Best Mid-Size SUVs in Canada
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Best Mid-Size SUVs in Canada: Our 10 Top Picks

It’s no secret that the mid-size SUV has replaced the minivan. It’s easy to understand why. These vehicles offer similar if not identical cargo space while adding the all-wheel drive capability and towing capacity of a sport utility vehicle. They’ve become so popular, that pretty much all car makers now offer one, and the selection has never been this good.

Here are our 10 top picks for the best and most current 2-row, mid-size models.

10) Chevrolet Traverse – practical & affordable

Photo: Chevrolet 

Who is this for? Large families looking for the practicality of a minivan but still need the capability of an SUV.

Why we like it

  • Largest cargo hold in its class
  • Minivan practicality with the brawn of an SUV
  • Tried and proven drivetrain

The only reason the Chevrolet Traverse is last on our list is because the entire segment has become so fierce. In other words, it’s not a bad vehicle. It’s just outclassed by competitors that offer more for similar money.

That all being said, the fact that the Traverse is often forgotten by modern families is a bit of a tragedy. Blame GM’s past for this, as Chevy’s midsize SUV has some endearing qualities that allow it to remain an interesting buy: things like a tried and proven 3.6L V6 engine, the largest cargo capacity in the segment at 2,780 litres and a more than ample 5,000-pound towing rating. 

There’s also the fact that the Traverse kicks off at a much lower price point than its main rivals. A base model LS will only set you back $47,898, while a decently equipped Traverse LT costs $47,898, still several thousands of dollars less than a similarly equipped Honda Pilot. 

09) GMC Acadia – customizable with luxury options

Photo: GMC 

Who is this for? Large families looking for something a bit sportier (AT4) or classier (Denali) without spending too much.

Why we like it

  • A choice of two potent engines
  • AT4 and Denali trims add versality to the lineup
  • You’re getting a lot of SUV for the price

If the Chevrolet Traverse has a more pragmatic approach, its corporate cousin, the GMC Acadia, brings a bit more customization to the segment. Consumers can opt between a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder good for 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, or a naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 that pumps out 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive comes standard.

Like the Traverse, the Acadia is all about getting more for less. It also offers two unique trim levels in order to offer even more customization. On one end, there’s the AT4, which adds some neat accessories to enhance its off-road capability. Canadians desiring something a tad more luxurious can opt for the Acadia Denali which adds luxury features like thick leather seats and chrome accents, all at an affordable price point.

08) Dodge Durango – V8 power & high towing capacity

Photo: Dodge 

Who is this for? Families looking for the highest towing rating in the segment, but that also enjoy the deep rumble of a V8 engine.

Why we like it

  • Highest towing rating in the segment
  • A wide variety of engine choices
  • Durango Hellcat is a future classic

In this segment, the engine of choice is typically a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a naturally aspirated V6. Nobody, except for the Durango, offers a V8. As a matter of fact, Dodge goes one step further by offering not one, but three flavors of V8 on top of the standard 3.6L V6. 

At the bottom of the V8 hierarchy, there’s the 5.7L HEMI, which produces 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque and can tow 7,400 pounds. Then there’s an available 6.4L V8 that’s good for 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque that can tow up to a whopping 8,700 pounds. Still not enough? How about the 710-horsepower Durango Hellcat? 

In all its forms, the Durango is a beast. Heck, even in its base V6 form, it tows more than most SUVs in this class (6,200 pounds) and still offers one of the largest cargo capacities in the segment (2,409 liters).

07) Hyundai Palisade – premium feel without the price

Photo: Hyundai 

Who is this for? Families looking for a premium-feeling SUV that can tow a decent-sized trailer without breaking the bank.

Why we like it

  • Premium cabin and a lot of technology at a decent price
  • Class-competitive towing rating
  • Spacious and comfortable

Hyundai’s Palisade is an SUV that does everything it should with an added touch of sophistication and luxury. The Palisade’s 5,000-pound rating is right smack in the middle of the segment and its 3.8L V6 is potent, smooth, and incredibly reliable. The Palisade’s 2,446-litre total cargo space is up there among the highest in the segment. 

