car is in the shop, and industry-leading customer service. With that, and one of the largest vehicle inventories in Canada, there’s no better place to get your dream car.
If you want to check out part one of our list, click here!