The Ultimate Car Guide for Gentlemen – Fullsize Utility

Buick Enclave

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With luxurious appointments and features, the Enclave is Buick’s upscale family hauler with refinement that rivals more expensive vehicles. Power is delivered by a 281-hp 3.6-liter V-6, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The Enclave is a quiet, refined crossover with a long list of optional equipment. Some of those features hike the price of the car quickly, though, and many of those options are only marginally useful.

Chevrolet Tahoe

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The Tahoe is a full-size, body-on-frame boat hauler that rules the SUV world, with loads of tech to keep you safer on the road. Features such as lane keep assist and forward collision alert help you navigate congested roads, while Apple CarPlay integrates phone, texts, maps, and music. In addition there is 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi and up to six USB ports and six power outlets. A 355-hp V-8 pairs with a six-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is an option on all models.

Chevrolet Traverse

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Although the Traverse looks like an SUV, it’s really more of a camouflaged minivan, especially considering its spacious cabin with room for eight. Powered by a 281-hp V-6 and driving either the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic, performance is merely adequate. Despite sharp steering, the handling is rather bland, but the ride is compliant. Many rivals are simply more engaging to drive, including some actual minivans. Luckily, an all-new Traverse goes on sale in fall 2017.

Dodge Durango

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The Durango remains big, brawny, and masculine in an era of soft, curvaceous crossovers—and it’s also not as trucklike as other large SUVs. Powertrains include a 293-hp 3.6-liter V-6 or a 360-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, both offered in rear- or all-wheel-drive guises; an eight-speed automatic is standard. The V-6 can tow 6200 pounds; the V-8 can tow 7400 pounds. The optional third row makes room for seven. Uconnect infotainment with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and satellite radio is optional.

Ford Expedition / Expedition EL

The lane-hogging Expedition and the even-longer Expedition EL provide room for eight adults and acres of cargo space. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 365 hp; a six-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional. Some may scoff at a V-6 in a rig of this size, but its 9200-lb towing capacity (when properly equipped) should silence naysayers. An all-new Expedition goes on sale in fall 2017.

Ford Flex

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The funky Flex is Ford’s answer to those seeking a modern version of the old-school station wagon. Its three rows are standard and can accommodate seven passengers with room to spare. Two V-6s are offered, both displacing 3.5 liters and mated to a six-speed automatic. The base engine makes 287 hp with front- or all-wheel drive; the EcoBoost twin-turbo makes 365 hp with standard all-wheel drive. Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and a 12-speaker Sony audio system are optional.

GMC Acadia

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The jack-of-all-trades Acadia is ready to tackle the trails—and carpool lanes—with plenty of storage and room for up to seven. Touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE connectivity, and mobile Wi-Fi is available. A 193-hp 2.5-liter four or a 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is optional. Extras like automatic emergency braking and a novel “rear-seat reminder” boost the Acadia’s safety street cred.

GMC Yukon / Yukon XL

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As capable as they are handsome, the Yukon and the stretched Yukon XL are multitasking machines. They offer seating for up to eight, a maximum tow rating of 8100 pounds, and optional four-wheel drive. A 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic powers SLE and SLT trims; the chrome-laden, leather-lined Denali offers near-Escalade levels of luxury and gets a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and an eight-speed automatic. An 8.0-inch infotainment system, 4G LTE connectivity, and onboard Wi-Fi are standard.

Honda Pilot

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If a stylish, useful, and trouble-free ride is what you’re after, well—ladies and gentlemen, this is your Pilot speaking. The 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 powers the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic; top-level Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed. The all-wheel-drive system offers torque vectoring for better handling and modes for snow, sand, and mud. The Pilot’s three rows provide plenty of room for all and a host of active-safety tech is available to keep everyone safe.

Mazda CX-9

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Putting zoom-zoom charisma into a three-row crossover is no easy feat, but Mazda does it with the CX-9—earning it a 2017 10Best award. A well-tuned suspension offers great handling; steering is light but precise. A 250-hp 2.5-liter turbo four mates with a six-speed automatic and either front- or all-wheel drive. The EPA estimates 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for front-drive models; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are standard on Grand Touring and Signature trims.

Nissan Armada

As Nissan’s double-duty SUV, the Armada can tow up to 8500 pounds and has space for eight. Sold in Infiniti showrooms as the QX80, the Armada inherits its luxury-branded counterpart’s plush interior and comes standard with navigation, Bose audio, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are optional on SL models and standard on the Platinum. A 390-hp 5.6-liter V-8 drives the rear or all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic.

Nissan Pathfinder

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Once an off-road-ready ruffian, the Pathfinder has matured and has happily found itself in a family way. There’s seating for seven with easy access to the third row, even with a child seat installed on the second-row bench. The 3.5-liter V-6 makes 284 hp and drives the front or all four wheels through a CVT. The Pathfinder feels as at home performing local weekend errands as it does on long-distance highway trips; just don’t expect any behind-the-wheel fun from this minivan alternative.

Toyota Highlander

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Inconspicuous and sensible, the Highlander has what it takes to haul up to eight in quiet comfort. A 185-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder or optional 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6 both pair with a six-speed automatic; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. A hybrid combines the V-6 with two electric motors; we saw 24 mpg in our test. The Highlander provides an adequate driving experience, but it’s more focused on interior niceties and storage. An updated Highlander debuts in November.

Toyota Land Cruiser

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The Land Cruiser is a world-wide legend, known from Aruba to Zimbabwe to be one of the most competent SUVs ever made. Featuring a sturdy body-on-frame design and a 5.7-liter 381-hp V-8 engine with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive, it offers serious off-roading ability. Creature comforts are addressed, too, with three rows of leather seating for eight (the front seats are ventilated), Toyota’s Entune infotainment, and wireless headphones for the rear entertainment system.

Toyota Sequoia

Image result for toyota sequoia 2017The SUV that time forgot—Toyota’s Sequoia—offers a cavernous interior and flexible cargo space, but not much else. A 5.7-liter V-8 drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive is optional. Standard infotainment with navigation provides adequate connectivity, and the top Platinum trim gets adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. The Sequoia is simply outclassed by its competition, and is in need of an update—luckily, one is due in fall 2017.

Volkswagen Atlas

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Volkswagen’s all-new three-row crossover with room for seven arrives next spring—it should be worth the wait. On the inside, two adults can sit in the third row with luggage stored behind them. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink are on hand; a 12-speaker Fender audio system is optional. A 238-hp turbo four with front-wheel drive is standard, while a 280-hp V-6 with all-wheel drive is optional. Safety tech includes forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning with steering assist.

About the Author Arnold Sithole

I help men look and feel their best by providing them with information to make affordable choices and to take decisive actions so they can get what they want in the world.

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