The Best SUVs Of 2022

Just a couple of decades ago, the sport utility vehicle was a niche segment still very much in its infancy, but now, it seems like the rise of the SUV is unstoppable. Every major manufacturer now offers at least one SUV, and sales figures keep heading on a one-way trend upward (via New York Times). While it was once the case that purists would scoff at any new SUV that didn't feature Jeep-level off-road capability, most cars sold in the segment today are designed for the road above all else, with all-terrain features simply being an afterthought (or savvy marketing tool, as the case may be).

With an ever-expanding pool of buyers comes an increasing range of wants and needs, and the SUV segment has diversified to accommodate this. Some buyers still want a good, old-fashioned people mover that will remain reliable no matter what, while some buyers are lusting after ever more powerful engines and the latest in cutting-edge technology. No matter what you're looking for, these 12 SUVs should have you covered, as each offers an excellent all-around package while boasting unique strengths that make them stand out from an increasingly crowded field of competitors.


BMW took over the Rover Group in 1994 and used its expertise to develop its first-ever production 4x4, the X5. The first-gen car shared some of its design and several components with the L332 Land Rover, but it was built with to focus on its on-road manners more than its off-road handling (via BMWBlog). It's one of the key models that kickstarted the now-booming luxury SUV market, and despite many changes over the years, the car's basic formula has remained the same. The latest generation of the X5 debuted in 2019, and impressed with its punchy range of engines and winning combination of practicality and luxury.

It's no alternative to a traditional Jeep or Land Rover, granted, but when we took the X5 around an off-road course, we were impressed by its all-terrain chops nonetheless. A gravel road or muddy trail shouldn't faze the car in the slightest, and its surprising agility will also translate well to squeezing in and out of tight parking lot spots. And let's face it, that's likely the only "tricky terrain" it'll face. The X5 might not be as purebred an SUV as some of its other similarly-priced rivals, but for a lavishly-equipped people mover that, in top-spec form, is faster than you'd expect, the X5 remains a great choice.

Genesis GV70

Hyundai's luxury offshoot Genesis may still be the new kid on the block, but the brand has quickly established its footing. The compact GV70 debuted shortly after the excellent mid-size GV80 and proved that the bigger car was no case of beginner's luck for South Korea's finest. It's just as luxurious as its biggest sibling, offering top-tier fit and finish while undercutting its German competition by a decent margin. Expect swathes of leather inside, with a crystal drive mode dial and plenty of sleek polished metal accents throughout the car.

Genesis has done away with the need for traditional keys by creating a smartphone app to unlock the car doors and then slotting a fingerprint sensor neatly behind the steering wheel to turn the car on. Higher-spec cars come equipped with Genesis' Highway Driving Assist II, which our reviewer reported was one of the better semi-autonomous systems to use. When you're not on the highway, both the GV70's standard 300 horsepower 2.5L turbo-four engine and the optional 375 horsepower twin-turbo V6 provide plenty of poke. All in all, a very convincing alternative to the usual raft of German luxury SUVs, made even better by the fact that the Genesis is significantly cheaper than most of them.

Mazda CX-9

The three-row Mazda CX-9 isn't the most frugal SUV in its segment, nor is it the roomiest in the back. However, it boasts one quality that makes it unique among its peers: it's actually fun to drive. Every trim features a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but there's an optional all-wheel drive system for those who need the extra grip in colder climates. From the 2021 model year, the CX-9 got an infotainment refresh too, with a new, more intuitive interface that's a significant improvement over previous iterations of the system.

It's also worth pointing out that the car got an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, placing it among the safest choices for transporting family and friends. But, all of those things will matter less when you actually take the car out on the road and put your foot down. Our review found the car to be surprisingly entertaining to drive both at road-legal speeds and above, with the CX-9's firm suspension allowing for much flatter cornering than anything else in its segment. Steering is precise if a bit light, and engaging Sport mode makes the car hold on to lower gears that little bit longer to squeeze every last drop of power out of the engine. Make no mistake — this isn't the most practical, roomy, or even affordable SUV in its segment, but it's hands down the most interesting to drive on a daily basis.

