Although sport utility vehicles all have at least one thing in common — a truck-style body-on-frame platform — the best SUV interiors satisfy customers in different ways, with some concentrating on luxury, others on versatility, and most trying to do a little of everything. In fact, the following choices provide all the cabin-based comforts and conveniences that are available in today’s sophisticated crossovers, from mobile Wi-Fi to premium audio to ultra-lux leather appointments. But SUVs also raise the bar for capability, with seating for up to nine, serious cargo space, and robust tow ratings. When you also remember that many showcase powerful, driver-pleasing V8 engines, it’s easy to see why many are enjoying strong sales for the 2016 model year, too — especially if you check out the following gallery.
10 Best SUV Interiors
2016 Toyota Land Cruiser
The 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser is a bit of a throwback for the brand, carrying on the name of Toyota’s iconic range-topping sport utility with a mix of off-road expertise and sheer luxury. Standard, for example, are heated, ventilated and leather-trimmed front seats, along with multi-stage heating for the second row, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a ton of technology. Among the highlights: standard Entune infotainment that supplies a 9-inch touchscreen, navigation, the App Suite interface, and 14 speakers’ worth of JBL audio, plus the full Toyota Safety Sense P bundle. Yet as fancy as that cabin is, it’s also highly functional, as are all the best SUV interiors. For the Land Cruiser, that means up to 81.7 cubic feet of cargo room.
2016 Lexus GX
Meanwhile, Toyota’s luxury division has two of the best SUV interiors, and if the 2016 Lexus GX is a bit shorter than the LX detailed below, there’s certainly no shortage of upscale amenities on display in the cabin. All three rows in the GX can be trimmed in semi-aniline, perforated leather for incredible comfort, with hand-selected pieces of real wood used on the shift knob and heated steering wheel. It’s also easy to take advantage of the SUV’s impressive cargo space: Not only is there a power-folding third row with a 50/50 split, there’s also a dual-mode tailgate. Thus, the whole tailgate can be raised in the traditional manner, for optimum access, or owners can open just the glass, for added convenience.
2016 Lexus LX
Building on what was already one of the best SUV cabins in the country, the 2016 Lexus LX just had its interior significantly refreshed. The standard infotainment/navigation screen has expanded to 12.3 inches, allowing it to display up to three functions, and the system can be bolstered by the Enform App Suite interface, wireless device charging, and a Mark Levinson audio setup with 19 speakers and 450 watts of power. Nor has Lexus forgotten about back-row passengers; they can benefit from larger, 11.6-inch display screens for the available rear-seat entertainment system. As for the second-row passengers in specific, they now can add ventilation to their already standard heated seats. The power-sliding second and power-folding third rows also offer much interior flexibility.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
2016 Infiniti QX80
The 2016 Infiniti QX80 was redesigned last year to much success, earning segment accolades in third-party research like the J.D. Power APEAL Study, AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, and Strategic Vision Customer Love Index. Then Infiniti went and added even more to love about the QX80 for this year, introducing a limited-production Signature Edition that’s well worth checking out if you’re focused on the top SUV interiors. The look leverages Saddle Tan leather-appointed seating and door surfaces, set off by an extensive use of Mocha burl wood trim, for a warm, inviting ambiance. Additionally upgrading the interior of the QX80 Signature Edition are the Split-Bench Seat Package, instead of second-row bucket seats, and the Driver Assistance Package that’s packed with safety technologies.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 Cadillac Escalade
Of course, when it comes to the best of the best SUV interiors, a credible case can be made for the 2016 Cadillac Escalade. Proving that the biggest name in big-time luxury SUVs is still a force to be reckoned with, the 2016 Escalade recently posted the highest score ever achieved — by any vehicle — in the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. And no doubt helping matters was its impeccably crafted cabin, complete with available full-leather, semi-aniline seating. The Escalade is big on technology, too, from its mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Finally, in the extended-length ESV models, owners can fit a whopping 120.9 cubic feet of cargo — and more than 39 cubic feet even with all seats in use.
2016 GMC Yukon
The best sport utility cabins aren’t limited to the traditional luxury brands, either. The 2016 GMC Yukon, particularly in its Denali trim, is evidence of that. Consider: The interior of the Yukon Denali features real leather, aluminum and poplar wood, in a refined yet innovative design, and the brand’s Professional Grade engineers deployed active noise cancellation, triple-seal doors and other sound-reduction measures to ensure a quiet ride. Available in an extended-length XL model as well, the Yukon Denali seals the deal with standard versatility benefits such as second-row bucket seats with a power-release function and a power-folding third row. Interested in infotainment and safety technology? The Yukon Denali delivers with mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and an enhanced-for-2016 Driver Alert Package.
2016 Lincoln Navigator
The 2016 Lincoln Navigator is indeed luxurious, but what helps it really stand out from the other best SUV interiors is its spacious third row of seating, which furnishes best-in-class legroom and more headroom than rivals like the Lexus LX, Infiniti QX80 or Toyota Land Cruiser. Also, that’s without having to sacrifice space for gear, since the Navigator can fit 103.3 cubic feet of cargo behind its standard heated and cooled front seats. If that’s not enough, shoppers can move up to the Navigator L for an extra 25 cubic feet back there. Distinguishing this large Lincoln from the other end is what’s under the hood, because it’s a standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that pumps out 380 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque.
2016 Ford Expedition
Right off the bat, the cabin for 2016 Ford Expedition leads all of the best SUV interiors for work space, thanks to an extended-wheelbase model that can fit 130.8 cubic feet of cargo. But even the standard Expedition has 108.3 cubic feet of cargo room, and both versions rely on Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, here tuned for 365 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. For style-conscious customers, the Expedition King Ranch edition comes with an uplevel interior that’s trimmed in Mesa Brown leather and has been branded with the “Running W” from the Texas ranch that inspires the truck. Per the Blue Oval, “the natural grain, rugged thickness and luxurious feel capture the authentic spirit” of the ranch.
2016 Jeep Wrangler
On the odd chance you actually use your sport utility vehicle for off-road purposes, the best SUV interiors are the ones designed to get dirty. Take the 2016 Jeep Wrangler. Now, both the 2-door Wrangler and the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited do offer lux cues such as heated front leather seats. Yet when the trail beckons, and dirt gets tracked in, you can pull up the carpet, unplug the drains and get to washing. The front-passenger grab handle can be a help during off-road maneuvers, as well. Moreover, from a style standpoint, the Wrangler’s many special editions often display distinctive design touches, including the McKinley leather bolsters and sport-mesh inserts used for the seats in the new Wrangler Backcountry.
2016 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
Chevy takes the same approach to the best SUV interiors as its competitors (including Ford, GMC and Lincoln), which means having regular and extended-length choices. However, the Bowtie brand uses two different names for its vehicles, so shoppers can select from the 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe or the longer Suburban. Each can carry up to nine occupants, and serve up key connectivity and safety technologies — from mobile Wi-Fi to forward-collision alert — with the difference becoming clear behind the third row. The Suburban supplies up to 121.1 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Tahoe tops out at 94.7 cubic feet.