V-6 SUVs have proliferated across all segments, bolstering the output of compact people movers and in many cases replacing the V-8 engines of old in full-size models. Six-cylinder engine technology has advanced to the point where many V-6 SUVs no longer ask buyer to make a compromise between power and efficiency, and although in some cases you might have to pay more for the V-6 version of a particular model, the fuel mileage penalty is largely a thing of the past in normal driving. Even those who tow with their SUVs can take advantage of a number of powerful V-6 options.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best V-6 SUVs for 2014.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 01 - 2014 GMC Terrain Denali
The 2014 GMC Terrain Denali is a compact SUV that presents traditional luxury shoppers with a comfortable and practical daily driver. The GMC Terrain Denali is a special edition of the Terrain that offers unique styling cues, a higher grade of interior comfort and trim, and standard features that include 19-inch rims, power leather seats, and additional safety gear. The Terrain Denali's available 3.6-liter V-6 pushes out 301 horses and 272 lb-ft of torque, and it makes use of a standard six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for front-wheel drive versions of the GMC is listed at 17-mpg in city driving and 24-mpg on the highway, and all-wheel drive can be added as an option.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 02 - 2014 Ford Explorer
The 2014 Ford Explorer features the availability of not just one, but two V-6 engine options. Capable of carrying up to seven passengers across three rows of seating, the Ford Explorer's base model features a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 290 horsepower and 25 lb-ft of torque. If that's not enough grunt for your purposes, then you can also spec the Ford Explorer Sport, which delivers 365 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque via a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost version of that same engine. A six-speed automatic is included with both engines, and while all-wheel drive is optional with the naturally-aspirated V-6, it's standard for the EcoBoost model. Fuel economy for the two is remarkably close, with the non-turbo engine posting a slightly better rating of 17-mpg city and 24-mpg highway.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 03 - 2014 Mazda CX-9
The 2014 Mazda CX-9 comes exclusively with a V-6 engine under its hood. The Mazda CX-9's 3.7-liter V-6 is tuned to provide a healthy 273 horsepower along with 270 lb-ft of torque (and all-wheel drive can be added to the vehicle's equipment list for additional grip). Mazda has also made sure to pay attention to the CX-9's handling dynamics, as the vehicle's chassis is far more entertaining to drive when compared to most of its seven-passenger competitors. A six-speed automatic transmission assists the SUV in returning fuel mileage of 17-mpg around town and 24-mpg during highway cruising.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 04 - 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe is all-new for the current model year, and it brings with it a standard 3.3-liter V-6 (a drivetrain that was optional in 2013). The Hyundai Santa Fe's no-charge V-6 engine helps to differentiate the mid-size SUV from the Santa Fe Sport, a smaller model that offers five passenger capacity compared to the Santa Fe's seven. The unit in question displaces 3.3-liters and provides 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, and like most of its classmates it comes yoked to a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available with the Santa Fe, which delivers 18-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg on the highway.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 05 - 2014 Volkswagen Touareg
The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg is a near-luxury SUV that skirts the mid-size segment with its five-passenger seating yet generous interior proportions. There are actually three V-6 Volkswagen Touaregs to choose from: a 3.6-liter, 280 horsepower base model, a turbodiesel 3.0-liter version that generates 240 horses and 406 lb-ft of torque, and the Touareg Hybrid, which makes use of a supercharger and a single electric motor to deliver 380 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque from its own 3.0-liter mill. Of the trio, the best fuel mileage is actually delivered by the turbodiesel, which posts 20-mpg in city driving and 29-mpg on the highway. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive come with each edition of the Volkswagen.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 06 - 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a performance-oriented SUV that features a V-6 as standard equipment. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport's 3.0-liter V-6 is supercharged, and it's good for 340 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive that come with the Range Rover Sport help it to hit 60-mph in 6.9 seconds, and the vehicle also offers an outstanding level of off-road capability via the Terrain Response system, which automatically adjusts drivetrain parameters to best tackle difficult driving situations. Fuel efficiency for the V-6 is competitive, showing as 17-mpg city and 23-mpg highway.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 07 - 2014 Chevrolet Traverse
The 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is the perfect example of a full-size SUV that just a few years ago would have been motivated by a V-8 instead of a V-6. As it stands now, the 3.6-liter motor that comes with the Chevrolet Traverse provides up to 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for it to haul up to eight passengers or a whopping 116.3 cubic feet of cargo. The Traverse is also capable of towing 5,200 lbs of trailer weight. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the Chevrolet, while all-wheel drive can be ordered as an option, and fuel mileage is listed at 17-mpg around town and 24-mpg on the highway.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 08 - 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a longtime favorite in the battery-assisted SUV segment, mostly due to the fact that it offers real-world fuel mileage gains over its non-hybrid sibling. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid's EPA rating of 27-mpg in stop and go driving and 28-mpg on the highway is quite impressive, and it's achieved by way of a 3.5-liter V-6 that works together with a team of three battery-powered electric motors. All-wheel drive is standard with the Highlander Hybrid, and so is a continuously-variable automatic transmission. The seven-passenger crossover's gasoline/electric drivetrain generates a respectable 280 horsepower, which means passing is never a problem even when fully loaded.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 09 - 2014 Nissan Pathfinder
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is a big seven-passenger SUV that offers brawny styling to go with its comfortable ride and capacious interior. The Nissan Pathfinder might be large, and its 260 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 good for 240 lb-ft of torque, but its continuously-variable automatic transmission keeps it from getting too thirsty at the fuel pump: consumption is rated at 20-mpg in city driving and 26-mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive is optional - with a locking feature for rougher weather - and the Pathfinder also delivers a strong suite of available active safety features.
10 Best V-6 SUVS for 2014 - 10 - 2014 Porsche Cayenne
The 2014 Porsche Cayenne, like the Touareg, is an SUV that can be had with multiple V-6 engines. The base Porsche Cayenne, which is actually the most affordable automobile in the brand's line-up, comes with a 300 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, while the Cayenne Diesel swaps in a 3.0-liter turbo unit that provides 240 horses and 406 lb-ft of torque. The latter can also be relied on to return 19-mpg in city driving and 29-mpg on the highway, which makes it quite frugal amongst its luxury peers. The gas V-6 offers an available six-speed manual transmission, while the Cayenne Diesel comes with an eight-speed automatic.