Vehicle Name Sorted Alphabetically Kelley Blue Book Sorted by Pricing
2004 GMC Envoy XUV

Joe Wiesenfelder says:Most useful ‘transformer’ vehicle: A growing number of vehicles combine SUV and pickup-truck traits. Though it’s not cheap, the Envoy XUV concept has the most mass-market appeal. Why? Because it’s a regular SUV in shape and application with a water-resistant cargo area that can be hosed out. The retractable roof panel over this area is, in my opinion, secondary.”

Jim Flammang says: “A little classier than its hard-working Chevrolet TrailBlazer cousin, the Envoy performs confidently and quietly with its inline-six-cylinder engine. Passing power, ride comfort and handling prowess make these two strong contenders against the top-selling Ford Explorer and its Mercury Mountaineer mate. Buyers can choose steel springs or an air suspension, and this year’s lineup includes the new Envoy XUV, which features a retracting rear roof.”
$7,700 – $9,525

2004 Honda Pilot

Joe Wiesenfelder says:Best people-hauling SUV: Look, I know what you people are doing. You’re buying big, heavy trucks and you’re not going off-road. Few of you are towing anything. The Pilot accommodates eight in comfort that rivals or bests that of full-size SUVs while burning less gas. Throw in Honda’s storied reliability and emissions performance and a quadruple-five-star crash-test rating, and you have the best people-hauling SUV — maybe the best midsize SUV overall.”

Jim Flammang says: “Honda’s refined midsize SUV is solid and hard to beat in any quarter. The Pilot delivers more carlike traits than expected. Performance is strong and confident but short of stunning. Automatic-transmission responses are quick, easy and seamless. You get a smooth ride on good roads and satisfying reactions through rough sections, but this SUV isn’t quite as surefooted as some of its competitors on narrow, twisting pavement.”
$6,450 – $9,350

2004 Infiniti FX45

Joe Wiesenfelder says:Affordable sport alternative: How much would you pay to look better and go faster than a Porsche? How about more than $11,000 less than the Porsche Cayenne S? Rear-biased all-wheel drive, a 315-horsepower V-8 engine and a superfirm suspension make the FX45 go like a shot and corner flatter than flat. Infiniti wasted no weight or cost making this audacious beast an off-roader. Its 20-inch wheels are meant for pavement and do a great job of sticking you there. BMW X5 drivers, beware.”

Jim Flammang says: “Lushly shaped body lines are matched by sterling performance in both of Infiniti’s midsize SUVs, which manage to handle almost like sports cars. In addition to a tenacious grip on the pavement, the FX models produce a satisfying ride. Acceleration with the V-6 engine in the FX35 is so eager, and the V-8 in the FX45 isn’t mandatory. They’re expensive, but unless you’re looking for a heavy-duty off-roader, the FX is hard to resist.”
$12,900 – $12,900

2004 Subaru Forester

Joe Wiesenfelder says:Best overall compact SUV: Balance helps this wagonlike model capture the overall crown. Stellar performance in front and side crash tests puts it above the Honda CR-V, and reliability and refinement outshine the Ford Escape. A turbocharged engine puts the new 2.5 XT trim level above pretty much everything else in terms of driving enjoyment — but forget the optional automatic transmission and upgrade the tires.”

Jim Flammang says: “Subarus aren’t the cheapest compacts or the most capable for offroad adventures. But when you consider its standard all-wheel drive and friendly personality, the Forester scores high in value and driving ease. Performance with the 2.5-liter engine is satisfying, and this year a 2.5 XT turbocharged model is also available.”
$6,375 – $9,150

2004 Volvo XC90

Joe Wiesenfelder says:Best safety equipment: It’s difficult to quantify the real-world safety of one model with good crash-test scores compared to another with good crash-test scores. But when it comes to the effort — the emphasis on safe engineering and safety features — the XC90 is unmatched. It was the first vehicle with side curtain-type airbags for all three rows of seats, and it’s the only vehicle with a rollover-avoidance system. Where most vehicles have front seat belt pretensioners, the XC90 has them for each seat. No matter your criterion, it’s a safe bet.”

Jim Flammang says: “Overall excellence gives Sweden’s sole SUV high midsize marks. Loaded with safety features, the capable XC90 is solid, refined and civilized. Handling more like a taut European sedan or wagon than the usual SUV, it reacts masterfully on twisting roads and, in base form, yields a smooth ride. Even though the base engine performs with reasonable energy, enthusiasts have the option of the T6 model, which delivers noticeably stronger responses.”
$8,100 – $8,425