8 Best Midsize SUVs for Long Distance Driving (With Pictures)

Midsize SUVs are often better equipped than their smaller counterparts and more comfortable to spend many hours in because have more room for passengers and cargo.

Newer models also come with advanced safety features and driver assists for semi-autonomous driving so you won’t have to spend as much energy to drive them for long stretches.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best midsize SUVs in the market today and check out all the unique features that make them ideal long distance cruisers. 

1. Lexus RX

The Lexus RX is one of the best selling luxury vehicles in the US because of its outstanding levels of comfort and rock-solid reliability.

The RX’s cabin is not only very roomy, plush and well built, but it also does an amazing job of insulating occupants from road noise and other ambient sounds while driving. 

All of these add up to make a very comfortable vehicle that’s not very tiring or fatiguing to drive for really long distances.

The hybrid models are even quieter and the fifth generation RX can achieve up to 36 mpg combined, presenting significant savings in fuel costs, whether they are used for long commutes or road trips.

The plug-in hybrid variant also gets up to 35 miles of EV range, which means fewer trips to the gas station if it’s mostly used for errands and shorter commutes.

Heated seats are standard on all models but the Luxury trim levels also get seat ventilation which helps keep the sweat off your back.

All models also come with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 which offers a collection of driver assists that basically allows the car to drive itself on the highway. 

Lexus’ latest self-driving technology include dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management, automatic braking, lane tracing assist, steering assist, blind spot monitoring, and road sign assist. Some of these have also been available on the fourth generation RX for the last couple of years.

2. Cadillac XT6

Cadillac has always been known for its luxurious interiors and supple ride quality.

The XT6 sits below the full-size Escalade in Cadillac’s lineup, but is still very comfortable and roomy enough for most people’s needs.

The Premium Luxury and Sport trim levels of the XT6 can also be equipped with GM’s optional Super Cruise hands-free driving technology. 

With Super Cruise, all you have to do is keep your eyes on the road and the truck will essentially drive itself on selected roads and highways without having to touch the steering wheel or the pedals at all.

Another useful option that helps with night time visibility is the Night Vision feature which uses  thermal imaging to detect pedestrians and animals on the road.  

All models also come with standard safety features like automatic braking, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring. 

On top of the really quiet interior, the higher trim levels come with heated and ventilated seats as standard, which makes driving longer distances really effortless.

The XT6’s fuel economy is pretty average for the class at 23 mpg combined for the base model’s 2.0-liter turbo engine and 21 mpg for the 310 hp V6. 

3. Mercedes-Benz GLE

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is one of the most refined and comfortable SUVs in the midsize segment.

As one would expect from any higher priced Mercedes, the GLE’s interior is extremely luxurious and filled with the latest automotive tech.

The GLE’s cabin is already supremely quiet, but it can also be equipped with the optional Acoustic Comfort Package that upgrades all the windows to block out more noise and heat. Ventilated and massage seats are also available as an option.

The standard adaptive dampers do a great job at absorbing road imperfections, but the optional air suspension offers an even more plush ride and adjustable ride height.  

Standard safety features include active brake assist, blind spot monitoring, and Attention Assist which monitors driver alertness on long tiring drives.

The optional Driver Assistance Package adds even more driver aids and self driving tech that make long distance driving effortless such as adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, lane keep assist, speed limit assist, stop-and-go assist, and route-based speed adaptation, just to name a few.

Another useful option that will keep you from getting lost in unfamiliar areas is the MBUX Augmented Video Navigation, which displays live video from the front camera and superimposes additional navigation information and route markers.

Also new for the 2024 model year is the GLE 450e plug-in hybrid which has up to 38 miles of all-electric range.

4. BMW X5

The BMW X5 offers a great balance of luxury, comfort, performance and cutting edge tech, and ranks among the best in each of these categories in the very crowded luxury midsize SUV segment.

It goes toe to toe with the Mercedes-Benz GLE when it comes to comfort and refinement, but is more lively to drive when you want to have some fun.

To improve driving comfort over long distances, standalone options like ventilated and massage seats, heated armrests, and a head-up display are available.

BMW’s Active Driving Assistant comes with dynamic cruise control as standard even in the base model, as well as other driver aids like forward collision warning, low-speed automatic braking, blind spot detection, lane departure warning and speed limit detection.

