Ranked

15 most powerful SUVs you can buy in 2021

The Bentley Bentayga Speed delivers power, performance, and superbly luxurious accommodations.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Remember when people bought SUVs because they needed to haul people and stuff while also towing a trailer? We're light years away from that now, as SUVs have all but taken over the automotive market. Because of that popularity, they're becoming faster, safer, and more tech-rich with every year that passes. Some automakers even offer performance SUVs with massive horsepower numbers and near-supercar levels of acceleration.

That's why we're here today – to discuss the most powerful SUVs on the market today. Many of the names on this list will get a knowing nod from many readers, who recognize their performance nameplates, but there will be at least a few surprises for everyone. Let's dive in.

Please note, models with similar power outputs have been omitted for clarity. An example is the BMW X6 M Performance, which carries the same performance specs that the X5 M Competition does. We chose the best representation of the power for this article's listing based on our testing of the models.

No. 15 - Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring

2021 Lincoln Aviator

​Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

494 horsepower
630 pound-feet of torque

The Lincoln Aviator's standard powertrain, which involves a 400-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, is more than powerful enough for most people, but the automaker offers a Grand Touring model that adds hybrid power to the mix. The Aviator Grand Touring pairs a 75-kilowatt electric motor to that V6 to produce 494 total system horsepower. That's a big number, but the extra torque is where the real story lies, as the Aviator Grand Touring produces 630 pound-feet of the stuff. How does zero to 60 mph in five seconds in a Lincoln SUV sound?

No. 14 - Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifolgio

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

505 horsepower
443 pound-feet of torque

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is powered by a Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 and puts its 505 horsepower to the ground through all four wheels and an eight-speed automatic transmission. That engine also delivers 443 pound-feet of torque for a zero to 60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds.

No. 13 - Tesla Model X

2020 Tesla Model X

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

518 horsepower
487 pound-feet of torque

A vehicle that makes 518 horsepower and doesn't use a tablespoon of gas in the process is impressive enough on its own, but the Tesla Model X has plenty of other virtues. The EV can travel from zero to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, can seat up to seven people, has cool (but questionably practical) X-wing doors, and has an amazing suite of advanced driver assistance technologies.

No. 12 - Jaguar F-Pace SVR

2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

550 horsepower
502 pound-feet of torque

The F-Pace was Jaguar's first attempt at a crossover, and for the most part it's turned out quite well. Though the automaker now makes two other crossover models, including one EV, the F-Pace is its most powerful. The SVR model takes that power a step further with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that makes 550 horsepower and a thunderous noise out its back end. That power is good enough for the SVR to make the run from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 176 mph.

No. 11 - Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

2021 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

575 horsepower
516 pound-feet of torque

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR gets the same supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that its corporate cousin, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR has. Here, it's tuned to 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That'll help the Range Rover Sport SVR reach 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds.

No. 10 - ​Maserati Levante Trofeo

2021 Maserati Levante TrofeoPhoto courtesy of Maserati

590 horsepower
538 pound-feet of torque

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is quick, but the Maserati Levante Trofeo holds the title of Italy's most powerful SUV. In the Trofeo, the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine puts down an incredible 590 horsepower and can propel the Maserati to a zero to 60 mph time of 3.6 seconds.

No. 9 - Audi RS Q8

2020 Audi RS Q8

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

591 horsepower
590 pound-feet of torque

If a Lamborghini Urus is too flashy for you, the RS Q8 offers much of the same engineering without the baggage. It's got a 4.0-liter V8 that produces 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. That's a combination that yields a 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds.

No. 8 - Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge

2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge

Photo by Harvey Briggs

600 horsepower
664 pound-feet of torque

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the size of a house and has all of the right angles to prove it. A 6.7-liter V12 under the hood provides 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to move the enormous SUV from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds.

