2021 Mid-Size SUVs: The Best Mid-Size SUVs on the U.S. Market

Mid-size crossovers are big money makers these days, so it’s no wonder that pretty much every major carmaker has a vehicle of this size and characteristics. As perfect family haulers, these vehicles usually come with three rows of seats, though there are several models that come with just two rows, which are also very popular. The next year won’t be as interesting as the previous one, when we saw lots of redesigns, but there are tons of novelties you should check before you consider your key options. Therefore, we present to you the most interesting 2021 mid-size SUVs you’ll be able to get on the market. Those are mostly three-row crossovers, but you can find a couple of five-seaters as well. All of them are already pretty amazing vehicles but the upcoming updates will make them even better. So, let’s discuss all those novelties:

Kia Telluride

2021 Mid-Size SUVs telluride

The last-year launch of the new three-row SUV from the Korean manufacturer amazed the automotive world. Simply, it set some new standards in the segment and we are sure that you won’t find a better value for the money in this segment, except for the corporal sibling, Hyundai Palisade, which as amazing. This model has so many things to offer, starting from a hi-quality cabin, which offers attractive styling, quality materials, cushioned ride etc. The adult-friendly third row makes it particularly practical, while the ride is pretty amazing at the same time.

For the next year, we are about to see just a couple of novelties, starting from a new Nightfall appearance package, which offers lots of blacked details, such as 20-inch wheels, grille etc. However, this package is reserved for range-topping and AWD models. Other than that, there are two new color options, Black Copper and Sangria, as well as a couple of new standard features on each trim level.

The base model starts around 33.000 dollars.

Full Review

Hyundai Palisade

2021 Mid-Size SUVs Palisade

The Palisade came out along with the Telluride and it is as amazing. It shares mechanics but comes with a notably different design. However, the driving impressions are quite similar and we are talking about a three-row SUV, which accommodates adults in all three rows and offers a cushioned ride. Also, we really like the interior design, which is full of quality materials and standard tech and safety goodies. Of course, you may count on a potent V6 engine, as well as on pretty good handling.

For the second production year, we will see a new range-topping version called Calligraphy. This model will come with lots of upgrades, both in terms of the exterior and interior. From the outside, this model will be characterized by 20-inch wheels, a distinct grille finish and several other flashy elements. On the inside, you may count on a faux-suede headliner, quilted-leather upholstery on the doors and seats, and a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other than that, there are some notable additions of standard equipment on each trim level, particularly in the mid-range SEL model, which will come standard with things like a 10.3-inch infotainment display, in-dash navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio etc.

When it comes to the price, base models will go around 33.700 dollars.

Mazda CX-9

2021 Mid-Size SUVs Mazda CX-9

Mazda’s biggest crossover definitely deserves the place on this list of best 2021 mid-size SUVs, even though we are talking about one of the older models in the segment. Simply, it is still by far the most fun model to drive among three-row crossovers, which offers solid driving dynamics and impressive handling. At the same time, it offers one of the most luxurious cabins in the class, which features impressive aesthetics and materials quality. On the other side, the third row isn’t as spacious as in some other models and it’s best to be used for kids.

For the next year, we will see a couple of interesting novelties. First of all, the infotainment system has been updated and now comes with new software, as well as a larger 10.3-inch screen, which is standard across the whole range. Also, each trim level comes with several additions to the list of standard equipment. Those who care most about Mazda’s gorgeous aesthetics will probably like the new appearance package called Carbon Edition, which comes with goodies like black exterior trim, a blacked-out grille, black 20-inch wheels, and red leather seats.

The base 2021 Mazda CX-9 will go around 35.000 dollars.

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Toyota Highlander

2021 toyota highlander xse

This mid-size crossover also came completely redesigned last year. The new model brings various kinds of improvements, starting from a new design, improved driving experience, more tech and safety goodies etc. Of course, all this comes paired with the brand’s legendary reliability, so it’s no wonder that this model is still one of the first choices of large families, even though the competition is getting tougher and tougher.

The Highlander isn’t necessarily as spacious as some other rivals but seems decent for most customers. Also, Toyota has a reputation of a not-so-exciting brand, but that might change with the 2021 Highlander. The Japanese manufacturer prepares lots of updates, starting from a new XSE model, which will come with lots of exclusive styling details. Furthermore, you may count on upgraded suspension, which should improve the driving experience.

Another thing we really like about this SUV is its hybrid version. Toyota is well-known as an absolute leader in hybrid technology and this powertrain is one of the best examples. It works super-smooth and also features some pretty impressive numbers. On the other side, the V6 seems like a better option for those who prefer a little bit peppier ride.

The base price of this crossover should go around 35.000 dollars.

Honda Passport

2021 Mid-Size SUVs Passport

While most of the mid-size crossovers are designed as family haulers and come with three rows, this one is a five-seater. If you don’t need that third row, this SUV may be a perfect choice, as it offers a spacious cabin and pretty comfortable ride. At the same time, it is quite fun to drive and such a balance is something you won’t find in many SUVs. Add to this decent off-road performances and you get a perfect 5-seater SUV.

The next year won’t bring too many novelties but there one that seems very important. Starting from the next year’s model, the Passport will finally drop that old 5-inch display and an 8-inch touchscreen will be standard in all models. Under the hood, you may count on a well-known 3.5-V6, which is one of the finest engines in the class.

