In the past, the lowly station wagon or passenger van was the way to transport lots of people. Today, the car of choice for those transporting a family from the home to any destination is what’s known as the mid-size SUV.
A combination of the passenger van and station wagon, the mid-size SUV has become very popular in the last five years or so. In fact, it’s become so popular that even such car makers as Mercedes Benz and BMW now have their mid-size SUV models on the market. The model that started off the mid size SUV era was Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, which is no longer made.
The PT Cruiser was a combination of the muscle cars of the ’50′s and ’60′s, and an SUV. For five years, the PT Cruiser was the most popular car in the US. But then, other car makers started to put out their versions of the PT, and sales dropped off. From there, the mid-size SUV has evolved to include everyone from Toyota and Honda to the British Land Rover. And now, with the mid-size SUV’s coming out, there will be even more models to choose from. Here are the top mid size SUV’s thus far:
2011 Ford Flex
The Ford Flex-Ford’s new passenger vehicle, the Flex sports the boxy look currently in vogue among both car makers and car buyers. The Flex has both 6 and 7 passenger seating options, along with maximum cargo space, and has some cool optional features like a build-in refrigerator, and it’s new SYNC system which allows users to control cell phones and mp3 players using voice recognition software.
Users can also look up traffic information and driving directions with the same software. But all those features don’t come cheap-the price of the Flex starts at $24,000. Ford has had much experience with 7 passenger cars, and they are sure to succeed with the Flex.
2011 Mazda CX9
Mazda has been making quality cars for a number of years, and once again they have delivered with the CX9 for 2011.
It starts out with a 3.7 liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s able to seat 7 people comfortably across three rows, and comes standard with Bluetooth hands-free technology for your cell phone and audio capability. It also has rain-sensing windsheild wipers and headlights with an automatic on/off switch. And those come standard. Optional features include a Bose audio system, heated seats and a DVD rear-seat entertainment system. The CX9 starts at 29,135.
2011 Dodge Journey
From Dodge comes the Journey, which can seat anywhere from 5 to 7 people, depending on if you choose either a two or three row configuration. You can also choose from two different engine types-either a 2.4 liter V6 or a 3.6 liter V6. You can also choose between a 4 and six speed transmission. Optional features include an 8.4 inch touch screen entertainment system, and the usual leather interior and heated seats. The Journey starts at $22,245.
For 2011, Honda has pulled out all the stops when it comes to the Pilot, which is one of Honda’s most popular cars. It starts with a 2.4 liter 24 valve V6 engine and four wheel drive, and that’s just the beginning. Across three rows, the Pilot has seating for anywhere between 5 and 8 people using Honda’s innovative 60/40 split folding second and third row seats if needed.
If not, then the Pilot is one of the most popular 7 passenger cars on the market. Then, Honda adds both a Bluetooth hands-free system, a rear seat DVD entertainment system, and standard XM Satillite Radio. Optional features include leather interior and heated seats. The Pilot starts at $28,045.
2011 Chrysler Town and Country
From Chrysler comes the Town and Country, which is the minivan version of the famous luxury station wagon of the 1970′s and ’80′s-among the first examples of 7 passenger cars. It starts with a 3.6 liter Pentastar v6 engine with 283 horsepower and 25 MPG on the highway.
The safety features include a rear backup camera and a rear parking assist system. For storage it has a Stow In Place roof rack and a one touch Stow N’ Go passenger seating system, the same as on the Ford Flex. Optional features include a Bluetooth voice recognition software system and FLO satellite TV services for rear seat passengers. The Town and Country will start at $30,000 which is about average for most mid-size SUV’s. It looks like Chrysler just might have a hit on it’s hands with the new Town and Country.
2011 GMC Acadia
Also from General Motors comes the Acadia, which features seating for 8, generous storage space, and front or all wheel drive. It has an LY7 V6 engine which has 280 horsepower. With an MPG of 17 city and 24 highway, it looks to be one of the more fuel efficient 7 passenger cars on the list.
Optional features include Bluetooth technology for cell phones, XM satillite radio, a rear view backup camera system and GMC’s famous OnStar system which is now in it’s 10th year. Other optional features include leather seating and heated seats, which is the average from General Motors. The Acadia is shaping up to be one of the most popular mid-size SUV’s of 2011.
2011 Land Rover LR4
Land Rover, having come off one of the best decades in it’s long and storied history (Land Rover is the UK’s version of the Jeep) has once again decided to aggressively court US car buyers with the LR4.
Starting with an 5.0 liter V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, the LR4 then is equipped with remote steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth telephone connectivity, a 24W harman/kardon AM/FM single slot CD player with 9 speakers, and a 5 inch Thin Film Transistor instrument panel.
Optional features include Land Rover’s 7 Seat Comfort Package which includes second and third row flat, forward-facing seating.
2011 is shaping up to be a great year for the mid-size SUV, and especially in the current economy, price and quality does matter. These are just a few of the great mid-size SUV’s currently being introduced to car buyers. The stigma of the boxy, huge SUV is a thing of the past, thanks to these and other thriftier less showy models of mid size SUV’s.