With 2021 rapidly coming to a close, automakers are preparing final pushes to incentivize customers to grab model-year vehicles before the New Year arrives. When it comes to SUVs, deals ranging from subcompact SUVs like Chevrolet Trailblazers to electric SUVs like the Volkswagen ID.4 are falling into monthly payment ranges of around $200 to $400, according to U.S. News and World Report findings in September. Not bad considering inventory shortages continue to plague U.S. car manufacturers as a result of slow microchip production.
Preparing for fall and winter's cold weather means a few things: it's finally time for your long overdue tire change, snow and ice will return to the northern United States in just a few weeks, and layers of rock salt are coming to grind down your already rusted out undercarriage. For anyone needing safety, comfort and reliability, look no further than this ever-improving lineup of SUVs ready to be driven home or taken for an exciting winter hiking vacation.
1. 2021 Toyota RAV4
The king of compact SUVs topped lists once again in 2021, as Toyota's found a year-over-year winner with its RAV4. This year's model offers a new hybrid version as manufactures opt for more sustainable energy solutions, while blending the perfect concoction of size, comfort and durability we've become accustomed to. Given the top score in its class by Kelley Blue Book, you'll get every penny's worth when driving off the lot in this staple of the SUV community.
2. 2021 Honda CR-V
Running alongside Toyota, Honda's CR-V never disappoints. The powerhouse returned another top performer with its 2021 model, albeit without any major changes to the previous year's specs. Roomy, spacious, and designed for all lifestyles--daily commuters, soccer parents, and travel enthusiasts alike drive CR-Vs--it's no wonder this SUV continually shows up on "Best Of" lists each and every year.
3. 2021 Subaru Forester
Often replicated, never duplicated. The Subaru Forester is one of my personal favorites for several reasons, namely longevity and durability: The Forester received the 2021 Best Resale Award from Kelley Blue Book. With upgraded safety features like steering-responsive LED headlights, Subaru's compact SUV figures to be in the family for years with proper care. After all, it's what makes a Subaru a Subaru.
4. 2021 Ford Expedition
When it comes to full-size SUVs, the Expedition reigns supreme. Rated 4.8 out of 5 by Kelley Blue Book, this mammoth features an impressive tow rating up to 9,300 pounds, comfortably seats eight passengers, and is built to last behind Ford's iconic American manufacturing. If you're looking for big and beautiful, start here.
5. 2021 Kia Telluride
Bursting on the scene in 2020, Kia set out to bring technology and safety to its SUV that jettisoned to the top of many "Best In Class" lists. The 2021 model continued to see improvements, including an upgraded 7-pin towing trailer harness and various other interior upgrades. The Telluride undercuts other competitors on price, but it certainly doesn't disappoint. You're getting incredible value here.
6. 2021 Mazda CX-5
Not ready for that full-size SUV? Look no further than the CX-5, which rolls a sleek design, sporty handling, and top-of-the-line technology into one beautiful machine. Available in Sport, Touring, Signature, and a few others, you'll never get bored driving. One downside is size compared to others in its class, but again, this SUV is built for speed and simple comforts first and foremost.
7. 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
One "knock" I will never be able to understand is many car reviews that don't appreciate Volkswagen's classic style. For me, Volkswagen is a brand defining itself through tradition and history, bringing that and more to the Tiguan. Smooth handling and comfort in every corner, German engineering spreads seamlessly to this SUV that starts at a modest $25K price; don't overlook the bevy of upgrades afforded in a Volkswagen, from 20-inch wheels of the SE R-Line Black to leather seating in the SEL R-Line.
8. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
Taking it up another notch back to full-size SUVs, Chevy did a complete overhaul of its Tahoe for 2021. However, they didn't lose anything in translation, offering multiple trim options, seating for up to nine passengers, and a few engine choices, including its standard 5.3-liter V8 and a new 6-cylinder diesel specifically designed for more power. American-made and built to last, Chevrolet reinvented one of its best and didn't skip a beat.
9. 2021 Jeep Cherokee
The king of off-road SUVs didn't change much within its 2021 model, but the Jeep Cherokee remains a staple of this class. Buyers can explore three vehicle options, include a V6 and turbo-4 engine, multiple trim and tech package options, plus the power and towing capabilities synonymous with the Jeep name. While Toyota and Honda market to city life, Jeep continues to be a beacon for backcountry bliss year after year.
10. 2021 Nissan Rogue
Competing with class powerhouses Toyota and Honda, Nissan set out to revamp its Rogue to compete better in categories like design and comfort. They did just that with the 2021 Nissan Rogue, improving its ProPilot Assist feature and creating a more responsive All-Wheel Drive system. Though its a little off the leaders, Nissan is still a top-seller in U.S. markets and figures to continue to improve on its crown jewel in the compact SUV department.
Check out local dealership offers in your area as 2021 comes to a close for a good opportunity to bring home some of the year's highest-rated models.