With more space and capability than a three-box sedan, a 6-cylinder SUV also introduces greater power and refinement to the package. This is important as the raised body typically weighs more than a sedan, so a bigger engine is of high value to many shoppers. However, the average six-cylinder SUV powertrain is thirstier than a smaller, force-fed four-pot, so running costs could quickly escalate. For both 2019 and 2020, a surplus of choice in the USA sees the price vary from under $30,000 to over $100,000. So, there is something to suit all budgets.
Since a six-pot adds to the overall cost, most such vehicles exist in the midsize segment and above. One of the compact offerings is the Jeep Cherokee with a 3.2-liter V6 for under $30,000. Both the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot have naturally-aspirated mills and three rows of seats. The full-size BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS have potent turbocharged power plants. Some options are particularly adept at off-road forays, while others cater to buyers looking for a softer ride for comfortable on-road use.
At the more premium and luxury end of the market, V8s become available. However, it could be argued that a six provides some of the efficiency of a four, and some of the refinement and character more often associated with a brawny V8. A test drive remains crucial once you have drawn up a shortlist, however.
Once you have decided on what is within your budget, there is a lot more to consider. Do you want a turbocharged power plant or are you happy with a naturally-aspirated unit? Even the best 6 cyl SUV won’t be especially light on fuel, so it’s worth taking into account consumption. Our advice would be to focus on these points:
It’s challenging to sift through the maze of configurations and choices. Popular six-pot crossovers range all the way from the Jeep Cherokee at below $30,000 and with a 271-horsepower beating heart, to well over $70,000 for the luxurious Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class which produces 362 hp. The Lincoln Aviator Hybrid is an example of six-cylinder power combined with an electric motor - it produces a strong 494 hp.
Does the perfect vehicle exist? Probably not. While having a big six under the hood of a spacious vehicle sounds like an ideal combination, you’ll be paying for it - literally. Fuel consumption is the Achilles heel of a car like this. A 6-cyl people-mover carries a hefty premium over crossovers with a small turbo-four.
To learn more about the many crossovers on sale, take a look at our detailed reviews. Each one is arranged by model year, with 2021 versions added as they are made available. Reviews will list each lineup by trim, and also cover both 2WD and AWD drivetrains, along with warranty information based on mileage and time period. This helps you to find the perfect crossover for the money, whether you elect to buy or lease.