Ford Bronco

The revamped Bronco launched to great fanfare and quickly proved it was more than just a nostalgia-soaked tribute to the original. The vehicle is a highly practical all-rounder, with plenty of off-road capability, but not to the point where it compromised the car's on-road manners. The car's suite of standard tech features is quite generous, with a 12-inch central touchscreen that is both well-arranged and simple to use. With an optional 2.7L turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine on offer, the Bronco packs plenty of horses under the hood (330 of them to be exact, with 415 lb-ft of torque). A seven-speed manual transmission is available, but sadly only with the base-spec turbocharged inline-four engine, and not the optional V6.

The Bronco's immense popularity has meant that waiting lists are currently long, and any dealership that does happen to have a Bronco sat on the forecourt will most likely be charging significantly over the retail price for it. That said, it's difficult to dislike the SUV's unique charms and distinctive, boxy look, so if you can bear the wait, it's well worth considering.

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride has become one of the most in-demand SUV models on the market, with the latest 2023 model year car going on sale at the end of October 2022. The 2023 model gets a mild update over last year's car, with one of the biggest changes being the launch of a new X-Pro model that's supposed to be the most off-road-ready Telluride to date. The Telluride shines both off-road and on. Most of the oily bits remain unchanged for the 2023 model year, including the 261 horsepower 3.8L V6 engine, and the X-Pro trim is mainly a software upgrade rather than a hardware one.

It's fine along a sandy trail, but it's hardly going to challenge Land Rover or Jeep for trail domination. Still, that's not what makes the Telluride a winner, as its biggest selling point is arguably its upmarket interior. Sit inside the car and you'd be mistaken for thinking that it was a lot more expensive than it was, as top-spec trims get lashings of leather, a sleek dash, and two 12.3-inch displays for driver information and infotainment. A Kia representative noted that the Telluride's strong sales were being driven by "more affluent, younger, demanding customers," and that the upgraded interior was a direct reflection of their demands. Clearly, the feedback is working, as the 2023 Telluride is an even better evolution of an already great SUV.


The recently-launched 2023 model year BMW X1 marked the start of the third generation of the Bavarian company's smallest SUV, and with this new generation comes a host of upgrades. There's now only one engine option available: a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 241 horsepower, 13 more than the outgoing car (via Car and Driver). Only one trim is available too, the all-wheel drive xDrive28i, with power being transferred to the wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission. Expect the usual BMW sporty driving dynamics and plenty of grunt off the line, as BMW claims the car can pull 0-60 mph in a little over six seconds.

Inside, the car's systems now run on BMW's latest OS8 operating system, with a built-in digital assistant and infotainment available through a new curved display panel. Things like the navigation have also been upgraded, with an Augmented View system that overlays animated arrows onto the map to make it easier to work out where you need to go. The X1 is a top-tier premium crossover that's perfect for making everyday drives that little bit more interesting. Just don't ask it to do any actual off-roading.

Land Rover Defender

The relaunched Defender has proven to be one of the most controversial SUVs of recent years, with Land Rover choosing to bring the car upmarket and focus on buyers who will never leave the tarmac as well as purists who just want to hit the trails. The Defender is admirably good at satisfying both ends of the spectrum, with even more capabilities off-road than its forbidden fruit predecessor, yet a ride that's comfortable enough around town to trick drivers into thinking they're in a Range Rover.

The car's upright proportions and 3D Surround Camera feature make it easy to navigate crowded parking lots, but it's also useful for spotting obstacles on an uneven trail. Likewise, the Terrain Response system ensures that the car always feels smooth and sophisticated on the road, but it remains fully equipped to tackle sand, mud, or rocks at the press of a button. While Land Rover does still suffer from a mixed reputation when it comes to reliability, and the Defender is far from the cheapest SUV in its segment, it's hard to argue with its all-around capabilities as both a comfortable daily driver and a hardcore off-roader.

Volvo XC90

The XC90 is arguably the car that's responsible for rejuvenating the whole of Volvo's range, both in terms of its design and in terms of its sales figures. The long-running SUV has been a staple of the Swedish brand's lineup since it launched, and the latest iteration is more of a gentle improvement on the last model year than anything else. The 2023 XC90 adds two new mild-hybrid drivetrains to the range, namely the B5 and B6, which replace the T5 and T6 respectively. There's also a new Google-based infotainment system, which features integrated Google Maps, Google Play, and Google Assistant.

