The highest rated 2021 family SUVs in appeal according to consumers
If you have a family, you are almost certainly looking for a family-sized SUV that has the most attractive attributes. The answer to that quest is right here in this list of the 11 most appealing family SUVs, according to consumers who own them.
As it has done for decades, each year JD Power takes the pulse of thousands of verified family SUV owners to find out what they think of their vehicles. And we use the word “feel” wisely because the annual report JD Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study measures the emotional attachment of vehicle owners to their vehicles.
Consumer responses are aggregated to calculate an overall APEAL Index score measured on a 1,000-point scale. The higher the index score, the better the model in terms of overall appeal.
In this article, you will find the top 11 rated 2021 family SUVs for appeal according to their owners. The list of top-rated 2021 model year family SUVs includes midsize SUVs, upper midsize SUVs (usually 3-row models), and large SUVs. Vehicles are ranked in ascending order of index score, so you’ll find the most appealing family SUV at the end of the list.
Of course, in a field as vast as this, all of these listed vehicles have excellent appeal.
The Ford Expedition is a traditional full-size SUV with a body-on-frame construction and three rows of seats. Most trims are powered by a 375 horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, while the top-tier Platinum version has a 400 horsepower variation of the engine. Equipped with the heavy-duty trailer towing package, the Expedition offers a towing capacity of 9,300 pounds.
With a host of safety and driver assistance features in its standard Ford Co-Pilot360 range, the Expedition is available in XL, XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. It is also available in longer MAX editions in the same trim levels.
The index score for the 2021 Ford Expedition is 864. The Expedition is tied with the Kia Sorento on this list, but they are not tied in the APEAL study because they belong to different vehicle segments .
The Kia Sorento is redesigned for the 2021 model year. The model’s all-new exterior styling comes with an equally new interior that’s more luxurious than ever. It features natural materials like open-pore wood and sumptuous details like quilted leather. The SUV offers four powertrains: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower, a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 281 horsepower, a hybrid with 227 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid with 261 horsepower.
Available in front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations, the Sorento offers five trim levels: LX, S, EX, SX and SX-Prestige. The SX-Prestige with AWD and the X-Line Appearance Pack is the top model.
The index score for the 2021 Kia Sorento is 864. The Sorento is tied with the Ford Expedition on this list, but since they belong to different vehicle segments, they are not related in the APEAL study.
The Mazda CX-9 is the brand’s flagship midsize crossover SUV. A capable three-row people carrier, it’s also known for its driver-focused handling and almost luxurious interior styling. For the 2021 model year, the CX-9 adds a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and a blackout-style Carbon Edition trim level with special paint and leather interior.
The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine developing 250 horsepower, backed up by a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and the optional AWD system features off-road traction assist. The CX-9 is available in five trim levels: Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring and Signature.
The index of the Mazda CX-9 2021 is 865.
A premium 5-passenger crossover SUV with expressive styling inside and out, the 2021 Nissan Murano is available in four different trim levels. Each is equipped with a 260 horsepower V6 engine and front or all-wheel drive. Unlike many vehicles in its class, it uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) instead of a conventional multi-speed transmission.
For the 2021 model year, Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 collection of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) became standard on all four trim levels. The Murano is available in S, SV, SL and Platinum versions. A special-edition package new for 2021 includes a dual-pane sunroof, surround-view monitor and other amenities.
The index of the Nissan Murano 2021 is 868.
The Chevrolet Blazer re-entered the Chevy lineup in 2019 and it has since had an impressive run in JD Power studies. The style-conscious 5-passenger crossover SUV is offered in four main trim levels: L, LT, RS and Premier. In basic form of an FWD vehicle, the Blazer offers all-wheel drive as an option on the majority of its trim levels.
Powertrain choices include a 2.5-liter 193-hp 4-cylinder, a 230-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 308-hp V6, all backed by 9-speed automatic transmissions. The biggest change for the 2021 model year is the addition of the Chevy Safety Assist package as standard on top LT models as well as RS and Premier trims.
The index score for the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer is 869. The Blazer receives an APEAL award from JD Power in the midsize SUV segment.
One of the oldest nameplates in automotive history, the Chevrolet Suburban is a traditional body-on-frame SUV that has evolved into a premier family hauler. With capacity for up to nine people in three rows of seats, as well as a spacious cargo area, the Suburban offers a comfortable ride and doesn’t feel bulky despite its size.
Completely redesigned for 2021, the Suburban offers the choice of two V8s plus an economical turbodiesel engine. For the first time, it features independent rear suspension that improves handling, ride quality and cargo space. The Suburban is offered in LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier and High Country trim levels.
The rating for the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is 870.
In its second year on the market, the Hyundai Palisade is an 8-seater 3-row SUV that can be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 developing 291 horsepower mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Palisade is offered in four trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited and the new 2021 Calligraphy. The top-of-the-line Calligraphy model comes standard with AWD and 20-inch alloy wheels. Hyundai has also changed the Palisade’s optional packages for the 2021 model year.
The index of the Hyundai Palisade 2021 is 873.
The Dodge Durango is a 3-row midsize SUV with the heart of a muscle car. Unlike virtually all of its competitors in the midsize SUV segment, it offers the power of a V8. And its SRT version features a 475-hp V8 and special suspension to match. Still, the Durango is a competent family vehicle.
It will accommodate up to seven people in three rows and, when properly equipped, will tow loads of up to 8,700 pounds. In addition to its V8 engines, it can also be powered by a 3.6-liter V6 developing 295 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive are offered across the range.
The index score for the 2021 Dodge Durango is 877. The Durango is tied with the GMC Yukon on this list. Because they belong to different vehicle segments, they are not linked in the APEAL study.
The GMC Yukon is a 3-row full-size SUV with many mechanical similarities to the Chevrolet Tahoe. Completely redone for the 2021 model year, it features its own distinctive style highlighted by its prominent chrome grille. Its top-of-the-line Denali version also gets its own interior, including a new dash and second-row seats.
Sharing its powertrains with the Chevy Tahoe, the GMC Yukon is available in four trim levels: SLE, SLT, off-road-oriented AT4, and Denali. The Yukon’s multi-camera system offers up to nine camera views, and the Yukon also has a 15-inch color head-up display.
The index score for the 2021 GMC Yukon is 877. The Yukon is tied with the Dodge Durango on this list, but because they belong to different vehicle segments, they are not tied in the APEAL study. .
A longtime sales leader among full-size SUVs in America, the Chevrolet Tahoe has been completely redesigned and redesigned for the 2021 model year. The truck-based body-on-frame SUV offers three rows of seating in different configurations to suit to large families. It is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower, a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower or a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbodiesel engine with 277 horsepower.
Offered in LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier and High Country trim levels, the Tahoe has a specification that suits a wide variety of buyers. One of the most welcome changes for the 2021 model year is the rear cargo area with a lot more space than before. Also new is a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
The index score for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is 881. The 2021 Tahoe receives a JD Power APEAL award in the large SUV segment.
Acclaimed by the automotive press and owners, the Kia Telluride is a 3-row midsize SUV that hangs its hat on sharp exterior styling and a functional interior. The 2021 edition is largely unchanged from the 2020 model year introductory version, but the range now includes a Nightfall Edition which includes blackout treatments on the lightwork and badging.
The Telluride has a single engine – a 291 horsepower 3.8-liter V6 backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is the standard configuration, and all-wheel drive is a widely available option. The Telluride is available in LX, S, EX and SX trims.
The index score for the 2021 Kia Telluride is 888. The Telluride receives a JD Power APEAL award in the upper midsize SUV segment.