We determined the winner by scoring categories including front and backseat comfort and amenities, interior quality, cargo provisions, fuel economy, child-safety seat fitment, safety features, handling, braking, ride quality and value.
Honda CR-V Touring
Some others are more enjoyable to drive, but the CR-V is the pick for the carpool lane with the most cargo space, innovative cabin storage, family features, and high gas mileage.
The CR-V still is the best choice here for family hauling, with the useful spaces for your devices and stuff.
The Cherokee’s upscale interior and V-6 power feel a price class higher than the competition, but the cramped backseat and limited cargo room seem a size class lower.
The larger Cherokee carries the Jeep flag this time, but again, the updated 2019 Cherokee fell short in measured cargo room and front and backseat comfort. However, it bested the field in powertrain scores thanks to its unique V-6.
The Cherokee’s suspension refinement impresses. Tuning is firm, but it doesn’t get flustered or become harsh when you hit a rough patch.
I think Cherokee has the most luxurious interior in this group; the most upscale design, nicest leather, nicest stitching, and the least hard plastic anywhere you touch.
Nissan Rogue SL
Though the Rogue is one of the oldest-generation models in the Challenge, you wouldn’t know it from the safety features, which earned it a rank of second in this category.
Nissan has kept the Rogue viable in important respects, such as modern active-safety features, but it shows its age in interior design, loose driving dynamics, and raucous transmission behavior.
The Rogue may not have led any categories, but it was runner-up in many, including front-seat comfort and safety and autonomous features.
The RAV4’s observed 29 mpg bested the rest in our 215-mile fuel economy loop of mostly highway driving.
The RAV4’s safety features and autonomous features topped the field.
The redesigned RAV4 has a quality interior, strong engine and a complete package of standard safety and driver assistance tech, but it’s let down by the rest of its driving experience.
It’s hard to deny the usefulness of an open shelf like this that’s so visible you won’t accidentally leave something behind.
Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line
No other compact SUV offered as much front and backseat room.
The Tiguan returns as champion on the strength of how it drives, and you give up nothing in roominess, media, safety tech and cabin comfort for it.
The Tiguan landed on the lower end of our fuel economy test, but its scorecard is otherwise littered with wins.
The Tiguan’s win is a decisive victory against the newest and best-selling in the class.
Hyundai Tucson Ultimate
The Tucson is a good all-around choice made more competitive for 2019 with a smoother powertrain, more standard safety technology and exceeding value.
The Tucson has a reasonably comfortable and controlled ride on sensible 18-inch wheels.