Red Rover, Red Rover, Send SUVs Right Over
Remember the old saying “Your team is only as good as your weakest player”? We decided to average acceleration numbers for the top 15 fastest SUVs to ever scoot down our dragstrip with the slowest 15 models from the same automaker. We kept it relevant by only including models you can buy today (for example: no diesels for the VW group and no V-6 RAV4) and used the 0-60 mph time instead of quarter mile, since more people merge onto the highway more often than go full-bore for a quarter mile.
Lexus – 7.55 seconds (average)
In the fast lane for Lexus was a 2014 Lexus LX 570, which managed a 6.8-second sprint to 60 mph. In the push for more and more gears, it’s ironic when an older model with fewer gears (the 2014 has a six-speed automatic versus the 2016 LX570’s eight-speed auto) is faster than a newer one with more. The 2016 LX 570 was a full half-second slower despite two extra gears.
Slowing the luxury freight train down was the aggressively styled 2015 Lexus NX 300h, which meandered up to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds. It’s certainly no performance hybrid, but with 33/30 mpg (7.1/7.8 L/100km) city/highway at least it’s efficient.
Ford – 7.35 seconds (average)
With all-wheel drive, 315 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, it’s no surprise that a 2015 Ford Edge Sport managed to hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. But an EcoBoost decal doesn’t always mean something is fast because a 2013 Ford Escape SE with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4 dragged Ford‘s average down with a 60 mph time of 9.0 seconds. Sure, it’s a little bit better on gas than the bigger 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 found in the Titanium, but we think a little more oomph when merging is worth it.
Dodge – 7.3 seconds (average)
In an interesting twist, the Dodge Durango was both the fastest and slowest SUV in Dodge‘s lineup: a 2014 Durango R/T (with the Hemi) hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds while a 2014 Durango with the Pentastar V-6 did the deed in 8.0 seconds flat. What about the Dodge Journey, you ask? We haven’t tested a four-cylinder model, and the V-6 was squarely in between the Durango models in terms of acceleration.
Jeep – 7.25 seconds (average)
This is where it gets interesting. It should come as no surprise that a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT’s 4.4-second run to 60 mph ties it for the fifth-fastest SUV on this list. The trouble with teamwork is that the weakest player, a 2013 Jeep Compass, took 10.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. Sure, Jeep has the star JGC SRT, but the Compass keeps it from placing any higher.
Infiniti – 7.05 seconds (average)
In the Infiniti SUV lineup, a 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 sets a 6.1-second time to 60 mph and a 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid does it in 8.0 seconds, We’re missing that 5.0-liter V-8, which took a 2009 FX50 S (now QX70 after its name change) to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, nearly a second faster than the V-6 model.
Lincoln – 6.9 sec (average)
Lincoln, like Ford, seems to love its turbochargers, and for good reason: A 2015 Lincoln Navigator with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 got the big SUV up to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. On the slower end, a 2015 Lincoln MKC with a 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 took 7.6 seconds.
GMC – 6.55 seconds (average)
The truck/SUV arm of General Motors pulls off the same feat as Dodge with the Durango, with the same vehicle netting the fastest and slowest time. A 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL 4WD with the big 6.2-liter V-8 hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, while a smaller 2015 GMC Yukon SLT with a 5.3-liter V-8 hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
Volvo – 6.5 seconds (average)
Only a few tenths of a second, and about 650 pounds (295 kg), separate the fastest and slowest recent Volvos we’ve tested. A 2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, while a 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription (same turbo- and supercharged engine as the XC60, just with 14 more hp) hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. The XC60 feels incredibly dated on the inside, but the XC90 has a beautiful and cutting-edge style. The XC90 is also the Motor Trend SUV of the Year for 2016.
Mercedes-Benz – 6.4 seconds (average)
Just like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the GLE-Class is available with a diverse range of engines: a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE63 S Coupe 4Matic (577-hp twin-turbo V-8 with 561 lb-ft of torque) hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, which is the second quickest SUV on this list. Why is Mercedes-Benz occupying the seventh spot though? A 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE300d 4Matic hit 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, skewing much further toward “luxury” than “sport.”
Acura – 6.3 seconds (average)
Acura placed higher than Mercedes-Benz?! They sure did, and there’s one simple reason, but first the numbers: a 2016 Acura RDX Advance hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, and a 2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD hit 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. How did they beat the Germans? Like bracket racing: consistency. With 0.2 second between the RDX and the MDX, it didn’t matter that the GLE63 hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds; the really slow GLE300d was holding it back.
Cadillac – 6.25 seconds (average)
We’re guessing the forthcoming Cadillac XT5 will take the “fastest” throne from the 2015 Cadillac Escalade Platinum that posted a 5.9 second 0-60 mph time. For the time being, the XT5’s predecessor sets the lower end of the scale, with a 2012 Cadillac SRX hitting 60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
Land Rover – 6.1 seconds (average)
The discrepancy between the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR’s 4.3-second time to 60 mph time and the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport‘s 7.9-second time is not insignificant. Similar to the average time of the Benzes, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR is held back a bit by the slower Discovery Sport, but not by much since the Sport isn’t a total dog.
Audi – 5.45 seconds (average)
The 2015 Audi S Q5 fits perfectly into the super luxury SUV segment and hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. When things slow down, they don’t slow down too much. A 2013 Audi Allroad we tested hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, helping to keep Audi’s average down. Now, the Allroad looks like a wagon, and some here at Motor Trend have argued that it is, but since the people at Audi insist on calling it an SUV we’ll oblige them.
BMW – 5 seconds (average)
To date the 2015 BMW X6 M is the fastest SUV we’ve ever tested, ripping to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Why is BMW in second place then? A 2015 BMW X4 xDrive28i we ran puttered up to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. BMW fields a lineup with a wide range of mainstream appeal, helping it move far more volume than the automaker that took the No. 1 spot on this list but also keeping it from getting that coveted gold medal.
Porsche – 4.55 seconds (average)
The 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, with a 4.2 second 0-60 time, is not the fastest SUV we’ve ever tested. (It’s No. 4 after the BMW X6 M, X5 M, and Mercedes-Benz GLE63 S Coupe.) But when you’re talking about a team effort, the lack of a lower-tier fuel-efficient model helps Porsche out. The smaller 2015 Macan S was the “slowest” Porsche SUV we’ve tested, but at 4.9 seconds to 60 mph, it’s faster than quite a few offerings by other automakers.
In an interesting twist, Porsche would have placed third if it still offered a Cayenne with a diesel engine. A 2013 Cayenne Diesel went 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which would have put Porsche behind BMW and Audi.