The SUV and crossover craze isn’t showing any signs of stopping. To the contrary, it would seem that elevated-wheelbase vehicles are only warming up so to speak.
Of 10 best-selling vehicles in the U.S. during the first three quarters of 2018, four are crossovers. It might not look like much, but don’t forget that first three spots are traditionally off-limits to anything but a trio of full-size pickup trucks. Not counting the F-150, Silverado, and Ram, it’s the Nissan Murano, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CR-V who find themselves atop the list of average American buyer’s most popular choices. The Chevrolet Equinox compact rounds off the selection.
Things are similar all across the globe as crossovers and SUVs amounted to almost 28 percent of the global market share in 2017 – an increase from 16.5 percent in 2014. Needless to say, this trend will carry along for a while, possibly allowing the SUVs and crossovers to reach as much as 50 percent market share in coming years.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what might be the very best 2020 SUV or at least pinpoint a few of the likeliest of candidates for that accolade.
10. 2020 Ford Bronco
Back by popular demand as well-put by the Blue Oval – the Bronco is arguably the most anticipated vehicle of the decade. At least when it comes to the U.S. market. The iconic nameplate returns after years of speculation and an even longer hiatus which lasted since 1996. It’s scheduled to be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan alongside the mid-size pickup truck Ranger which is also making a comeback to these shores.
Expectations are high for the sixth-generation Bronco, but new models will be neither the old-school 2-door compact off-roaders nor the bulky full-size SUVs of the eighties and nineties. Instead, they’ll be a modern interpretation of a crossover/SUV that slots somewhere in between.
The 4-door mid-size SUV will sport a removable top, though. Even more importantly, its axles will be supplied by Dana, and both front and rear ones might end up being solid. Prices should start somewhere in the higher $20k range for base models and work their way up from there.
The forthcoming Bronco’s powertrain lineup is still shrouded by a veil of mystery. It’s likely to share both the engines and transmission with the U.S.-spec Ranger since they share the same platform as well. That would mean the Bronco could also profit from the Focus RS’ 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder mill of still undisclosed specs at this moment. Another possibility is a 2.7L EcoBoost V6, but that is still to be confirmed. A hybrid is also in the works, but will most likely arrive at a later date.
As for transmissions, only a 10-speed automatic has been confirmed so far, but there are some quiet murmurs about a possible manual gearbox too (a new 7-speed unit more precisely). Apparently, Ford is working with Getrag on a new 7-speed unit but it’s unclear whether this trans will make it in time for MY 2020 and whether it’ll make it to the Bronco at all, for that matter.
With 2019 already slowly giving way, we expect more substantial info from Dearborn in the coming months alongside the long-awaited production model’s debut. Can the Bronco become the best 2020 SUV overnight? We will most certainly find out.
09. 2020 Porsche Cayenne
With all due respect to the iconic 911, it’s the luxury SUV that has triggered the German automaker’s considerable growth in the past decade or so. The third-generation Cayenne debuted for MY 2018 and its lineup is currently in expansion. Although it’s still too early for the current models to receive any substantial changes, the luxury SUV’s lineup will be considerably expanded in 2020.
The Germans are already preparing the coupe version of their former best-selling model (prior to the Macan’s introduction). If you can call a 4-door crossover SUV a coupe, that is. The Cayenne coupe will essentially be nothing more than a slightly more expensive version of the regular vehicle with even lower utility scores due to its faster-sloping roofline. However, a lower center of gravity and improved aerodynamics should help it become even sportier than its more upright sibling.
The regular Cayenne models cost between $66,000 and $125,000 at the moment, while their fastback counterparts should should be obtainable for anything between $76,000 and $131,000 depending on trim and powertrain configurations.
The Stuttgart company is knee-deep in works on electrification but Cayenne shouldn’t profit from that project by 2020. Instead, it’ll retain its current lineup of engines which are more than sufficiently diverse anyway. The same goes for the upcoming coupe versions which will likely receive most, if not all of the engines currently available in the conventional Cayennes.
