Three the Hard Way
While GMC and Jeep go big on- and off-road, Honda stays in its lane—and within budget.
By Isaac Bouchard
2022 GMC Yukon AT4
EPA Ratings: 14/19/16
Price as tested: $79,175
Thanks to the independent rear suspension, the Yukon has matured into a stellar full-sized SUV, with high-quality interior trimmings and a third row now roomy enough to match the first two. Thanks to adjustable damping and air-suspension options, it also rides incredible refinement and handles well for a big rig. Equipped with the 420hp, 6.2-liter “big block” and Max Trailering package, it was superb hauling a 6,000-pound, 24-foot-long load behind it, yet still could fit into more minor parking spots, unlike a pickup. A 5.3L and diesel are also available. GMC’s AT4 off-road trim package gives it presence and some actual go-anywhere ability. The tech is generally superb, including Google-based software. Still, you can’t get adaptive cruise control on anything but a Denali version—a significant omission for a vehicle of this price point. In almost all other respects, GMC nailed this one.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
EPA Ratings: 19/26/22
0-60mph: 8.0sec (est)
Price as tested: $62,885
With Jeep determined to move upmarket, a lot is riding on how good the first new Grand Cherokee since 2011 is. And, in most respects, the model tested—an Overland—is everything it needed to be: imposingly contemporary in exterior appearance, upscale inside, refined and quiet on pavement, and capable off-road. Overland is probably the sweet spot for combining these virtues. Its air suspension means it cushions bumps, but it firms up nicely in corners; its materials are price-appropriate and pleasing to the eye. It is perfectly sized for empty-nesters and pre-family intenders. Graphics on the 10.1-inch touchscreen look great, and the optional McIntosh sound system is one of the most accurate available. The Grand Cherokee’s only real weakness now is its powertrains; the 290hp V6 is too torque-lite to move without continually mashing the throttle, and the V8 Hemi drinks like many of us did during the lockdown. The upcoming 4xe plugin hybrid is a partial solution, but a twin-turbo six would be perfect. In almost all other respects, the Jeep hits the bullseye.
2022 Honda Civic Touring
EPA Ratings: 31/38/34
Price as tested: $28,695
The Civic is now its 11th generation and is America’s best-selling sedan. This latest looks terrific, with clean and classy lines outside and a modern cockpit that impresses at first glance, with textured trim, honeycomb-pattern vent registers, and soft-touch moldings for the dash and upper doors. But Honda, like everyone these days, has had to cut some corners to save money for all the tech goodies people demand, and things like lumbar support for the driver’s seat and heated steering wheel are gone, even from the top; Touring model. Instead, wireless phone integration and charging and every imaginable driver aid are bundled into Honda Sensing. A 180 hp turbocharged engine makes the CVT-style tranny tolerable; 60 comes in 7.5 sec. And the Civic routinely returns over 30 mpg. Ride quality is excellent, and it handles well, as they’ve retained its multilink rear suspension. The Civic crushes the Corolla, but a Mazda3 is classier and has optional AWD.
Contact Isaac Bouchard for help saving time, money and hassle when buying or leasing one at [email protected]
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