With the optional Active Driving Assistance Professional Package, you get self driving features like active cruise control, steering and lane keep assist, lane change assist, emergency stop assistance, and the hands-free Highway Assistant.

The X5 xDrive50e plug-in hybrid, which has up to 40 miles of electric range and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, also comes with a height adjustable air suspension as standard for a more compliant ride.

5. Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade is the mechanical twin of the Kia Telluride and sits between the Hyundai Santa Fe and Genesis GV80 in Hyundai’s midsize SUV lineup.

It’s much roomier than the Santa Fe and has almost the same wheelbase as the Genesis GV80, which makes it more stable and comfortable for long distance highway driving.

On top of being very well equipped and offering features that are usually reserved for more expensive luxury brands, the interior has an upscale look and uses premium materials.

The Limited and Calligraphy models come with an 8-way power driver seat with 4-way lumbar support, as well as heated and ventilated front and second-row seats.

The Calligraphy model is also equipped with the Ergo-Motion driver seat which uses air bladders to massage your back on long drives to reduce fatigue.

Modern driver aids like smart cruise control, automatic braking, blind spot warning, lane assist, Highway Driving Assist and Driver Attention Warning are standard on all trim levels of the Palisade.

The Limited and Calligraphy models add a blind-spot view monitor which displays video of the side of the vehicle, and the more advanced Highway Driving Assist 2 which requires even less driver input when driving on long stretches of roads.

6. Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is now in its fifth generation and is more luxurious and technologically advanced than ever before.

In addition to the standard V6 engine, the Grand Cherokee now has a plug-in hybrid powertrain option as well that offers blistering acceleration and up to 26 miles of range.

The Grand Cherokee’s off-road capabilities remain the same and even the hybrid 4xe models can easily tackle rough terrain and more extreme trails, making it a great choice if you often find yourself in uncharted territory.

Gone are the previous generation’s outdated interior design which has been replaced by a very modern and upscale interior.

Higher trim levels come with Nappa leather upholstery and front seat ventilation for additional plushness and comfort. The Summit and Summit Reserve models also have a massage function.

Standard driver assists include adaptive cruise control, active lane management, automatic braking, and blind spot monitoring.

The top of the line Summit and Summit Reserve models come with Drowsy Driver Detection, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Active Driving Assist which uses radar and sensors to safely follow the vehicle in front and keep you centered in your lane with minimal steering input.

Higher trim levels can also be equipped with the optional Night Vision feature which uses thermal imaging to detect pedestrians and animals on dimly lit roads.

7. Toyota Venza

The Toyota Venza is a hybrid powered midsize SUV that offers Lexus levels of interior refinement for a much lower price.

It’s one of the smallest SUVs in the midsize category so it’s not as roomy as its rivals, but it more than makes up for it with its reliability and practicality.

Even with its standard all-wheel drive, the Venza easily manages 39 mpg combined so you’ll save a lot on gas if you’re always on the road.

Being a Toyota, it’s only going to need basic maintenance and since it uses the same hybrid powertrain as a lot of other Toyota hybrids, parts shouldn’t be very hard to come by.

Aside from the cabin’s leather trim, it’s also very quiet inside and the Limited trim level comes with ventilated seats, all of which will help reduce fatigue if you’re driving for hours.

It also comes with Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5+ which adds modern driver assists like radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, steering assist, automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and road sign assist. 

Related: 7 Best Midsize SUV for Dogs (With Pictures)

8. Acura MDX

The MDX is Acura’s best-selling model and offers a unique combination of third-row seats, a roomy and comfortable interior, great driving dynamics and excellent reliability.

Heated and ventilated seats are standard on the A-Spec, Advance and Type S models, but the Advance and Type S Advance provide even more comfort on long drives with its thigh extensions and side bolsters.

The Type S Advance’s seats also have a massage function to help reduce fatigue while driving.

Both the Type S and Type S Advance are equipped with a height adjustable air suspension system which significantly improves both handling and ride comfort.

The standard Active Sound Control helps cancel out the frequencies of the engine sounds to make the cabin even quieter.

All trim levels of the MDX come with AcuraWatch as standard, which is a suite of safety and driver assists. This includes helpful features such as automatic braking, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, blind spot monitoring, traffic jam assist, and traffic sign recognition.

Related: 9 Best Midsize SUVs for Tall Drivers (With Pictures)


  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...