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Small sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, are getting some public attention, and for a good reason. They have the advantages of better handling and lighter weights because they are based on sedan platforms. Nevertheless, compact SUVs typically have more interior flexibility and more room for passengers and cargo than their sedan equivalents.  

The 2023 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and 2023 Volvo XC60 are two of the compact SUVs with the greatest horsepower ratings. Let’s take a look at these two vehicles in depth.

Kelley Blue Book’s list of the ‘Highest Horsepower SUVs of 2023’

Kelley Blue Book lists the most powerful SUVs for 2023. The ranking system is based on factors that include acceleration, braking, handling, interior comfort, quietness, build quality, material quality, and dependability. Each vehicle is put through various routine tasks, including parking, changing lanes, backing up, and loading.

For 2023, the top 10 most powerful SUVs in order are:

  1. 2023 Dodge Durango
  2. 2023 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  3. 2023 Ford Expedition
  4. 2023 Toyota Sequoia
  5. 2023 Chevy Tahoe
  6. 2023 GMC Yukon
  7. 2023 GMC Yukon XL
  8. 2023 Chevy Suburban
  9. 2023 Ford Expedition MAX
  10. 2023 Nissan Armada

The 2023 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and 2023 Volvo XC60 are the only two compact SUVs on the list. 

2023 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The Jeep Wrangler is wildly popular among Jeep enthusiasts for a reason. It is inspired by the military Willys Jeeps that contributed to the Allies victory in World War II. For many, the Jeep is an American symbol of pride and strength. Additionally, the Jeep wave is a friendly greeting between Jeep owners as they drive past each other. Few other car owners belong to such a large and die-hard community than a Jeep owner.

The 2023 Jeep Rubicon 392 has a V8 HEMI 6.4 L V8 engine that can provide up to 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm and 4,300 rpm, respectively. The 2023 Jeep Wrangler lineup starts at $30,295, going all the way up to Rubicon 392, which comes in just below $80,000.

2023 Volvo XC60

A silver-gray 2023 Volvo XC60 compact luxury SUV model parked on a concrete dock near the water
2023 Volvo XC60 | Volvo Car Corporation

At No. 12 on the list, the current-generation Volvo XC60 debuted for the 2018 model year and has seen substantial updates since then. Recent updates to the XC60 include new powertrains, technology, and design. These new features include updated shift logic for all models, T8 plug-in hybrid models with one-pedal driving capability, and the Recharge model’s extended range option—introduced late in the 2022 model year—which is now standard.

The 2023 Volvo XC60 B5 FWD and XC60 B5 AWD both have a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers up to 247 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

The 2023 Volvo XC60 T8 eAWD and XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid compact SUVs are the most powerful models in the lineup, delivering upwards of 400 horsepower and up. Both models have a 2.0-liter turbo- and supercharged I-4 engine paired with an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque for the T8 eAWD, and 415 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque for the T8 Polestar Engineered.

SUVs have become a staple of the American family, effectively replacing the station wagon for its ability to carry large loads and multiple passengers. However, there is no need to sacrifice power when purchasing a family vehicle, as even small SUVs can pack a punch.

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