In other words, the base models will continue to be offered with their 3.0L turbocharged V6 with 340 horsepower, while the almost $20,000 more expensive Cayenne S ($13,000 more in the coupe version’s case) benefits from a twin-turbo 2.9L V6 capable of making 440 ponies. The Cayenne Turbo raises the bar even higher thanks to a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 worthy of seriously plentiful 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. It also costs the most.
Finally, the crown jewel of the Cayenne lineup delivers as much as 455 ponies and 516 pound-feet of twist alongside up to 27 miles of all-electric range and an overall bolstered fuel economy. The Cayenne E-Hybrid starts from around $80,000, incorporates the base model’s engine coupled with an electric motor, and is able to tow up to 7716 pounds.
08. 2020 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace electric SUV arrived during the second half of 2018 and it didn’t waste any time. It immediately snatched the German Car of the Year award which – knowing how seriously they take cars – has to count for something. The all-electric luxury crossover has already showcased what it’s capable of doing and things can only get better from this point onward.
Apart from offering the obvious meticulous design, refined interior, and great range, the I-Pace also delivers in the performance department. Some of its precious few shortcomings are a slow-responsive infotainment system and possibly a high starting sticker of more than $70,000.
While it’s the Jaguar’s very first crossover, The I-Pace sets an early example as one of the best electric crossovers on the market. Although it won’t send the Tesla Model X into retirement, it’ll surely give the California-based company something to think about.
The I-Pace combines two permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motors – good for 197 horsepower each – with a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 394 horses and 512 pound-feet of rotational force.
Thanks to a healthy amount of power and instantly available torque, the 4,800-pounder (1,329 of which goes on the battery pack alone) is capable of accelerating to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds. It’s also capable of providing a healthy 238-mile range or 89 MPGe according to the EPA.
Standard 50 kW charging network should fill 80 percent of the I-Pace’s large battery in about an hour and a half, while home chargers take up to 13 hours for a full recharge. The I-Pace is compatible with 100 kW fast chargers but the fast-charging infrastructure is still to be expanded to a level where you don’t have to rely on planning your trips up front.
Yet again, the I-Pace is only expected to get better with time, but that goes for its competition as well.
07. 2020 Audi RS Q8
The latest addition to the Audi crossover SUV family won’t remain with a single powertrain offering for long. The more powerful SQ8 is already in the works and so is the ultimate performance-oriented RS Q8 which should arrive sometime during 2020.
The RS Q8 is one of few upcoming Audi Sport models that are intended to bolster the German automaker’s performance credentials. Considering it’s a flagship SUV within their current lineup, it’ll have to pack quite a punch. Needless to say, it will, but we’ll get to that.
The forthcoming RS Q8 – like most RS models across the Audi range – gets a slightly wider frame in order to accommodate larger wheels and to visually lower the car. Different side skirts and more aggressive air inlets are also in the works, and so are larger brakes and the RS signature oval exhaust tips. When it arrives, the Audi RS Q8 will likely cost north of $100,000.
There’s still no official confirmation on the upcoming 2020 Audi RS Q8’s powertrain but we bet it’ll share an engine with the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne Turbo. This means the RS Q8 will make between 550 and 600 horsepower thanks to their twin-turbo 4.0L V8 mill.
Another possibility is a hybrid engine of similar output which can also be found in one of Porsche’s models – the Panamera Turbo S E. Thanks to the addition of an electric motor, this setup generates a whopping 680 ponies which should – as mentioned above – make the RS Q8 one of the most powerful Audi models around.
This would also make it one of the best 2020 SUVs about to be available on the market, but let’s await the official info before we jump to conclusions. The forthcoming Audi RS Q8 should be unveiled at one of the upcoming 2019 auto shows.
06. 2020 Land Rover Defender
The 2020 Land Rover Defender marks the return of yet another off-road SUV legend, though the legendary Landy hasn’t been absent that long to begin with. Like any legendary 4×4 vehicle with aspirations to remain competitive in today’s market, the next-gen Defender too, had to balance between the contemporary and archaic. Did it succeed? Only time will tell.
The new Land Rover Defender retains the overly boxy shape of its predecessors while donning the modern lineup’s design language. Slab-sided and sharp-looking, the Landy, sadly, sports independent front and rear suspension with air suspension being available as an option.
