2016 Mercedes Benz G class ・ Photo by Mercedes-Benz
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 fullsize 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 a 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.
The 2016 Chevrolet Suburban is a mainstay of the fullsize SUV segment, a vehicle that has been on sale for decades and which has attracted a loyal fan base of families who appreciate its 9-passenger seating and towing fanatics who need its brawn to haul as much as 8,100 lbs of trailer weight. Throw in the 121.1 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 V8 engine that puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, which is managed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. 4-wheel drive is also available with the SUV.
Photo by General Motors
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has been 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 fullsize sedan in a package that equals the S-Class' standing as one of the biggest entries in its segment. The 2016 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 3.0-liter V6 (362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque), or a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 that grinds out 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of twist. A 7-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive come standard with each version of the GL-Class.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz Media
As its name might suggest, the fully redesigned 2017 Nissan Armada is no shrinking violet. The Nissan Armada never shirks its duty whether it's time to haul passengers (up to eight), their gear (95.1 cubic feet of cargo space) or tow a trailer (rated at 8,500 lbs with the right hitch). Its 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 V8 engine that is good for 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. Low-range 4-wheel drive lets the Nissan play off-road, should the occasion arise, and a 7-speed automatic handles the gear shifting duties.
The 2016 Ford Expedition EL is a fullsize SUV bruiser that provides an extended wheelbase to increase interior space and better accommodate both people and cargo. The Ford Expedition EL is an 8-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. 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque from its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 are nothing to sneeze at, and a 6-speed automatic transmission sends that output to either the rear or all four wheels (if optional 4-wheel drive is selected).
The 2016 Toyota Sequoia takes the unusual step of offering fullsize, 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 8-cylinder engine, which can be counted on to produce 381 horses and 401 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive. With a maximum tow rating of 7,400 lbs, 8-passenger capacity, and 120.1 cubic feet of total internal storage space, the Sequoia means business when it comes time to get the job done.
Photo by Toyota
From a certain perspective, the 2016 Cadillac Escalade ESV can be thought of as the luxury version of the Chevrolet Suburban. The parallels are easy enough to draw: both share 120 cubic feet of total cargo space, three rows of seating, 8,100 lbs of towing capacity, 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. The 2016 Escalade ESV is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that churns out a hefty 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, a drivetrain that can be further enhanced by an optional all-wheel drive system. An 8-speed autobox is standard with the Cadillac.
Photo by General Motors
The 2016 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 4-wheel drive system and a host of off-road electronic driver's aids that are ready to step in and keep the LX from getting stuck when out on the trail. The Lexus also offers 8-passenger seating, 83 cubic feet of total internal storage space, and the ability to tow up to 7,000 lbs. A 5.7-liter V8 is included with the ultra-comfortable SUV, and its 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque are managed by an 8-speed automatic transmission that’s new for this year.
Photo by Lexus
The 2016 Infiniti QX80 has evolved past its original roots as the premium version of the Nissan Armada, adopting a 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 QX80, however, which means 8-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 QX80 is motivated by a 400-horsepower, 5.6-liter V8, and with 413 lb-ft of torque on tap this mill helps the Infiniti achieve a tow rating of 8,500 lbs. 4-wheel drive is optional with the SUV, and a 7-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Photo by Infiniti
The 2016 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 8,500 lbs. A 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 answers the call of duty for the Lincoln, producing 380 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive adds extra traction to the Navigator's driving equation. A 6-speed automatic transmission is on hand to improve fuel efficiency for the fullsize SUV.
Photo by Lincoln
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is another 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 5-passenger seating, 75.1 cubic feet of cargo space, and 7,000 lbs of towing capacity. The G-Class has been updated for 2016 with a new base engine, a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that puts out 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, and a 7-speed automatic transmission adds a touch of modernity to the iconoclastic SUV's personality. All-wheel drive is standard with the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.