The basic design of the car both inside and out has been kept the same, with the cabin being a particular highlight. With its soft-touch materials and chic design, the XC90 remains one of the most inviting SUVs to sit in, both for the driver and for passengers. It's roomy, airy, and all the controls are intuitive, so you'll feel at home right away. Not to mention, it's still as smooth and relaxing to drive as ever, with the high-spec T8 Recharge trim being the highlight of the range.

Porsche Cayenne

The latest generation of the Porsche Cayenne continues to push the boundaries of how enjoyable an SUV can be to drive while retaining its practicality. Despite its heavy curb weight and generous interior space, the Cayenne feels like a true performance car to drive, with plenty of poke available from even the base-spec 355 horsepower V6 engine. Upgrade to the top-tier 460 horsepower twin-turbo V8 and you'll have a car that can leave some sports cars standing off the line, and you can still take your whole family along for the ride.

Every gas-powered option is, unsurprisingly, very thirsty, but there's also a 455-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain on offer for 2022 for the more environmentally conscious. The car's options list is both extensive and very pricey, but then, Porsches aren't exactly known for being an excellent value, anyway. While its high price and brutish performance mean that it's not for everyone, you'll be stretched to find a better example of a truly "sporty" SUV than the Cayenne.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Let's address the elephant in the room: yes, this is an electric crossover SUV with the iconic Mustang badge on the front, and no, Mach-E drivers will never be accepted by purists as "true" Mustang owners. Put the questionable badging choice aside, though, and the Mustang Mach-E is a great athletic EV that manages to strike the balance between performance and everyday drivability. It looks the part, with styling cues borrowed from the regular Mustang and a silhouette that our reviewer reports is smaller and leaner in reality than it looks in the pictures.

Interior quality is great, especially given that it's not always been Ford's strong point in the past, although the huge 15.5-inch central touchscreen won't be for everyone. The layout of the controls is clearly Tesla-inspired, with very few physical buttons and most things controlled via the touchscreen, but it gives the car a more futuristic feel than the brand's other models. As is often the case with EVs, performance is punchy right off the line, with Ford claiming a 0-60 mph time of just 4.8 seconds, and less on GT models. It's certainly not a car for the average Mustang buyer, but with the Mach-E, Ford has opened up the pony badge to a whole new group of potential customers — and made an EV that's great in its own right in the process.

Chevrolet Suburban

The Suburban is the largest SUV that Chevy offers, and it's perfect for hauling large families, lots of luggage, trailers, or whatever else you want it to. The 2023 Suburban recently launched with GM's latest Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving tech, but other than that, not much has changed over the past few years. The thing is, it doesn't need to, as the reason the Suburban remains a perennial bestseller despite being one of the oldest nameplates on the road is simple: space. There are very few passenger vehicles on the market that offer such a cavernous interior as the Suburban, which means buyers can usually look past the SUV's other shortcomings.

It might be huge, for example, but the interior isn't always up to scratch in terms of quality, especially in higher trims where prices start to creep uncomfortably close to true luxury rivals. Its base suspension is also just okay rather than great, and suffice it to say, it's far from the most efficient SUV on the market. But, all those things matter less if you're just looking for a big car that can haul people or cargo with ease, and for that alone, the Suburban retains its title as one of America's best SUVs.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

It might be an order of magnitude over most people's budgets, but there's no denying that the Rolls-Royce Cullinan represents the ultimate in luxury SUVs for the lucky few who can afford it. The 2022 model comes jam-packed with all the usual Rolls-Royce features, including raised Pavilion seating for a better view out of the rear windows and a built-in champagne cooler slotted neatly between the rear seats. It's also more capable than you'd expect off-road, although very few buyers will likely ever feel the need to test that out for themselves.

If a "regular" Cullinan still isn't palatial enough, Rolls-Royce also offers a Black Badge version that costs close to half a million dollars. SlashGear drove the Cullinan Black Badge and called it "an unexpected lesson in simplicity," as, despite its vast array of complex systems and luxury features, each is designed with the goal of making life as easy for the owner as possible. Very few cars can create such a sense of exclusivity, yet be so straightforward to understand from the get-go. It's the polar opposite of the typical luxury barge that requires an instruction manual to make the most of, but we think it's all the better for it.