The bigger, the better. That’s how things work in the U.S. In this part of the world, full-size SUVs are some of the most popular segments of the automotive industry. Whether it’s about mainstream or premium brands, American drivers prefer these vehicles for many reasons. After all, these SUVs can differ in so many ways, even though we are talking about the same segment. Some of them ride on a body-on-frame platform and offer exceptional off-road performances and towing capabilities. On the other side, many models with premium badges are actually nothing more than huge crossovers which, besides plenty of space, also offer exceptional interior quality that is on par with four-door saloons.
We included pretty much every full-size SUV in our list. Simply, these are all amazing vehicles, a matter of prestige for every carmaker. They’re coming in random order, but at the end of this article, we will point out the best full-size SUV in our opinion. Also, we’ve included a couple of mid-size SUVs to the list as well, as the difference between these two segments is very small these days.
All-New 2021 Cadillac Escalade
Without any doubt, this is one of the biggest novelties this year. The all-new Escalade has arrived and it looks like Cadillac finally has a model that can compete not only with Navigator but with other luxury SUVs as well. The new model comes with significant improvements in all aspects. It looks better, it is significantly lighter and even comes with a diesel engine in the offer.
Still, the most notable change is on the inside, where you can see a spectacular level of luxury. The dashboard is gorgeous, while tech freaks will definitely like that huge three screens that integrate everything from instrument gauges to climate and media controls. Also, the new model is significantly more spacious. An independent rear suspension isn’t just highly beneficial in terms of ride quality, it also provides significantly more space on the inside. Finally, there is GM Super Cruise, one of the most advanced semi-autonomous driving systems around.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV
The new generation of this luxury SUV has arrived last year and it has brought loads of interesting novelties. Once again, the German manufacturer offers a real masterpiece in terms of technology and craftsmanship. The new model arrived with a completely new styling and even more luxurious cabin, which is more spacious than before and offers a pretty respectable cargo volume.
For the 2021 model year, we are about to see big novelties in terms of the powertrain. Of course, we are talking about the AMG version, which will come with numerous mechanical and visual upgrades but most importantly, with a more potent version of the well-known 4.0-liter V8. In this case, you may count on a max output of 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque.
The GLS looks fantastic, it is impressively luxurious and offers an amazing riding experience. It’s hard to find any bigger drawback, though we could say that some rivals offer better predicted reliability ratings.
2021 Lincoln Navigator
The current generation of Navigator arrived a couple of years ago and completely revolutionized the segment. Thanks to the new lightweight platform and impressive level of luxury, it instantly became one of the segment leaders. It comes standard with an independent rear suspension and potent 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, which puts around 450 horsepower.
Despite that the biggest rival, Cadillac Escalade, has just arrived completely redesigned, we don’t expect any bigger changes for the next year. It’s still early for a mid-cycle refresh. Of course, there is always room for additions in terms of standard equipment, but the current model already looks really impressive in this aspect and there aren’t many things to add.
Some rumors claim we are about to see a hybrid version for the next year. Allegedly, that would be a system similar to one that powers the European version of Explorer PHEV, which puts out pretty impressive 450 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. However, the company is still quiet on this matter, so we doubt this version will arrive so soon.
2021 BMW X7
The biggest vehicle from the Bavarian carmaker has been around for just a couple of years and it already established a good position on the market. Despite the controversial styling, it attracts lots of BMW lovers, thanks to an impressive level of luxury and the company’s recognizable driving experience. At the same time, this model is spacious and practical, while the amounts of standard and available features are extraordinary.
The engine lineup is already impressive but the big thing is coming for the next year. We are about to see a hi-performance version that will be called Alpina XB7. This version will come with loads of upgrades but the first thing that comes to mind is the engine. A well-known 4.4-liter V8 will be tuned to 613 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which should be enough to move this large SUV in just four seconds.
2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL
GM engineers were really busy last year so the whole full-size SUV lineup arrived completely redesigned. This includes the new Yukon as well. The new version gets new, Sierra-inspired styling and looks way better than before. Also, the cabin is completely new and for the first time, the range-topping Denali trim comes with completely different dashboard designs. Just like the Escalade and Tahoe, the Yukon also comes standard with independent rear suspension.
Of course, there is also a long-wheelbase version, known as Yukon XL. This model has always been know for the impressive amounts of interior and cargo space and the new model comes even more impressive. Hauling capabilities have been expanded even more, thanks to the addition of a new powertrain option, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel, which combines generous amounts of torque with a pretty high level of efficiency.