No. 7 - ​Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SPhoto courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

603 horsepower
627 pound-feet of torque

Just running through the Mercedes-AMG SUV catalog would make quick work of this list. The group's got a handle on powerful people movers, and it shows. The GLE 63 S makes 603 horsepower while looking and driving like a normal vehicle in everyday situations. A stab of the throttle wakes up the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, however, and makes a wondrous noise in the process.

No. 6 - BMW X5 M Competition

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

Photo courtesy of BMW

617 horsepower
553 pound-feet of torque

The X5 was BMW's first SUV and remains a flagship of the company's lineup today. The X5 M Competition takes the already-bonkers 600 hp that the "normal" X5 M gets from its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and cranks it up to 617 ponies. The SUV can make the run from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

No. 5 - Bentley Bentayga Speed

2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

626 horsepower
664 pound-feet of torque

With its deep six-figure price tag and unique looks, the Bentley Bentayga Speed is one of the more unique vehicles on this list. It's powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine that sends 626 ponies to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. That helps the Bentayga Speed run zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

No. 4 - Lamborghini Urus

2020 Lamborghini Urus

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

641 horsepower
626 pound-feet of torque

Funny names aside, the Lamborghini Urus is a serious vehicle. As the automakers first SUV effort, the Urus had big performance shoes to fill, and has done so admirably. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 makes 641 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. The Urus takes just a hair over three seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill and can go on to a top speed of 190 mph.

No. 3 - Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

2021 Porsche Cayenne E-HybridPhoto courtesy of Porsche AG

670 horsepower
663 pound-feet of torque

Hybrids aren't just good on gas. All of that extra off-the-line torque makes for a thrilling driving experience. That's just what we see in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, whose name takes almost as long to say as it does for the SUV to run to 60 mph. The vehicle gets a whopping 670 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque from its combined systems, and can hit 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.

No. 2 - ​Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

707 horsepower
645 pound-feet of torque

And then, the Hellcat met a Jeep. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was the first SUV to get the supercharged 6.2-liter engine and remains one of the most powerful SUVs you can buy today. It gets 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque from its engine, which reaches all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The big Jeep is capable of traveling from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

No. 1 - Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat


Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

710 horsepower
640 pound-feet of torque

Dodge's approach to the auto business, which in recent years has been a philosophy of "Hellcat all the things," seems to be working. The company's Durango SUV could already be ordered with a 475-horsepower 392 cubic-inch engine, but more power is almost always a good thing. The Hellcat supercharged 6.2-liter V8 makes 710 horsepower in the new Durango, and helps it make the zero to 60 mph run in a scant 3.5 seconds.

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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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This gorgeous 911 sports a rebuilt title.

Cars and Bids

Values of even less desirable Porsche 911 models have skyrocketed in recent years, but the early- to mid-1990s cars have always been special. This one falls well within the parameters, though it's got a backstory that will turn many buyers away. This 1991 Porsche 911 has a rebuilt Texas title, and as one commenter noted, the issue could be the result of a collision with a deer.

Rebuilt title or not, this car's quite the looker. It wears Grand Prix White over black leather, and it feature power windows and exterior mirrors, a sunroof, and a unique Turbo body kit. It has been modified, although lightly, with 18-inch wheels, power front seats, and a new stereo system. Under the rear engine cover lies a turbocharged 3.3-liter flat-six that makes 315 horsepower. It's connected to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.

1991 Porsche 911This is one of the most iconic sports car silhouettes ever.Cars and Bids

This car's apparently flaw-free appearance hides the rather nasty fact that it has a rebuilt title. A detail-oriented commenter on the auction mentioned finding information on the car's damage, including repairs performed after a collision with a deer and subsequent hair removal. We'll let you decide how that impacts your feelings on the car.

1991 Porsche 911The interior looks untouched, though those are replacement seats.Cars and Bids

If it's any indication of how valuable a good condition example of this car would be, it was bid to $95,000 with a rebuilt title and still didn't meet the reserve price. While it's a bummer for those hoping their bid would be the one, cars like this do occasionally pop up without deer damage, so it's worth keeping your eyes open.

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