Not everyone will like the Palisade’s polarizing looks, but one thing is for certain: this SUV sure knows how to envelop its occupants in utmost comfort. The Palisade’s build quality is second to none, with a premium feel that makes it appear much more expensive than it is. 

Then there’s all the standard features you’ll be getting at an attainable price point; things like heated and ventilated seats, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and one of the most impressive autonomous driving systems this side of a Tesla. The Palisade is clear proof of how far Hyundai's SUV model lineup has come in such a short timeframe.

06) Nissan Pathfinder – proven 3.5L V6 engine

Photo: Nissan 

Who is this for? Families looking for a reliable SUV that can tow a good amount of weight all while maintaining an excellent resale value.

Why we like it

  • 6,000-pound towing rating
  • Well packaged and well priced
  • Tried and proven V6 engine

When Nissan overhauled the Pathfinder for the 2022 model year, it made sure to not change what consumers loved about the old model. This meant keeping the tried and proven 3.5L V6 and maintaining the class-leading 6,000-pound towing rating. Oh, and Nissan listened to the complaints from the old model. Gone is the dreaded continuously variable transmission (CVT) and in its place comes a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic gearbox.

The Pathfinder doesn’t reinvent the segment but shines bright in the areas that matter. It’s refined, sophisticated, and loaded with neat storage solutions, like a tablet located over the glovebox and compartments installed underneath the center console. The customizable digital gauge pod is both attractive and functional, while the second row easily moves forward to give way to a spacious third row. 

And while its cargo space isn’t at the top of the segment, the 2,280-litre rating is a net improvement over its predecessor (2,251 litres) and still plenty competitive. 

Read our full story - 2022 Nissan Pathfinder review

05) Kia Telluride – brawny yet sleek styling

Photo: Kia 

Who is this for? Families looking for an SUV that looks like nothing else on the road while keeping running costs at reasonable prices. 

Why we like it

  • Land Rover vibes at an affordable price point
  • Reliable V6 engine
  • Competitive towing rating

Yes, the Kia Telluride is a mechanical clone to the Hyundai Palisade, but it looks and feels like much more than that. For starters, its design is much more engaging, appearing more adventure-ready and, at times, being mistaken for a Range Rover. From every angle, the Telluride looks like it’s ready to take on mother nature thanks to its outdoorsy vibes.

Then there’s the interior, which simply does a better job of integrating storage solutions than the Hyundai. Its 3.8L V6 is just as reliable and pumps out the same 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, and the Telluride will also tow up to 5,000 pounds. 

Here’s a fun fact though: while the Telluride rides on the same platform as its Hyundai twin, it’s more practical, boasting a 2,463-litre rating versus the Palisade’s 2,446 litres. Basically, the Telluride is a better product than the Palisade, and the good news is that it’s not necessarily more expensive.

04) Subaru Ascent – AWD at its best

Photo: Subaru 

Who is this for? Families looking for an SUV with the sure-footedness of a Subaru. 

Why we like it

  • Punch turbocharged engine
  • Subaru symmetrical all-wheel drive
  • Spacious and capable

The Ascent SUV is proof that Subaru’s full-time, symmetrical all-wheel drive system and flat-four Boxer engine can make any kind of vehicle handle well. Yes, all SUVs in this category come with all-wheel drive, but none of them perform like Subaru’s during a tough Canadian blizzard.

Thanks to a low center of gravity created by the turbocharged 2.4L four-cylinder, the Ascent drives like any other Subaru. This means it’s always well planted on the ground, never feels unsettled when entering a corner too fast and simply makes driving a mid-size SUV a fun affair. Some might not like the elastic feel of the CVT, but Subaru’s setup is intelligently thought out thanks to simulated gear changes that make it feel like an automatic.

And don’t let that four-cylinder fool you. Although it’s missing two cylinders, the Ascent will tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. It’s also massive in there, yielding great storage solutions, more cup holders than you’ll ever need and a class-competitive 2,449 litres of total cargo space.

