The full-size SUV segment is stronger than ever. There are six models to choose from and many more if you include full-size luxury SUV models like the Lexus LX 570, Infiniti QX60, and Lincoln Navigator. Full-size SUVs are known for their spacious three rows of seats and powerful towing capacity.
In this article, we will focus on full-size SUV models with starting prices under $50,000. While these models aren’t in the ‘luxury’ class, with the amount of amenities and available features, these models can be downright luxurious. The good news is that full-size models are also becoming more fuel-efficient.
The Expedition received major changes for the 2015 model year, it’s first major makeover since 2007. The Expedition has ditched its fuel thirsty 5.4-liter V8 engine for a 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin turbo V-6 engine that produces 365 horsepower, which is actually 55 horsepower more than the V8.
The twin turbo also produces best-in-class torque of 420 pound-feet, which makes the Expedition a great vehicle to haul with. The smaller engine hasn’t sacrificed on towing as the Explorer is rated to tow 9,200 pounds, an increase of 500 pounds from 2014.
The V6 engine has a fuel economy rating of 14-mpg city and 20-mpg highway with four-wheel-drive. This an improvement of the 13/18 seen in the V8. The 2015 Expedition XLT had a starting manufacturer’s retail price (MSRP) of $43,390. However, opt for the Platinum 4WD and it’ll set you back over $60,000.
The Armada continues to offer the 5.6-liter V-8 engine in the 2016 Armada. The result is the Armada has worst-in-class fuel economy of 12-mpg city and 18-mpg highway with all-wheel drive. The good news is the Armada has the lowest starting price in the full-size SUV class, $39,055.
The Tahoe was updated for the 2015 model year. The Tahoe comes with a more powerful 5.3-liter 355 horsepower engine that produces 383 pound-feet of torque. The Tahoe the best fuel economy of a full-size SUV with a rating of 15-mpg city and 22-mpg highway with four-wheel drive (16/23 with rear-wheel drive).
The Suburban is the Tahoe’s larger sibling. The Suburban has the same engine as the Tahoe and many similar features albeit in a larger size. With the LS trim and its front bench seat, the Suburban has seating for nine, allowing it to carry more passengers than any non-van model.
The Suburban has been around since 1935, making it the longest continuously produced car model in the world. The MSRP for the 2015 Suburban 1500 LS was $48,250, $2,700 more than a base Tahoe. However, a well-optioned Suburban 1500 LTZ can top $70,000.
The Tahoe’s sister model, the Yukon, was also all-new for 2015. It gets the new 5.3-liter V8 engine seen in the Tahoe. The Yukon’s second and third row seats fold flat for fantastic cargo room. The Yukon is more expensive than the Tahoe and has a base MSRP of $48,735.
The GMC version of the Suburban, the Yukon Denali XL is a three ton vehicle with an optional 420 horsepower V-8 engine, which comes standard in the Cadillac Escalade. However, it’s sticker price when fully optioned an approach nearly $80,000!
The Sequoia, which is actually larger than the Toyota Land Cruiser returned without changes for 2015. The Sequoia has a 5.7-liter V-8 engine which produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. With all-wheel drive, the model’s fuel economy is 13-mpg city and 17-mpg highway. The Sequoia SR5 has a starting MSRP $44,395.
It’s interesting to see there are no diesel or hybrid SUV models offered among full-size SUV models in 2016. A few years ago, there were full-size hybrid SUV models – the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, and GMC Yukon Hybrid that have since been discontinued. These models had fuel economy rated at 20-mpg city and 23-mpg highway.
Full-size SUVs are quite prone to economic factors. With their relatively poor fuel economy and large cost, high gas prices and economic recession put a crimp on sales. However, in times where gas prices are low and the economy is strong, full-size SUV models are in demand.
While many 2016 full-size SUV models have pricing under $50,000, don’t be surprised to see models on the showroom floor with a considerably higher cost. The price of full-size SUV models can reach into the 60Ks and even 70Ks with top-level trims and added options.