2021 MotorTrend SUV of the Year: Here Are the Finalists!

2021 MotorTrend SUV of the Year: Here Are the Finalists!

As automakers move away from sedans as family transportation, it looks like more categories and niches are being created for the now ubiquitous SUV. Through these multiple sizes, shapes and prices, we tested the latest models in 2021 MotorTrend SUV of the Year Contest – painstakingly evaluating nearly 30 vehicles in all, with a group ranging from rugged trail climbers and soft trucks crawling through malls to the fastest zero rides in Montessori in the carpool lane. Below you will find our top six finalists for 2021 MotorTrend SUV of the Year as well as all other nominees for the award. Don’t forget to come back on Monday, October 19, when we unveil the SUV of the year 2021!

2021 MotorTrend SUV of the year finalists

• Cadillac Escalade | The boss is back
• Genesis GV80 | Seriously impressive
• Land Rover Defender | Awesome everywhere
• Kia Seltos | Mini Telluride
• Nissan Rogue | Much better
• Toyota Venza | Lexus Lite

2021 MotorTrend SUV of the Year Candidates

• Audi A6 Allroad | A wagon at an SUV party
• Audi SQ7 | Family fun of 500 horses
• BMW X6 | The best to date
• Buick Encore GX | Not a good Buick
• Chevy Trailblazer | Can he win Traxion?
• Chevy Tahoe / Suburban | Major redesigns
• GMC Yukon | Middle child
• Hyundai Venue | Where he excels and fails
• Mazda CX-30 | Stuck in No Man’s Land
• Mercedes E450 all-terrain | Really an SUV?
• Mercedes-Benz GLA | It’s improved, but …
• Mercedes-Benz GLB | Just whatever
• Mercedes GLC Class | Ex-champion updated
• Tesla Model Y | An everyday EV SUV
• Toyota Highlander | Divide the vote
• VW Atlas Cross Sport | Polish wanted


SUV of the year: our criteria

To crown our SUV of the year 2021, MotorTrendThe test team and editors put each SUV in the field through a rigorous 10-day evaluation process, both instrumented and subjective testing. This is not a comparison test; each vehicle is judged on its own merits based on our six key criteria:

Design progress: We consider interior and exterior styling, as well as the careful selection and use of materials. We won’t hesitate to tell someone their baby is ugly.

Engineering excellence: We look at both the concept and execution of the vehicle as a whole and the use of technologies that benefit the consumer. It can range from new technology powertrains to new suspension and transmission technologies. Inside, we judge the vehicle’s ability to cope with people and goods, as well as the success or failure of infotainment systems.

Efficiency: How does the vehicle’s fuel consumption compare to that of the competition? Overall operating costs, weight and recyclability are also part of the discussion. And yes, we are considering the mpg-e and well-to-wheel equations for electric vehicles.

security: We look at the safety measures that protect occupants from damage in a collision, and we test a vehicle’s ability to help a driver avoid a collision in the first place.

Value: To what extent does each vehicle offer excellence in relation to its price? Where applicable, our subsidiary IntelliChoice takes into account the expected retained value of the vehicle after five years of ownership.

Performance of the intended function: Essentially, it’s how well the vehicle does the job intended by its designers, engineers and product planners. If you are building a luxury car, it is better to drive it like one. An off-road SUV must overcome all obstacles. And a hot sports car can’t be sloppy around the corners. If there is a case where a tie needs to be broken, it all comes back to this.

And unlike other automotive publications with long “best” lists, only MotorTrend has the test discipline – and let’s face it, the courage – to reward a vehicle that we consider to be the best in its class. So read on to see who brings it in and who leaves it.

MotorTrend SUV of the Year after 2021: here are the finalists! first appeared on MotorTrend.

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