The biggest SUVs on the market might no longer be the best sellers that they once were, due to the spiking costs of fuel as well as the proliferation of smooth-driving full-size crossovers, but they still have their place in the automotive pantheon. If you need to tow, go off-road, or transport a sizable amount of cargo then a large sport-utility vehicle is often the best choice. Add in the stunning road presence offered by these massive SUVs, and you have a compelling case for big truck ownership as badge of conspicuous consumption.
Let's take a look at 10 of the biggest SUVs currently available and see what they bring to the party in terms of performance and personality.
Biggest SUVS - 01 - 2013 Chevrolet Suburban
The 2013 Chevrolet Suburban is a mainstay of the full-size SUV segment, a vehicle that has been on sale for decades and which has attracted a loyal fan base of families who appreciate its nine-passenger seating and towing fanatics who need its brawn to haul as much as 8,100 lbs of trailer weight. Throw in the just under 140 cubic feet of cargo space inside its roomy cabin and it's easy to see why the Chevrolet Suburban has such a devoted following. The Chevrolet is powered by a 5.3-liter V-8 engine that puts out 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque, which is managed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is also available with the SUV.
Biggest SUVS - 02 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is referred to by the company as the 'S-Class of SUVs.' What the German automaker means by this appellation is that the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class offers all of the opulent comforts of the full-size sedan in a package that equals the S-Class' standing as one of the biggest entries in its segment. Redesigned for the current model year, the GL-Class can handle as many as seven passengers, swallow up to 93.8 cubic feet of cargo (with the rear rows folded forward), and tow as much as 7,500 lbs. Buyers can choose between a 240 horsepower, 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine that also generates 455 lb-ft of torque, a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8 (362 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque), or a more robust version of that same turbocharged engine that grinds out 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of twist. A seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive come standard with each version of the GL-Class.
Biggest SUVS - 03 - 2012 Nissan Armada
As its name might suggest, the 2012 Nissan Armada is no shrinking violet. Based on the same chassis as the Nissan Titan full-size pickup, the Nissan Armada never shirks its duty whether it's time to haul passengers (up to eight), their gear (97 cubic feet of cargo space) or tow a trailer (rated at 9,100 lbs with the right hitch). The Nissan Armada's truck-like handling might see it lose a step or two when matched up against a comparable crossover, but few unibody people movers can boast a 5.6-liter V-8 engine that is good for 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque. Low-range four-wheel drive lets the Nissan play off-road, should the occasion arise, and a five-speed automatic handles the gear shifting duties.
Biggest SUVS - 04 - 2012 Ford Expedition EL
The 2012 Ford Expedition EL is a full-size SUV bruiser that provides an extended wheelbase to increase interior space and better accommodate both people and cargo. The Ford Expedition EL is an eight-passenger model, like its regular-wheelbase sibling, but with the third row in place the bigger version of the sport-utility vehicle enjoys 42.6 cubic feet of space between the seatback and the hatch (as opposed to 18.6 in the standard version). Total cargo room offered by the Expedition EL checks in at 130.8 cubic feet, which is a solid complement to its tow rating of 9,200 lbs. 310 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque from its 5.4-liter V-8 are nothing to sneeze at, and a six-speed automatic transmission sends that output to either the rear or all four wheels (if optional four-wheel drive is selected).
Biggest SUVS - 05 - 2012 Toyota Sequoia
The 2012 Toyota Sequoia takes the unusual step of offering full-size, full-frame SUV shoppers an independent rear suspension system, which gives this big SUV a handling advantage over several of its competitors. Power is also excellent in the Toyota Sequoia thanks to its advanced 5.7-liter iForce eight-cylinder engine, which can be counted on to produce 381 horses and 401 lb-ft of torque. A 310 horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 is also available with the SUV, and both can be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and optional four-wheel drive. With a maximum tow rating of 7,400 lbs, eight passenger capacity, and 121 cubic feet of total internal storage space, the Sequoia means business when it comes time to get the job done.
Biggest SUVS - 06 - 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV
From a certain perspective, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV can be thought of as the luxury version of the Chevrolet Suburban. The parallels are easy enough to draw: both share 137 cubic feet of total cargo space, three rows of seating, and a similar chassis. The Cadillac Escalade, however, boasts much more brash exterior styling as well as one fewer seating position, giving all occupants that much more personal space. Towing capacity (7,7000 lbs) is still excellent, thanks to another of the Escalade's upgrades over the Suburban: a 6.2-liter V-8 that churns out a hefty 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, a drivetrain that can be further enhanced by an optional all-wheel drive system. A six-speed autobox is standard with the Cadillac.
Biggest SUVS - 07 - 2013 Lexus LX
The 2013 Lexus LX is a luxury SUV with a split personality. This big sport-utility vehicle has all the trappings of a modern premium ride, including heated first and second row seats, adaptive cruise control, and even an automated parallel parking system. Underneath its slick-looking skin, however, the Lexus LX shares its mechanicals with the rough and rugged Toyota Land Cruiser, which means a full-time four-wheel drive system and a host of off-road electronic driver's aides that are ready to step in and keep the LX from getting stuck when out on the trail. The Lexus also offers eight-passenger seating, 83 cubic feet of total internal storage space, and the ability to tow up to 7,000 lbs. A 5.7-liter V-8 is included with the ultra-comfortable SUV, and its 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque are managed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
Biggest SUVS - 08 - 2012 Infiniti QX
The 2012 Infiniti QX has evolved past its original roots as the premium version of the Nissan Armada, adopting a new platform that gives it more comfortable handling and less of a focus on recreational off-road antics. 'Big' is still the name of the game for the Infiniti QX, however, which means eight passenger seating, a generous 95 cubic feet of total cargo space, and the kind of extroverted styling that makes the truck impossible to miss in a crowded parking lot. The QX is motivated by a 400 horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8, and with 413 lb-ft of torque on tap this mill helps the Infiniti achieve a tow rating of 8,500 lbs. Four-wheel drive is optional with the SUV, and a seven-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Biggest SUVS - 09 - 2013 Lincoln Navigator L
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator L might not get as much press as its cross-town Cadillac rival, but it definitely has a lot to offer buyers who prize big SUVs. The Lincoln Navigator L is the longest version of the luxury truck, and as such it provides three rows of seating for up to eight passengers - as well as 128 cubic feet of total interior cargo volume. Trailer Sway Control is standard with the Navigator, and it helps the sport-utility vehicle tow up to 9,000 lbs. 5.4-liter V-8 answers the call of duty for the Lincoln, producing 310 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive adds extra traction to the Navigator's driving equation. A six-speed automatic transmission is on hand to improve fuel efficiency for the full-size SUV.
Biggest SUVS - 10 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is another recently re-vamped Silver Star model that is aimed at lovers of big luxury trucks. Imagine a military vehicle with a ride and cabin ripped straight out of the premium playbook, and you'll have a good idea of just what the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has to offer. The ultimate niche truck, the G-Class features three locking differentials and outstanding ground clearance to go with its five passenger seating, 80 cubic feet of cargo space, and 7,000 lbs of towing capacity. A 5.5-liter V-8 engine puts out 388 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, and a seven-speed automatic transmission adds a touch of modernity to the iconoclastic SUV's personality. Four-wheel drive is full-time, and standard, with the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.