While their numbers are shrinking from what they once were prior to the advent of car-like crossovers, there’s still a lot to be said about the appeal of a go-anywhere SUV that can handle family passenger and cargo capacity needs. Traditionally built on a truck chassis, today’s SUVs are, in many ways, as civilized and filled with amenities as most CUVs. The best-selling SUVs in 2010 prove that high ground clearance, impressive cargo, payload, and towing capacity still matter to American buyers.
Here is part one of a two-part series on the best-selling SUVs in 2010.
Jeep Wrangler – Topping the list of best-selling SUVs in 2010, the Jeep Wrangler, known as the quintessential off-road Jeep, accounted for 94,310 sales last year, compared with 82,044 in 2009. Powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 engine, the two-door, four-wheel drive (4WD) 2011 Jeep Wrangler achieves an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway. The Wrangler is available in four models: Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon. Starting prices range from $22,045 (Sport) to $29,245 (Rubicon). The four-seat Wrangler has 8.8 inches of ground clearance in Sport and Sport S package, 10.3 inches in Sahara, and 10.2 inches in Rubicon. Cargo capacity behind the second row is 61.2 cubic feet. Standard payload is 1,000 pounds, and Wrangler tows a maximum 2,000 pounds. For a bit more info, see 2011 Jeep Wrangler first look in The Car Connection.
2011 Jeep Grand CherokeeEnlarge Photo
Jeep Grand Cherokee – Redesigned for 2011, the five-seat, mid-size Jeep Grand Cherokee now bridges the gap between rugged four-wheeler and luxury SUV. Jeep beefed up Grand Cherokee’s off-road capabilities and crafted an interior to rival German luxury cars. Sales of 84,635 in 2010 were up 68 percent from 50,328 in 2009. Four models are available for 2011: Laredo 4x2, Laredo X Package 4x2, Laredo 4x4 and Laredo X 4x4. Base prices range from $30,215 to $36,215. Power comes from a 3.6-liter V-6 mated to five-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway on 4x2 models and 16/22 on 4x4s. Ground clearance is 8.6 inches. Cargo capacity behind the first row with rear seats folded is 68.3 cubic feet. Standard payload is 2,030 pounds (2WD) and 1,840 pounds (4WD). Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds on all but Laredo X 4x4, which tows up to 7,200 pounds. Want to know more? Check out The Car Connection review of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
2011 Chevrolet TahoeEnlarge Photo
Chevrolet Tahoe – Reviewers note that the Chevrolet Tahoe is a great-driving SUV that can carry up to eight people, tow up to 8,100 pounds (6,200 in Hybrid), and has 108.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Sales of 75,675 units in 2010 were up 3.3 percent from 73,254 in 2009. Available in 2WD and 4WD, in LS, LT, and LTZ models, as well as a Hybrid, starting prices for the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe ranges from $37,570 to $51,055 and from $50,795 for Tahoe Hybrid. Regular Tahoes get their power from the 320-horsepower Vortec 5.3-liter V-8 engine that’s gas/ethanol capable and achieves EPA-estimated 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway. The Tahoe Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient SUV in its class (along with it sibling, the GMC Yukon), achieves 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway fuel economy.
2010 Jeep LibertyEnlarge Photo
Jeep Liberty – Although the five-seat Jeep Liberty offers less cargo space than other compact SUVs, that apparently hasn’t stopped consumers from buying the rugged-looking off-road Liberty. Sales in 2010 were 49,564 versus 43,503 in 2009, an increase of 14 percent. Available in Sport and Jet Sport 4x2 and Sport and Jet Sport 4x4 models, Liberty is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 engine. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway (2WD models) and 15/21 mpg in 4x4s. Base prices range from $23,250 to $26,360. Notable Jeep Liberty stats: 7.8 inches ground clearance, 60.9 cubic feet cargo capacity behind the front seat (25.2 cubic feet behind the second row), 5,000-pound maximum towing capacity and standard payload capacity of 1,150 pounds. Also see Bengt Halvorson’s article in The Car Connection on the 2011 Jeep Liberty.