The current model starts around 32.000 dollars and we don’t expect any bigger changes for the next year.

Full Review

Honda Pilot


The Pilot may not be the freshest, nor the most spacious model in the class but it is still one of the most competitive three-row SUVs on the market. It is super-practical and so easy to drive, while the amount of passenger and cargo space is quite decent. Of course, there is Honda’s excellent V6 engine, while the updates for the 2021 model year will make everything even better.

Among the updates for the next year, the first thing we should mention is a new Special Edition trim level, which slots between EX and Touring models. It comes with a couple of fancy upgrades compared to the EX model, such as black 20-inch wheels, a foot-activated power tailgate, and wireless charging.

Another important thing we should mention is that the new 9-speed automatic gearbox is now standard across the whole range of models. So far, this unit was reserved for higher trim levels. Furthermore, paddle shifters are also standard in all models. Each model also comes standard with goodies like dual-zone climate control and an automatic stop-start system.

Due to all these additions, the base price has been increased and now goes around 33.400 dollars.

Subaru Ascent

2021 mid-size SUVs Ascent

Lovers of this Japanese car brand can finally get a proper three-row crossover, as the Ascent has been around for a couple of years. Of course, it features all those typical Subaru things, starting from a capable turbocharged boxer engine and the legendary AWD system. It is also a very practical crossover, despite the third row isn’t among the most spacious in the class.

The list of standard and available equipment is also impressive in this crossover and will be even more in the next-year model. Each trim level is about to come with a couple of novelties. For example, all models will come standard with LED headlights that turn along with the steering wheel, as well as with seat-belt reminders for passengers in the second and third row. Another important novelty for the next year is the addition of automatic high beams to the list of standard equipment. On the other side, the Touring trim will come with another interesting addition, with the new Slate Black leather upholstery with silver stitching.

$33.345 is the price tag for the base 2021 Subaru Ascent.

VW Atlas

2021 VW Atlas Facelift

Another model that definitely deserves its place on this list of best 2021 mid-size SUVs. This three-row hauler has been introduced a couple of years ago. It has a lot of drawbacks, starting from underpowered engines, poor fuel economy and cheap-looking interior. However, all this doesn’t matter too much if you are looking for a really spacious crossover. This is one of the most spacious models in the class and one of the rare 2021 mid-size SUVs that accommodates adults in the third row with ease. Even though it is a really large vehicle, its maneuverability is quite impressive.

The next-year model comes with lots of notable changes. The front and rear fascias have been updated, while the legendary R-Line version is finally in the offer. This appearance package comes with lots of exclusive details that make this crossover look far better compared to standard versions. Some of the highlights are things like special badging, a body kit, and 20- or 21-inch rims. On the inside, you may count on a new steering wheel, updated infotainment system etc.

The base price starts around 32.500 dollars.

Ford Explorer

2021 mid-size SUVs Explorer

Ford’s player in the segment is also among those many models that came completely new last year. The recent redesign has brought a lot of interesting novelties but the most important is the fact that this model now rides on an RWD platform. That significantly improves the driving experience, especially if we consider that this crossover is available with some really potent powertrain options. However, it also has some pretty weak points, particularly in terms of the interior quality, which is still far away from the level you can find in Japanese or Korean models.

The second production year won’t bring significant changes, but there are some interesting things to mention. First of all, each trim will come with a couple of additions to the list of standard equipment. All models will come standard with heated seats. Also, there is a new appearance package called 20-inch aluminum wheels that are coated in Carbonized Gray paint, mesh grille, dual exhaust, unique body kit and more. Also, there is a new Light Slate interior color in the offer.

Base models will cost around 33.500 dollars.

Chevy Traverse

2021 mid-size SUVs Traverse

Along with the VW Atlas, Chevy Traverse is the biggest and most spacious model in the class. With nearly 121 inches in wheelbase, it is rather a full-size SUV, but the price tag puts it in the same league with other models in the list. Logically, the amount of space is tremendous in all three rows, while the cargo area offers some terrific numbers as well. The Traverse also comes with a potent V6 engine and a decent list of standard equipment but there are few drawbacks as well. The interior quality is subpar, while handling definitely isn’t at the level you would expect from a model in this class.

When it comes to changes, the next-year model won’t bring almost any of them. The main reason lays in the fact that a mid-cycle refresh was planned, but the company eventually decided to delay it, due to the coronavirus pandemics. The facelifted model will come in the next year, as the 2022 model. Meanwhile, you may count on the 2021 Traverse, which comes at a pretty affordable starting price of 31.000 dollars.

Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV

If you don’t need the third row and you’re looking for something affordable 2021 mid-size SUVs, search no more. The Santa Fe offers an impressive balance between price and quality and it is arguably one of the best SUVs in the class. We like its quality interior, which comes in a combination with a cushioned ride and lots of standard equipment. While this is not the most fun SUV to drive, we like the fact that the fuel economy is pretty good, no matter the engine choice.

The list of novelties for the next year is pretty big, as we are talking about a typical mid-cycle update. First of all, there are big visual novelties, especially at the front. There, you can notice a new cascading grille, new headlights etc. The rear end has been updated as well. On the inside, you may count on a completely new center stack, which comes with new controls such as drive mode selector, as well as with a new 10.25-inch touchscreen. Another big novelty is a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

The base 2021 Santa Fe will go around 27.000 dollars.