2021 Infiniti QX80
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 probably won’t come with any particular change, despite the current generation has been around for a full decade and received two facelifts, it looks like it’s going to remain in production for a couple of more years. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering that the current model still has a lot of great things to offer. Some of the first things that come to mind are excellent off-road performances, refined engine, excellent driving dynamics and pretty solid reliability ratings.
On the other side, those who are looking for some spectacular level of luxury should probably avoid this model, as many rivals look more modern and offer more standard equipment. Still, the QX80 compensates that with a really affordable price, which in practice means really good value for money.
2021 Audi Q7
As we already mentioned in the introduction, this list will include a couple of models that are officially mid-size SUVs. The Q7 is one of them. Still, it is a typical three-row family hauler, which offers more legroom than some models that are officially full-size models. The current generation of this SUV has been around for several years, but last year refresh guarantees it will remain fresh and competitive for a couple of more years.
For the 2021 model year, we won’t see changes in terms of design characteristics, but you may count on additions in terms of standard equipment. Each trim level will come with new standard features and that particularly refers to safety systems. For example, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert will be standard across the whole range. All in all, the Q7 will continue to be an excellent all-rounder, which does a little bit of everything. Attractive look, sporty handling, decent interior space and loads of standard and available features are some of its main characteristics.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
As we already mentioned, the while GM full-size SUV lineup has been redesigned for this year and Tahoe also comes with significant changes. The new model fixed most of the issues of the previous generation. That primarily refers to the interior space. The new model gains more than four inches in wheelbase, which ensures more legroom in the third row. Still, the most significant improvement in terms of cargo space, as the new model offers nearly 123 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Besides more space, the new Tahoe brings improvements in terms of ride quality, thanks to the standard independent rear suspension. Furthermore, the engine lineup has been expanded with a diesel option, while the cabin features finer materials and more attractive aesthetics. All in all, the new Tahoe is way better than the previous generation.
2021 Ford Expedition
Just like its luxury sibling, Navigator, the 2021 Expedition also remains pretty much unchanged. Still, that’s not a bad thing at all. This is still a relatively fresh model on the market, as it has been around for just two years. It rides on a lightweight platform and offers a pretty amazing driving experience, along with a couple of quite potent engines.
The cabin may look a little bit truckish, but the amount of space and ride quality is really good. As we are talking about an F-150-based SUV, the overall reliability is more than good, while we particularly like the fact that Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features is standard.
2021 Chevrolet Suburban
The legendary nameplate is pretty much a long-wheelbase version of Tahoe these days. So, it has also arrived completely new for the 2021 model year. This redesign brings loads of novelties. Of course, the first thing you will notice is the styling, which takes a lot of inspiration from the new Silverado. Also, it rides on the same T1 platform, which saves hundreds of pounds and improves overall efficiency.
The new Suburban comes with a nicer interior and even more space than before, while the list of standard features has been significantly expanded as well. As you may presume, novelties came under the hood as well. Besides the well-known V8 units, the new model also comes in a diesel version.
2021 Tesla Model X Performance
Once again, a mid-size crossover on our list but all-electric this time. Despite the exterior dimension, this crossover offers plenty of interior room, mostly thanks to the absence of an internal combustion engine. Besides three rows of seats, this model also offers pretty respectable cargo volume, which goes up to 88 cubic feet.
Still, the most interesting thing about this crossover is its drivetrain. This particularly refers to the Performance model, which is the most capable version in the offer. It needs just 2.3 to hit 60, which is something no other SUV can do. At this point, the company is still quiet about the novelties for the 2021 model year but if we consider that Tesla practices yearly updates, we should see some interesting additions for the next-year model.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
When it comes to off-roading and reliability, Toyota Land Cruiser has no match in this world and that’s why the current generation is still popular in many parts of the world, despite we are talking about a 13-year old SUV. It may be outdated in some aspects, but it is still the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle. At the same time, it is very luxurious and refined. For the next year, we are about to see some interesting changes.
While some sources were suggesting a complete redesign, it won’t happen. It looks like we are about to see minor facelift only, with a new front bumper and other minor tweaks. Other than that, some sources suggest a new inline-six turbo engine, as well as a hybrid version. While the former may appear on certain markets, we presume that the new hybrid powertrain won’t appear before the complete redesign, which is expected to happen right after we see the all-new Tundra. This means that the current Land Cruiser will probably remain in production for two more years.
2021 Ford Explorer
The new generation of the well-known nameplate arrived last year. It came with a significantly longer wheelbase, so we can say it’s now on par with many full-size SUVs. Still, the main reason why we put it on the list is the new platform. This model now rides on the company’s new CD6 platform and the most interesting part of it is the RWD layout. With such setup, the new Explorer offers far better driving experience than before.
We still don’t know if there will be any changes for the next year. The company is still quiet, while some unofficial reports suggest big novelties under the hood. According to them, the PHEV version could arrive in North America. This powertrain, which delivers pretty impressive 450 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, is currently available in Europe only.
2021 Land Rover Range Rover
One of the biggest novelties for the next year will be the introduction of the all-new 2021 Land Rover Range Rover. The current generation has been around for about 8 years and this seems like a perfect time for a replacement. The new model has already been spotted and despite the camouflage, we can clearly see that aesthetical changes will be evolutionary. The overall layout will remain pretty similar, while the best we could see are some subtle changes on both ends of the SUV.
On the other side, the mechanics will be completely new and this includes the engine lineup as well. The company already introduced a new inline-six, while a diesel hybrid powertrain has been officially announced as well. Finally, the latest reports suggest that the new generation will use BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 for its flagship models.
2021 Lexus LX
The Land Cruiser’s sibling definitely won’t receive any particular change for the next year. The current generation is about to remain in production for another year or two. This means you may count on a familiar layout, which has been unchanged for years. The LX is primarily an excellent off-roader, which offers terrific reliability ratings. At the same time, it is really luxurious, especially in terms of cabin quality, which is characterized by hi-end materials and impressive craftsmanship.
On the other side, the LX remains outdated in many aspects, especially in terms of powertrain, as it still relies on a super-reliable, but also extremely thirsty 5.6-liter V8, which put out 383 horsepower. Also, the cargo area is really small for the class, while most drivers don’t like the infotainment system and find it really frustrating.
2021 Bentley Bentayga
Big changes are coming from the hyper-luxurious crossover as well. The Bentayga gets a facelift for the next model year and the amount of changes seems pretty decent. Of course, exterior changes are in the focus and the first thing you will notice is the front end. The grille is new, as well as a new LED Matrix headlight. Still, the front bumper has received the biggest revisions and now looks way sportier. On the other end, you can notice completely new taillights, designed in the same manner as those on new Continental GT and Flying Spur.
On the other side, interior changes are mostly about new tech features. Physically, the only changes are those on door panels. Other than that, the cabin remains the same. When it comes to the powertrain, the initial version will come with a familiar V8, while other units are about to join the lineup soon enough.
2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Speaking about hyper luxurious models, the Cullinan is literally a Rolls-Royce of SUVs. It debuted last year and as you may presume, it can be only ordered and then you need to wait for a long time to get it. As each model is mostly hand-made and comes with different characteristics, it’s hard to talk about particular changes for the next year. The model offers loads of customization options. Still, some of the main characteristics will definitely remain the same.
Of course, one of the first things that come to mind is that huge 6.7-liter V12 twin-turbo engine, which puts out 567 horsepower. As you may presume, the engine feels super-relaxed and makes its peak power with ease. The ride quality is exceptional and one of the reasons is air suspension, which adjusts automatically during the ride. The starting price of this SUV goes around 333.000 dollars.
2021 Nissan Armada
The 2021 Nissan Armada is about to receive a facelift. We are about to see loads of changes and, as you may presume, the most important will be those visual ones. In this aspect, we are about to see a completely new front end. As you may presume, the recently updated Patrol will serve as inspiration. Moreover, the new Armada should look identically, which means completely new headlights, grille, bumper, and other parts at the front.
On the inside, changes are expected as well. One of the first things that come to mind is a new 9-inch infotainment screen that debuted in Titan last year. Also, we count on a slight power boost, so a max output will go up to 400 horsepower. Naturally, novelties in terms of standard features are expected as well.
What is the best full-size SUV for 2021?
As we promised, we will end this list with our choice of the best full-size SUV for 2021. The choice was extremely tough, as it is really hard to choose between so many amazing models. Each SUV stands out in some other ways but we’ve decided to pick the freshest one, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. As an all-new model, it brings some of the latest technological achievements of today’s automotive industry. Furthermore, it packs everything in a so gorgeous package, whether it’s about exterior or interior design.
The list of tech features is also really impressive, as you can also count on one of the most advanced semi-autonomous driving systems in the business. Add to this independent rear suspension and both diesel and gasoline engines in the offer and you get a fantastic all-rounder. The best thing is that the price seems more than reasonable, given the amount of quality you get in return. Base models go around 77.000 dollars.