If you have a growing family or just like to have some room for your gear and yourself, there are quite a few 2014 SUVs that make attractive options. Depending on your budget and the features you want, you can find an SUV that will suit your needs. The 2014 SUVs in this article all were featured as finalists for Motor Trend’s compact SUV of the year.
2014 Acura MDX
If you’re looking for performance AND mileage, this is an excellent choice. Between 2013 and 2014, the design changes reduced 0-60 acceleration time while boosting combined miles per gallon from 18 to 21 through the technology of cylinder deactivation. The power-train has the support of the all wheel drive system that Honda uses in many of its models, sending power to the wheel that needs it the most.
The 2014 version is 300 pounds lighter than the 2013, and it’s slightly narrower and lower, boosting aerodynamics. Because it’s a little longer, though, the space inside is still almost a cubic foot larger. There really aren’t many quibbles with the MDX. The information and entertainment display is a mess, with the touch screen and the knob providing enough confusion to send you into the rear of the car in front of you. The graphics take you back to the 1980s, but most customers aren’t going to be looking for a retro car. Other than that, this is an outstanding SUV in terms of performance and comfort.
2014 Audi Q5
In terms of performance, this even blows away the MDX, and the car is a little better looking as well. The Q5 comes with five different engine options, ranging between 2 and 3 liter and 220 and 354 horsepower. One choice has a diesel engine, and another is a hybrid. The most impressive fact is that you forget you’re behind the wheel of an SUV, which is definitely a rare treat. If you set the transmission to Dynamic mode, you’ll notice that all of the shifts happen as smoothly as the finest twin-clutch transmissions on the market today. Whether you’re on pavement or off the road, you’ll be very impressed by the performance.
The Dynamic mode does take a toll in terms of gas mileage (13.8 mpg), and in terms of comfort, as the ride is firm. If you shift the transmission to Comfort mode, though, you’ll notice a much softer ride. The interior space is small enough almost to render this a hybrid, but if you don’t have three kids and a bunch of soccer gear to haul around, you will love this SUV.
2014 BMW X1
Among all the 2014 SUVs, this is the one that felt the most like riding in a car to us. Among the more luxurious compact 2014 SUVs, its base price is the lowest, making this the least expensive BMW available in the United States. There are two engine options, but the 3.0-liter turbocharged version might be more than the chassis of the X1 needs, so that’s something to consider when you are figuring out what you want to spend.
Also, the fact that it rides like a car means that it doesn’t have much more room than a car. The feel (and the capacity) are much more like a five-door European 1 Series car with one of the smaller lift kits. Without a backup camera or navigation system in its base model, it also offers fewer of the options that its competitors feature in all of their models.
2014 Buick Encore
If you are tall and find yourself sitting in the back of one of the more compact entries in the SUV market, you often get the feel of sitting in the back of a fairly cramped sedan. This isn’t the case with the Encore. The back row not only offers you considerable legroom, even with the front seats in their rear position, and they also feature folding cushions that allow the seats to disappear completely when you want to store cargo back there. This does come with a cost for those sitting in the front seat, as taller people are likely to find the foot-well to be a bit cramped.
The engine (138 HP) is a bit weak in comparison to the competition, and the six-speed transmission features some wide steps between gears that makes shifting less than smooth. The ride is fairly gentle, but the shorter wheelbase means that it features some heaving motion.
If you are looking among the current 2014 SUVs for your next vehicle, check out one or more of these options, particularly if a compact SUV will work for you.