2017 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - SUVs

SUVs: MicroCompact - MidSize - Luxury - All-Terrain

All-Terrain SUVs

Truck-based SUVs, once at the core of the market, have been pushed to the margins of the segment with only the Jeep Wrangle and the Toyota 4Runner remaining for 2016. Impressive towing capacity and impressive off-road prowess are the sole advatages that truck-based vehicles have over the comfort, room and refinement of  more common unibody CUVs.

A note about mileage: The APA is using the Canada Energuide figures this year as they were available at the beginning of the model year for 2017. 

Jeep Wrangler Toyota 4Runner     

2018 Jeep JL Wrangler




What’s new
An all new Wrangler, dubbed the JL, replaces the JK that debuted for 2007. 

Built on a marginally longer wheelbase (3.5 mm on the Wrangler, 6.1 mm on the Unlimited), the body-on-frame 2018 Wrangler JL is all-new from the wheels up. While Jeep keeners will spot differences between the new and old Wranglers in a second as the vehicle is clearly identifiable as a Wrangler by all who see it. That said, the new vehicle looks more solid and less like a garden-shed lthan what it replaces. Only 45 kilograms lighter than its predecessor in an age where a few 100 kilograms is typical when a new model is introduced, the Wrangler must have been on the shortest of diets. The doors, hood, windshield and fender flares of the new Wrangler are fashioned from aluminum. Two different soft tops are available for 2018. One is a conventional convertible top, but with more bows in the top to allow for a tighter fit, reducing wind noise, as well as easier folding. Owners of previous convertible Jeeps frustrated by the zippers needed to remove the clear panels adjacent to the cargo area, will be pleased that the zippers have been replaced by solid glazed panels that slip into channels built into the body. In addition to the conventional soft top, Jeep also offers what they call the Sky One-Touch roof, which features fixed roof rails and a retractable canvas roof like the "transformable" top in the Fiat 500 cabrio. Both body styles are equipped with what Jeeps calls a Sport Bar, essentially a stout hoop that extends from the floor, through the A-pillar, over the passengers and then returning to the floor in the mid-point of the cargo area. As a result of this, the fold down windshield, a traditional Wrangler feature, is now merely a weather shield rather than a structural element. The windshield is said to be much easier to fold this year. Once again, doors are removable and a wide variety of door configuations are available.  

Like the exterior, the new cabin, while still looking "rugged" appears much more designed than before; with its gauges and minor controls looking less rustic than previously. Rear seat legroom and access are still compromised on the short wheelbase Jeeps but the four-door Unlimited offers decent accomodations and access.  

FCA's ubiquitous 3.6L V6 (now with stop-sart) returns as the standard engine for 2018. It is joined by an optional 2L turbo four with 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. The turbo features a GM eAssist style light hybrid system, called eTorque, that will save a small amount of fuel and features a stop-start function. FCA's emissions scandal tainted and durability challenged VM Motori 3L V6 turbodiesel is slated to become available in 2019. A six-speed manual transmission is available but most buyers will opt for the eight-speed automatic available in most of FCA's rear-wheel drive based vehicles. 

The Wrangler retains its traditional live axle suspension front and rear, with the Rubicon models adding sway bars that can be disconnected electrically to allow for even greater suspension articulation in arduous terrain.  

The Sport trim is offered only in short-wheelbase form and the Sahara is exclusively on the longer-wheelbase Unlimited. The Sport S trim (the base model for the Unlimited) is priced to reflect the value of its content but the Sahara is a bit overpriced but it is equipped to meet the wish list of most buyers. The Rubicon represents a simple way to get formidable off-road capability. Stretching your wheelbase costs 3 850 $ on the Sport S and 2 400 $ on the Rubicon.

All-new model. No data is available. 


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2, 2/3

2l-4 T (295 HP), 3.6L-V6 (285 HP)* 

Transmissions: 6M, 8A* 
Drive Layout: Four-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  n.a.

Highway Fuel Economy:  n.a.

Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: n.a.

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Current Generation Debut:  2018

Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 

2017 Toyota 4Runner




What’s new
The Trail model is discontinued but the TRD Offroad and TRD Pro models are new for 2017.  

The 4L V6 delivers good acceleration but goes about its job noisily. The engine is carefully matched to the smooth, responsive automatic transmission. Impressive ride and handling for a true off-road SUV. Light, precise steering. Though hard to modulate, braking is strong. Big, clear gauges are housed in a blocky dashboard that contains too many buttons for the climate control system. Very large central console. Comfortable seats and a good use of cabin space. Attractive cabin materials.

A 4L V6 hooked up to a five-speed automatic transmission is the sole powertrain available. Power reaches all wheels via a part-time four-wheel drive system or an optional full-time four-wheel drive powertrain. The 4Runner is the reference point for four-wheel drive off-road SUVs. Properly equipped, the 4Runner can tow up to 2268 kg (5000 lbs.).

The TRD Off Road package is priced to reflect the value of its content and contains equipment that makes the 4Runner a formidable off road performer. The five-seat Limited trim upgrade is good value, with a third-row seat available for an extra $1005. The TRD Pro trim level is very expensive for what you get with the upgrade. Very good value leasing and very good value resale value.  

Above average reliability predicted.


Body Style: 4SW
Occupants: 2/3, 2/3/2

4.L-V6 (270 HP)

Transmissions: 5A
Drive Layout: Four--wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 14.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 12.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2010
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: M

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: