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Our Auto123 2024 Top Picks: The Best SUVs

2023-24 Mazda CX-5 | Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
Here are our Auto123 Top Picks for 2024, in the categories of SUVs produced by mass-market auto manufacturers.

•    Here are our Auto123 Top Picks for 2024, in the SUV categories.

Each year, Auto123 selects its favourite vehicles in a host of distinct categories. As the categories evolve, so does the way we honour the industry's best models.

This year, we're adopting a new and improved formula. Rather than picking just one winner, we’re presenting you with what the auto journalists making up our jury have identified as the top three vehicles in each segment.

Today we focus on a type of vehicle that's very popular with all of you: the SUV. Note that the focus here is on Sport Utility Vehicles from mass-market brands. We’ll present our picks for the best SUVs from luxury brands in another entry.

Considering the number of models on the market, you'll find four categories below: sub-compact, compact, midsize and full-size.

The best subcompact SUVs

Since the turn of the decade in 2010, and especially since 2015, the subcompact SUV segment has literally exploded. Some manufacturers even offer two models in this niche (for example, Kia with its Niro subcompact and Seltos subcompact… plus?).

There are thus many prime candidates, which made selecting our top trio an arduous task. After much debating, a little swearing and maybe a thrown water bottle or two, we reached a consensus.

2024 Hyundai Kona
2024 Hyundai Kona | Photo: B.Charette

Our Top Picks include three models that are highly valued by motorists for their respective qualities. The Hyundai Kona has been a hit since its arrival on the market in 2018. It benefited from a complete redesign for 2024, a revision that saw it gain in volume and refinement. It remains highly relevant.

See: 2024 Hyundai Kona First Drive Review: At the Adults’ Table

See: 2024 Hyundai Kona Priced at $25,999 in Canada

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Hyundai Kona Essential

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Hyundai Kona N Line Ultimate

2024 Subaru Crosstrek
2024 Subaru Crosstrek | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The Subaru Crosstrek has found a very popular home on the Canadian market in particular, in part because of its adventurous styling (especially in Wilderness configuration), but above all because of its pleasing driving dynamics and reassuring road handling, the fruit of an industry-standard all-wheel drive system.

See: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek First Drive: (Extra)-Urban Legend

See: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness First Drive: Hitting the Rocks

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Onyx

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Touring

Photos of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek

2023-24 Toyota Corolla Cross
2023-24 Toyota Corolla Cross | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Finally, the Toyota Corolla Cross makes it into our top three because of its overall package. This model may not be as exciting as the other two, but it does everything well and represents a pledge of reliability, a very reassuring factor for buyers.

See: 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross: Pricing and Trim Details for Canada

See: 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Review: hybrid or non-hybrid?

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid SE

The best compact SUVs

In the compact class, the most popular SUV category in the industry, there's no shortage of choice. However, it seems that the same three models continue to dominate the market, and so it is with our winner’s circle of Top Picks for 2024.

Each of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 offers something that makes buyers go for these models automatically, certain that they'll find what they're looking for.

2024 Toyota RAV4 Woodland
2024 Toyota RAV4 Woodland | Photo: K.Soltani

The Toyota RAV4 offers proven reliability (albeit less perfect in recent years) and consistently strong resale value. In hybrid configuration, the model offers an average fuel consumption of around 6.0L/100 km. And what about the Prime variant and its electric range?

See: 2024 Toyota RAV4: Pricing and Trim Details Announced for Canada

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Toyota RAV4 Limited

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE

2024 Honda CR-V Sport
2024 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Honda

With the Honda CR-V, people know exactly what they're getting: an uneventful, extremely reliable product. Smooth ride and reassuring behavior, that's the key here. The hybrid version, also very efficient at the pump with an average similar to that of the RAV4, is also an asset.

See: 2024 Honda CR-V: Second Hybrid Trim Joins for 2024

Specifications sheet for the 2024 Honda CR-V Touring

Specifications sheet for the 2024 Honda CR-V Sport

The 2023-24 Mazda CX-5
The 2023-24 Mazda CX-5 | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The Mazda CX-5 is kind of the bad boy of the category, the one that delivers a more inspired driving experience, thanks in part to the turbo engine that can deliver up to 250 hp. It does offer a little less cargo space than some of its more sedate rivals. For some, that’s an acceptable compromise if it means a more dynamic drive.

The best midsize SUVs

When it comes to mid-size SUVs, there are also plenty of quality candidates. We're presenting you with our top three, but frankly, there are a good half-dozen good models we could have suggested, if not more.

As it was, three vehicles stood out in the view of our jury members: the Kia Telluride, Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander.

2023-24 Kia Telluride X-Line
2023-24 Kia Telluride X-Line | Photo: V.Aubé

Since its arrival on the market, the Telluride has hoovered up rave reviews. For the price, buyers certainly get their money's worth, with three rows of seating, plenty of cargo space, a pleasant, comfort-oriented ride and a fuel consumption rating that's more than reasonable for its size.

2023-24 Toyota Highlander
2023-24 Toyota Highlander | Photo: D.Boshouwers

With the Toyota Highlander, it's simple: people find peace of mind. This model is a benchmark in its class and a guarantee of reliability, not to mention exceptional resale value. And in hybrid configuration, fuel consumption is nothing short of remarkable at around 6.5L/100 km.

2023-24 Subaru Outback
2023-24 Subaru Outback | Photo: V.Aubé

Our third Top Pick in this category, the Subaru Outback, also needs no introduction to Canadian motorists. Spacious, competent off-road, and equipped with one of the best four-wheel drive systems in the industry, it's an easy choice for those who like to enjoy the benefits of an SUV, but with the feel and handling of a wagon.

The best full-size SUVs

2024 Chevrolet Tahoe RST and 2024 Chevroler Suburban High Country
2024 Chevrolet Tahoe RST and 2024 Chevroler Suburban High Country | Photo: Chevrolet

In the full-size SUV category, our private Top Picks club is an all-American affair. Although Japanese automakers offer models in the big boy segment, homegrown manufacturers have simply dominated for years.

And the formula is the same everywhere: room to spare for both occupants and equipment, above-average towing capacity, and powerful engines that make getting around and towing easier.

2023-24 Ford Expedition
2023-24 Ford Expedition | Photo: Ford

So no surprises here - our top picks include the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban (regular and extended versions), the Ford Expedition and the GMC Yukon (and Yukon XL extended version).

Buyers know what they're getting here; choices are often made in advance.

2024 GMC Yukon XL Denali
2024 GMC Yukon XL Denali | Photo: GMC
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists