2015 Toyota RAV4 ・ Photo by Benjamin Hunting
Anyone surprised to learn Cadillac’s Escalade; Lincoln’s Navigator, or any of the SUVs and crossovers from luxury marques are routinely offered with powered rear lift gates, clearly hasn’t been shopping in quite a while. So for the record, yes, every luxury SUV extant qualifies for this list of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016. But what if you don’t have the scratch to cop one of those cashed up models? What if you really need a powered rear liftgate but you need to stay under the $35,000 price point? It’s still all good because the powered rear liftgate is an optional feature on many a mainstream SUV these days.
The pleasures of the littlest Buick are many and varied. As a Buick model, it’s naturally infused with surreal quiet; forward leaning comfort convenience and safety-oriented technology; handsome good looks; and a luxury-oriented interior treatment—all at an exceptionally reasonable price point. In addition to being one of the best SUVs with powered rear lift gates for 2016, the Buick also offers an optional Bose audio system, leather upholstery, a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone application integration, forward collision and lane departure warnings, and a heated steering wheel. To put the size of the Encore in perspective, parked side by side with Honda’s CR-V the Buick looks tiny in comparison. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 148 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is offered as an option. Pricing starts at $24,065.
Smaller than a full-size SUV, but a larger than a mid-size SUV, the Durango delivers the seven-passenger seating and hefty towing capabilities of its larger competitors, while remaining smaller, more maneuverable, and thus easier to handle. What’s more, the Durango offers a very nice interior treatment—with a sizable 8.4-inch touchscreen interface for infotainment functions offered as an option. Meanwhile, as one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016, Durango features tri-zone climate control, automatic headlights, foglights, and heated exterior mirrors as standard. Power comes from a choice of two engines. The 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 makes 260 ft-lbs of torque, while the 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 makes 390 ft-lbs. An eight-speed transmission and rear drive are standard. The V6 gets all-wheel drive as an option, while the V8 gets four-wheel drive with low range gearing. Pricing starts at $30,495.
Ford Escape is one of the best handling compact crossover SUVs currently on offer. Further, Ford’s exceptional prowess with turbocharged engines gives Escape the potential to live up to its name. Standard features include full power accessories, keyless entry, air conditioning, a rear view camera; voice controlled secondary functions, Bluetooth, and smartphone application integration. One of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016, the Escape also offers keyless ignition, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and self-parking. Power is generated by a choice of three engines; the 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four makes 170 ft-lbs of torque, while the turbocharged 1.6-liter four makes 178 horsepower and 184 ft-lbs. The 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four makes 270 ft-lbs. A six-speed transmission and front-drive are standard; all–wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $22,960.
Photo by Benjamin Hunting
Looking for something outside of the mainstream in one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016? The GMC Terrain is quiet, smooth, great on the highway, and bristling with features. The compact SUV has lots of power, a comfortable interior, and is a pretty capable towing machine too. Standard features include a rear view camera, Bluetooth telephony, a seven-inch touchscreen interface for infotainment functions, heated side view mirrors, and an auto-dimming inside rear view mirror. Optional features include forward collision and lane departure warning, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, Bluetooth audio, heated front seats and remote engine start. The base engine offering is a 2.4-liter four with 182 horsepower and 172 ft-lbs of torque. The upgrade is a 3.6-liter V6 with 301 horsepower and 272 ft-lbs of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $24,070.
Photo by Christian Wardlaw
The one by which all others are measured; the venerable Honda CR-V has grown considerably in both size and stature over the years. Fresh off of an update for the 2015 model year, the Honda compact crossover SUV is indeed one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016. The 2015 upgrades added a front console armrest, rear vents for the climate control system, a seven-inch touchscreen interface, and Honda’s LaneWatch system, which activates a camera in the right rear-view mirror housing to look for bicyclists and pedestrians when making a right turn. Another CR-V feature garnering considerable praise is self-folding rear seats. Power comes from a 2.4-liter inline four (shared with the Accord) producing 185 horsepower and 181 ft-lbs of torque. This is mated to a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $23,445.
Photo by Honda
The Hyundai Santa Fe does something the others on this list of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016 won’t do. If you stand near the rear liftgate with the key on your person, it will open the rear liftgate automatically. No button pushing, no foot waving, no effort at all on your part—just stand there and the Hyundai will do it for you. With seating for seven, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a handsome, well thought out addition to the three-row mid-size crossover SUV category. The interior treatment is handsome and offers features such as Bluetooth and satellite radio, along with HVAC vents for both the second and third rows. Power comes from a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 with 252 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional, Pricing starts at $30,400.
Photo by Christian Wardlaw
In addition to being one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016, the Jeep Cherokee is smooth, quiet, richly appointed, and remarkably comfortable—even while remaining thoroughly capable of slogging through mud, creeping down steep mountain trails, and clamoring over rocks and sand. In other words, the Cherokee is a true Jeep—period. Power comes from a choice of two engines. The base powerplant is a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four with 171 ft-lbs of torque. The upgrade is 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 with 239 ft-lbs. Both get a nine-speed automatic transmission and front drive as standard. Four-wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $23,295.
Completely redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Kia Sorento has moved up a class to now compete with mid-size crossovers while (in typical Kia fashion), low-balling them on price. To give the Sorento a fighting chance as one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016, standard features include LED running lights, three drive-mode settings, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, as well as satellite radio. Three engines are offered; starting with a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four with 178 ft-lbs of torque. The middle offering is a 240-horespower turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 260 ft-lbs, while the V6 makes 290 horsepower and 252 ft-lbs from 3.3-liters. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $24,900.
Photo by Benjamin Hunting
In addition to being one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016, the Nissan Pathfinder offers features such as blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, hill descent control, and a 360-degree parking camera. In other words, the Nissan Pathfinder is quite comprehensive in terms of the equipment it offers. Further, Pathfinder is quite spacious, rides smoothly, powerful, and capable of comfortably seating seven. Other features include keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, a roof rack, and a reclining third-row seat. Easy to handle and quiet too, the Pathfinder derives power from Nissan’s renowned 3.5-liter V6, which is good for 260 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque in this application. A continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; four-wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $29,630.
There was time when anyone considering a compact crossover naturally gravitated toward the sporty little Toyota RAV4. For a long time it was the pick in the category. Times have changed somewhat; the Toyota’s competition has become stronger and more varied. However, RAV4 is still one of the class leaders. In addition to being one of the best SUVs with a powered rear liftgate for 2016, the Toyota RAV4 offers great outward visibility, easy and assured handling, a smooth ride, and a quiet interior. We’re talking Toyota here, so its reputation for exacting reliability precedes the model. Automatic headlights, power folding outside rearview mirrors, a rear view camera, Bluetooth, and a 6.1-inch touchscreen are among the standard features. Power comes from a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 176 horsepower and 172 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional. Pricing starts at $23,680.
Photo by Benjamin Hunting