Moreover, it switches to an aluminum unibody frame shared with other in-house models. Despite these not overly off-road credential feats, the new Land Rover Defender shouldn’t have any trouble on rough terrain. Both the 2-door and 4-door models will be available and prices are starting from just under $51,000, while the fully loaded models require north of $100,000.
At the moment, the new Defender comes fitted with a 2.0L turbo four engine which produces 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful versions will use a 3.0L turbocharged inline-six mill which features both and electrically powered supercharger and a 48-volt electrical system. It’s good enough for 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Needless to say, an all-wheel drive system and locking differentials are mandatory all across the range.
Furthermore, the future Land Rover Defender lineup is expected to offer some sort of a hybrid model but this unit won’t make it in time for 2020.
The new Land Rover Defender made its debut at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show and its deliveries will commence just in time for MY 2020.
05. 2020 Honda CR-V
The compact CR-V is both the Honda’s best-selling model and sixth best-selling vehicle in the U.S. at the moment, if we count the omnipresent trio of full-size pickup trucks. Needless to say, the compact is there for a reason. It’s affordable, reliable, fuel-efficient, has a well-appointed interior and ample of cargo space for its size. Without a doubt, the CR-V is one of the most versatile small family crossovers and buyers obviously know how to appreciate that.
Considering the current-generation debuted in late 2016 as a 2017-year model, the 2020 Honda CR-V will likely undergo a mid-cycle makeover. That means a revised front fascia, different tail-lights, and a slightly updated interior at the very least. We can also expect some equipment shifts across the available trims and even a new feature or two. The current models cost between $25,000 and $33,000, and future prices aren’t expected to budge by much.
Mid-cycle facelift or no, the CR-V will continue without any major powertrain revisions. The same 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 190 horsepower and 189 pound-feet of torque will continue to breathe life into most CR-V models. Only the entry-level models get a different 2.4L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder worthy of 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of rotational force. We can only speculate whether this base engine will carry over or let the smaller turbo do all the work.
Whichever happens to be the case, the Japanese won’t abandon the CVT gearbox strategy although a different option would be welcome. The Honda has also revealed a third-row and hybrid option for the overseas market during the 2018 Geneva show, but there’s still no info if any of them will make it stateside. Considering the hybrid CR-V uses the Accord’s hybrid powertrain, the chances of it being offered on the U.S. market are extremely high. More info should follow in the coming months.
04. 2020 Genesis GV80
Ever since it spun-off from the main Hyundai line a few years back, the Genesis division has been offering nothing but quality at more than affordable prices. In order to position themselves on the market, the South Koreans have also offered some of the best warranty deals out there.
Now, they’re finally expanding their lineup and entering the busy crossover SUV segment. Their very first crossover, the mid-size GV80 is expected to arrive in 2020 with either an extended Hyundai Santa Fe or modified Genesis G80 sedan’s platform underneath (likely the latter).
Design-wise, the production model shouldn’t distance itself too much from the concept vehicle presented at the 2017 New York car show. Considering the Korean automaker’s design chief Luc Donckerwolke was acquired from Bentley, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the GV80 also “borrowed” some of the British automaker’s cues. When the Genesis GV80 finally arrives, expect it to cost a few thousands more than the G80 sedan which starts from just under $45,000.
The majority of details about the forthcoming 2020 Genesis GV80 are sketchy at best, and so are details about its prospective powertrain. The most likely of options are the Genesis lineup’s current engines.
Considering the GV80 will be the larger of the duo of upcoming Genesis crossovers, it should also receive larger powertrains. Base models will likely be served by a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 that’s making 365 horsepower, while the range-topping models could get a sturdy 5.0L V8 mill which develops 420 ponies. Then again, there are talks about an all-new 3.5L V6 as well.
Both rear and all-wheel drive should be offered across the range, while every single model is due to receive a mandatory eight-speed automatic transmission as well. More should be known at some point during 2019 so let’s wait for something more tangible from the South Korean automaker before we jump to any more conclusions.
