The arrival of little ones to this glorious world means that you have to change your transportation methods. You know the exercise: Get rid of the sports car or flashy convertible for something with several doors, seats and cup holders. And more often than not, it also means scary looks and mediocre driving dynamics. Not all hope is lost, but because 2021 introduces more crossovers and SUVs that can soften up to sell that roadster of yours, or at least help you miss the pickup with a single cab a little less.
Crossovers and SUVs (and for brief purposes we use the latter term across the board here) are usually paralyzed by enthusiasts for being terrible, high-speed machines that have changed the car landscape and somehow introduced cruel driving dynamics to the masses. (You know, because all the heavy, big, American sedans, wagons, and trucks at all times were universally so sharp and nimble.)
The truth is that SUVs and crossovers are machines for producing money for car manufacturers, and provide the necessary funding to build all the cool things enthusiasts love. But you do not need a sports car to drive fun anymore.
In recent years, SUVs have even improved significantly on this whole “driving experience” thing – and not just by cramming large engines under the hood as Dodge did with the Durango Hellcat, but by grafting high-tech suspensions, brakes and more technology and components from supercars to family carriers.
The result? Powerful, agile, beautiful and fun SUVs. Yes, I just said fun. If you do not believe it, just check out the list below.
2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat
The Durango is already a solid SUV alone. It’s a straight forward, no-nonsense, three-wheel-drive SUV that offers good value for money. But unlike the base models, the newly released Hellcat trim packs enough punch to smoke a wide range of sports cars off the line and still tow £ 8,700.
Under the hood is a 6.2-liter Hemi V8 compressor that puts down 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque. More importantly, it receives an adjusted suspension that further enhances the Durango SRT’s already tight ride, while the front and rear Brembo brakes keep things under control.
2021 Kia Telluride
Driving fun does not have to be limited to the sidewalk, because let’s face it, driving off the beaten path can be a pretty cool weekend activity in the family. Kia Telluride’s mechanical and design features are promising for parents who enjoy exploring nature. After all, it is named after Telluride, Colorado, a destination that is much loved by outdoor enthusiasts.
Powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 291 horsepower, Telluride can use its four-wheel drive system and eight-inch ground clearance to explore gentle trails regardless of ground conditions. If you want to bring toys on the trip, it can also carry up to 5,000 pounds. It’s also a handsome, surprisingly premium option that will change any outdated opinions you may have about Kia as a brand.
2021 Mazda CX-5
The sleek Mazda CX-5 is probably the best-handling crossover that $ 30,000 can buy. It shares the sporty DNA that is also found in iconic cars like the MX-5 Miata, which means you feel a real connection to the road when you turn the steering wheel, hit the gas and step on the brakes.
Two engines are available in the CX-5, both 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbines, although one can be naturally aspirated and the other turbocharged. The NA engine pumps out 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, while the new turbocharged unit produces up to 250 hp and 320 pounds of torque. Guess which one we would like to own.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71
How can something big and bloated be fun to drive? As I announced in my review, the all-new Tahoe is the king of the road by offering a skilled, smooth and comfortable ride over city streets, highways and paved mountain roads.
The 355 horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 that powers the new Tahoe is capable and refined, making it a pleasure to drive all day, every day. Do the children take to school? No problem. Do you do an uncomplicated cross-country trip with the family? Straight on.
Choose the 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp for even more oomph, but keep in mind that only the 5.3 engine can deliver the maximum towing capacity of 8400 pounds.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Performance Edition
Say what you will about the Mach-E as part of the Mustang series, but the facts are the facts: the Mach-E Performance Edition is 480 horsepower and can do zero to 60 in just 4.5 seconds. Not bad for a heavy, battery-powered, family-run SUV, right?
Of course, all that power has a price, and the supped-up Mach-E will only return 235 miles of range on a full battery, which is significantly less than the Premium, First Edition or California Route 1 models offering from 270 to 300 miles . So what, you need to connect more often, but think about how much fun you want to have on the way to the grocery store?
2021 Acura RDX
The original Acura RDX was a small, fun, turbocharged four-wheel drive crossover. Following a second-generation model with mediocre design and performance, the new generation RDX returns to its roots with a killer look and fantastic handling, making it one of my favorite SUVs to watch on the school’s departure line.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 272 horsepower and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is optional, but of course worth it for driving pleasure and safety in bad weather. You can even get one in NSX’s Thermal Orange if you snap one of the 360 PMC Edition units.
2021 Toyota 4Runner
Whether you are off-roading, mountain biking, camping or just towing jet skis out to sea, there is hardly a better SUV for the outdoor enthusiast family than the Toyota 4Runner. Offered in a variety of trims, from the basic SR5 to the super-skilled (and expensive) TRD Pro, the high suspension, the bulletproof engine and the legendary reliability will get you there.
The current 4Runner has been around for a decade now, so as a car model it is one of the oldest on our list, but it is also proven and predictable. The powerful 4.0-liter V6 engine sends 270 horsepower and 278 pounds of torque to all four wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission with a low-speed transmission.
Higher trimmers on the 4Runner offer a range of off-road items such as creep control, ground descent assistance, locking differentials and Fox shocks along with TRD-tuned coil springs.
2021 BMW X3 M
There can be many reasons to cry about the modern BMW M Car: their weight, price tags, their cyborg-like uninspiring performance, and of course the god-awful grates. But for all these flaws, it is a reinforced BMW M SUV that is willing to tear your faces and your family apart. Key words in BMW X3 M.
Offering 473 horsepower at pressure from its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six – Competition trim increases it to 503 – this compact crossover is extremely fast with a zero to 60 time in just 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 161 km / h. It will even do a quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 119 mph. It is faster than many so-called sports cars.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Let the Germans make a full-size SUV with 603 horsepower (624 wit EQ Boost), a lightning-fast nine-speed automatic transmission and an active suspension system so advanced that you can basically adjust each wheel individually – if for some reason you want do it. It summarizes the GLE 63 S.
Powered by a bi-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine, the GLE SUV, according to our latest review, makes the sports sedan useless. How can it not, with a luggage compartment large enough for strollers, football equipment, luggage, groceries or anything else your day throws at you, plus the ability to get to 60 km / h from a standstill in just 3.7 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph. You will never run late again.
2021 Audi Q5
The Audi Q5 is not exactly a powerful SUV, nor is it a skilled off-roader. So why does it land on this list? Because, like the Mazda CX-5, it offers a fun driving experience with its sporty driving dynamics. It does not rely on bags of power or screaming body kits to put a smile on your face. Instead, the powerful suspension and agile steering make you feel like you’re driving something much more sporty and cooler than you really are.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides a respectable 248 horsepower, and provides enough spice to quickly get around the city without burning too much fuel. Quattro four-wheel drive is standard, so running errands in the winter should not be a problem at all. However, if your pockets are deep enough, you can choose the 349-horsepower SQ5 variant with a 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder.
Another compelling alternative is the Q5 plug-in hybrid, the Q5 55 TFSI e, which despite its silly name offers SQ5 levels while sipping petrol and offers 19 miles of pure electric range. There’s a reason Audi sells so many Q5s.
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