Our Tested SUV Lineup
We take a spin in four of the newest and sharpest SUVs to roll out for 2015
When hybrid powertrains started hitting the market and gas prices continued to climb, there was speculation in the industry that the demise of the full-sized SUV was rapidly approaching. A handful of these mammoth vehicles have disappeared from the marketplace, but the SUV segment doesn’t seem to be fading into the background all that quickly. For those still looking for that combination of ground clearance and miles of room for passengers and cargo, here is a quick look at some of the big, bad SUVs of 2015.
Land Rover LR4 V-6
Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of getting behind the wheel of a number of Land Rover’s vehicles, yet none have won me over as much as the LR4 continues to time after time. The LR4 still carries that chunky, utilitarian, Tonka-esque form, and though packed with a great number of creature comforts and premium finishes, it really looks and feels just as at home in the wilderness as it does in the urban jungle. As of last year, Land Rover ditched its old V-8 engine in favour of a supercharged 3-Litre V-6 capable of 340 horsepower. Not only is the new power plant smoother than its predecessor, but it also gives owners a bit of a break at the pump without sacrificing overall performance.
I used to poke a fair bit of fun at the old QX80 — there was something oddly humorous about its massive and slightly bulbous shape. Thankfully, with this redesign, that’s all changed. The new QX80 is still a massive beast of a vehicle, but those seeking tons of space in a luxurious package will not be disappointed. In either its seven- or eight-seat configuration, the QX80’s plush leather interior, 15-speaker Bose premium audio system and extensive active safety systems are ready to keep all its occupants safe, comfortable and entertained.
The Lincoln Navigator has battled the Cadillac Escalade for North American SUV supremacy for over a decade and a half, and with both models being redesigned for 2015 the fight is far from over. The balance of Lincoln’s lineup has looked very stylish in recent years and, keeping with that trend, the new Navigator is easily the best-looking version to date. Much like the Land Rover LR4, Lincoln has gone to a V-6, using Ford’s 3.5-L Ecoboost engine in the Navigator, which puts out 380 hp and a whopping 460 lb-ft of torque. The new model is also one of the first SUVs of its size and calibre to be built with independent rear suspension, improving its overall ride and handling characteristics.
When it comes to value propositions in the full-sized SUV segment, the Chevy Tahoe is a tough one to beat. Starting at just a hair north of $50,000, the new Tahoe offers the same scale of interior and cargo space in a reasonably well-executed package for roughly half the cost of some of the big premium SUVs. If the endgame is to haul the kids to hockey practice and/or the boat to the lake for the weekend, the Tahoe will get the job done without fuss.