The class of mid-size, five-seat SUVs hasn’t been the hottest over the past decade as automakers have expanded the extremes of their SUV lineups — three-row models at the top and both compact and subcompact SUVs at the bottom. But the mid-size market is definitely heating up, as evidenced by the return of competitors such as the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer and 2019 Honda Passport and the redesign for 2019 of the five-seat Hyundai Santa Fe, formerly called the Santa Fe Sport (the three-row model continues without redesign as the 2019 Santa Fe XL). So we gathered these three along with old standbys including the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Murano for a week of testing. (Unfortunately, due to its redesign as a 2020, the Subaru Outback wasn’t available at the time of testing.)
We requested models that offered many features, which resulted in V-6 engines for four contestants and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinders for two others. All were top trim levels except the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X, which is now mid-level, and the Ford Edge Titanium that’s less expensive than the performance-oriented Edge ST. Every SUV included four- or all-wheel drive, and sticker prices ranged from $39,905 to $51,975.
We determined the winner by scoring 17 separate categories including front and backseat comfort and amenities, interior quality, cargo space and provisions, powertrain, child-safety seat fitment, safety and driver-assistance features, ride quality, handling, braking and value. Five models call for regular gasoline, and one, the Ford, can run on 87 octane regular but is rated for maximum power on 91 octane premium, which required us to consider fuel costs along with mpg, as detailed in our fuel economy results. In an attempt to account for the many ways drivers control their vehicles apart from the steering wheel and pedals, we created a category called vehicle user interface to account for everything from conventional buttons to touchscreens, separate from our accounting of multimedia and connectivity that addresses audio, smartphone mirroring like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and other considerations.
Each vehicle is evaluated as equipped and priced, and though these are relatively loaded representations, our results cannot represent their respective model lineups as a whole. You can read more about our testing methodology and categories in our How We Tested article.
How the mid-size SUVs finished:
1. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T AWD
2. 2019 Honda Passport Elite AWD
3. 2019 Ford Edge Titanium AWD
4. 2019 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD
5. 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD
6. 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4×4
Judges for this Challenge were:
- Kelsey Mays, Cars.com senior consumer affairs editor
- Fred Meier, Washington, D.C., bureau chief
- Brian Normile, production editor
As always with today’s vehicles, there isn’t one fully baked winner on top, one completely dreadful model on the bottom and a series of balanced gradients in between. A balance of different strengths and weaknesses determine how the contestants rank overall, so take a look below to find out where each model is strongest and weakest and decide what’s most important to you.
6 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4×4, 300 points (out of a possible 540 points)