2017 Cadillac XT5 ・ Photo by General Motors
When it comes to crossovers, the V6 engine is waning in popularity. Buyers drive home with 4-cylinder equipped crossovers for one simple reason: The majority of today’s smaller best-sellers are not available with a V6. That said, V6 engines are still prevalent in larger vehicles.
Case in point: the best-selling 2016 Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Honda CR-V crossovers are exclusively fitted with naturally-aspirated inline 4-cylinder engines, with displacements of 2.5 liters or less. A V6 option is not offered. With direct injection, turbocharging, and downsizing, Ford’s EcoBoost engines point to the future. While V6 engines are offered in the Ford Edge and Explorer, the 2017 Ford Escape can only be equipped with a 4-cylinder engine, the smallest of which is a mere 1.5 liters.
We focused on the best-selling crossovers with V6 engines in this list, but couldn’t resist including an intriguing and luxurious newcomer.
The Chevrolet Equinox was the best-selling small crossover to offer a V6 engine in 2015. While a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder is the standard engine, a powerful 3.6-liter V6 is offered on the LT and LTZ as optional equipment. The optional DOHC direct-injected V6 produces 301 horsepower and 272 lb.-ft of torque, a substantial jump over the I4’s 182 hp and 172 lb.-ft. If I was ordering an Equinox, I’d opt for the V6, although it is a tad thirsty, with an EPA-rating of 18 mpg city and 24 highway with front-wheel drive and 16 city / 23 highway mpg with all-wheel drive. The Equinox’s towing capacity is 3500 pounds.
Photo by Chevrolet
The three-row Ford Explorer outsold every other mid-size crossover and SUV in 2015 by a wide margin. The 2016 Explorer offers two V6 engine choices: a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 producing 290 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft of torque and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that cranks out 365 hp and 350 lb.-ft. While the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is only offered with all-wheel-drive (AWD), the 3.5-liter V6 is available with either all-wheel or front-wheel-drive (FWD). The AWD EcoBoost V6 is EPA rated at 16 mpg city / 22 highway, while the naturally aspirated V6 is rated at 16 city / 23 highway with either FWD or AWD. The Explorer has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.
Photo by Ford
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a superb combination of luxury and legendary off-road capability. The base engine is a conventional 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that produces 295 horsepower and 260 lb.- ft of torque, with an EPA rating of 22 mpg city / 26 highway with 2WD, and 18 city / 25 highway with four-wheel drive (4WD).
You'll definitely want to consider the optional 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. The turbodiesel engine sets the Grand Cherokee apart from most SUVs and crossovers, by producing an impressive 420 lb.- ft of torque. The EcoDiesel has a fuel economy rating that's equally impressive: 22 mpg city / 30 highway with 2WD and 21 city / 28 highway with 4WD. This one’s built to haul, with a maximum capacity of 7,400 when properly equipped.
Photo by Jeep
The 2016 Toyota Highlander is the most popular crossover with a V6 to offer three rows of seating, as well as a hybrid variant. The Highlander’s DOHC 3.5-liter V6 delivers 270 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft of torque. It’s rated at 19 city / 25 highway mpg with FWD and 18 city / 24 highway with AWD. Looking for more MPGs? The Hybrid Synergy Drive V6 fitted in the Hybrid Limited and Hybrid Limited Platinum delivers an impressive 28 mpg city and 28 highway. All V6-equipped Highlanders have a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. A naturally aspirated 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder is standard equipment in the base model FWD Highlander LE. A refresh is expected for the 2017 model year.
Photo by Toyota
The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is a solid value with a nicely appointed cabin, a generous 100,000-mile drive train warranty, and a powerful V6 engine under the hood. The Santa Fe’s DOHC direct injected 3.3-liter V6 engine produces 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. The official EPA fuel economy estimates for the Santa Fe SE and Limited are 18 city / 25 highway with front-wheel-drive (FWD) and 18 city / 24 highway with all-wheel-drive (AWD). The Santa Fe SE Ultimate and Limited Ultimate are slightly less fuel efficient, at 17 city / 23 highway with FWD and 17 city / 22 highway with AWD. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.
2016 Ford Edge sits between the Escape and Explorer in Ford’s burgeoning crossover lineup. Edge buyers have a choice of two V6 engines: a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower (HP) and 250 pound-feet of torque, and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that pumps out 315 HP and 350 lb.ft. The AWD 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is EPA rated at 17 city / 24 highway, while the naturally aspirated V6 is rated at 21 city / 26 highway with FWD and 20 city / 25 highway with AWD. Base towing capacity is 2000 pounds for both V6 engines, with a maximum towing capacity of 3500 pounds when equipped with the optional Class II Trailer/Tow package. An EcoBoost four is offered as well.
Photo by Ford
The 2016 Honda Pilot is a roomy and comfortable three-row SUV, with a V6 engine that delivers plenty of grunt. The Pilot’s direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The Pilot LX, EX, and EX-L have a six-speed automatic transmission and an EPA rating of 19 city / 27 highway with two-wheel-drive (2WD) and 18 city / 26 highway with all-wheel-drive (AWD). The Pilot Touring and Elite benefit from a nine-speed automatic, with an EPA rating of 20 city / 27 highway with 2WD and 19 city / 26 highway with all-wheel-drive (AWD). Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds with 2WD and 5,000 pounds with AWD.
Photo by Honda
While Kia offers three engine choices in the stylish 2016 Sorento, starting with a 2.4-liter DOHC inline four cylinder (in the Sorento L and LX), I’d go straight for the DOHC V6 (found in the Sorento LX V6, EX V6, SX V6, and Limited V6) for its naturally aspirated power delivery. The Sorento’s 3.3-liter V6 churns out a healthy 290 HP and 252 lb. ft., while earning an EPA rating of 18 city / 26 highway with FWD and 17 city / 23 highway with AWD. The V6 Sorento has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds with FWD and 5,000 pounds with AWD. Fancy a small turbo motor instead? The Sorento EX and Limited are fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four.
Photo by Kia
The 2016 Toyota 4Runner is one of most off-road capable V6 SUVs on the market, with a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Tackling tough terrain? You’ll want to consider the 4Runner TRD Pro version–it’s equipped with aggressive all-terrain tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, TRD-tuned springs, and a quarter-inch aluminum front skid plate. Because rocks. While it’s not a full-ticket Land Cruiser, the price of admission is far more affordable. The downside? The 4Runner’s five-speed transmission’s a tad long in tooth and it’s a thirsty beast, with EPA fuel economy ratings of 17 city / 22 highway with two-wheel-drive and 17 city / 21 highway with all-wheel-drive. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.
Photo by Toyota
The stunning new 2017 XT5 replaces the outgoing SRX in Cadillac’s lineup and is the most luxurious entry on our list of V6-equipped crossovers. The XT5’s interior is positively splendid, with an adjustable rear sliding seat that provides the most legroom in its class. And the engine? It’s a treat, as well. The direct injected DOHC 3.6-liter V6 pumps out an ample 310 hp and 271 lb.-ft. of torque, with shifting chores handled by an 8-speed automatic transmission that comes standard with paddle shifters. The XT5 is EPA rated at 19 city/27 highway with front-wheel drive and 18 city/26 highway with all-wheel drive. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
Photo by General Motors