2018 Nissan Armada Platinum ・ Photo by Nissan
If you’re shopping for the SUVs with the best visibility, there are actually a number of factors to consider. One of the most basic is simply the size of the vehicle’s windows. Many of the more style-focused models have dramatic window shapes that look cool from the outside but don’t help much when you’re inside.
In the cabin itself, you also want a dashboard that doesn’t affect your forward view. It also helps if you’re in an SUV with higher ground clearance. That can give you the extra altitude you need to see over traffic. Additionally, today’s modern-day sport-utility vehicles can offer high-tech visibility enhancers. Highlights include night-vision systems, rearview camera mirrors, forward-facing camera and radar arrays, and advanced headlight setups.
Not all of the SUVs with the best visibility have impressive Eyesight, but the 2019 Subaru Forester certainly does. Subaru's Eyesight safety package includes driver-assistance technologies that help you stay aware of other vehicles all around you. You can also order the Forester with adaptive headlights. They turn in concert with the steering wheel, for better forward visibility when turning. And LED headlights are now standard for all Forester models.
In terms of traditional visibility, the new 2019 Forester’s sleek design was still engineered for clear sightlines in nearly all directions. Notice the relatively thin front roof pillars and the handy front quarter windows. The Forester then checks in with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, for a higher seating position.
Photo by Subaru
The SUVs with the best visibility tend to have upright silhouettes, tall windows, and thin roof pillars. All of those characteristics and more are on display in the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover. In fact, the Range Rover’s “greenhouse” — the part of the vehicle above the upper door lines — is one of the largest in its segment.
The vehicle’s upscale positioning also ensures a wide range of vision-boosting technologies: You can benefit from 360-degree surround-view camera coverage, along with features like a blind-spot monitor, lane-keeping assistance, and a forward-collision warning. As a final bonus, the Range Rover offers an air suspension that can adjust the vehicle’s ride height. It can raise the vehicle high enough for 11.6 inches of ground clearance.
Photo by Jaguar Land Rover
The 2019 Honda Pilot is one of the three-row SUVs with the best visibility. That’s because the Pilot, which was refreshed this year, blends aggressive new design details with an expansive view of the road.
Now, the Pilot doesn’t fly quite as high as some mainstream rivals. The vehicle’s 7.3 inches of ground clearance are toward the bottom of the segment. But it makes up for that with its newly standard Honda Sensing safety bundle. Thanks to this package, every Pilot gains radar- and camera-based technologies that help “watch” for dangers when you’re on the road. Even better, they can take proactive measures, like automatically applying the brakes, in certain driving scenarios. A multiview backup camera is standard as well to increase rearward visibility.
Photo by Honda
The 2019 Cadillac Escalade brings a special visibility advantage: Cadillac’s rear camera mirror system provides a rearward field of vision some four times larger than what you see with a conventional rearview mirror. To be sure, the Escalade’s mirror can function exactly like a “regular” one. However, with a press of a button, the view switches to a live video stream from a rear-facing camera mounted outside of the vehicle.
This means you don’t have to worry about anything — or anyone — in the back seats that could interfere with your sightlines. The Escalade has a relatively tall greenhouse, too, plus a variety of radar- and camera-based systems that were engineered to complement what you can see with the naked eye.
Photo by Cadillac
Jeep improved the Wrangler in a lot of ways when it introduced the new JL generation last year. The latest models are more capable, more comfortable, and more technologically sophisticated than ever before. The 2019 Jeep Wrangler also continues to benefit from key tailgate modifications: By adjusting the position of the Wrangler’s exposed spare wheel and its rear windshield wiper, Jeep gives you a much better view out the back.
Of course, most of the SUVs with the best visibility have similar views. What really sets the Wrangler apart from the pack is that you can entirely remove the top and the doors, and fold down the front windshield. With the Wrangler in that configuration, you enjoy nearly 360 degrees of unobstructed vision.
Photo by Jeep
If money is no object, you might want to think about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz G550 4X4. This beast is the brawniest member of the Mercedes’ G-Class lineup. It’s a hardcore off-road machine that’s sort of like a very expensive Jeep Wrangler. The G550 even wears the same kind of squared-off, upright styling, with thin vertical roof pillars and tall windows that make it easier to see out.
Yet this mighty Mercedes sits even higher. With 17.2 inches of ground clearance, you tower over our other SUVs. The thing is, the G550’s pricing is also sky-high. Although many Mercedes-style luxuries come with the vehicle’s incredible rock-crawling skills, there’s no getting around its MSRP of $227,300.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
If you like German SUVs, we also recommend the Audi brand. The 2018 Q7, for instance, is a three-row model that delivers a variety of ways to improve your view. Inside, the dashboard is specifically engineered to minimize its impact on your forward field of vision.
The Q7’s exterior design follows a similar approach. As is the case with most of the SUVs with the best visibility, the Q7 sports a greenhouse with plenty of glass — and a technological trick or two. A notable one from Audi is the vehicle’s “night vision assistant,” which relies on infrared sensors that can detect pedestrians and large animals in the dark. You can think of it as having military-style night-vision goggles for your car.
Photo by Audi
The 2019 Volvo XC90 is one of the most tech-focused SUVs with good visibility. Don’t worry, Volvo’s award-winning mid-size SUV is physically engineered for good outward visibility. Most of the roof pillars are fairly slim, and its long front windshield gives you a nice view of the road ahead. The XC90 also has 9.4 inches of ground clearance and offers an adjustable multimode air suspension. It can lift the vehicle another 1.6 inches for low-speed, off-road driving.
But it’s the XC90’s visibility technology that got our attention. For example, Volvo’s collision-mitigation system can detect not only vehicles, but also bicyclists, pedestrians, and even large animals. The setup can automatically apply the brakes, too, if you don’t react quickly enough to the system’s warnings.
Photo by Volvo
For smaller, more affordable suvs with great visibility, take a peek at the 2018 Kia Soul. Though it’s not the most rugged option on the market, the Soul’s funky, high-visibility design has the type of upright profile — and superior outward visibility — that you see in the real thing. Meanwhile, the Soul’s available high-intensity discharge headlamps earned the highest possible grade in the lighting component in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing.
Kia further provides visibility-assistance measures like a blind-spot monitor, rearview camera, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward-collision warning (with automatic emergency braking). That last system scored the highest possible grade from the IIHS as well. Unsurprisingly, the Soul also has an overall Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS for 2018.
Photo by Kia
The 2018 Nissan Armada is a full-size body-on-frame SUV that checks all the boxes for high-visibility design, higher-than-normal ground clearance, and high levels of technology: To extend forward visibility, you’ve got Nissan’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning system. This can monitor vehicles directly in front of the Armada as well as those that are two vehicles ahead.
An intelligent rear view mirror increases visibility in the other direction. The system leverages an outside, rear-pointing camera that streams a live video feed to a display in the rearview mirror. That way, you don’t have to try seeing around obstructions inside the cabin. You can also switch the system so it operates like a conventional rearview mirror.
Photo by Nissan