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SUVs were once in danger of going the way of horse and carriage due to being gas-guzzlers, but that’s all changed in recent years. Now the SUV market is growing rapidly, and it seems like many families have at least one SUV in their driveway.

The problem is trying to decide which one is right for you in a crowded segment. Thankfully, Motor Trend has tested the best of the best, and decided that the BMW X6, while worthy of being a contender, wasn’t good enough to win.

The Motor Trend SUV of the Year

A lot of factors come into play when Motor Trend decides which vehicle won one of their many prestigious awards. It’s not quite as simple as slapping some names in a bowl and pulling one out. It’s also not an award that is given away after only a few minor inspections.

For a vehicle to earn the Motor Trend SUV of the Year award, it must first be driven for 10 days. This gives those who are testing the SUV time to really put it through its paces.

Some of the factors tested include advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and performance of intended function. 

Motor Trend doesn’t hold back on its reviews. Rather than trying to appease automakers, the review site stated, “We won’t hesitate to tell someone their baby is ugly.” 

The contenders for 2021 SUV of the year

There were several SUVs that were considered good enough to be worthy of battling for the crown, but only six made it to the finalist rounds. Those include the Cadillac Escalade, Genesis GV80, Land Rover Defender, Kia Seltos, Nissan Rogue, and the Toyota Venza. The BMW X6 never made it that far.

The Toyota Venza put up a good fight, but there were three factors that kept it from winning the prize. It’s slow, it lacks cargo space, and the hybrid version often gets blasted for not having enough physical buttons.

While not that well known, the Genesis GV80 is really making some waves and putting BMW and Cadillac on guard. The fact that the GV80 offers just as many luxury features as BMW and Cadillac for a much cheaper price make it hard for the other two automakers to keep up.

The 2021 BMW X6 wasn’t good enough to win

It’s a coupe. It’s a sedan. No, it’s a SUV. 

BMW really changed up the script with the 2021 BMW X6. It’s a major departure from the boxy shape made so recognizable by the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Class. It was a risky move to develop something so drastically different, but it really paid off.

The power behind this odd-looking SUV is insane. The 2021 BMW X6 comes equipped with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that gets 617 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. As far as speed, the X6 can go from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.3 seconds. 

The 2021 X6 is also shockingly roomy. Just as everyone preaches you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge the X6’s cargo space by its exterior. 

Sadly, the X6 has limited off-road ability. Motor Trend reports,

“The X6 M’s ride, though decent on smooth surfaces, falls to pieces over the rough stuff. There’s no air suspension here, which is glaring because the X6 M’s closest competitors—AMG GLE 63 S, Audi RSQ8, Porsche Cayenne Turbo—all ride on air springs.”

And the SUV of the year winner is….

Ultimately, the Land Rover Defender walked away with the crown. It proved hard to be beat with its ability to go both on and off-road. The X6 put up a good fight, but in the end, it couldn’t compete according to Motor Trend.


BMW X5 and X6 M Competition First Edition Variants Limited to 250 Each