Only 1 SUV Is Declared the Worst Midsize SUV by Car and Driver

Ranking lists can help consumers narrow down their vehicle search to the most competitive vehicles. Car and Driver has ranked every midsize SUV on the market to help consumers make an informed decision when leasing or purchasing a new midsize SUV. Only 1 SUV is declared the worst midsize SUV by Car and Driver.

The Toyota 4Runner is at the bottom of Car and Driver’s best midsize SUV list

A gray 2023 Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV is parked.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

Trigger warning, 4Runner fans, before you toss the device you’re reading this on in anger, there are several legitimate reasons why C&D would rank the 4Runner as dead last on a list of best new midsize SUVs. This ranking list does not mean that the Toyota 4Runner is a bad midsize SUV. In fact, there are thousands of drivers who will choose the 4Runner over more popular rivals.

Here are the facts: the Toyota 4Runner is a rugged off-road SUV that can easily last over 200,000 miles. It deserves its props for its capability and off-roading prowess. That being said, the average American midsize SUV buyer wants something slightly less expensive, more fuel-efficient, and with better standard features.

Toyota 4Runner fans can argue that the midsize SUV provides more value over time than rivals and is incredibly reliable, but when it comes to popularity, numbers don’t lie. Popularity and excellence have to have some relative correlation, so if you can’t accept the 4Runner as the worst in its segment, consider why it could be the least popular midsize SUV instead.

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner starts at $39,555. It uses a 4.0-liter V6 engine to make 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. The 4Runner gets 16 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s criticized for its truck-like ride quality and unrefined cabin.

What midsize SUVs does Car and Driver recommend?

A blue 2023 Kia Telluride midsize SUV is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Kia Telluride | Kia

Now that we’ve established why the Toyota 4Runner is at the bottom of Car and Driver’s list of the best midsize SUV models on the market, what about the top of the list? Which midsize SUVs does the historic automotive publication recommend?

The Ford Bronco, Hyundai Palisade, and Kia Telluride top the midsize SUV ranking list. The Kia Telluride is predictably at the top of the list because of how well-received it is by both consumers and critics. The Bronco is best-suited for drivers that want regular off-roading experiences, leaving the Palisade and Telluride for most average consumers.

2023 Kia Telluride vs 2023 Hyundai Palisade

A blue 2023 Kia Telluride midsize SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Kia Telluride | Kia
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The 2023 Toyota 4Runner Has 1 Last Advantage to Consider

The 2023 Kia Telluride starts at $35,690. The Hyundai Palisade is slightly more affordable at $35,250. Hyundai’s midsize SUV is also much more readily available than the Telluride because of high Telluride demand. Since the Kia Telluride has topped midsize SUV ranking lists for the last few years, it has been subjected to some outrageous dealership markups when it is available.

If you can snag a Kia Telluride for its MSRP, then the Telluride is the better buy thanks to its many standard features, refined cabin, and value proposition. The Hyundai Palisade makes a great alternative, after all, the two midsize SUVs are close relatives.

Comment your pick for the worst midsize SUV below.