It’s that time of year again. The leaves have changed and fallen, you’ve cooked turkey and mashed potatoes for the in-laws and now it’s time to string up the Christmas lights and raise the tree. Since the biggest shopping day of the year has come and gone, we wanted to give you the scoop on finding a great deal on a holiday people-hauler to get you through both bad weather and terrible in-laws. Plus, if you show up in one of these great SUV’s you can show your father-in-law (or mother-in-law) just how financially savvy you are.
Here are five great SUVs to consider scooping up if you plan to head over the river and through the woods this holiday season.
According to Edmunds.com, the Honda CR-V is big enough to handle 4 people and their gear, and comfortable enough to get the entire family there with little trouble. This small SUV was redesigned in 2007 making it a bit quieter inside and changing the tailgate mechanism from a side-opening door to a liftgate. The CR-V got greater fuel efficiency and in 2010 it got a whopping 14 more horsepower, improved handling, and Bluetooth, too. Another bonus of owning a Honda: you are buying into an incredibly reliable brand.
Another pick by Edmunds.com is also from a superbly reliable brand: Toyota. The Japanese car company is well known for having great cars and SUVs at great price points. Bonus if you can grab one that’s low on mileage and wear and tear. Get your choice of 4 or 6 cylinder engines and an optional third-row seating arrangement. You can also get a Highlander with all-wheel drive which will help you navigate those winter roads on the way to grandmother’s house. A 2008-2013 Highlander gets more interior space, a standard third-row seat and a 40/20/40 second seat split that can be dropped and/or removed to create a pathway to the way-back which makes loading large presents and people into the rear a lot easier.
According to Kiplinger, the 2013 Tahoe is “big enough to fit an entire baseball team and their equipment.” Complete with optional fold and stow second row seats and 16.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row seat, the Tahoe comes equipped with Bluetooth and an 8,500 lb tow rating. Prices in the private market are hovering right around $27,000 for a used Tahoe. Oh, and if you can’t find a 2013 Tahoe, try for a GMC Yukon which has some slight design variations from the Tahoe, but gets the same mechanical bits.
Kiplinger gives the 2012 Audi Q5 the nod in its used car list as combining both good looks and great ride. It can carry 5 comfortably and gets a suite of luxury options including high-tech features like Audi’s infotainment system and a 2.0-liter, 4 cylinder turbo engine.
U.S. News & World Report ranks the 012 Lexus RX Hybrid as one of the best used hybrid SUVs you can buy. It gets great fuel economy (EPA estimated 32/28 mpg city/highway) along with the typical Lexus interior silence and luxury feel. It has a V6 engine that is mated to two electric motors (three when it’s equipped with all-wheel drive) which, according to reviewers, gives it ample torque and speed. You get keyless access, push-button start and automatic dual climate control. For a comfortable and rather green SUV this winter, look at the Lexus RX Hybrid.
Before you head off to another helping of turkey, ham, and stuffing, be prepared to haul family and gifts by snapping up one of these great vehicles for your winter trip. You and your in-laws won't regret it.
Digital media content producer/consultant & former CNN senior producer, now running CN'TRL : Cars, Tech, Real Estate & Luxury.