Cars.com has long pitted three-row SUVs against each other, as recently as last year with the Three-Row SUV Challenge. But we’ve always concentrated on light-duty people haulers — “crossovers,” if you must. So how about SUVs that can tow and haul much heavier loads and tackle off-road terrain while seating up to nine? For the first time, we’re finding out how the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia fare against each other in this 2018 Full-Size SUV Challenge.
We requested four non-luxury, full-size SUVs equipped with tow packages (when optional) and no price cap or driveline requirement. We stipulated standard-length models where there’s a choice (Chevrolet and Ford) and received all 2018 models with four-wheel drive. We towed, tested gas mileage and put hundreds of miles on these to find out which large SUV is the best.
Three judges individually awarded points in 13 categories: interior quality, front-seat comfort, second-row comfort, third-row comfort, visibility, noise, cargo storage, powertrain, braking, ride quality, towing, worth the money and multimedia.
Because towing is the best reason, if not the only one, to choose one of these heavy models over those in our earlier Challenge, we tested their gas mileage both with and without a 3,500-pound trailer attached, and assigned points based on the observed mpg.
Each model was also awarded points for the advanced active safety features with which the test vehicle was equipped, as well as for its grades in our Cars.com Car Seat Check, which gauges the accommodation of various child-safety seats. All categories combined for a possible maximum score of 1,000 points.
Judges for the Challenge were three Cars.com editors:
- Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief
- Brian Normile, production editor
- Mark Williams, Pickuptrucks.com editor
Read on to see how the vehicles ranked.
4 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport, 604 out of 1,000 points