5 Best American Performance SUVs (5 European Models We’d Rather Be Driving)
SUVs sit high off the ground while providing ample interior space for families. Most SUVs these days offer an optional third row, adding more room for adults or children in the back. Inevitably, SUVs aren’t just about practicality and reliability.
In addition to having a raised suspension and more interior space, some SUVs add a pinch of power, making them champions on the track or in the straight line. They also add mean, rugged styling and optional all-wheel drive to help them handle most terrain. Below are some of the best American performance SUVs and European options that are fun to drive.
10/10 Performance SUV: Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance
Ford offers different configurations of its Mustang Mach-E SUV. These range from the performance GT to the content-rich Premium model. The Mustang Mach-E is one of the best vehicles for anyone who needs a crossover but wants an electric vehicle.
Of course, despite its name, the Mach-E is not a Mustang. However, it is still more nimble and quick than most of its competitors. Moreover, the Mach-E looks good with a well-appointed interior with the latest gadgets and gadgets. The GT Performance sits at the top of the model lineup producing 480 hp and 634 lb-ft of torque.
9/10 We’d rather drive: BMW X3 M competition
The X3 remains one of the best-handling SUVs on the market with its feline reflexes. It was the first model to receive the S58 engine which later found its way into the M3/M4 combo and the now new M2. The S58 offers a new aggressiveness, making the X3 M Competition feel like a performance sedan.
Thrill-seeking drivers can find that in the X3 thanks to the 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque from the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine. The competition gets quad exhausts that sing a thundering tune on acceleration.
8/10 Performance Super SUV: Tesla Model X
The Model X is a fast, high-tech SUV with a flashy gimmick of hawk-winged rear doors. It’s a unique but expensive proposition in the ever-growing SUV EV segment. As standard, the Model X is available with two electric motors developing 670 hp.
The most powerful Model X is the Plaid with three motors sufficient for 1,020 hp. Even though the Plaid isn’t quite as nimble as the Model S Sedan, it’s surprisingly fast for its size, with a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds. The Model X has a modern interior with a giant screen dominating the dashboard.
7/10 We’d rather drive: Jaguar F-Pace SVR
The standard F-Pace is already a stunning SUV. For the SVR, Jaguar takes performance up a notch with its powerful 5.0-litre supercharged V8. The roaring engine provides a more focused driving behavior motivating the SVR to reach 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
Its impressive 543 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque guarantee a thrilling driving experience. Jaguar also equips the SVR with precise steering for precise handling. The SVR also has excellent suspension, providing a smoother ride on rough roads. This makes it a great everyday mode of transportation.
6/10 Performance SUV: Cadillac Escalade-V
The Escalade has long been Cadillac’s flagship model. It’s a big SUV with an aggressive look and an outgoing approach to luxury. Although it uses the same underpinnings as the GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, it makes a strong argument as a competitor to other big luxury SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, BMW X7 and the Lincoln Navigator.
It features Cadillac’s most advanced luxury features and technology. The cabin is filled with designer leather fabrics, while the dashboard displays a large curved screen. Even though Cadillac offers the Escalade with a few engine options, the Escalade-V uses a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 producing 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque.
5/10 We’d rather drive: Bentley Bentayga Speed
The Bentayga Speed takes the crown for the ultimate high-performance ultra-luxury SUV. It offers stunning Bentley craftsmanship and a punchy 6.0-liter W12 Biturbo engine. This helps the Bentayga Speed deliver unparalleled power in supreme sporty style.
The Bentayga Speed is Bentley’s most powerful SUV. It produces 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, enough for 3.8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph and a top speed of 190 mph. Besides its impressive performance, the Bentayga Speed offers exceptional handling thanks to the Bentley dynamic handling system.
4/10 Performance SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a thrill-seeking SUV with a supercharged Hellcat V8 under the hood. It is not only the most powerful Jeep, but also one of the most powerful SUVs in the world. While it can’t keep up with most sports cars on a track, it can pass some on the straight.
Compared to the competition, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has a reasonable price and stupendous performance. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk gets a roaring exhaust note despite the outgoing exterior. Unlike most of its competitors, the Trackhawk gets 645 lb-ft of torque, enough to tow up to 7,200 lbs.
3/10 We’d rather drive: Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
With the Cayenne Turbo GT, Porsche is trying to offer best-in-class performance while delivering a highly usable SUV. Like the Urus and SQ8, the Turbo GT gets a familiar 4.0-liter Biturbo V8 producing 631 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque.
Thanks to Porsche engineering, the Turbo GT is one of the sportiest SUVs. It looks like an SUV, but drives like a sports car. As well as being lower and stiffer, the Turbo GT comes standard with a host of chassis and control systems to help deliver optimum performance and handling.
2/10 Performance SUV: Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
The Durango SRT Hellcat aims to satisfy the ever-increasing thirst for speed and power. It is one of the most powerful SUVs of all time with its 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8 producing 710 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. The power boost helps the Durango SRT Hellcat go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, to a quarter mile in 11.5 seconds and to a top speed of 180 mph.
The Durango cabin is spacious, with room for six passengers. It has a few niceties like Nappa/Laguna leather upholstery, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and heated and ventilated seats. Unlike most of its competitors, the Durango SRT Hellcat can also tow 8,700 pounds.
1/10 We prefer to drive: Lamborghini Urus
Like the Cayenne Turbo GT, the Urus has the soul of a sports car and the functionality of an SUV. In short, it’s a supercar in an SUV shell. Lamborghini offers the Urus with extreme proportions, excellent driving dynamics, breathtaking design and thrilling performance.
Under the hood is a powerful 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo, similar to the Cayenne Turbo GT but with a higher output of 641 hp. The power allows the Urus to quickly accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 190mph.