Hot SUVs for 2011

As the focus for most SUVs and crossovers strays from capabilities and ruggedness, this year we've seen automakers put effort into improving interior quality. The 2011 Ford Edge, 2011 Kia Sorento and 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee all make leaps in this regard compared with their predecessors with finer materials plus better fit and finish. 

Hot SUVs for 2011
All cars are listed in alphabetical order and are from the 2011 model year.
$27,220 - $38,070

Ford's revamped five-seater Edge gets much-needed attention on the inside, where nicer dashboard materials and high-tech gadgetry (MyFord Touch) make the interior the most notable improvement.

  • New turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Two available V-6s, one making 305 hp
  • Available MyFord Touch technology
  • FWD or AWD
  • Improved interior quality

 

$28,190 - $39,190

The all-new Explorer ditches its truck-based origins for a car-based chassis shared with the likes of the Ford Taurus. It loses maximum towing capacity, but benefits from a bump in gas mileage, standard room for seven occupants and tech options like the dual-LCD-screen MyFord Touch.

  • New car-based platform

  • Available turbocharged four-cylinder

  • Available Terrain Management System

  • Three rows of seating standard'

  • Improved cabin quality

 

$56,700 - $59,800

The QX56's all-new exterior is questionably ugly in pictures, but the beluga-nosed SUV takes on a different look in person. Infiniti's largest SUV has a luxurious interior with plush dashboard materials, plus great usability with easy-to-use second row folding seats.

  • Standard 5.6-liter V-8 with direct-injection
  • Available four-wheel drive
  • Seats up to eight
  • 8,500-pound towing capacity
  • Available 360-degree camera view

 

 

$19,995 - $33,895


A leap ahead of the previous generation, the new Sorento competes with its large size and list of standard features, including numerous safety items as well as USB/iPod connectivity.

  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Car-based construction
  • FWD or AWD
  • Available panoramic moonroof
  • Six-speed manual or automatic

 

$18,295 - $24,795

Another new Kia is the smaller Sportage, redesigned to the point that you probably wouldn't be able to guess it's a successor to the previous Sportage.

  • Newly available turbo four-cylinder
  • Six-speed manual or automatic
  • Available UVO connectivity system
  • FWD or AWD
  • Standard USB port and Bluetooth

 

$39,145 - $40,995

The new MKX ditches its previous cheese-grater grille for styling more akin to the three-row MKT and full-size MKS sedan. The interior is also notable  because many of the formerly bulky buttons have been replaced with sleek touch-sensitive buttons.

  • New 305-hp V-6
  • Touch-sensitive dashboard controls
  • Seats five
  • FWD or AWD
  • Improved interior quality, luxury

 

$50,240 - $51,740


The R-Class' most notable change for 2011 is up front,  where  the minivan-looking front styling is ditched in favor of a more sedanlike front. Like the previous R-Class, there are roomy first- and second-row seats.

  • Overhauled front-end styling
  • New interior materials
  • Seats six or seven
  • Gas or diesel engines
  • Standard all-wheel drive

 

TBA

The Countryman is Mini's long-awaited SUV, featuring the first use of all-wheel drive on a Mini, plus traditional four doors. (Its sibling, the Clubman, uses three doors, one of which is reversed hinged.)

  • Four conventional doors
  • Manual or automatic
  • Available turbo four-cylinder (S)
  • FWD or AWD
  • Easier backseat access than regular Cooper

 

TBA

The Countryman is Mini's long-awaited SUV, featuring the first use of all-wheel drive on a Mini. Countryman S models feature a turbocharged engine that's more powerful than the turbo engines in the Cooper S and Clubman S.

  • Four conventional doors
  • Manual or automatic
  • Available turbo four-cylinder (S)
  • FWD or AWD
  • Easier backseat access than regular Cooper

 

$18,495 - $22,995

The Outlander Sport shouldn't be confused as a sport trim level of the Outlander crossover. The Outlander Sport is its own model, measuring 14 inches shorter than the Outlander and competing with a growing segment of ultrasmall SUVs.

  • 148-hp four-cylinder
  • Manual transmission or CVT
  • Seven airbags
  • FWD or AWD
  • Compact, athletic stance

 

$18,960 - $24,550

The Juke is Nissan's smallest SUV, aimed directly at the sporting crowd. Its turbocharged engine makes 180 horsepower, and a six-speed manual transmission is available in front-wheel-drive models. On the inside, its center console looks like a motorcycle's gas tank.

  • New for 2011
  • Turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Available six-speed manual transmission
  • Standard iPod connectivity
  • FWD or AWD

 

$46,700 - $104,800


This is the Cayenne's first redesign since its original debut in 2003, and it's a significant one. On top of new looks, there's more room, it's quicker, and it's rated with better gas mileage than the previous generation.

  • Sleeker styling
  • More power
  • Improved mileage
  • Optional blind spot warning system
  • Hybrid version

 

$67,700

This is the Cayenne's first redesign since its original debut in 2003, and it's a significant one. A new hybrid Cayenne S can run on only electric power at speeds up to 40 mph.

  • Sleeker styling
  • More power
  • Improved mileage
  • Optional blind spot warning system

 

TBA

The Touareg gains styling similar to the rest of the Volkswagen lineup, like what you'll see on the new Jetta and Golf. The Touareg doesn't intend to lose its off-road chops with the redesign and will offer two four-wheel-drive systems, one with more off-road capabilities such as locking differentials.

  • Larger but lighter than before
  • Available gasoline, diesel or gas-electric hybrid V-6s
  • Standard AWD
  • 7,700-pound towing capacity
  • Larger backseat

 

© Cars.com 10/4/2010