03. 2020 Volvo XC40
Immediately after its arrival, the Volxo XC40 earned itself the European Car of the Year award, while its larger sibling the XC60 got itself the World Car of the Year award – both for 2018. This speaks a lot about the Swedish automaker’s intentions and even more about the quality of their products. In that light, it’s no wonder why the subcompact XC40 is rightly considered the best 2020 SUV, or at least one of the best available choices.
The XC40 boasts a smooth ride and very well-appointed interior with an abundance of tech features – especially safety-related ones. It might not be the best choice if you’re looking for a cargo hauler, but then again that was never Volvo’s intention to begin with. The funky XC40 basically retains the Volvo’s core personality but adds a little bit of its own youthful flare.
The base T4 models are powered by a 197-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which carries over to the more advanced T5 units as well. There, however, it generates 248 ponies and comes with a mandatory all-wheel-drive setup. The entry-level models can be obtained with a front-wheel drive as well. Regardless of the model of your choice, every XC40 comes with a mandatory 8-speed auto.
Although offered in no fewer than six different trim choices, every single one of them can be obtained for between $33,500 and $40,000. Of course, the Swedes offer plenty of opportunities to make your subcompact a much more expensive affair via optional packages, but it’s worth mentioning that one of the best 2020 SUVs does come with a standard 9-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, cruise control, collision avoidance technology, lane-keeping assist, road sign recognition, and many more features.
02. Cadillac XT6
The all-new three-row SUV from GM’s top division aims to offer Escalade-sque level of space and refinement, albeit within a smaller, more maneuverable frame. It shares the C1XX platform of its numerous stablemates (including the smaller XT5), but is instead a dedicated luxury family hauler.
Design-wise, the Cadillac XT6 closely resembles the smaller XT5 which, in turn, draws inspiration from the Escala concept. It’s the largest Cadillac vehicle featuring this new design language, and we have to say it suits it quite nicely.
Having made its debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the XT6 is already available as of mid-2019. The 2020 Cadillac XT6 starts from around $54,000, but optional extras can push the price tag way higher than that. So high in fact, that the fully loaded XT6 will cost you around $80,000 at the moment. You do get a wood-rich cabin with all the latest technology for that amount, however.
Under the XT6’s hood, Cadillac offers only a single engine option. A 3.6 L LGX V6 is more than capable of providing everything you might expect from it, though. Delivering 310 horsepower, it shouldn’t have any problems on open roads, while not lagging behind the competition in terms of fuel efficiency neither.
Every single model is paired with a standard 9-speed automatic transmission but buyers get to choose between front and all-wheel drive configurations.
Not everything is rosy when it comes to the all-new Cadillac XT6, however. There’s still no hybrid option which most of its competitors offer, and despite all the effort, the SUV still fails to distance itself from the remainder of the platform-sharing GM pack. That failure to establish a unique, easily recognizable personality, might hinder the XT6 going forward.
01. Kia Telluride
The Telluride might not be the Korean automaker’s first foray into the large SUV market (remember the short-lived Borego), but it’ll definitely be a successful one. Unlike the mentioned Borego, the Telluride arrives at the opportune moment (could have actually arrived even earlier for that matter).
Bold styling is one way to distinguish itself but the Telluride offers plenty more from where that comes from. Being loaded with features, spacious enough for eight, and having an affordable starting price, the Telluride is obviously one of the best family vehicles currently available on the market.
Starting from under $33,000 (including destination charge), the base Telluride LX is already a worthy SUV considering it comes with forward-collision avoidance assist, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, etc. The range-topping SX models will add up pretty much everything else, and all that in a package starting from under $43,000.
Much like it’s the case with other vehicles in its segment, the Telluride too comes with a single engine available. Its 3.8L naturally aspirated V6 is sturdy enough for most challenges you can throw at it. It makes 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Backed up by an 8-speed automatic, the Telluride returns up to 23 mpg combined if ordered in front-wheel drive form. Of course, all-wheel drive is available as an option across the entire range.
Despite posing as a 2020-year model, the Kia Telluride has already been available throughout much of 2019. The early-arriving model is slowly but steadily selling around 6,000 units a month if Spring months are any indicator which means the buyers have already recognized its practicality and potential. Also, don’t forget that it comes with a 10-year/100,000 miles warranty.