03) Ford Explorer – a trim level for everyone

Photo: Ford 

Who is this for? Families looking for a tough SUV that offers various kinds of engine configurations. 

Why we like it

  • Wide range of available engines
  • Hybrid option lowers your gas bills
  • Class-leading towing ratings

Ford’s Explorer had become a household name that’s endured six generations. Entirely overhauled for the 2022 model year, it brings to the table unique design language and a choice of compelling engine choices while remaining highly competitive.

At the bottom of the ladder, the 2.3L EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes a stout 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, all while towing up to 5,300-pounds. Consumers can then opt for a hybrid option that will still haul up to 5,000 pounds. Those wanting a bit more performance can opt for the Explorer ST and Platinum trims with their twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine. That one cranks out an astonishing 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque and cranks the towing rating up to 5,600 pounds.

Looking for something that’s a bit more off-road oriented? Try the available Explorer Timberline model, complete with offroad tires, skid plates and a slew of off-road ready accessories. 

Here’s our look at all of Ford’s utility vehicles - Ford’s SUV & Crossover Lineup: All 8 Models Previewed

02) Toyota Highlander – top all-rounder with great resale value

Photo: Toyota 

Who is this for? Families looking for a sensible, reliable, and fuel-efficient SUV that maintains a fantastic market value.

Why we like it

  • Fuel-efficient hybrid powerplant
  • The expected Toyota quality and reliability
  • Class-competitive towing rating

With the Highlander, Toyota isn’t reinventing the segment, yet it still manages to remain at the top of this list. That’s because this SUV checks off the boxes that actually matter for consumers. For starters, a tried and proven 3.5L V6 powers the standard model, all while maintaining a class-competitive 5,000-pound towing rating. 

Yes, in 2023, the Highlander replaces that V6 for a turbocharged 2.4L four-cylinder, an engine that still needs to build its reputation. The V6, on the other hand, has powered everything at Toyota – from Camrys to Tacomas – and has been nearly bulletproof.

Consumers who don’t need to tow might prefer the extra frugal Highlander hybrid. While the 3,500-pound is a bit behind of the pack, the 6.5L/100 km fuel consumption average should please several families at the pump. Add to that Toyota’s reputation for low running costs and one of the best resale values on the market and it’s obvious that the Highlander is a no-brainer purchase.

Here’s the entire lineup - Toyota’s SUV Lineup: All 8 Models Previewed

01) Honda Pilot – checks off most of the boxes

Photo: Honda 

Who is this for? Families looking for a tried and tested SUV that performs like a sports car and seats up to eight passengers.

Why we like it

  • Powerful and fuel-efficient V6 engine
  • The expected Honda reliability and resale value
  • Class-competitive cargo hold and towing rating

The Honda Pilot is one of the oldest models on this list, yet, it ranks first. Why is that? Because no other mid-size SUV has still managed to beat Honda in this segment. The Pilot’s 3.5L V6 engine pulls strong thanks to its VTEC technology. It makes great sounds, especially at higher RPM, allowing this SUV to perform like no other in this category.

The Pilot is also one heck of a handler too, thanks to a solid platform and Honda’s renowned iVTM-4 all-wheel drive system that changed characteristics according to the truck’s drive modes. The Pilot will tow 5,000 pounds when equipped with the tow package, which remains in the heat of segment, and while larger SUVs have come to steal its lunch money, it still holds its own thanks to 2,372 liters of total cargo space. 

Add to all that impeccable build quality, witty storage solutions and Honda’s expected reliability and resale value, and it’s clear to see why the Pilot is still the king of mid-size SUVs – for now. 

Ready to buy a used mid-size SUV from this list?

View all these medium-sized SUVs and more for sale here. Every vehicle from Canada Drives has completed a 150 Point Inspection, comes with a no-charge 30 Day / 1,500 km warranty, and is covered by our 7-Day money back return policy.

Or, take a look at our other top SUV picks:

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